Last week saw Steve Jobs unveiling of the much rumoured and long awaited Apple tablet device which has been named the Apple iPad – and that’s just where the opinions start. Some people think that the Apple iPad name makes sense, keeps in-line with the established iPod/iMac branding, but leaves it open to lots of different uses, whilst others think it’s now a bland, uninspiring name.
This tablet device itself (reportedly) has an impressive battery-life of around 10 hours for whatever you use it for, be it browsing the web, reading an e-book, playing HD video, so could this be the thing that kills off the requirement for a netbook for many of us? Well only time will tell, but I think I’d rather take one of these with me when travelling than a relatively “chunky” netbook when all I’d want to do is catch up on sorting my email, browsing the web or watching some video.
In terms of connectivity, the Apple iPad will come in either a Wifi-only version (initial launch day) or a 3G mobile internet enabled version on a contract with a mobile network (30 days later) – personally I think the Wifi-only version would be enough for anyone who would rarely take it out the house or has free Wifi hotspots in the places you would use it. The staggered launch is interesting though, anyone would think that Apple are hoping die-hard fans won’t wait for the 3G-enabled iPad and get the Wifi-only iPad at initial launch and then will eventually end buying both!
The iPad has no real revolutionary interface, it’s more of an extension of what has been created with the iPhone OS as it’s essentially an enlarged iPod Touch which a 9.7″ screen, but that being the case, anyone who uses an iPhone will find it quite easy to start using. The other advantage of that it also means is that 140,000 current applications in the Apple App Store will all be able to work on this device straight away on the day of release, with developers then being able to create specific iPad apps going forward from now – I think that will definitely be when the iPad really starts to shine!
One of the main uses of the iPad looks to be as an eBook reader, which even includes a great way of moving pages, you literally flick between them like a book – is this the end of people buying the Amazon Kindle? The screen is the same size as you’d get if you buy the Amazon Kindle DX, but it’s full colour and can also be used for all types of media, not just books or newspapers. With the kind of specs and prices that the Apple iPad can offer, would you still want to get a Kindle instead?
With the Apple iPad, comes a whole host more opportunities and possibilities for future uses of tablet devices, for instance, in hospitals, will nurses use clipboards in future or use an iPad or just a variation of this kind of tablet device? Will students still carry around a large, heavy bag of textbooks around with them or just simply have them all on their iPad? Will this be the future of satnavs? Why make do with a small screen GPS device when you can have this large-screen multipurpose device mounted on your dashboard?
I think there’s lots of possibilities with the iPad, I’m sure this is just the early first stages of its eventual use, by around the 3rd generation I’m sure the Apple iPad could be a much richer experience with many more uses and functions (via the apps that people will create for it specifically) and ultimately reasons to buy it. Is this another Star Trek-style fictional technology given form? Can we chalk the iPad up as another futuristic technological device that we’ll end up using every day and then take for granted? Welcome to the future?
There you have it, in the Apple iPad, we finally have a viable tablet device, but do we really need the Apple iPad for anything? Is it a device that Steve Jobs and Apple have created that is actually looking for a reason to to be used? Does it solve a problem that doesn’t exist?