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iPad Review

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the can-i-expense-this-thing dept.

Apple 750

This weekend saw the delivery of iPads into hundreds of thousands of filthy hands. I managed to get my hands on a 32GB unit and put it through its paces for a battery charge and a half, and wanted to take a few minutes to share some notes with you. But if you don't care to read the whole review, let me give you a hint: I am typing this review on my laptop.

The packaging is minimal and sleek. Almost nothing comes inside the box: just a cable, power cube and some minuscule documentation that nobody will read. The iPad itself arrived fully charged. It is usable out of the box without any syncing, but I chose almost immediately to pair it with my laptop just to get all my apps and data on it. This syncing process took forever. It's kind of amazing how long it takes to sync 20 or so gigs of movies and mp3s. This isn't unique to the iPad of course, but I never really noticed it on the phone since I don't sync video there.

The UI and functionality is pretty much as expected: It's a big iPhone. There are some minor differences (like being able to drag different numbers of items to the sticky footer menu). The new calendar application is nice. But the star is the mail client. Reading mail on my iPhone has been the "Last Resort," but the speed and clean layout and usability of the iPad mail app makes me prefer it to my desktop. I need a faster way to mark spam, but that's not necessarily the end of the world. Writing mail on the iPad is a different story. More on that below.

The new photo app is decent, but if you have a large number of albums and events it gets tough to find specific stuff quickly. I can't figure out why the iPhone and now the iPad don't make use of folders. Their mac equivalents both let you create nicely nested hierarchies of albums or playlists, but those both get lost on their little cousins where screen real estate is even MORE important. The video app seems to do strange things with thumbnails: it seemed to want to give videos the same thumbnail icon if they share an "Album." This means navigating my home movies category is lame because all 15 or so videos have the same thumbnail. It shouldn't be that way.

My iPad has no 3G, therefore it has no GPS. But applications were constantly asking me for permission to use my location. This seems like an oversight: if you don't have a location sensor, don't ask! Even the built-in Map app asked me for information that it could not possibly have.

Finally, time to test Safari: I tested out Slashdot first, and it renders pretty well. There are a couple of minor layout glitches and a few trickier functionality problems. The problems are mostly the same as the iPhone, but having the larger screen makes it a lot more obvious. I'll probably get some tickets into the system this week to clean up these bugs.

When I started browsing the net at large I noticed a few interesting problems: The first is that a lot of websites are serving iPhone pages to the iPad. So you get a number of ridiculously minimalistic pages on the big bright screen. It's laughably annoying to see these teeny tiny menus. Most sites seem fine, but I was surprised at the number of mainstream sites that thought I needed this. The lack of Flash is MUCH more noticeable than I thought it would be. The good news is that YouTube seems to embed cleanly and in-place, so a lot of video oriented websites still work fine. But the lack of Flash hurts. Apple has made their position known on the subject, so I'm not expecting anything to change. The lack of a real scroll bar make sites that make use of frames for navigation not really work properly. At the end of the day, I was surprised at the number of sites that actually had SOME problem with them. Most worked fine, but when something fails, I noticed more than I do on the iPhone. I think this is simply a user expectation thing: on my phone I expect things NOT to work and am happy when they do. On the iPad I expect things to work as well as they do in Safari in my desktop, and am irritated when they don't.

I tried out a good number of apps. The NetFlix app is really nice, but it doesn't let me rate selections using their little star system. Since I'm OCD about that, this bugs me. Epicurious is a fantastically elegant little recipe system that really shines on the system. ABCs app works but meh. The Weather Channel has a nice little app, and several of my old favorites have ports that make at least some use of the big screen. I suspect it'll be a few months before we really see what the unit has to offer since many of the most popular apps haven't been ported yet. I'm thinking Facebook and even the Apple Remote are very overdue. But hey, the old versions work, they just look like crap.

Let me talk about User Accounts. An iPhone doesn't have them, which is fine because one phone sits in one person's pocket. But your laptop is passed around, and the user account system on a Mac is necessary in any place where you want multiple people sharing a computer with any regularity. The iPad needs it: since this machine wants to be seen in a public place and be handed around, my wife shouldn't have to keep logging out of Gmail and Facebook. And I shouldn't have to leave my iPad on the coffee table signed into my mail. And I shouldn't have to sign out every time I put it down, leaving a brick on the table unusable by guests.

Finally let me talk about the device itself. It's heavy. I mean, surprisingly heavy. The specs say that it is 1.5lbs, which sounded very light on paper. For the first few minutes, I liked the heft; I felt that I was holding a solid, well-crafted item in my hands. But then I started trying to figuring out ways to type. I wrote a number of emails of moderate length and slowly realized that I just don't like typing on this thing. It's fine for URLs and names and passwords and a sentence here and there. But to actually sit down and write a thousand-word review well, there's just no way. I tried many different angles, but in order to hold it in your lap and type, you sorta need to prop it against your belly. Holding it up one handed made my arm kinda tired fairly quickly: unless I'm willing to squish my thumb against the center of the screen. When I do this, the center of gravity shifts and it's much more comfortable to hold, but there's a giant thumb blocking my screen, making it impossible to type. You can cradle it in your arm and type one-handed. That seems like the only way to use it while standing. But I just don't see myself writing anything lengthy. After a day of heavy usage, I felt a little sore. The size and shape is nearly perfect. But all that screen and battery sure feels heavy when it's spread out like this.

But I'll tell you what I like: Having a casual PC at arm's length for a quick lookup of something. Working within the screen size of the iPhone often makes simple internet tasks unwieldy, but provided whatever you need doesn't use Flash, this is a great little web browser. Fast and pretty.

Since the announcement of the iPad, I've wondered what its role could be. My first big question was whether it be a complete replacement PC for "Grandma." Like many of you, I'm occasionally called upon to do little tech support tasks on PCs that do very little, and I was hoping that this might be the solution. After just one day I know this is not going to work for them. The difficulty of using the keyboard. The missing Flash. And the lack of video camera for chatting with the grandkids make this device simply not ready for them.

My other big question is how much of a replacement PC it could be for a power user. Now I can work around Flash and rarely need a camera, but what is clear to me is that a huge percentage of my screen time is spent staring at iChat. While I don't usually need a camera or microphone, my iChat is connected to 4 different networks, and I simply can't do my job without the steady stream of co-worker notes and bot notifications that I rely on. I've yet to find an app that lives in the background and is capable of connecting to the 4 distinct networks that I use. (AIM, SSL'd Jabber and Non-SSL'd Jabber)

I'm not expecting a WoW client or anything, but Chat? Seriously, Apple: You're on iPhone 3.something-or-other and you can't give us a chat client? I can only hope that the end of the exclusive AT&T era means that Apple will no longer be tied to some secret back room deal that forced iPhones to try to shove users to the crap SMS network to pad a telco profit margin despite the fact that our devices are living on a Wi-Fi network.

So, what does Apple need to fix?

  • Lose several ounces. PLEASE.
  • Video Camera
  • iChat
  • User switching (or at least an Anonymous mode)

I used it for a day and a half and think that it will be an excellent couch companion PC. I'm also certain that on planes, long car rides, and vacations it will be a great little machine. The battery life is pretty dang amazing. But this is a 1.0 piece of hardware running 3.0 software. The size/shape is great. The speed is wonderful. And 2 years of Moore's law might make this a device to be reckoned with if Apple sells enough of them to continue heavy development on the software and hardware. This version isn't a replacement PC for anyone yet, but future versions might be. You probably want to save your cash until then.

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CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735482)

Considering that the last time he passed comment on an Apple handheld, his prediction was pretty lame [slashdot.org]

I don't think this is the ultimate device for keyboard-focussed nerds, but (as usual) that's not who Apple is aiming at. I guess we'll have to wait and see how well it really does, but selling 300k in one day, in one country compares pretty well to the 3G and 3GS phones (which sold ~1M in 3 days, in 21 countries worldwide).

[Aside - not directed at the review]
perhaps it's just me, but the qualifier "just" in "just a bigger iphone/ipod touch" seems somewhat questionable. Does anyone here want to trade their HDTV for an SD model ? Thought so. With a TV, all you do is view it. On an iPad you'll interact with it - that 5x screen-estate isn't a "just", it's a "crucially", IMHO.
[/aside]

Simon

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (3, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735586)

His predictions are correct. The first iPods were lame. The (first) iPad is lame.

He did not say that they will not sell well with a high profit margin.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (3, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735594)

Of course, the latest iPod has more space than a nomad and wireless.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735610)

I don't think this is the ultimate device for keyboard-focussed nerds, but (as usual) that's not who Apple is aiming at.

But he noted that the iPad isn't usable even for grandmas. Lets face it, you have to use keyboard every now and then to use web or to do basically anything. That's not going to change until we have good speech recognition. Also if the iPad weights too much even for a guy without your hands getting sore, how can a grandma keep it in hand?

Fancy graphic designers and such that like Apple products also need Flash because thats what they develop for and is the de facto standard. But there's no support for Flash or any of the Adobe products. Therefore it's useless for that group too.

It's not good for business, as theres it weights a lot, doesn't run multiple IM and chat programs at the same time (when you want to login to MSN, you have to get off Skype), and it doesn't support MS Office.

It's not good for homes as theres no multiple user accounts.

Who is iPad aimed at then?

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (5, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735714)

You know, growing up, I used to do archery a lot at summer camp. When ever we would accidentally hit the wrong target, or anything other than the target we were aiming for, we'd cry out "That's exactly what I was aiming for". It was obvious BS that was funny. But people still try doing that like the parent post. If a product doesn't suit your needs then well, it must be intentionally not aiming for you. Its not the products fault it doesn't suite you , its your fault for not being the target!

Of course, the opposite was equally practised, and even funnier. Sometimes, a friend would hit the bullseye, then it would be required to claim that he was really aiming for the tree. This is more rare to see in tech circles. People are smart enough, and don't have the same sense of humour that kids do to claim it. Usually, when people make the "aiming for" statement its of the first kind: psuedo marketing BS.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735850)

I knew it. All along, those gosh-darned-it twinkies(*) were aimed at diabetics!

Lack of archery skill notwithstanding, it's entirely possible to segregate a market for a product or set thereof.

Simon.

(*) Not having ever *seen* a "twinkie", I'm going with my vague impression that it's sugar-filled nutrition-less candy. If not, please feel free to substitute something suitable instead. I'm trying to use terms well-known in the US without the relevant experience here.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736034)

You have never actually seen a twinkie [google.com] ?

A twinkie is a vanilla ladyfinger (soft oblong cake) with whipped cream filling. So yes... as you said, sugar-filled nutrition-less candy.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736126)

It's sponge cake filled with creme frosting. They have a longer shelf life then damn near anything else in the grocery store.

BAH! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736232)

More blatant disinformation from the MKHOSTESS cabal, I see. It is a well-known fact that Twinkies are an artificial lifeform first developed in the 1930's. Twinkies digest mold.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (5, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735732)

Do you know what iPods have now? Wireless and more space than a Nomad! Not only was he correct about the iPod, but his comment directed Apple on the course that ultimately led to the iPhone. You fanboys owe Rob Malda for everything.

Re:CmdrTaco drags big brass ones along the ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31736246)

the qualifier "just" in "just a bigger iphone/ipod touch" seems somewhat questionable. Does anyone here want to trade their HDTV for an SD model ?

You're an idiot.

Most people understand that a larger TV screen is desirable, but at *NO* point in time have I ever heard someone say "you know, this mobile phone/MP3 player is OK, but I sure wish it was 4 times as large and weighed as much as a laptop!"

iPad (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735484)

The lack of Flash is MUCH more noticeable than I thought it would be.

This is true. Just try browsing the web without plug-ins enabled; you find a need to enable them surprisingly often for Flash. You probably think that you don't visit so many video or flash game sites, but a lot of times slashdot links to articles that have videos, or you're reading about gaming news and it has a trailer or gameplay footage you want to see. However in this case you can't even turn Flash on when you want to.

After just one day I know this is not going to work for them. The difficulty using the keyboard. The missing Flash. And the lack of video camera for chatting

So basically there's no good use for iPad. No big surprise there - just blatant stupidity from over-excited Apple fanbois.

Re:iPad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735776)

I think many are missing the bigger picture. Gay culture now has mainstream acceptance. This proves that we are becoming a more tolerant and understanding country. So the iPad isn't for you - it wasn't meant for everyone in the first place.

Can we talk about the wikileaks video instead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735498)

Thanks.

"The size/shape is great" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735508)

I beg to differ.

To sum it up: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735514)

No Flash. Less usability than a netbook. Lame

Re:To sum it up: (0)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735760)

The problem with netbooks is that they suck... unless you stopped growing in kindergarten.

Re:To sum it up: (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735834)

How is a touchscreen input that's approximately the same size going to help?

You will have all the crampedness of the netbook keyboard without any of the tactile feedback.

It will be the worst of both worlds.

Re:To sum it up: (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735952)

The problem with netbooks is that they suck... unless you stopped growing in kindergarten.

Even then they suck. They're slow, and have horrible battery life.

And that's where the iPad comes in.

Re:To sum it up: (4, Insightful)

bflong (107195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735958)

I'm 6'5" and one of my huge hands spans across the entire keyboard on my eee901. I *love* my netbook, and would never trade it in for something like an iPad.

Some might have forgotten... (5, Informative)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735804)

The post behind this joke. [slashdot.org] Here it is:

Apple releases iPod

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Re:Some might have forgotten... (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736132)

The original flaw was in assuming that nobody would want a device with “no wireless, less space than a nomad”... and it turned out that plenty of people did want a portable MP3 player that lacked wireless and had less space than a nomad.

I can’t really say I expect the iPad predictions to be very far off base, though. It’s either a large, bulky iPhone or a slim but not very usable laptop. And they didn’t sell out, which tells you something... ideally you’d want them to sell out; if the demand is high you can continue to charge similarly high prices for the next releases. If stores still have the original batch sitting on the shelves after opening week, though, you’re going to have to either drop the price to get more people to buy them or else accept the fact that you’ve found a niche market that is turning out to be smaller than you thought.

Re:To sum it up: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735882)

No Flash. Less usability than a netbook. Lame

flash? usability ?

iNough! (5, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735518)

Please, enough of the iPad. I'm a Mac user, and I find the iPad a potential tool for some of my clients, but enough already.

I can't think of anything that has gotten this type of media hype ... and for what? 48 hours of availability? It's going to take a lot longer than two days to decide if the iPad is well suited for its market niche or if its going to run into problems. Failure is much easier to measure, but determining success takes time.

Re:iNough! (-1, Flamebait)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735870)

But the haters can't be seen hating unless there's a story to hate on. And people might start questioning how much weight their loafers bear if they aren't seen hating.

Re:iNough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735910)

You underestimate the power of the Dark Side ........ of marketing!

*This message brought to you by The Empire... err, Apple.

Re:iNough! (1, Offtopic)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735966)

Please, enough of the iPad.

I'm more interested in the Joo Joo review. [osnews.com]

Re:iNough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31736028)

It's going to take a lot longer than two days to decide if the iPad is well suited for its market niche or if its going to run into problems.

It doesn't have a niche. You can't type on it. Battery life sucks compared to Kindle. It's too big for a music player. And with no flash, it's not even a decent web browser. WTF is it supposed to be good for?

Who has dirty hands? (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735522)

This weekend saw the delivery of iPads into hundreds of thousands of filthy hands. I managed to get my hands on a 32GB unit... I take that you count yourself amongst the unwashed masses, then?

You don't need 3G for GPS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735524)

You don't need 3G for GPS.

Re:You don't need 3G for GPS. (5, Insightful)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735680)

You do on the iPad, as GPS and 3G go hand-in-hand in the still unavailable 3G model. But Taco was confused by the Wi-Fi location finding system that does work on his non-3G model.

Re:You don't need 3G for GPS. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31736208)

But Taco was confused by the Wi-Fi location finding system that does work on his non-3G model.

CmdrTaco's knowledge doesn't measure up to the whole world-wide spectrum of knowledge. News at 11:00.

Jesus, will people like you get off your high-horse. If you don't like the material, go troll some other website.

And, No, this isn't Taco.

Location without GPS (5, Interesting)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735526)

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure that the iPhone, and therefore most likely the iPad, can get location without GPS via Skyhook and the known locations of wireless access points. So apps asking permission to use your location is not a bug.

Re:Location without GPS (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735668)

Probably in the US, but that service doesn't work elsewhere and even then not in places without wireless access point (and still not a pin-point location). With 3G you can get a lot more coverage, it works worldwide and you can pin-point your location based on several towers.

Re:Location without GPS (1)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735782)

I'm pretty sure it works in the UK (having seen a talk here from one of their marketing droids). According to them [skyhookwireless.com] "XPS uses a massive reference network comprised of the known locations of over 100 million Wi-Fi access points and cellular towers. ... Skyhook's extensive coverage area includes most major metro areas in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia".

Not sure what the accuracy is for just wifi though. Their performance claims [skyhookwireless.com] seem to just talk about the hybrid version which needs GPS.

Re:Location without GPS (2, Informative)

alnjmshntr (625401) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735924)

It's works many places. I just travelled to a bunch of countries in asia, australia and new zealand with an IPod touch and the maps app invariably gave me an exact location. In places like Singapore it was outstanding, it could give me precise location down to the street corner as I walked along.

Re:Location without GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735944)

Wrong. My iPod Touch finds it's location in the UK just fine.

Re:Location without GPS (4, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735690)

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure that the iPhone, and therefore most likely the iPad, can get location without GPS via Skyhook and the known locations of wireless access points.

You are correct. I was surprised when my iPod Touch was able to identify my location. It took some research before I figured out that it was getting it from Skyhook Wireless [skyhookwireless.com] . It actually put my position on the street just outside the house, presumably where someone drove by with a sniffer and picked up the SSID of the WiFi AP I was using.

Re:Location without GPS (-1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735752)

Not to mention that GPS does not rely on the cell phone network at all.

The author of this review clearly does not have an even basic understanding of GPS.

No GPS Chipset in the wifi only iPad (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735932)

so the author seems to know exactly what he's talking about.

Re:Location without GPS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31736046)

Not to mention that GPS does not rely on the cell phone network at all.

The author of this review clearly does not have an even basic understanding of GPS.

The author of this comment clearly does not have an even basic understanding of A-GPS.

Re:Location without GPS (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735784)

Tested and works. The WIFI-only unit was able to identify my position.

Re:Location without GPS (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735786)

Yup. I had an iPod touch before, and location based applications (for example showing the closest restaurants) worked almost as well as they do on my iPhone. I don't quite understand how it's done, as my internet connection is from one of the largest ISP's in Finland and I did not expect the gateway to identify my location...

Re:Location without GPS (1)

c_sd_m (995261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735890)

Re:Location without GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735902)

I believe you are correct, but only being able to go off WiFi spot locations, and not being able to even use cell tower locations like the iPhone 1.0 will make it fairly inaccurate in most parts of the country. May still be fine in large cities.

Re:Location without GPS (2, Interesting)

atrizu (1434023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735922)

My non-3G iPad finds my location just fine. However, my iPhone seems to be able to get my location while in my basement, while the iPad cannot. It doesn't seem to be as sensitive. Perhaps the cell towers help the iPhone with this.

Location (4, Insightful)

The Salamander (56587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735540)

If you don't have a GPS, it uses wifi-location. So its not ridiculous at all to ask; maybe you should
have tried it before complaining?

It works rather well, actually.

Re:Location (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736088)

..."rather" being the operative word.

Location services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735554)

Just a note, it was asking for the location because it can do wifi based location.

Just like your phone can do.

Pound and a half and its too heavy? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735588)

Seriously, even a geek should be able to handle 1.5 pounds in a device without it overtasking them.

Re:Pound and a half and its too heavy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735822)

Try holding 1.5 pounds in one hand for a few hours.

feel the burn

Re:Pound and a half and its too heavy? (2, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735862)

I suppose you're trying to be funny, but let's do an experiment.

lift your arm up and hold it there for 30 minutes.

the iPad could weigh zero pounds, but it's still a tablet and so suffers from the "gorilla arm" phenomenon of being impossible to use for extended periods.

the iPhone would have the same problem, but it's designed to be used for a couple minutes and then put away in your pocket/purse.

Re:Pound and a half and its too heavy? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736018)

No, I wasn't being funny, we talked about it in the geek heavy office here before I posted.

And who the hell uses a device straight out from your body like your "lift your arm and hold it" experiment?

People prop, put at an angle, hold against things, so yea whining that 1.5 pounds is too heavy is just that, whining.

Re:Pound and a half and its too heavy? (1)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735994)

It's really the density that gets you; the thing is surprisingly heavy for its size. If you can use it with an edge resting on a surface, it's not too bad, but if you are playing a game that needs you to hold the device like a controller in both hands and use accelerometers for motion detecting, then even you will get tired very quickly.

iChat? Really? What about multi-tasking? (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735624)

I'm not expecting a WoW client or anything, but Chat? Seriously apple: You're on iPhone 3.something-or-other and you can't give us a chat client?

Does gmail chat/facebook chat not work in the iPad browser? If it does, this is probably better for most than some proprietary chat client. Quite frankly, I'm inclined to place the unavailability of multi-task greater than iChat.

Re:iChat? Really? What about multi-tasking? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735686)

But what about when you want to quickly use some other app? Then you have to close your chat. It's things like this that demand multitasking.

In favor of multi tasking... (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735758)

But what about when you want to quickly use some other app? Then you have to close your chat. It's things like this that demand multitasking.

I'm not sure why you used the word "but" because my post does, in fact, lament the lack of multi-tasking. In any case, the scenario you raise is common for me -- say I get an e-mail and need to refer to some document or website. Windowed multi-tasking makes that so much more convenient -- I believe that iPad's display size would be more than enough space to have some kind of windowed multi-tasking.

Re:iChat? Really? What about multi-tasking? (1)

znu (31198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736094)

You hit the 'Home' button, go do whatever you're doing, and come back. Yes, the chat app will technically quit in the background, but it will re-launch almost instantly, and you'll be notified of any new incoming messages via push notifications even while it's closed, so what's the difference?

There are really very few use cases for which actual multitasking (or, more accurately, allowing third party background tasks) is required on a device like this. Playing background audio from third-party apps (it works just fine from Apple's apps) or periodically sending location data or some other data to a server in the background are about the only things you can't do with the current model.

Anyway, Apple's supposedly previewing iPhone OS 4 on Thursday; maybe that will allow third-party background tasks.

Requirements defined by the user (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736198)

There are really very few use cases for which actual multitasking (or, more accurately, allowing third party background tasks) is required on a device like this.

Frankly, the requirements for "a device like this" are defined by the user. I would suggest that since almost every operating system on a device with a screen resolution of the iPad supports windowed multi-tasking, it's probably something that is wanted by the user. Just a guess, though -- just as I suspect with your opinion, I do not have data from a user survey to back this up.

You hit the 'Home' button, go do whatever you're doing, and come back. Yes, the chat app will technically quit in the background, but it will re-launch almost instantly, and you'll be notified of any new incoming messages via push notifications even while it's closed, so what's the difference?

What if you get an e-mail from a business associate asking for a price of one of your widgets? You would have to memorize what the quantity was, go to your spreadsheet app, and pull that price from the list and memorize it. Then you have to go back and write it in the e-mail. Room for error? I think so.

Am I saying that everyone is going to be using this thing for purposes other than youtube or reading the news? No, but it would be nice if you could, wouldn't it?

Good review (5, Insightful)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735628)

The keyword is the point that it isn't a replacement PC for anyone. I sincerely hope people realize that, so the flame wars can move on and debate about something else.

It's not a computer, it's a living-room appliance (5, Insightful)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735636)

I don't think this ever will be, or is intended to be, a replacement computer, even for stuff as simple as writing emails. It's intended to be an entertainment device and sometime organiser. Reading the newspaper, watching TV, playing games, finding recipes. Stuff that we did before computers, just an electronic version of such stuff. If there's a big enough market for that, and I think there might be, this will do very well.

More like a Starbucks appliance (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735798)

or Student Center.

I expect them in droves at my local Starbucks. iPhones used to be all the rage until Droid came along, but still its only Apple user's who seem the need to have their laptops out reading mail. I fully expect iPads to be very evident.

Its like the 40k a year person who wants to look rich by driving a BMW. Sure its flashy but whats underneath?

Re:It's not a computer, it's a living-room applian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735880)

Yes, except that as an appliance with no multi-user capability, it's not really suitable as all that in addition to a "sometime organiser".

Re:It's not a computer, it's a living-room applian (4, Interesting)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735926)

Reading the newspaper, watching TV, playing games, finding recipes. Stuff that we did before computers, just an electronic version of such stuff.

But we like doing those on a computer. Now Apple is trying to introduce a new paradigm that's backwards from previous trends, where daily tasks are being pushed to our home computer. No wonder many (especially geeks) are resisting.

On the other hand, smart phones are increasingly being used as entertainment devices (a concept that always seemed strange to me), so maybe this isn't quite a shot in the dark -- maybe the new paradigm is already coming, and Apple is just ahead of the game. It certainly explains the design.

Re:It's not a computer, it's a living-room applian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735938)

Its also sports equipment! Watch this video of some American Athletes with their new ipad! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGUppxoJUVg&feature=player_embedded

Bluetooth keyboard (2, Interesting)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735698)

Has anyone tried it with a bluetooth keyboard? Does that integrate well?

Interesting that it gets the iPhone web pages... that would be irritating.

Also, any reports on how that second-monitor app works on it?

Re:Bluetooth keyboard (3, Informative)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735846)

Also, any reports on how that second-monitor app works on it?

Horrible [engadget.com] ...

GPS (1)

aphxtwn (702841) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735700)

The GPS is pretty accurate and the highlighted radius surrounding my current location in maps isn't huge. I'm under the assumption that the WiFi iPad *does* have regular GPS.

Re:GPS (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735868)

I'm not sure it does - the GPS hardware was on the 3G board in the FCC teardown shots, unless they have moved it since those pre-production photos.

Wi-Fi iPad does not have GPS (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736050)

The GPS is part of the 3G chipset; thus, the Wi-Fi version does not have GPS. This is readily confirmed on the specs page [apple.com] . The Wi-Fi version DOES use Skyhook Wireless [skyhookwireless.com] for location finding, and it works remarkably well.

Re:GPS (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736082)

Nope. The GPS is part of a "system on a chip" along with the 3G cell radio, which is why pre-3G iPhones didn't have GPS, and iPod Touches don't have GPS and WiFi-only iPads don't have GPS. But at least in most urban places in N. America and (I think) Europe, the WiFi hotspot location is pretty good. Rural areas in N. America, not so much, and I'm not sure of the rest of the world.

where you at (3, Informative)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735720)

This seems like an oversight: if you don't have a location sensor, don't ask! Even the built-in Map app asked me for information that it could not possibly have.

google wardrives everyone's wifi while they update streetview; your unique 48 bit mac address uniquely identifies your location if you are on a recorded wifi hotspot.

Re:where you at (1)

Drew M. (5831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735864)

Technically Google uses anonymous information from Android phones that can do wifi and gps, which was pretty obvious once my access point started registering a location soon after I picked up a Droid. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple was doing the same.

Re:where you at and one more correction. (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735956)

"My iPad has no 3G, therefore it has no GPS. "... Huh?
You don't need 3G to have GPS. Heck you don't have to have any cell phone connection to have a GPS. You need a GPS to have GPS.

Re:where you at and one more correction. (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736100)

You don't need 3G to have GPS. Heck you don't have to have any cell phone connection to have a GPS. You need a GPS to have GPS.

I don't think these come with GPS built in, but isn't it rather trivial to use triangulation to figure out a user's location?

Re:where you at and one more correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31736142)

The 3G iPad also has a GPS chipset. The Wi-Fi only iPad does not.

Re:where you at (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736264)

google wardrives everyone's wifi while they update streetview; your unique 48 bit mac address uniquely identifies your location if you are on a recorded wifi hotspot.

Doesn't this seem like a bit of an invasion of privacy? Since we love car analogies, would it be ok for google, while updating streetview to OCR the license plate of every car that it encountered in your driveway and update the mapping with that? That way, if you were cut off by someone while driving you could input their license plate into google and google could tell you where they lived. Or a criminal could go somewhere public, record all the license plates of the expensive cars and then figure out where those cars reside since, presumably if you have an expensive car, you would live in a nice home with expensive stuff inside.

Chat Client? (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735748)

Even my old 8330 Blackberry has several chat clients. And why do you need to use SMS if you have a data plan? With that you have email, duh. OTOH last.fm doesn't have a Blackberry client. Verizon CDMA 1XEV doesn't have as much mojo as AT&T's GSM does but it almost does AND it sure has better coverage so I'm not so sure that Apple is going to do anything here for the long term. Android is slowly but surely picking up steam and it doesn't have as much crazy vendor lock in.

I guess that's OK for those that want stuff to just work, but what if it doesn't. Apple isn't mistake free but is given more of a free pass here than other machines.

Re:Chat Client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31736112)

Verizon's 3G is much faster than AT&T's. Sure the AT&T network might be faster in theory in a few cities, but in practice it is slow as shit. Outside those cities it gets even worse.

Yup. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735762)

Since people get a bit touchy when it comes to the iPad, the standard "this is only my opinion" disclaimer applies to my post.

I think the iPad is indicitive of what tablets could potentially be used for, but is too much like a "beta" to be worth its price (at least for me). No expandability, no USB ports, no flash-card reader...these are things that would be very trivial to add from both a cost and engineering perspective, yet are still lacking. Even in an "internet appliance", having at LEAST an SDHC reader built in would be a huge plus.

Keeping it locked to the appstore will surely please the Apple faithful and the less technically inclined...but considering you can get an 8GB iPod Touch on ebay for around $150, the iPad (at least this current version) is a waste of money.

Tablets have a ton of potential to be awesome devices...the iPad just isn't quite there yet for me, although the necessary changes are minimal.

Again, this is all only my opinion.

Re:Yup. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735886)

Yes... There are even actual appliances (as opposed to locked down PCs) that have USB ports and media card readers and whatnot.

Location (1, Redundant)

crumbz (41803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735774)

"My iPad has no 3G, therefore it has no GPS. But applications were constantly asking me for permission to use my location. This seems like an oversight: if you don't have a location sensor, don't ask! Even the built-in Map app asked me for information that it could not possibly have."

IIRC, the iPad uses Skyhook in wifi mode for approximate location sensing. Not as accurate as GPS, but it found my house in Maps. Works well.

Also missing besides folders: file protocol (4, Informative)

WebManWalking (1225366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735810)

I got an iPad 64GB and am using Safari a lot more. It's showing up multi-touch Safari's deficiencies.

In all other browsers, you can open a file on the device's file system. It's called the file protocol because the URL begins "file:". This allows offline prototyping of websites. I use it to define a "jump page" that's crammed full of all the hotlinks I normally use, organized to find them easily. Since we don't have the file protocol in multi-touch Safari, I have to put my jump page out to the actual Internet via iWeb and access it as an unpublished URL. In a sense, that makes sense, because I would only be able to use it if I were connected to the Internet, but it's not as private as keeping it on your own hard drive.

Also no View Source.

Also no default home page (short of saving the URL as an icon in the iPad's home).

Also no back arrow history (have to go back only one page at a time).

Also no Firefox allowed in the App store, which is what would REALLY force multi-touch Safari to get more usable.

Re:Also missing besides folders: file protocol (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736106)

I use it to define a "jump page" that's crammed full of all the hotlinks I normally use, organized to find them easily

Yeah, I used to do that, back before bookmarks became a standard feature of every browser.

-jcr

Yes, it is nothing more than a big iPod Touch (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735858)

Has anyone figured out how to turn of that stupid page flip gesture and animation? I mean, it's cute and all for the first forty pages of Winnie the Pooh, but for fuck's sake, I just want to hit a button and see the the next page.

FYI: you can scroll in frames (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735874)

Just use two fingers and you can scroll inside of a frame.

Would be 100% more fun with a camera (3, Interesting)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735876)

Good points, CmdrTaco.

I walked into the Apple Store in NYC on Saturday and bought one on a whim, in and out the door in 5 minutes. It's a nice piece of gear but my first thought was, holy crap this thing is heavy. From the iFixIt teardown we know that it's basically all battery under there, and the battery life is great. But if there was an 8-hour version it would balance better in your hand.

It would be 100% more fun to play with if it had a camera. There are so many photo editing/retouching possibilities already, and being able to take and then watch home movies on the iPad would be a lot of fun because of the large display. Alas, we will have to wait for that.

I thought it was okay to type on. Just small enough to use thumbs, but large enough to put in your lap or on a table and touch type. It also makes a decent remote controller (VNC client) for a living room PC or media center.

Skype on iPad (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735942)

It would be 100% more fun to play with if it had a camera.

Agreed. Could you imagine sitting on a bench, bus, or barstool and skyping from this thing? I hate to toss around the word "killer app," but I do believe that kind of functionality would turn heads.

Video chat would be impractical (1)

vAltyR (1783466) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735908)

I've always thought that video chat on an iPad would be impractical. You commented on the weight of the device; now think about holding it out at arms length for 30 minutes while you have a video chat. In addition to that, you'd have to hold it in such a way so that the camera shows your face, and not your stomach or the wall above your head. For a company whose reputation is built entirely on user experience, I don't see Apple adding a feature that's as likely to create more headaches/sore arms than it cures.

Location does work (1)

victim (30647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735930)

My iPad has correctly found me in all four locations I've tried by triangulating WIFI access points.

Apparently mobile users with GPS have tagged my access points.

Way to miss the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735934)

Its not a pc replacement. The sooner you guys get that the sooner you can stop being disappointed. But to answer a couple of points:

GPS:it doesn't have a gps chip. Yet here I am and it knows exactly where I am. Is it magic? Turns out cmdrtaco neither bothers to RTFM nor keep abreast of technology.

And no chat??? How many thousands of chat apps do you want?

And as for what grandma wants, why don't you let her have it instead of assuming you know what she wants and what she is capable of!?

And yes I'm typing this on my iPad.

Location Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31735936)

Just wanted to point out that your location can be found via built-in WiFi, which was announced for the iPod Touch during its inception. Apple works with a company called Skyhooks that maps WiFi networks to triangulate your location. It also shows this ability in the iPad Spec page: http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/; just thought you should know.

Typing (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735940)

The original announcement said that there would be a Bluetooth keyboard available, although I haven't bothered to check if it's available now. I'd imagine something like that would be necessary for serious typing. Typing on my iPhone works very well, all things considered, but I wouldn't want to write a review on one of any size.

I still think that the 3G model would be great for my mother-in-law, and that even my mother could use one well. This is based on observation of how they use their computers. They wouldn't video-chat, because they wouldn't figure it out. They don't need Flash for what they use the net for. They would need the keyboard.

Works with standard iMac bluetooth keyboard (3, Informative)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736038)

The original announcement said that there would be a Bluetooth keyboard available, although I haven't bothered to check if it's available now.

The standard iMac bluetooth keyboard [apple.com] works with the iPad. [intomobile.com]

Location does work without GPS (1)

WarpedMind (151632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735962)

The iPad does use WiFi to locate you just like the Touch and the iPhone when unable to get a GPS signal. My iPad had my location with in 200 yards. I live in a small city in Indiana. Those in more urban areas should be just fine.

For short typing in works just fine. For longer typing at least some sort of prop for the lap would be great. I can't wait for my case from Apple to arrive that will give me that ability. The other alternative is a wireless keyboard.

It is fast.

I can't echo CmdrTaco's notion about anonymous mode enough. Even as I started to open the box with my wife and 10 year old son eagerly looking on, I could tell this thing needs a guest mode. Something that just disables access to mail and the keychain.

Awesome device. I think as developers and designers get their hands on this, like the iPhone the value will just grow.

Typing (1)

crumbz (41803) | more than 4 years ago | (#31735976)

In my use the past couple of days, I found the Apple folding case makes a big difference when typing on your lap. Folded so the screen is at the ~15 degree angle made it much more comfortable. YMMV.

Nothing on the eReader? (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736002)

Did I miss something or did the reviewer not mention anything about how the book reader application is?

I have no plans to get an iPad in the near future, but if I was considering a Kindle this capability might make me consider it sooner rather than later.

New iPad announced (1, Redundant)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736060)

This is basically the same iPad that was just released, but this one "has wings!"

(Apple may regret calling it iPad...)

User switching (or at least an Anonymous mode): (1)

Adaeniel (1315637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736206)

User switching (or at least an Anonymous mode)

Looks like someone is using their iPad to access their iPorn.

Video shows same icon for same albums is a feature (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31736220)

The video app seems to do strange things with thumbnails: it seemed to want to give videos the same thumbnail icon if they share an "Album." This means navigating my home movies category is lame because all 15 or so videos have the same thumbnail. It shouldn't be that way.

This is the same on the iPhone/AppleTV, so it's not something unique to the iPad. If they're set as an album, and a "compilation", they'll all show the same icon (much in the same way that all the mp3s that are part of a compilation will show the same album art). Use iTunes to remove the "compilation" tag from the videos to have them each displayed as their own icon.

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