iPad

The truth about iPad: It's only good for two things

The Apple iPad is a landmark product, but it's also imperfect and fairly limited. In fact, there are only two areas where it really shines.

Since I first wrote this article, I've found another use for the iPad. You can read about it in "I discovered a third use for the iPad."

Because of the iPad, 2010 will likely be remembered as a landmark year in computing. It will rank right up there with 1984 when the graphical user interface debuted to the masses in the first Macintosh, and 1995 when the launch of Windows 95 made PCs much easier to use at a time when a lot more people were about to buy computers to connect to the Internet.

However, as groundbreaking as the iPad is, its capabilities sometimes get exaggerated -- not the least of which by Apple itself, which repeatedly refers to it as "magical" and "revolutionary."

I've been using the iPad since launch day on April 3, trying lots of different apps and experimenting with lots of different scenarios. I have honestly had mixed feelings about the device throughout the experiment, switching back and forth between the amazement of holding a full screen of computing power in a single hand and yet frustrated over its awkwardness or inability to accomplish some of my most basic and important computing tasks such as writing an article (inserting links and images are painful at times) and navigating interactive websites that use Flash or some of the advanced Javascript and AJAX actions that make sites act more desktop apps.

Flash doesn't work at all on the iPad and AJAX is supported but mouse interactions such as hover events don't work since there's no mouse pointer on the iPad and elements such as the drag-and-drop functionality for moving items in your Netflix queue, for example, often don't work properly since they were not designed with a multi-touch UI in mind.

When people want to chat with me about technology, the iPad is naturally one of the hottest topics right now, but I've typically been evasive about it. I'll mention a few of the things it does well or a couple of my favorite apps, but avoid giving a definitive opinion on it. That's because I haven't been completely sure what I think of the thing.

To my close friends and colleagues, I've been more candid. I've often said, "The iPad is only good for two things: Reading and Scrabble."

Well, I've now come to some longer-term conclusions about the iPad and I have to say that my initial quip about the two things wasn't too far off, although I've adjusted No. 2.

Hear me out on this one. Below is a further explanation of my two things.

1. Reading and viewing

The iPad often gets called a "consumption" device. But since it's not really that useful as a music or video player, so I would narrow that definition even further and say the iPad is primarily a reading device.

The iPad isn't great for long videos such as movies because it's heavy and awkward to hold for long periods of time. If you have some kind of stand of it, then it's great, but at that point you might as well have a laptop. It's a similar story for using the iPad as a music player. It just feels big and bulky compared to using an iPod or a smartphone for music, podcasts, and audiobooks.

But, as a reader, the iPad is admittedly amazing because of its brilliant full color screen, touch-based interface, and long battery life. And when I say "reader" I mean reader in the broadest sense of the term. As you'd expect, it's great for reading news, books, static web pages, emails, long PDFs, and business documents. (For just reading books, the Amazon Kindle is still superior, but for omnivorous readers the iPad is the new king.)

But there's a longer list of things that I include in "reading," such as weather, calendar, business dashboards, and to-do lists. In truth, reading covers a lot of stuff, and the iPad is great at those reading and viewing tasks.

And, the fact that it's instant-on and you can flip the screen around to show a colleague a web page, a chart, or a document just like you would a piece of paper gives the iPad a much more natural feel and a huge advantage over a traditional laptop for those business professionals who spend a lot of time in meetings.

From that perspective, I can see why many executives such as SAP chairman Hasso Plattner are so infatuated with the iPad. On a business trip a couple months ago where I spent a few days hopping from meeting to meeting (the way business executives spend nearly every day), I left my laptop in the hotel room and only carried the iPad. It was ultra-convenient to just flip out the iPad to compare calendars for follow-up meetings, show off a few charts, and co-surf a few web sites without having to whip out a laptop or fire up a projector. It was also liberating to walk in without a laptop bag slung over my shoulder.

2. Multi-touch interaction

As I said, the iPad is not a great device for writing articles because inserting links and images is inefficient compared to using a PC. I'm not saying the iPad is bad for typing. It's not. I hold it in two hands and use the vertical keyboard with my thumbs like a smartphone when entering short stuff like URLs, searches, and quick email responses. I set it down on a table and flip to the horizontal keyboard when I need to type longer stuff, and I've written some long articles on it during flights (and the iPad was much nicer to work with on a tray table than a standard laptop). But, when I got back I had to open up the new article on my laptop and add the links and images afterward, which wasn't very ideal or particularly efficient.

So let's just say the iPad is adequate at text entry. It's certainly less effective than a normal computer but it gains a few points for portability and instant-on. However, the area where the iPad surpasses the traditional PC and Mac experience is in what I'm going to call "multi-touch interaction."

There is where apps -- and even web pages, potentially -- can take advantage of the quick, easy, and intuitive qualities of the multi-touch interface. And since the iPad is (physically) the largest mass market multi-touch device we've seen, it has started to show us the potential for touch interfaces to make computing much more approachable for the masses than the PC ever did.

The most obvious place this shows up right now is in games. Hence, the Scrabble example. It literally takes seconds to learn how to play Scrabble on the iPad and then pass "the board" between players. It's the same thing for games like Angry Birds or Paper Toss. These and other iPad games have proven that the touch UI is an effective and intuitive input mechanism.

A number of savvy companies have picked up on this and are going to use touch-based tablets like the iPad to streamline business processes. Imagine business forms where people can quickly touch to select options and fill in short text snippets with the on-screen keyboard. Think of field professionals who can go to on-site meetings, show clients photos of their options with the iPad, and then interactively guide them through the order process and have the order placed and ready to be scheduled before leaving the meeting. This is why we're seeing the iPad breaking through in the enterprise, and why we're hearing more and more about iPad deployment examples like this one from a TechRepublic member in Australia.

The 1.0 tablet

I've learned two things about my own computing habits during the iPad experiment:

  1. It drove home that I'm a content creator and so I have far more intense input needs than most users (90% have light input requirements). Most of them won't have the same hang ups that I have about building content with the iPad, but they will be frustrated by the same web page incompatibilities due to Flash and AJAX.
  2. Because I use computers so much and have for so long, I have deeply ingrained habits and patterns that are very efficient, so it was difficult for something as different as the iPad to break into my daily routine. However, with repeated attempts, I found ways in which the iPad made me more efficient and freed me from having to wrestle with a bulkier laptop or laptop bag. It's also enabled me to read more and ingest more information, which has been an added benefit since we're all bombarded with so much info to process as part of life in the information age.

The other thing I had to remind myself recently about the iPad is that it is a 1.0 product. There's still a ton of room for this thing to improve based on user experiences and feedback, and I expect that we'll see some big strides in the next couple years now that the first touch-based tablet is in the hands of millions of people. The upcoming release of iOS 4.2, which will bring multi-tasking to the iPad will be an important step forward. Future UI improvements should make it easier to deal with images and links. Websites that use heavy Flash and AJAX will either offer alternative usage scenarios for iPad, or the iPad will eventually find effective ways to incorporate them into its matrix.

All in all, I've come to the conclusion that the iPad is a helluva good effort for a 1.0 device. It's far better than the 1.0 version of the iPhone (partly because it stands on the shoulders of the iPhone).

By saying it's only good at two things, what I'm really saying is that there are only two areas where it beats a standard PC at this point. But, in those two areas, it knocks it out of the park.

Also read

My favorite iPad apps

If you'd like to see a list of the iPad apps that I use the most, here are photos and short descriptions of my top 20 apps that take advantage of the iPad's strengths.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

350 comments
aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

Appearently you are not an angry birds fan.

JJLyonsII
JJLyonsII

Hi Jason, Very good article. There is an area that you missed and that is using various tablets in hospitals. Getting rid of the clip board has been on my mind for 20 years. The technology is there but implementation is not without major problems. Unfortunately security concerns and now a new sensitivity to EMF is holding back efficient patient care.

bigjude
bigjude

My last Mac was a G3 bought in 1998 which I still have and which still works perfectly. Then I changed to Windows. It wasn't because I didn't love Apple, because I did, like anyone else who uses them. I still love them. But back in the late 90s all software programmes (even Adobe) were bringing out Windows first and then Mac when they got round to it. And when you've invested in a lot of Windows software,it's inconvenient to change back. I'd have had both but Macs were just so darned dear. When the original tablets debuted I tried them and thought they had a future but then they just died.Today I have a Windows laptop and read books and newspapers on a Kindle. I've been fascinated by the success of the iPad but can't justify one financially so recently bought an eight inch Android tablet because it was cheap and I thought it would be useful for meetings. I have been bitterly disappointed. Even when the keyboard is horizontal, input is painfully slow. My (very small) fingers are just too big. This tablet is not nearly as useful to me as the Psion that I had in the mid90s. Of course I don't want to play games, even Scrabble. And I don't need it to read on because the Kindle is much better. For example, one charge on the Kindle lasts two weeks of intensive reading (as long as you turn off the WiFi connection.) Clearly the current generation of tablets have a big future but it's going to be several years coming and to truly get the best out of them you probably need to start using them as a kid. Right now I'm deciding which grandchild I will give my new Android tablet to and wondering whether my next experiment might be a digital pen... maybe a Destiny. Perhaps Jason would like to write something about these.

umangmca
umangmca

Thanku jason for sharing article on iPad.Right now iPad is the famous and hottest topic for mobile users.Its a good combination of some technologies and waiting for their better responses. SEO Company

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I have been using Tablet PCs for a little over three years, and the iPad falls so far short that it makes me laugh so hard that I fall out of my seat. Apple has always copied higher capable devices and marketed them as something better.

Lensk
Lensk

anyone tried iPad with QuickBooks online version? I have a guy who goes from job site to job site entering into QBs the materials the customer wants to purchase.

rmoncada
rmoncada

This is a very helpful topic. I recently purchased an iPad. Listed are the things I like 1) It is instantly on 2) The screen is very sharp 3) iTunes U and the iTunes accessible from the device 4) Educational Material with in reach 5) Quick tool to browser 6) Has help me and my 6-year old daughter learn her 2nd grade material 7) portability Things I do not like 1) The keyboard dock the device is always in portrait mode 2) lack of flash and Ajax 3) no external connectivity (only camera or media card reader, purchased separately)

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

It's their fan base that really annoys me.

bill.tkach
bill.tkach

Although the iPad might be the first iteration by Apple, if you consider the iPhone, the iTouch, and the various tablets that have been stuffed onto the market, leading up to this device, I would have to say it is not a 1.0 device. More like 10.0. Which is not an degrading it in any means, I just hate the over-hyping of a big itouch device.

ipadfan123
ipadfan123

On a recent family road trip, we took an iPad instead of a laptop, DVD player, handheld game consoles, books, and tour maps. In the car and especially on the plane, it is was much better for watching TV and movies than a laptop or DVD player. Its battery life was better, the screen was clearer, and it fit into the cramped spaces and carry on bags better. We also loaded the iPad with several single and multi-player games that were fun for the entire family. Compared to dedicated game consoles, the games are much more fun, much less expensive, and in many cases can also be loaded on our iPhones and iTouch iPods. Since we purchased the iPad, the Wii and DS are gathering dust. The DS didn't even come along for the trip. We had all the tour maps and tour books on the iPad as well as one or two books for each family member on the iPad. When possible, we also had them loaded on the family Kindle as well. We did not carry a single physical tour book or map. We brought the photo adapter for the iPad, so all the trip photos were backed up on the iPad. An occasional highlight was sent to Flickr from the iPad or iPhone to family and friends. At lunch or in the hotel, the family checked their email, Facebook, the weather, reservations, etc. using the browser or iPad and iPhone apps. This was probably the most cumbersome aspect of using the iPad. And if technical problems from work had arisen, it would have been difficult to do actual work with the iPad. On the whole, we bought the iPad for the long summer vacation and it performed well. We just considered its purchase price part of the cost of the vacation.

jamie
jamie

One of them is nowt.

dukethepcdr
dukethepcdr

What I hate about the ipad is one of its biggest features: the touch screen. I hate touch screens! Your fingers leave prints and smears all over them, so you have to keep wiping the screen off. I also find it hard to tap on what I really want on many screens. I've had this problem with every touch screen device including the ipad. I even traded in my touch screen cell phone for a model that didn't have a touch screen lately as I got so sick of accidentally hitting "buttons" while trying to talk on the thing. I don't want to hold it away from my face on speakerphone like so many people do. That's really annoying for those who would just as soon not listen to your conversation. Bad enough that so many people yell into their cellphones, they do it even worse when on speakerphone. The other option to using your fingers is to hold a stylus, but then you are constantly picking up and putting the thing down and trying not to lose it. I also hate typing on a touch screen. There is no tactile response to it. You can't tell if you've hit a key really until you see a character on the screen (all too often the wrong character). This drives people like me who are trained at touch typing crazy. I'm used to being able to type without looking at the keyboard but you have to look at the one on the ipad screen since you can't feel it. If I'm going to carry around a small computing device, I'd rather have a netbook. At least those have a built-in keyboard (although they are a bit narrow, but then so is the keyboard on the ipad). At least with most brands of netbooks, you can still use non-apple software on them. Apple software is still too expensive compared to Linux and Windows based software.

vernmation
vernmation

For crying out loud. I made it to the 3rd paragraph when the Flash whining started. Really. I could care less about Flash. It has little to do with getting things done with a computing device.

winddrift03
winddrift03

pass it around??? ohhh lets rename it iContagion......

lpsebay
lpsebay

My God man!!! What a myopic point of view that lacks so much imagination that I am ashamed you can position yourself as some sort of expert! I am glad the aviation industry has set it sights a lot higher than your pitiful prognostications. You should see how the iPad is already being used. No lack of imagination there. I've been involved in the industry since the TRS-80 and I am glad the shakers and movers then didn't have such limited vision as you do.

dkogiopoulos
dkogiopoulos

You forgot to mention the iPads greatest use - a paperweight.

mcpeters
mcpeters

The ONLY advantage to iPad is portability. In every other way, a MacBook or PC Laptop make much more sense.

BBaldwin803
BBaldwin803

It always makes me laugh when I read something like that post. It comes from a self-imposed position of superiority and bashes Apple for making far inferior products, that just happen to be outselling everything else. The iPad hasn't been marketed as a replacement for a laptop (which if I am not mistaken, the Windows tablet attempts to do). It's marketed as an in between device (between a smartphone and a laptop) and in that segment (which it's been pretty much the only device so far) it has been extremely successful. Your comparison of your Windows tablet to the iPad is like comparing a Hummer to a sports car. Yes, they both have sort of the same form factor, and they will both get you from point A to point B, but they are designed to do two completely different jobs (and a comparison of the two is ludicrous). I have used Windows products since 1993 (still do occasionally at work), but personally I made the switch to Mac two years ago, and I can say from personal experience that: 1) The "Apple experience" is MUCH smoother than my experience with MS products. As they say, it really does fit the label of.. "It just works". For example, I have NEVER had to install a printer driver to connect to any printer that I've connected to, and I've connected to dozens since I travel to many locations for work. Just plug in the USB cable and it just knows which printer I've connected to (not once has it not recognized the right make/model of a printer). And to connect to a printer wirelessly over a network is just about as simple. Even on a hugh network all I need is the IP address and viola, same experience. I don't struggle with wireless connections either. That one used to drive me nuts on every PC I've ever owned (since wireless became the norm). 2) Using a Mac isn't NEARLY as limiting as I thought it would be. On the contrary, I actually find it easier to do most tasks and I have more options than I ever did using Windows. I have Windows on Bootcamp on my laptop for those times when I absolutely have to run a Windows application. I installed it when I made the switch out of paranoia that I would be too limited due to Apple's "closed market". Over the past two years I've booted up Windows less and less, to the point that over the past three months the ONLY reason that I use Windows is when I have to run MS Explorer for one single operation that I have to do once a month for work. And in fact, I do that through TermServe so I don't actually boot Windows anymore. All in all, switching to a Mac was the best computing decision I've made to date, and is certainly wasn't what I thought it would be in many aspects. Although I thought I would struggle, it's actually been a walk in the park compared to the my PC experience. As a matter of fact, I carried a PC around at work for almost two years but never used it (it stayed in my car). Instead I chose to use my personal Macbook Pro because I found it much easier and I just didn't have the problems I did with the PC. I finally talked them into providing me with a laptop I could use at work, a new 13" Macbook Pro. Our company is now up to @ 10% Mac (including most of the IT department) and climbing pretty quickly. Yep, Apple is far inferior..!! (Let's see if replies can stick to the subject at hand and avoid the following: I'm a fanboy, I drank the Apple koolaide, I posted a long reply to justify myself or defend my decisions, or any other attack on ME vs the points made.. Oh yeah, and that all of my posts to date have been related to Apple and iPad [which is true since that's what I use and I don't like to see uninformed people make statements that are untrue or misleading])

greggwon
greggwon

What I'd like to know, is where you find 100,000 apps for your tablet PC that you can download and use? The iPad is first, about the size of the screen and the touch interface. Second, it's about the App Store and how that has allowed Vertical Market software development to be effective. In the past, you could not find customers for vertical market software. Now, the customers come to you because there is definitely a place to look. For example, I want to find software for my iPad to do ssh. If I search the App Store for ssh, I find exactly the things that I am looking for. If you search google for ssh, what do you find? The App Store is what defines the platform as a place and a solution. When your Tablet PC has a mechanism like this, to allow me to do more than "surf the web", that's when it will be useful. The, when it actually turns on "instantly" and is useful for 8-10 hours straight, that's when it will be valuable. Ohh, and did I mention $30/month anywhere networking? Show me that contract...

JJFitz
JJFitz

That's why they cost more. Apple's formula seems to be slap a metalic case on it and round the edges, reduce the number of butttons and ports make the single port non-standard, call it magical and revolutionary, make commercials that misrepresent the speed, announce the release date, retract the release date due to "production issues", limit the functionality so you can add it in the next rev. and sell more. The formula works. Consumers seem to like the walled garden.

jdb
jdb

Bill, I think your right. It is overhyped. It is not really new. You still won't get me to go back to a netbook. I like the iPad screen too much. I want (not need) a light device (under 2 pounds) that gives me e-mail, web browsing and remote desktop for everything else. At abotu $700 the iPad and a wireless keyboard slip into my "breif case" (nylon over the sholder bag). When I'm not working, I read books, watch movies and play games on the device when I have the time. It all works to my satisfaction.

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

IMO, Linux is still lacking in application choices but I still recommend it over Windows if someone can find the applications they need. IMO, nobody should be using Windows unless they absolutely have to. There is too much malware for non-technical people to run into. Regarding prices, which applications are more expensive on Mac vs Windows? Please give some examples. For many, a netbook is a better choice. I have yet to see any with 10 hour battery life.

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

The desktop is more powerful, more expandable, etc.

JJFitz
JJFitz

The subject was "The truth about iPad: It's only good for two things" and the question was "What's your opinion of the usefulness of a touch-based tablet? A Macbook is not a touched based tablet. You don't have to convince us that your decision to use one at work was the right decision. It sounds like it was a good decision for you. Good for you. Can we get back to the subject and question? My Fujitsu Lifebook is a dual digitizer pen input and capacitive multi-touch-based Windows 7 Tablet PC. That makes it a legitimate part of this discussion. It meets my needs. It does more of the things I need to do day to day than an iPad can. I can choose to type using a real keyboard, write or draw using a stylus that gives me a more realistic pen experience, write, draw, pinch to zoom in and out using my fingers, or click, drag and drop using the trackpad. I can video conference on it. I can change the battery myself and add a spare battery. I can replace the hard drive myself. I can play a CD or DVD on it. I can secure it with my fingerprint. I can encrypt the hard drive. I can expand the memory myself. I can plug in 3 USB devices, SD Card, firewire, wired ethernet, an external monitor and an AC charger (all at once if I wanted to) That's why I said that the Windows Tablet PC can do a lot more than an iPad can. It's more expensive (about 3X the price) but it does more and more importantly, it meets my needs.

MacNewton
MacNewton

I have used & serviced both Mac & PC -(WinDos) systems for over 20 years. Your statement rings true! If only the WinDos user would take a Mac for a Weekend spin. Then he/She may see the light!

Slayer_
Slayer_

Ignoring the fact that OSX is running on Linux, any modern Nix distro has the package manager and repository. Which unlike the app store from apple, is all free software. Then you can add non free software as well if you want. One click and it installs.

MacNewton
MacNewton

-10-30 oil on your French fries -A T-bone steak to fix a black eye -A 45 round in a shotgun -A dog as a baby-sitter for your 2 year old -A PC laptop in a university dorm room You can do any of the thinks above, but will they work out well.

eyesak
eyesak

I used an iPad for a couple of weeks - loaner from my boss. I enjoyed it. They are not for everyone as netbooks are not - it is easier to carry than a netbook - and looks much better. I believe iPads - and perhaps other pads may not be for everyone - but they are for many, they are revolutionary - and will bring about change - as apps and functionality grow so the user base. I am too cheap to buy an iPad for my current needs as I have a reader. But when prices go down and / or functionality goes up. I may buy one for myself. Interesting article.

dwdino
dwdino

I am currently on the 9th hour using my Dell E6400 on battery. I plugged it in all night and went to a client site and worked all day. I am down to about 45 minutes remaining and will probably recharge it overnight. A full laptop with USB, HDMI, DVD, 15" screen, and all day battery. iPAD, why drop down to that?

jdb
jdb

rsmithJr, On most of your posts on the iPad, I agree with you. I don't here regarding OS choices but most of it is personal preference. I respect your right to an opinion and I like to hear other opinions as maybe I did not consider something important. However, you are wrong about netbooks. There are several netbooks that advertise 10 hour battery life. A client showed me his 10 hour netbook yesterday. He did not like the limitations of the iPad and I did not like the limitations of the netbook. I just like the iPad better. He just likes his Acer better. We were both right (who is to say a personal preference it wrong?).

Slayer_
Slayer_

Maybe not as quickly, but generally speaking a laptop and desktop have the same abilities, or the same potential for the abilities. They also have the same range of equipment pricing schemes. A cheap desktop or a cheap laptop, both won't be able to play a modern game. AN expensive Laptop vs a Cheap Desktop, the laptop will likely come out on top. The same cannot be said for the iPad. As general computing device, its useless. It's basically a web browser. The iPad should never be compared to a laptop or desktop. That's like comparing a SMART car to a garden tractor.

JJFitz
JJFitz

"You are saying that a touch based device has it's uses?" > Absolutely, I use my touch-based device every day. "Again, I think it's amusing that people keep comparing the iPad to full blown computers."> Again, the question was "What's your opinion of the usefulness of a touch-based tablet?" and I gave my opinion of touch-based devices. I think the iPad has its uses in certain circumstances/environments/markets. I also say my touch-based tablet does more and is well worth the additional cost for my needs. I have not passed judgement on other people's decisions. "...The only people who compare the iPad (which has been tremendously successful) to PC tablets (which have not been tremendously successful, i.e. accepted by the masses) are people who do not "get it" that the iPad is (so far) in a totally separate category." > I have to disagree with you here. I "get it" and I would argue that the iPad is a subcategory of touch-based tablets and not a separate category. I base this on functionality, not on form. "If your "3x the price of an iPad" touch and pen and keyboard tablet works for you then great, and that means that for you a touch (and pen and keyboard) based tablet can be useful. If a user finds the iPad (even with it's extreme limitations) can be useful, then good for them too. Both are winners." > I absolutely agree. "I personally think that tablets with the form factor of the iPad will find more and more uses in the marketplace as time goes by. Will it REPLACE laptops, NO.. but they will have their own market segment. Field service mechanics, for example, will find something like the iPad useful for being able to carry an entire library of service manuals in a 1.5 pound device (vs, 30x 10 lb books). And, if a $500 device gets destroyed due to the harsh environment then that is much more acceptable than a $1,000+ laptop. Plus with the simple form factor the touch (only) based device is much less likely to be damaged due to contaminants getting in through all the open areas of a laptop (vents, ports, keyboard, etc), especially if the tablet is incased in a case designed for tough environments." > They already make ruggedized tablets for vertical markets. The problem is, the more harsh the environment, the more rugged the device has to be, the more expensive it becomes. Look at the Panasonic Toughbooks. They work but they are too pricey for most but break 4 (out of the box) iPads in a harsh environment and you could have justified the cost of a fully rugged (touch-based) Toughbook Tablet with its superior functionality. There are Apple fanboys, *nix fanboys, and Windows fanboys but I make my technology decisions based on my user requirements not on fanboy digs at "the opposition", not on slick ads by the manufacturer, and not on mob rule. I am not a fanboy. I won't tell you that product X sucks but I will tell you what has worked for me and why I think it is a better decison for me. You can draw your own conclusions.

BBaldwin803
BBaldwin803

You are saying that a touch based device has it's uses? And you are saying that a device that costs 3 times the price of an iPad does more than an iPad? Sounds fair. Again, I think it's amusing that people keep comparing the iPad to full blown computers. NOBODY (other than folks who want to bash the iPad for what it's not) has claimed that the iPad will do everything that a full computer can. The only people who compare the iPad (which has been tremendously successful) to PC tablets (which have not been tremendously successful, i.e. accepted by the masses) are people who do not "get it" that the iPad is (so far) in a totally separate category. If your "3x the price of an iPad" touch and pen and keyboard tablet works for you then great, and that means that for you a touch (and pen and keyboard) based tablet can be useful. If a user finds the iPad (even with it's extreme limitations) can be useful, then good for them too. Both are winners. I personally think that tablets with the form factor of the iPad will find more and more uses in the marketplace as time goes by. Will it REPLACE laptops, NO.. but they will have their own market segment. Field service mechanics, for example, will find something like the iPad useful for being able to carry an entire library of service manuals in a 1.5 pound device (vs, 30x 10 lb books). And, if a $500 device gets destroyed due to the harsh environment then that is much more acceptable than a $1,000+ laptop. Plus with the simple form factor the touch (only) based device is much less likely to be damaged due to contaminants getting in through all the open areas of a laptop (vents, ports, keyboard, etc), especially if the tablet is incased in a case designed for tough environments. By the way, the Apple vs PC comments I made in the previous post was in response to the previous poster implying that Apple is somehow inferior because they make devices that are simplified. That's all. I have no issue with people who prefer one platform over another, just don't slam the other platforms (for which the slammer often really knows nothing about).

JJFitz
JJFitz

The subject is tablets not Mac's.

JJFitz
JJFitz

You should try one.

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

Yes GPS works without 3G service but you need to have map data on the device. The GPS hardware is only in the 3G version.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Does it actually use GPS satellites?

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

I do not view the iPad as a replacement for a laptop. For me, it compliments my primary computer and actually replaces pen and paper more than it replaces my computer. I think many under estimate the impact that the incredibly small size has on being able to have it available. At work, I take it everywhere I would usually have carried my notebook. I have all of the functionality of the pen and paper plus most of the functions of a computer for accessing information. I have access to my email, all of my data (via DropBox), my calendar, contacts, etc. I take it on trips (even when I have my laptop also) instead of a giant folder of printed material. I also think the iPad replaces a bunch of devices that people would have gladly paid hundreds of dollars each for just a few years ago: 10 inch GPS - $500?? (others still don't exist) Large portable video device - (would have been a portable DVD until the iPad came along - $300 eBook Reader - $200 Multimedia photo viewer - the epson P-7000 is still $700 and it only has a 4 inch low res screen That is $1700 of devices replaced by one and that doesn't even include using the iPad as a part time replacement for a computer. I'm sure I could come up with more examples.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Test how long it runs with endless movies then write yourself a simple script to send key presses into a word processor endlessly. measure the difference, I bet the difference is minimal. (Unless your laptops specs are awful, in which case there will be a big difference) It all depends on your laptop specs. I know my laptop runs at about 1-2% CPU to watch a regular res movie, lots more to run an HD movie (HD Codecs need improving). Word processing requires about 5%.

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

Sorry, but I disagree with your assessment of how much power watching a movie uses as compared to word processing. In either case, Apple's battery life claims (from what I have read) are accurate for the kinds of things that the iPad was intended to do.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Unless you have an integrated video card, then it can chug some extra power. But any video card made since 2002 should support a graphic overlay which basically takes the main CPU out of the equation. It uses very little power to run a video. An intense video game would be a much truer test of battery consumption.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I assume that's on full screen brightness right? Thats the big killer on my laptop, the 17inch screen is power hungry. My laptop is meant for heavy duty work though, to run for days on end at 100% CPU and 100% GPU without running hot.

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

"normal" use (If there is such a thing). Definitely not 10 hours of 100% CPU usage. For example, you would not be able to encode videos for 10 hours on a MacBook Pro.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Basically, can you sit there running all cores at 100% and all video cores at 100% for 10 hours, or can you word process and internet browse for 10 hours?

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

With the battery life claims for the iPad and recent MacBook pro is that the claims are accurate. I can't speak to the claims for other devices.

Slayer_
Slayer_

But of course, my laptop says it can get 3 hours of battery life... sure, with the lid closed and the system idle. I can watch a movie for an hour and a half, but on screen darkest setting, turn the brightness up and you get 45 minutes. Turn the video card power up and you get 30 minutes. Frankly, I just ignore those battery life times.

rsmithJr
rsmithJr

I agree 100% on the personal preference point. I was not aware that any netbooks had gotten that good with respect to battery life. IMO, that is a critical point. I would be interested to know if they are achieving 10 hours in practice. Even 7 or 8 hours would be great. My son takes his MacBook Pro to school every day and never has to worry about taking his power adapter.