Daniel Eran Dilger
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Hands on with Apple’s iPad (with videos and photos)

iPad case

Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

The big question before today’s Apple event was how the company would deliver a tablet-sized product that any significant number of people might want to buy. On stage, Steve Jobs provided a lot of answers, but the most powerful answer required holding the new device in your hands.

Hands on with Apple’s iPad (with videos and photos)

.
Great expectations

Jobs framed the new iPad as being in between its iPhone and MacBook products. But in order to succeed, he pointed out, it would need to do some things better than either. Today’s netbooks don’t do anything better; they’re just cheap and small notebooks, he said.

It was widely expected that Apple would release a 10“ iPod touch, and that’s essentially what the iPad is. However, that’s really only the case in hardware. The iPad’s larger screen, which melds the MacBook’s beautiful IPS LCD display with the iPhone’s multitouch sensitivity, provides so much extra room that it enables iPhone apps to grow up in sophistication from being mostly information browsers to being full blown desktop apps driven primarily by a multitouch interface.

This introductory video shows a 360 degree view of the iPad, along with a look at how it presents home screen apps just like the iPhone. Its actual apps are more like desktop Mac apps however, and in some cases seem even better, particularly the beautiful new multitouch Calendar app.

iPad calendar

iPad initial surprises

In person, the first and biggest surprise of the slim new tablet-sized device is that it works vertically. Most fan art conceptualized the device to be used in landscape mode. While it works in both, most of the time (some apps favor one or the other; Keynote is landscape-only, for example), the vertical orientation is what you use in the dock. It’s also the primary way Apple pictures it on its site, just like the iPhone and iPod touch.

This begins to make sense only when you use it. Suddenly, the preconceived idea of a tablet being a laptop without a keyboard evaporates and you find yourself looking at iPad as if it is a digital pad of paper. We don’t typically use spiral-bound notebooks sideways.

The next surprise is that this isn’t just an iPod touch with a big screen. The apps Apple bundles, as well as some early third party apps that a select few developers produced over the last couple weeks, are all redesigned to take full advantage of the screen in new ways and with increased sophistication and depth; they don’t just spread out to consume more space.

Calendar, Notes, Mail, Photos, and other apps are all enhanced with what feels like an injection of elements of the desktop Mac experience into the familiar iPhone interface (below). Rather than the iPhone’s menu-per-page convention, apps like Settings present multiple tiers of menu levels at once. Mail shows you both your inbox in an iPhone-like view as well as a message preview, all on the same screen.

iPad menu

Things that aren’t practical on the iPhone due to its small size are natural and almost magical on the iPad. The Photos app incorporates elements of iPhoto, adding finger-based navigation through albums, as well as Faces and Places organization. Apple’s iWork suite is now three cheap $10 apps that each provide most — if not all — of the features of their desktop counterparts, but are fully controlled via intuitive multitouch gestures.

Make a mistake and you can use the Undo button. Toolbars and search features are reminiscent of Mac apps, while popup menus look like iPhone screens. If you’re familiar with either, you also know how to work the iPad.

At the same time, the iPad also runs pretty much all of the 140,000 iPhone apps available. It can run them natively at the same size they’d be on the iPhone, or double them to present the same app across most of the screen. Some apps, such as Facebook, look a little pixelated and stretched on the iPad’s big new 1024×768 screen, but existing games looked awesome. In fact, I had to ask several reps if the iPad was doing any re-rendering; even with pixel doubling, iPhone games looked great and played smoothly.

Developers will be able to create customized versions of their existing apps to work with the iPad, and Apple demonstrated what some of these might look like. With more screen real estate, the things developers can do with games and other apps is simply mind blowing.

Missing features

There are a few things some observers expected that didn’t turn up in the final design. The most obvious is a lack of support for any providers other than AT&T in the US or GSM/UMTS providers overseas. There’s no CDMA version for Verizon Wireless, and it doesn’t support T-Mobile’s 3G frequencies (although it apparently could be activated on T-Mobile’s slow GSM network, but that might not be cost effective).

The new machine uses microSIM cards and is only sold completely unlocked, with no contact subsidies and complete home activation. There’s also a WiFi-only version that starts the price at just $499, much less than anyone imagined.

There are no cameras, killing any hopes that it would be used as a video conferencing device. However, most people don’t like to be on camera, which is why we never had a clamoring market for videophones despite having had the technology for decades. And while its very handy to snap pics with your smartphone, it makes less sense to expect to take pictures with a tablet-sized device.

There’s no provision for running multiple third party apps at once, outside of the bundled Apple apps that can work in the background, such as iPod. That, some have speculated, may be a feature of iPhone 4.0 this summer. The iPad was shown running iPhone 3.2 software.

There’s currently no demonstrated way to attach the iPad to a Mac to use it as a multitouch input device, although this may be possible with third party software; if nothing else, developers could use network commands to relay touch gestures to a desktop app.

More hardware surprises

There are two docks designed for the iPad: one is a simple stand to allow recharging while playing videos or touching the screen at a near vertical position for $29, and a second dock option offers an integrated physical keyboard for $69.

iPad

The keys are nearly identical to Apple’s other keyboards, although it adds a home button, a search button, a lock button, and a key to bring up the virtual keyboard on screen so you can type any foreign or special characters (or say, bring up a number pad or the Chinese touch input) without hitting some special chord sequence of keys. It will also be possible to use the iPad with an external Bluetooth keyboard, according to Apple reps in the hands-on area. Hopefully that feature will also make it into the iPhone and iPod touch.

With its HD-resolution display and Keynote, the iPad begs for video output. You can use the existing iPhone video output cables to deliver component or composite video, but you can also now use an iPad-specific cable to attach it to a VGA projector (or other display) at its native 1024×768 resolution. And while your presentation progresses, you can not only control it, but also highlight using a virtual laser pointer you move with your finger. You can also paint on the screen John Madden style to emphasize things as you speak. This will sell iPads to every conference room in America.

In addition to the VGA dongle (sold separately), there’s also a USB and SD card reader adapter package for $29 that makes it easy to upload photos from your digital camera, although there wasn’t any demonstration of the devices in use.

A special neoprene-like case protects the iPad like a standard book cover, but also reverses into a triangle to convert the tablet into either a freestanding TV orientation, or lays down to become a full screen mini-laptop. The case is soft but makes the device seem ruggedized, although you probably still won’t want to drop it.

iPad
iPad case

There’s a mic and a headphone jack (it’s not clear if it also supports mic-integrated headphones), so there’s at least the potential for VoIP applications over WiFi. There wasn’t a bundled version of the Voice Memos app on the prototype models, nor a version of the iPhone’s Voice Command, but there’s no reason either couldn’t be added by Apple by the time it ships.

The iPad is even designed to do something when it’s doing nothing. With the device at its unlock screen, there’s a button to start a slideshow configured to your preferences within Settings (below). This turns the thing into a nice animated slideshow picture frame of your selected photo album as it recharges.

Revolutionary evolution

The iPad seems like a gigantic leap and a small step at once. It isn’t a ballsy leap of faith by Apply by any means; it is an enhancement to its existing blockbuster SDK and App Store, not an entirely new platform like the Newton Message Pad once attempted to be.

It already runs all manner of iPhone apps, while also creating a vacuum that developers will rush to fill with new custom apps. It also syncs with Mac files for iWork, iTunes, and anything in Mail.

It isn’t a single purpose device like the Amazon Kindle or Android Nook; while it serves as a capable e-reader, it is far more functional even at that, supporting embedded color graphics and video within book titles, something e-ink displays simply can’t manage.

Despite that, it still has a tremendous battery life and looks great, leaving users no reason to buy a dedicated e-reader instead. It also offers fast, flicker-free page turning (or animatedly slow, if you like it that way), immediate navigation, and a choice of font styles and sizes.

Unlike stylus-based tablets like Microsoft’s Pocket PC or Tablet PC devices, the iPad is fully hands-on with no pen to lose. There’s no incorporation of handwritten recognition anywhere visible, just a dynamic keyboard that changes to suit the task at hand (something that is particularly prominent in Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet app, where you might bring up a number pad or a full keyboard or some other specialized input system).

It’s also unbelievably fast and smooth, making even the iPhone 3GS look a little slow. I witnessed the iPad cold boot within about fifteen seconds. However, you don’t need to wait for it to boot because it remains on in standby for days (Jobs said a month on a single charge).

Apple has no reason to advertise its internal specs (since it isn’t currently trying to market its processor to other makers), but the fact that the company is building its own custom System on a Chip called the ”A4“ suggests a similar fate for this year’s iPhone and iPod touch (will they use the A2?). Apple’s custom new ARM CPU core and I/O and video chip appears to be extremely fast and highly customized for the needs of the iPad in terms of efficiency.

A tough act to follow

Apple isn’t hiding the fact that there are advantages in developing your own battery technology and processor savvy and touchscreen expertise. The unstated fact is that no other company has the resources to match what Apple created. As Jobs pointed out, his company is now the largest mobile device maker in the world in terms of revenues. But the iPad isn’t just about hardware. Even if somebody duplicated it, they’s still need a software ecosystem.

Apple has not only demonstrated that it can think up and create phenomenal apps of its own, but has also demonstrated impressive stuff from a few iPhone developers who only had a few weeks to whip something up. Once Apple’s army of iPhone developers hit their stride, the array of apps available for the iPhone will look rudimentary in comparison. The iPad truly supports real desktop style apps with even more sophisticated multitouch input that the iPhone.

Even with all their hardware partners, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile haven’t been able to attract the same kind of attention from developers or software buying users. Apple’s new iPad is unique on many levels, and demonstrates a formidable new challenger in a the formerly lackluster tablet computer market. For competitors to match it, they’ll need to catch up not just in hardware but also in media distribution, in developer tools, in customer base, and in raw component technology, and all at a tremendously aggressive price.

It appears iPad launches Apple as far ahead of its peers as the iPhone did at its unveiling. It remains to be seen if the market will respond and buy up this $500 tablet revolution as quickly as it snapped up the similarly priced iPhone and iPod touch.

  • jkundert

    Hey, Daniel, did you see whether the iPad supports alternate keyboards? I use Dvorak, and it would be pretty necessary for me to have that available to me on the iPad keyboard (not a big deal on the phone, since it’s just thumbs anyway)–plus with a software keyboard, I’d have to think it’d be easy to actually show the layout, which would be a bonus!

    Here’s hoping….

    John

  • jen729w

    Um … VGA?! Really?!

    Didn’t that die with the PC?

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    VGA is what most common projectors use. It’s also fine for 1024 x 768.

    You only need DVI or DisplayPort if you’re doing high res. Adding that would just make it more complex and expensive, and more donglely. That’s also why netbooks have VGA.

  • Pingback: iPad? Yeah. OK, probably. Why not? @ The Paepae()

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    And doesn’t the iPhone already do DVORAK? Certainly it could.

    (I know it’s not the other way around !)

  • jkundert

    Hmmm, it might at that. It didn’t with iPhone OS 1.0, and frankly since it’d just be confusing (and no speed benefit) while thumb typing, I’ve never checked on that since….. Just checked again, and while there are about 20 keyboard layouts on the iPhone, no Dvorak (geez!). Here’s hoping they fix this with the iPad, as that would be a real problem–at least for me :)

  • stormj

    Frankly, I was underwhelmed personally. And I think a lot of my “geek” friends were too. But when compared with a netbook or a kindle, this blows them out of the water, and that’s the market they’re after. And personally, I find the 3G model both too pricy and the subscription annoying.

    It’s not revolutionary like the Mac, the iPod, or the iPhone.

    *BUT* I think it does something that the original Mac did: it makes routine computing tasks easy for people without computing skills.

    Also… I think it’s interesting that the apps are $10. I think that’s about what they’d get for Word if everyone who was forced to use it paid for it.

  • lmasanti

    What did surprise me was the lack of a demo of an “enhanced book,” so much touted before today.

    Also, I do neither know if the e-book format allows that kind of enhancements nor if there will be DRM protection on iBook store.
    (I do suppose that LP and Extras formats are supported.)

    And it would have been nice to have a miniDisplayPort direct connection for video output.

  • secondbassman

    Gee, Dan, according to our friend Mr. Thurrott, the iPad is nothing but an iDud. Guess it is going to be a success…

  • http://bkpfd.org qka

    @ lmasanti

    check out zook.com for one outfit producing enhanced books like I think you are thinking of.

    Disclaimer: I have no affiliation, etc. Just came across them yesterday as a link in this blog – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/jumping-the-gun.html

  • lmasanti

    After seeing the full presentation I wonder why there was no mention of MobileMe. I suppose that the only way of syncing iWork documents would be thru the iTunes app.
    Did I miss something?

    @qka
    Thanks, but I was specting Apple to provide some way of doing them, like LPs and Extras.

  • Orenge

    Thanks for the vids!

    One of these, in the stand/case, plus an Apple BT keyboard, would make a pretty neat “netbook.” And most of the time you’d leave the keyboard at home.

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    Thurrott hated it before he even knew what OS it ran. Dan, I would love one of your history lessons on Paul’s legacy of spot-on predictions.

    Please?

    Also, on the topic of the iPad itself:

    1) Can it discover other machines and devices and print via Bonjour??

    2) Is there a Finder? I would love to be able to sync and store files on the iPad without iTunes/over a wireless network (maybe sync with a Time Machine app). Basically I would like to see this machine function as a home computer for my mom. Internet, email, music, videos, pictures. It all seems pretty darn good to me.

    So, about Thurrott…?

  • MarkyMark

    I can’t believe that Apple has finally FINALLY given in and added the Bluetooth Profile for keyboard support! Jeez I thought it would never happen. Means that people who type for a living can actually consider this thing as a remote possibility for a mobile productivity device.

    Judging from today’s punditry, this is going to separate the “old dudes” (*cough* affluent curmudgeons *cough*) from The Kidz with an even greater chasm than usual. Also the “haves” (tech geeks with the latest smartphone and laptop) from the have-nots. Its amusing to read all the grumbling about what its not, while they studiously avoid dealing with what it is. And I’m chuckling that virtually everyone is constantly referring to it as a “big iPhone” when its no such thing, its a “big iPod touch”; I mean how hard is it to get something that basically obvious right?

    You’re a kid with limited resources; you have a basic cell-phone and a desktop computer, and you’re always carrying your backpack. You’re desperate for a smartphone and a laptop; possibly you’ve somehow figured out to avoid shoddy netbook PCs. With this thing, you can keep your basic cell-phone and desktop computer, apply the extra $30/month for smartphone 3G data here instead, and avoid a cheap netbook. And play games. And be kewl!

    And in just a few years, v. 3.0 will be out with 4G and 1080p OLED :)

  • FreeRange

    If you have an iPhone, you won’t need the 3G capable model as you can just tether your iPad to your iPhone via Bluetooth. How cool is that! Just saved $130 and an additional monthly fee!

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Hmmm. I spent most of the morning (being in Australia) sitting with the iPad launch.

    On the surface I felt urrr, this isn’t much of a development, urrr what’s with the name, urrr could they have made the bezel any bigger, urrr what’s with the aspect ratio of the thing. The aspect ratio and the name still don’t sit. The bezel makes unfortunate design sense and it’s actual a huge development.

    Then I saw a video of the interface on engadget and my eyes bugged, the speed was incredible.

    Anyway I sat with it…

    Showing iWork not iLife was so strategic, it’s obvious iLife is round the corner and maybe it’s ready but by showing iWork Jobs said something. This is not a media pad. MS can make Office, Adobe can make PS.

    It might take a year for the serious Apps to arrive but they will. This is a desktop, a notebook, a tablet, a media unit. You can almost see the school/lab/office desktops with rows of iPads with keyboard docks.

    Easy to administer, easy to lock down, easy to custom app, easy to SOE, easy to wipe, hard to infect, exchange enabled etc etc. and it’s CHEAP.

    It’s an amazing corporate workstation, then it undocks for the client presentation, showing an idea, travelling, data collection, sales reps. It returns plugging into any corporate dock and bam, you are at your desk. Repeat for the student etc…

    Oh it’s also a fully media dense operate anywhere (3g) thin client via any number of VNC type clients, Windows anyone, it’s tooo easy, pop up virtual keyboard, touch screen Windows btw. Or OSX, Linux, DOS, Shell whatever.

    Systems admin? No probs, connect to anywhere, log in to the admin interface right there. Thing is all these apps already exist in the Appstore, how hard is it going to be for all the remote desktop type app devs to flick the UI switch for full screen. They probably have, already, today with the SDK and their minds are blowing out.

    It is already a multiouch interface for any mac osx box you own, seen the mouse apps etc on the iPhone, they already work on the iPad. Get it?

    It is perfect for the parent buys for kid market, they think a full MacBook is too expensive and the iPod a toy, iWork though… Yup makes sense, kid doesn’t need a TV either and it’s parental controls are built in, if you set them before handing it to the kid they aren’t going to get far. Unlock games on the weekend.

    Media pro tools? you can already buy serious apps that drive all the faders in protools, or logic, or lighting rigs all remotely. Now they can scale up with barely any effort to have 48 faders all visible operatable like a $100k plus lighting/sound desk. Work in theatre, this is gold, in audio studios etc perfect.

    The letdown today wasn’t the iPad, it was it’s presentation, the RDF was weak, Jobs left this big vacuum of unanswered questions, questions already answered but not made obvious.

    The naysayers are going to choke when they actually figure out what was being shown.

    It is better than an iPod Touch or a Macbook, it’s not a netbook, it is a new class of computer. It has changed the game and no one can even see it because it wasn’t spooned out…

  • counterproductive

    @imasanti: “After seeing the full presentation I wonder why there was no mention of MobileMe. I suppose that the only way of syncing iWork documents would be thru the iTunes app.
    Did I miss something?”

    I can’t remember where I read it — been reading tons of articles in the last 12 hours, plus all the specs on the Apple site itself — but, yeah, you might have missed something: I though I read about an automatic fileshare menu/menu item that pops up. So, that would put it a step above iPhone syncing — it would appear as a shared device. Thus no iTunes necessary, and no need to launch an app like AirShare and put the screen code in. Then there is a iWork.com for when you don’t have direct connection to your network.

  • frankeee

    Hi Daniel,

    I am not sure if this was mentioned before but here is 2 extremely exciting aspects to the iPad that provide me with great joy – provided it takes off, but I have no doubt about it:

    1) Let’s kill Flash
    Flash is (to me) like the absolute bottleneck to anything I do on my day-2-day macbook. Although it’s supposed to not bring down Safari (due to the new plugin architecture) it crashed my browser triple time today … and I really came to hate it.
    Given that HTML5 is an absolute beauty AND given that neither iPhone nor iPod nor iPad support it, well “Dear Flash – they days are numbered – 60/90 in fact) —- whoowhoo!

    2) Let’s kill M$ Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Entourage
    I won’t comment any further on this one since it is a no-brainer to me.

    Additionally here is a few personal opinions:
    NO CAMERA?! Well, some might say it’s an aweful decision to leave it out (I mean the front facing one – back wouldn’t make no sense anyway), I have no objection. Although my MacBook comes with a camera PLUS half my family lives on the other side of the planet, I hardly do any video chats at all (equally rarely voice chats neither).

    Anything else that is apparently missing – well, I don’t miss it.

    The iPad is not only an absolute beauty – but the entire pad was developed with the majority of “none geeks” anywhere.

    This is how a personal computer should have worked from day 1.

    Franky
    PS: I have about 30 friends who I can see buying it, since they all have Windows desktops or laptops and ALL of them hate their computing experience. Did I say ALL of them?

  • ChuckO

    It was one of Apple’s worst launches for me. The whole “magical and revolutionary” thing I ain’t feeling seems more evolutionary and powerful to me (especially how they cram so much in a half inch thick device). But that’s what it should be anyway.

    It looks like a winner to me though. The pricing was right. It looks like a great device for someone who was going to buy a netbook and it’ll be cool to see where this goes as the hardware becomes more powerful over time.

  • kisap

    I have read tons of iPad articles today and this was the first useful one concentrating on the product’s features, not the writer’s opinions about the product. Thanks, Daniel.

    It is obvious that this was the very first release and that iPad is more like platform than a product. I predict that it will follow the iPod pattern: first the commercial success is modest (iPod sold 0,4 milj. pcs the first year, 0,9 milj. the next) and then it explodes.

    Cool device, endless possibilities.

  • pandutzu22

    until I get my hands on one of these to try it out, I see 2 things that will keep me from getting one:
    1.webcam and 2. HD space
    Adrian

  • lmasanti

    As a whole, I feel that Apple had a rush time with all the content providers. The presentation just showed the “potential.”

    As for the camera (that do not bother me the lack of), I see this more as “consume media” not a “produce media” device.

  • dallasmay

    I know that most of you guys are going to be thrilled with anything Apple sells regardless of how much sense it makes, but really, what can this thing do that a netbook for $100 less can’t do? And even still, a net book has a front facing camera and can multitask. Why can’t the iPad multitask? That’s the biggest deal breaker to me. There is simply no excuse for this. Android and Palm both have excellent multitasking features. Like I said, there is simply no excuse why I can’t talk on Skype and work on a iWork document at the same time with this. Sure, it runs “almost all” of the 140,000 iPhone Apps, but it can only run them ONE AT A TIME.

    The sad thing is, Apple really opened themselves up here. Dell could slap Android 2.1 on a tablet and match and raise Apple’s iPda with in a few weeks. There is nothing special about what Apple did here. The iPad is not years ahead of the competition like the iPhone was. Apple really dropped the ball on this one.

  • ChuckO

    Hey, what’s going on with the maps app? Is that still Google?

  • jkundert

    @dallasmay, while I agree with you on the multitasking point (in spades), I suggest we await the release of iPhone OS 4 before completely condemning the iPad. I have a feeling that that software (along with a new, Apple-silicon-powered chip on a new iPhone) will usher in at least some level of multitasking for 3rd party apps. If not, then we can berate them together!

  • ChuckO

    Dallasmay, I think you could (and probably have) made the same assertions about any of Apple’s products versus the competition. You either dig the attention paid to detail or you don’t and you get your plastic netbook.

  • ChuckO

    Dallasmay, I think one of the big things here is this is a new category of device. It’s a multifunctional APPLIANCE and it’s NOT a PC. Apple isn’t interested in giving you a cheaper way to replace your laptop. If you need to multitask like your describing use your MacBook or laptop. If you want something at this price point that does a lot (book reader, app runner, media device, whatever else the app store figures out) buy the iPad.

    But you have to repeat to yourself (as does most of the geek press). THIS IS NOT A PC. THIS IS NOT A PC, THIS IS NOT A PC.

  • dallasmay

    A few years ago, I was as big of an Apple fanboy as any one, because Apple was the only one really innovating. Those days are over. You guys need to stop apologizing for Apple. Stop making excuses for them. Just because “THIS IS NOT A PC” does not mean it has to be artificially limited. That’s exactly what Apple has done here. They have artificially limited this device to make sure it doesn’t eat into their MacBook sales. The thing is, Apple didn’t even have to limit it. When did Apple ever feel the need to sell cheep stuff anyway? People would purchase a fully functional, multitouch, bluetooth enabled tablet.

    Face it guys. This is another iDud.
    iPad=AppleTV=iPod HiFi.

    I would never suggest this product to a friend. I would tell them to save the extra $100 and buy a netbook, or spend the extra $400 and get a real tablet.

  • ChuckO

    I’m not making excuses. I’m just describing reality. It’s a 1.0 device that does a lot for $500. I’m not buying one unless my wife wants to replace her laptop with it. Apple’s doing what Apple does they are plugging a hole in their product lineup (price wise) with great value for the money. If you don’t like it you do what your doing and vote with your feet. This isn’t what your looking for and that’s fine but why get pissed because Apple isn’t designing devices for you?

  • ChuckO

    Am I crazy or was there a total lack of magazines yesterday? Was the publishing end of things underwhelming because they didn’t have time to line enough deals up?

  • dallasmay

    For the first time ever I actually agree more with *freaking* Paul Thorrott. From his weblog:

    “But the price, Steve. What is the price??
    He’s building up to it by listing out what it can do…
    iPad pricing starts at $499.
    That’s actually quite aggressive for Apple. In fact, that’s pretty amazing. So good for them.
    Of course, that’s for a paltry 16 GB of storage. The 64 GB version is $699.
    The one you want–with a 3G connection and 64 GB–is a more Apple-esque $829.

    They’re talking accessories now. I think the real cost of one of these things will indeed be $999 when you think about it.
    Dock. Keyboard dock. (Nice!) A case. Oh yeah, this is a $999 device alright.

    This is a $999 device that can’t do half of what Apple’s other $999 device can do. Scratch that. It can’t do a 100th. I can’t imagine why anyone would every buy this thing.

    And yes, ChuckO, you are making excuses. You are not describing reality, you are describing a reality that you are wishing for. Here, read the tech specs for this : http://bit.ly/9u9hlS For more than a $100 premium, can you point out one single thing that the iPad can do that this netbook can’t?

  • Shunnabunich

    I’d say that I think Apple’s biggest mistake in this launch was to do it before iPhone OS 4.0 was ready, but that relies on the assumption that 4.0 will allow third-party app multitasking (or, in other words, just plain not suck as hard as 3.x). The iPad offers not one thing that the iPod touch or iPhone doesn’t besides more screen space (and a comparatively low-res screen at that!), and that’s not a good foot to start off on.

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    Dallasmay, I just need to comment on what y0u’ve written, because it seems to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of what this device is and the niche it is suppose to fill.

    “I know that most of you guys are going to be thrilled with anything Apple sells regardless of how much sense it makes, but really, what can this thing do that a netbook for $100 less can’t do?”

    First of all netbooks are bottom-of-the-barrel commodity PCs. Cheap parts, made quickly and sold at a bargan-basement price. It’s a desperate race to the bottom in an unsustainable effort to keep cash coming in during the economic recovery. Besides, nothing in the price range your suggesting comes in Duo-Core. Usually just running a single core – at about 1.0-1.5GHz, and take a chunk of that out for Anti-Virus, now you’ve got a machine with similar specs to the Apple tablet, but larger, and uglier, with an absolutely horrid keyboard multi-tasking its self into the ground. I have never owned a netbook, but several were purchased for my work – so I bought a MacBook Pro for myself that I now use for work. Netbooks are the blurst. What’s with those trackpads??? Awful, just awful.

    “And even still, a net book has a front facing camera and can multitask. Why can’t the iPad multitask? That’s the biggest deal breaker to me. There is simply no excuse for this. Android and Palm both have excellent multitasking features. Like I said, there is simply no excuse why I can’t talk on Skype and work on a iWork document at the same time with this. Sure, it runs “almost all” of the 140,000 iPhone Apps, but it can only run them ONE AT A TIME.”

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say multi-tasking will be introduced at WWDC this summer when iPhone OS 4.0 is released. It won’t be unrestricted access, Android/WiMo background processes, but selective background processes chosen by the user one at a time.

    But other than listening to some tunes while I hack away at something I’m doing in the foreground, I don’t see much need for multi-tasking on a device like this. I rely on background processes mostly to render video in the BG while I surf the web, but I really don’t see video editing happening on this machine – nor should it be happening on a netbook.

    “The sad thing is, Apple really opened themselves up here. Dell could slap Android 2.1 on a tablet and match and raise Apple’s iPda with in a few weeks. There is nothing special about what Apple did here. The iPad is not years ahead of the competition like the iPhone was. Apple really dropped the ball on this one.”

    I hope Dell does that. I would be – to say the least – VERY interested in what the competition does now. It’s not like commodity PC makers have been churning out tablet after tablet for years with no success at all…. no wait, they have. I didn’t see hype for months (read: years) around the tablets that were released at CES.

    Anyway, the short of the long is that Jobs said he DID NOT think Netbooks were the answer, he thought iPad was the answer. And time will tell, time will tell.

  • ChuckO

    Dallasmay, How about the kindle? That’s $100 less than your netbook and does way less. Does that also fill you with spit-flecked fury?

    I would just say at least wait until you can try one in person. The level of insult you seem to be feeling from the release of the iPad seems a little irrational especially when you haven’t gotten a chance to try it.

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    @ Shunnabunich:

    What? 3.x sucks? What? iPhone changed phones forever. And that was running 1.0. All the new features added to 3.0 and you claim it sucked? iPod Touch is selling like hotcakes, running 3.0.

    This is my first product launch since joining the Apple family, and I must say, people do come out in droves to talk about how everything they do sucks. I thought the Apple people were bad for give Microsoft a hard time, but this is crazy.

  • dallasmay

    @ Conrad
    I think your “wait for iPhone 4.0” is misplaced. Apple has been very clear and intentional on what their ‘multitasking’ plans are for these devices. I don’t think they have any plans at all for it. They have spent a lot of time and investment on their push notification systems. And while it is cool to have the little pop up blurbs about how the Mav’s game turned out, that’s not real multitasking. What cements my belief that they have no plans for multitasking is that they announced their push update plans for iphone 2, and then released it for iPhone 3. They are not going to just drop that now. This push update is here to stay. No, you can’t listen to pandora and surf the net at the same time. No, you can’t work on a Pages document talk on Skype at the same time. You have to completely close one, and completely open the other. These simple multitasking feature can be found on the cheapest of netbooks. That is simply unacceptable and you are making up excuses for it.

    @ChuckO
    “How about the kindle? That’s $100 less than your netbook and does way less. Does that also fill you with spit-flecked fury?”
    Yes, it does. The Kindle does less, and cost less. How does that not make sense to you. The top of the line iPad, on the other hand, cost more than $600 more, and does less. Actually it does less in absolutely ever single category. And it still cost 3x as much. Why would anyone in their right mind spend $1000 for one of these?

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    Dallasmay, I am *not* making excuses. Apple does not need to be excused for their choices. And I think that Push Notification and Selective Multitasking can live harmoniously together.

    I could very easily see Apple allowing any ONE task to run in the background with a simple software update (when they have figured out a way to do it without sacrificing battery life/memory/whatever.

    While the task is running simply press and hold the Home button until the app disappears into the background. Now you are listening to Pandora while working on a Keynote presentation, and then you get a pop-up – oh, a Skype call from a friend. You’ll want to get that.

    But now you’ve got radio playing while your friend is on the phone. simply press and hold the Home button again and you get the option to cancel your BG process. Like Activity Monitor to quickly access and manage your one background task.

    Seems great to me. Or are you just an Acer employee with an axe to grind?

  • Extensor

    The iPad is the stepping stone for full blown touch computing. The low cost will get people acclimated to using touch applications but not turn them off with an OS learning curve. Meanwhile Apple will develop the A10 chip to run Touch OS X on a dockable tablet. The future is almost here!

  • batfart

    @dallasmay

    A netbook can’t be 1.5lbs and it can’t be multitouch in any reasonable way.

  • ChuckO

    Dallasmay, I’m assuming you really meant “no, it doesn’t”. My point was why buy a kindle when for just $100 you could get a netbook that does so much more?

    Conrad pretty much made the argument for this device instead of a netbook for me. Again, I think your missing a lot of the value proposition for buying an Apple product over something like a netbook.

  • stefn

    @frankeee
    Good list. Here’s a couple more things SJ wanted to get rid of: the mouse and the keyboard. Clearly he expects folks to type on screen.

    The keyboard dock is obviously an afterthought: The board of directors talked Steve into it. The tipoff: Doesn’t a docked iPad require a mouse?

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    @stefn

    I disagree. The tactile feedback of a keyboard is, IMHO, irreplaceable. Software keyboards are great for short bursts of typing, or on-the-go. But for extended periods of typing a hard keyboard is the answer. I think a keyboard dock is the perfect solution. You could have one at work and a separate one at home to dock on and type away, but if you need to make some minor adjustments on the road the soft keyboard can do it on-the-fly.

    The more I defend this machine the more I want one… seriously. And I haven’t even gotten to hold it yet. I can’t wait for these things to ship… to Canada.

    And I don’t seem to remember anyone saying that once this machine is docked the multi-touch kicks off… why would you need a mouse?

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    My question… could this keyboard dock work for iPhone!? Now I want 3.2 for iPhone/iPod Touch!

  • stefn

    @ Conrad
    Not sure what you are disagreeing with. I’m saying Steve J. wants to get rid of mouse and keyboard. That he couldn’t is, likely, for just the reason you mention: Apple couldn’t figure out how to get some sort of feedback built into the virtual keyboard. It’s the Jobsian way. Absolute simplicity.

    I do think a mouse or trackpad is required with the dock.

    With you, I do want a dock for my Touch.

    And a camera. Just saying.

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    @stefn
    I must have misunderstood what you said… danged intertubes. I still don’t know that a mouse would be necessary (or possible – do they even have mouse graphics in the OS? I doubt it) but I guess that depends on how sturdy the dock is, and what angle it holds the thing at.

    Honestly, I don’t care about the camera. I can see it’s usefulness, but I’ve only used the camera on my MBP like five times since I bought it. I still think it’s on the way, though. Like a camera in the iPod Touch.

  • donarb

    To all those who want to multitask on their device, answer this. What is the user interface option that shuts down an application that is running in the background? For the Android and Palm, there is none. You have to run a third party app to do that for you (or reboot your device). Isn’t that elegant, starting up an app to shut down another (and how do you kill the process killer)? Of course, Windows users are used to have to bring up the Task Manager to shutdown a rogue process.

    So when Grandma downloads an app that turns out to be a spambot that’s sucking up her bandwidth and battery what do you do?

  • donarb

    For those who “don’t get it”, my advice is: don’t get it.

  • Maniac

    Great writing as always Daniel. And if those are your hands in the pix and videos, it looks like you’re all healed up from your last accident. Glad to see that too.

    As for the keyboard dock: I figured that there would have to be some kind of physical keyboard dock for any Apple tablet device. Just as an interim step (like training wheels) as the world transitions to virtual keyboards. There will always be a market for add-on physical keyboards for touch-typers. But really, iPad is aimed at the average consumer, and how many average consumers are touch-typers?

    Also, there is a cost saving in eliminating the keyboard since mechanical keyboards probably have quite a few assembly steps. Not to mention shipping, packaging, and industrial design costs.

    And touch screens effectively obsolete the mouse, at least for small-to-medium sized screens. Good riddance I say! The Magic Mouse, I think, is also an interim step. I’d expect future Macs to have a large wireless touchpad on the desktop instead of a keyboard and mouse.

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    ” I’d expect future Macs to have a large wireless touchpad on the desktop instead of a keyboard and mouse.”

    Isn’t there an app for that?

  • http://myblog.rsynnott.com rsynnott

    No, no, no. If the iPad uses an A4, then clearly the iPhone will use an A6. Think paper sizes. :)