Practically before Steve Jobs finished talking at the Apple Event in San Francisco today, already people were taking sides about whether it lives up to all the hype. While the iPad will probably sell simply due to the following it has received with all of this buildup, the prices and a lack of some key features have left some people unimpressed.
A Kindle Killer
One thing that could be bad news for Amazon is that Apple announced the iBook store along with the iPad, meaning that it essentially becomes a e-reader on top of its other capabilities. Users who already have an iTunes accounts are much more likely to go with the iPad than a Kindle device that doesn’t support ePub format. Not to mention the fact that the iPad is much nicer looking.
Perhaps most impressive is that the folks at Apple were able to stretch the battery life of the iPad to 10 hours, by using a flash SSD hard drive and an Apple A4 processor, which means that you will be able to watch multiple movies or read a book on a cross-Pacific flight without having to plug it in. There was also mention of a month-long standby time, which seems almost too good to be true.
It’s hard to gauge a digital keyboard without really using it, but if the one on the iPad is anything like the iPhone keypad, it’s probably pretty good, especially considering that it is almost 3 times the size. But, for those of you who are all thumbs when it comes to digital keyboards, Apple has already announced an attachable keyboard with a dock that basically turns the iPad into a notebook, a surprising move considering they are so adamant that the iPad is not just a flashy netbook.
One potentially embarrassing moment in the iPad presentation came when showing how well the device navigated websites, a huge blank space showed up on the screen where a Flash animation was implanted. This brought gasps from bloggers, who started wondering whether this was just a fluke, or if the iPad would really have the same incompatibility issues with Flash as the iPhone does.
Apple obviously turned a deaf ear to iPhone users complaints about the AT&T network, as the iPad is offered with 3G, but only on the same old AT&T network. They do offer a WiFi only version, and a data package that is half the price of the iPhone package for 250MB a month, but honestly, who will use that little data on an iPad? The one reason this might work is for people who use it while traveling, and make use of the 3G only to supplement their WiFi usage.
Perhaps one of the most questionable choices made by Apple is to not put any sort of camera on the iPad, which means that there is not going to be any video iChat capabilities. Many people were hoping for this device to bridge the gap between Macbooks and the iPhone, and one of the biggest capabilities that is lacking in the iPhone is face-to-face communication.
Also, this puts a stop to the progress of Augmented Reality applications, which have shown some great promise in the iPhone and could greatly benefit from a larger screen and faster CPU. While these will undoubtedly still be developed for the iPhone, as the mobility of the device makes it perfect AR app features like Yelps Monocle, the inability of these to spread and find new uses in the iPad must get developers goat.