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+20 year Apple user: "What the iPad is; should you buy?"

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
This is my own personal evaluation. I'm a Apple user from day one so I can shed some light on what this device is and it's purpose.


I wrote this so people understand what the iPad is so they understand if it fits into their digital lives.


First off the iPad is a computer extension device, much like a iPod is a extension device designed to take your music with you or a USB key is extension device designed to take your files with you. The iPad is designed to take some of the many features of a computer with you.

You will need to update the iPad via a computer regularly to manage content or update the software on it much like a iPod, it will not update itself. This is why it's a "device" rather than a standalone computer. In fact when first operated the iPad will ask to be hooked up to a computer running iTunes, the software that manages content in OS X or Windows and on Apple devices like iPods, iPhones and iPads.

The iPad can do a lot of things a computer can do depending upon software availability, just not do them as well because the processor in it is only 1Ghz therefore it limits the capabilities of software. (more powerful software needs more powerful processors).

Don't be mislead by "250,000 apps" or other marketing tricks, those "250,000 apps" are mostly of low capability compared to computer level versions, that's why they are for the most part inexpensive. The reason for this is because again the iPad has a low performance processor. It does this so heat can be managed and no need for elaborate cooling and a large battery. Also a lot of the App Store "apps" that provide information already exist on line as web browsers and plug-ins have the performance capability of the iPad. In fact a lot of "apps" pull their info from web based sources! If you like a feature of a app, likely one can visit the apps web page and find the same function, without downloading the app and wasting space on the iPad. A web browser bookmark takes a heck of a lot less space!

The iPad has very limited storage capability, the max being 64GB. The reason for this is because the iPad is a portable device used for games and subject to movement. So it has the more expensive shock resistant flash RAM; instead of the cheaper, higher capacity, mechanical and thus vulnerable hard drives found in devices like portable hard drives and iPod Classics. (still sold by Apple by the way)

So once one starts filling their iPad up with content, it's going to reach that 64GB limit eventually and thus the computer will be needed to offload or manage content on the device. For comparison, it's not unusual for computer owners to have HUNDREDS or even THOUSANDS of Gigabytes of data on their machines. Flash RAM has not substantially come down in price to make it useful for large storage purposes, thus it's limited adoption.

Software and files tend to grow rather quickly, in fact I've replaced my MacBook Pro's hard drive for larger sizes twice already over the course of three years. Once 100 GB seemed like it would be plenty, a couple of years ago 300GB was enough, now it's 500GB minimum and soon will 2000GB (2TB) will be the ideal storage size. 64GB will seem like a joke in just a year, 16 or 32 GB in even less time. With low storage, it limits what the device can do and with a iPad one can't upgrade it neither like they can do with a laptop. Something to think about.

The popular web browser plug-in FLASH from Adobe which a lot of sites and games are based is NOT enabled on the iPad by Apple. The reasons for this is based upon a lot of the things I've mentioned above, heat, low processor capability, etc. Flash is processor intensive, although a Flash Lite version for smart phones and other 1Ghz devices is supposedly coming or being used. Apple probably won't allow even that version if it comes anyway as it's pushing for HTML5 use instead. If you need to access a Flash based site, your out of luck with the iPad until site owners begin to see more iPad traffic and change their web sites to accommodate with HTML5 versions. Some site owners are rebelling, it's going to cost them too much to support the iPad to change their content for a device with only a few million sales, compared to billions of computers with Flash capability out on the web. So it will take time, and in the meanwhile iPad users are limited in the sites and content available on line.

The iPad can run some low performance programs like word processing, email, web, spreadsheets, painting, games and the like, but once you need a more powerful programs, your going to need a more powerful computer. So one has to carefully consider if they will ever need the full strength of a computer one day before they consider buying a iPad over a laptop or computer. It would be wise to check first if the program you need runs on the iPad, most won't as they are written for the more popular OS X and Windows operating systems. Eventually this could change of course if the program can be scaled down for the iPad's processor. Searching the App Store would be the way to find out or inquiring with the program developer what their plans are. It might take some time before the more popular programs become available on the device.

The input to the iPad is your big fat finger, instead of the pixel pointer cursor control on computers, you won't have the fine control over aspects of the screen elements. Even have difficulty hitting links or control elements on web pages which are not designed for touch screen devices.

I should mention the iPad has a touch based interface, so it will require undergoing a learning curve. A lot of the features are hidden and not plainly in view like a menu based interface is. A lot of trial and error touching, having to hit the "home" button and mistakes will occur. Likely the same interface will not be used on other touch based devices from other makers. Learning on a iPad can inhibit the ability of difficult learners from using a full fledged computer, as computers use a different interface of windows and menus. If it takes you a lot of time to learn something new, stick to what is going to make you money first, computers with Windows or OS X, then experiment learning on other devices later. Being versatile is a good thing though, take your time but don't neglect cross-training yourself.

The iPad has a on screen touch keyboard that doesn't give a tactile response, with less characters than a typical keyboard because of the small screen real estate. Doesn't mean all the characters aren't available, just require more steps to get to use them. However a optional touch responsive keyboard/stand or the Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboard can be used. If your trying to become a touch typist (really beats the two finger hunt and peck method) or just trying to reinforce good typing behavior, your going to need a real keyboard and the tactile response it gives, avoid using the iPad touchscreen keyboard. You can rest your fingers on a real keyboard, doing so on a iPad touchscreen causes erroneous inputs. This of course raises the problem of carrying the iPad AND the real keyboard in portable situations. I should mention the longer one uses the two finger hunt and peck typing method, the harder it is to learn the faster touch typing. So really it's best to begin touch typing with a real keyboard and stick with it as speed comes with time and more usage.

The iPad must be held in a viewing angle relative to one's face, needing to be propped up or held in position. It's a tablet, not a laptop with a built in monitor stand. Also the on screen keyboard requires one to hunch over the device to match the viewing angle with the typing angle. It's possible one's wrists could be sore after prolonged use in this manner. So a heavy typer again might want to consider the optional keyboard/stand.

The iPad has programs and apps, but tightly controlled by Apple through the App Store, no outside sources available unless you "jailbreak" the device outside of Apple's control. This is outside of normal typical general user behavior and likely devices won't be covered by Apple if they are. I feel Apple is exerting this control to make sure apps and programs don't overwhelm and overheat the device, also security concerns from AT&T which any new apps stay within network control. AT&T cell networks are overloaded enough as it is.

The iPad would be likely a typical choice for someone who already has a desktop machine and is looking for a light portable device for limited use but don't want a full blown laptop. It's Apple's version of the "netbook", except it's a less powerful computer minus the keyboard, monitor stand and other features a netbook provides.

One of the greatest advantages of the iPad 3G is the ability to turn on 3G web access through AT&T from the device itself on a per monthly basis. The "unlimited plan" was recently eliminated by AT&T, so one will have to endure the lack of regular video or other high bandwidth uses over 3G networks. But it sure comes in handy to have Internet access nearly anywhere AT&T has cell network coverage. Certainly a lot less than a laptop with a expensive contract based Laptop Connect Card from AT&T. However one should be warned that AT&T networks are overloaded, so don't be surprised if web performance gets slower and slower (and more expensive) as more iPads and other devices are introduced on their networks. Also there won't be any tethering ability, so using your laptop on the iPad 3G's cell network won't work (unless you illegally jailbreak the device), so that leaves the software options on the road limited to what the iPad will run from the App Store.

The iPad is a unusual device, it's the first tablet of it's kind to be massed produced, it's a new field and currently a popular fad device. As a MacBook Pro owner, I see absolutely no use for this device (outside of the ala carte monthly 3G access) that my ergonomically friendly laptop with built in monitor stand can do better, faster, with more storage and with a lot more user level control. (non-glossy screen option as well)

However I wouldn't suggest anyone from not purchasing a iPad, just be aware that once the fad wears off, practically, ergonomics, performance, storage and other factors like needed software begin to come into play as whether or not the iPad is going to remain a useful tool for the long haul.

You might find yourself back in the Apple Store a year later buying a full computer for a few hundred more than what you paid for the iPad. Or you might find the iPad does what you need well enough and no need for a regular computer.


Either case, thank you for reading, hope this has helped you in your decision making process.
post #2 of 16
Joshua Topolsky from Engadget(dot)com sums if it the best I've heard from anyone.

Quote:
So the verdict? The buyer of an iPad is one of two people, the first is someone who sees not just the present, but the potential of a product like the iPad… and believes in and is excited about that potential. This is also a person who can afford what amounts to a luxury item. The second is an individual who simply doesn’t need to get that much work done, and would prefer their computing experience to be easier, faster, and simpler. Does that sound like anyone you know?

This is what the iPad is for most people. For geeks, rich people and early adopters it's a luxury item. But for the millions of people out there who don't need to do much work on their computer, "it's an easier, faster, and simpler" computer. Albeit one that current lacks the ability to Print. Which is coming. Oh, and the ability to set it up without plugging in into a Mac or P.C. That's coming too.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #3 of 16
Hey Spot, ever considered writing children's books?
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

But for the millions of people out there who don't need to do much work on their computer, "it's an easier, faster, and simpler" computer. Albeit one that current lacks the ability to Print. Which is coming. Oh, and the ability to set it up without plugging in into a Mac or P.C. That's coming too.

I do think Steve will have to relent about the lack of direct printing issue with iPads, there might be insignificant storage on the iPad to carry all the drivers for all printers, some printers require software to be installed.

I'm sure he's not going to make the iPad a standalone device though. I don't think there is significant storage on the iPad to allow self updating of the iOS and/or firmware needed neither.

The iPad, like the iPod, iPhone, iTouch etc., are satellite devices off the mother device, the personal computer.

One has to remember that Apple is playing the "halo effect" game, all their iDevices are designed to sell profitable Mac's. Can't expect Apple to let the general computing public to trade down from $1000, $2000 and $3000+ Mac's to $500-$830 iPads, it's business suicide.

The iPad is limited in the sense as to discourage regular computer users from adopting the device as their mainstream machine. The lack of printing from the device and self updating is just examples.

The iPad is finding it's place among seasoned computer users who have someone (or even themselves) in their lives that can benefit from the simpler computing the iPad provides.

Of course the downside is if the person using the iPad needs to know how mainstream operating systems like Windows and OS X works, to learn touch typing, and to learn mainstream software packages for employment, school, etc., the iPad can be a hindrance to that education. A lot of the "pro" software packages run on Windows and/or OS X and require years of use to master.

A child coming to school already knowing how OS X and/or Windows works has a significant advantage over those who don't or those who only know the iPad.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by piot View Post

Hey Spot, ever considered writing children's books?

See Spot Write.
See Spot Rant.
See Spot Wrong.

There are many things I agree with in this essay, and there are many things that are factually incorrect. One thing blatantly omitted is that there are many things the iPad does better than a laptop, or desktop, and even more that it can do better than a netbook. Like I asked many times, have you ever browsed the internet on an Atom powered netbook? There's no way it comes even close to the user experience of the iPad. And since 95% of what people use netbooks for is the internet, I would consider that a very important fact.

Oh... and "insignificant" does not mean the same thing as "insufficient". Likewise "significant" does not mean the same as "sufficient".

Quote:
I do think Steve will have to relent about the lack of direct printing issue with iPads, there might be insignificant storage on the iPad to carry all the drivers for all printers, some printers require software to be installed.

I'm sure he's not going to make the iPad a standalone device though. I don't think there is significant storage on the iPad to allow self updating of the iOS and/or firmware needed neither.

"Neither"?

There are many, many other errors in your original composition, such as spliced sentences. But for a third-year high-school level report, I would say it's in the "B-" range grammatically. For college I would require a rewrite before accepting it at all.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

There are many things I agree with in this essay, and there are many things that are factually incorrect. One thing blatantly omitted is that there are many things the iPad does better than a laptop, or desktop, and even more that it can do better than a netbook. Like I asked many times, have you ever browsed the internet on an Atom powered netbook? There's no way it comes even close to the user experience of the iPad. And since 95% of what people use netbooks for is the internet, I would consider that a very important fact


Well Atom powered netbooks run about $300-$400, a iPad runs about $500-$830. No comparison.

A better comparison would be a Windows 7 or Ubuntu Linux laptop for $500-$830 and a iPad for the same price range. In this equal comparison the laptops win over the iPad, the laptops having a real keyboard, larger storage and the ability to run Flash (games, content, movies etc). And the laptops can print, And the laptops self update without the need for another computer, unlike the iPad.


Quote:
There are many, many other errors in your original composition, such as spliced sentences. But for a third-year high-school level report, I would say it's in the "B-" range grammatically. For college I would require a rewrite before accepting it at all.


Sorry, I don't have a grammar Nazi editor and a Apple spin doctor proofing my copy before publishing, I'm just a humble writer and blogger with a honest assessment.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Well Atom powered netbooks run about $300-$400, a iPad runs about $500-$830. No comparison.

Yet you keep comparing the iPad to a netbook yourself.
Quote:
A better comparison would be a Windows 7 or Ubuntu Linux laptop for $500-$830 and a iPad for the same price range.

And in such a comparison, which one would win for portability? Which one would win for commute-gaming? Which one would be better for watching a video while standing up on a packed subway? Which one would be better for data collection and retrieval for a doctor or intern doing their rounds? Which one would win for ad-hoc presentation to a small group, without the luxury of a projector?
Quote:
In this equal comparison the laptops win over the iPad, the laptops having a real keyboard, larger storage and the ability to run Flash (games, content, movies etc). And the laptops can print, And the laptops self update without the need for another computer, unlike the iPad.

I don't dispute your assessment that the iPad is a secondary device for someone who owns a computer. But your entire beef with the iPad seems to be under the assumption that it's useless as a standalone-device. As a supplementary device, it rocks!
Quote:
Sorry, I don't have a grammar Nazi editor and a Apple spin doctor proofing my copy before publishing, I'm just a humble writer and blogger with a honest assessment.

Fair enough. I also assume you don't have a college-level education, correct? If you've been using Apple products for 20 years, I assume you graduated high-school before literacy went all to hell...

If you were a kid now, I would understand. High school graduates simply don't learn as much as they used to. But apparently, you're "middle-aged" like me. Were you home-schooled?
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
*yawn*

goodbye tonton
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

*yawn*

goodbye tonton

Awfully dismissive of another poster, repeat style for somebody who wrote an awfully dismissive post about a piece of hardware. You don't see the viability of a supplementary device fine, but don't knock those who do just because they don't see it like you do. Especially when you are having consistency challenges.
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post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn

I do think Steve will have to relent about the lack of direct printing issue with iPads, there might be insignificant storage on the iPad to carry all the drivers for all printers, some printers require software to be installed.

Steve Jobs has already stated OS-level printing is coming. An e-mail reply, and I think he's said it a second place too. Most people only ever need to print from 1 printer, possibly 2. The iPad has plenty of storage for that, even the 16GB model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn

I'm sure he's not going to make the iPad a standalone device though.

He will. Not that you won't be able to connect it up to iTunes, but that you will never "have" to. Just like Apple TV needed to connect to your computer when that came out originally.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Steve Jobs has already stated OS-level printing is coming. An e-mail reply, and I think he's said it a second place too. Most people only ever need to print from 1 printer, possibly 2. The iPad has plenty of storage for that, even the 16GB model.


I haven't checked lately, but Apple is still providing standard printer drivers in OS X right? Any idea how much drive space these take?

I wonder how devices like All-In-Ones which come with their own software is going to work with the iPad?


Quote:
He will. Not that you won't be able to connect it up to iTunes, but that you will never "have" to. Just like Apple TV needed to connect to your computer when that came out originally.


You might be right, the 1GHz performance of the processor and the non complex apps might be enough to allow the device to live on it's own. Guess we will see.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

Awfully dismissive of another poster, repeat style for somebody who wrote an awfully dismissive post about a piece of hardware. You don't see the viability of a supplementary device fine, but don't knock those who do just because they don't see it like you do. Especially when you are having consistency challenges.


*yawn*

good bye Hiro
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

*yawn*

good bye Hiro

Wow, you sound a lot like an alias for Tulkas. And why would I leave?

I respect your opinion from your point of view, why can't you respect tonton's? It's not until you get all pissy and prematurely defensive that things go south in your threads.
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post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

I haven't checked lately, but Apple is still providing standard printer drivers in OS X right? Any idea how much drive space these take?

Individually? It won't make a dent in iPad storage.

I can guarantee you this is how it will work: When you want to install a printer, the OS, or the printer configuration app, takes you to an online list of drivers. You choose the make. You choose the model. The OS downloads ONLY the driver you need right there. It will be small. It will work immediately, without a reboot. You will be able to install more than one driver at a time. You will have the option to remove individual drivers later.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Individually? It won't make a dent in iPad storage.

I can guarantee you this is how it will work: When you want to install a printer, the OS, or the printer configuration app, takes you to an online list of drivers. You choose the make. You choose the model. The OS downloads ONLY the driver you need right there. It will be small. It will work immediately, without a reboot. You will be able to install more than one driver at a time. You will have the option to remove individual drivers later.


Sounds like a plan that would work,

My response to Ireland about iPad printing was I believe Steve will have to allow it; in some fashion, perhaps not all-in-ones and other complicated drivers, just basic printing.

Does anyone think Apple will make a portable wireless device specifically to hook up to the printer for the iPad?
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Sounds like a plan that would work,

My response to Ireland about iPad printing was I believe Steve will have to allow it; in some fashion, perhaps not all-in-ones and other complicated drivers, just basic printing.

Does anyone think Apple will make a portable wireless device specifically to hook up to the printer for the iPad?

Not sure about that for something new, because most wireless access points (routers) already have that built-in. You can already plug a printer into an Airport Extreme/TimeCapsule/Airport Express as well as most Cisco and Linksys home 802.11 routers. That should be enough for wireless printing to the majority of folks. Those that don't want those router based solutions can go with one of the WiFi capable printers that have 8802.11 built in to the printer itself.

I agree with tonton's guesstimate as to how the iPad will get it's printing functionality. I think Apple will take it one step farther though and use the printers installed on the sync computer as the defaults for installation, removing the need for users to even be forced to make those choices. Then users can choose extra printers based on the printers installed where they expect to want to print while mobile away from the sync machine environment.

Making the printer maintenance/installer that slick is the type of thing that takes longer and isn't considered a critical OS capability to make the machine usable in the manner the iPad shipped.
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