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The Apple iPad: I'm a Believer

·5 mins

Disclaimer: Yes I am an Apple Fanboy, deal with it, save your flames.

Just before I write anything: Here is a thread about the iPod announcement back in 2001. Just check if you find your comments somewhere ;-).

Last wednesday (January 26th 2010) Apple announced the iPad. Shortly after the keynote, the blogosphere went berserk (not to mention all the trollin’ on all the so called “communities”). As always, when Apple is showing off a new product the most flames will focus on all the features that are missing (the same people will buy the product afterwards). But let’s have a look at all the features that all of you are missing so much.

1. Real keyboard #

Let’s just assume there would be a way to integrate a real keyboard in this device without being a total pain in the ass (I can’t think of one): what are you going to do with it. I don’t see lots of people using the iPad to write their memoires. And for all the surfing (which mainly is used by clicking links), YouTube commenting (“LMAO”, “ROFL”, “OMG U R gay”) and IMing (“Dude check this out”, “k cu l8r”) is a real keyboard that necessary?

2. Flash #

You gotta be kidding me. Apart from Flash being a serious security risk the technology just sucks.

But even if you get around that, just look what it’s used for nowadays: web-site navigation, online videos, games. As for the first 2 examples this just has to stop. Web-Site navigation using flash has just too many disadvantages: no copy and paste, no direct links to articles, not being indexed by search engines, large overhead… I am currently not aware of any serious web-site that makes massive use of flash as navigation. So if you want to build a website: please forget that Flash exists (use HTML, CSS, JavaScript).

Which brings us to the second part online-videos. Even here I will predict the end of Flash. Youtube and Vimeo (currently the largest online-video platforms) recently made most of their videos available through HTML5 (which is supported on the mobile browser on the iPad).

That leaves only one part were flash would be useful: games. But: everyone who has ever played more than one flash game knows: these games are designed for computers with a real keyboard and mouse. For most games you need keyboard input and/or a mouse cursor (for hover support). I think you will not have much fun playing these Flash games on an iPad (any Android user out there, that can claim otherwise?).

3. Multitasking #

OK this is were it gets hard. Computers have been around for several decades. Our daily workflow on computers depend on multitasking. There is now way we would work on a computer if you had to close the browser in order to write an email. And I can understand, that people want to adapt this concept on their mobile devices.

But: the iPhone brought in a new concept of mobile computing into the world of computing: (no filesystem, no multiple windows, closing application saving its state…) and the iPad just adapted this concept. Furthermore in 2009 Apple brought another concept into place which should help with this single-tasking issue: push notifications.

I personally think that this concept fits the whole messaging world better than just running multiple messaging applications in the background while surfing. However, the part where I agree is that running music from another source than the iPod in the background would be a nice thing. Also I would like to be able to fast switch between applications and not having to close the one I’m using and opening the one I want to use right now. But I would rather see these problems addressed in another way than just being able to run all your applications at once.

Conclusion #

In the end I have to say that I for myself are missing some features too: An SD card slot, a camera, widescreen and a digital video out would have been nice things, but let’s see what Apple will integrate in the future, if we will really miss these features. I’d rather have a device with less feature that is working and is fun to use, than a device that is bloated with lot’s of features, interfaces and does everything “a little good”.

I personally think the iPad will come in handy whenever I want to perform a quick task where my iPhone is just to small and I don’t want to turn my computer (or just not have with me) e.g.:

  • read a blog post
  • check location on maps
  • edit appointments in my calendar
  • have an instant messaging conversation
  • check my todo list

And these are just the tasks that can be performed with the standard iPad apps (and some standard iPhone apps). Let’s wait until the first iPad specific 3rd party applications will come out, that will really take advantage of the big screen. If you take a look at the iPhone right now, you can distinguish one thing, that made this device such a great success: apps (hell, even Apple uses the apps for their marketing strategy). And this is what will make the iPad take off as well. I’m not sure about this, but I am a believer.