By far the most exciting technology release that has happened this year is the Apple iPad, but in my verdict it’s all just the hype and no meat within. Just like my college professor used to say, “All fart and no Shit”. Just like thousands of people, I was really looking forward to the release of the then iSlate the device which would revolutionalize the way we from the physical world interact with the digital world. In the end its more of a glorified eBook reader and game player. Looking for the next game changing gadget like the iPod and the iPhone Apple has blurted out the iPad. And I think Apple has missed an exceptional opportunity to make another landmark in the history of technologies.
The specifications of the iPad are anything but exciting, it’s just a glorified Phone / Netbook device and in the process of doing this they might be causing more harm to the gadget industry than any good. They are killing the market that existed for the eBook readers like the Amazon Kindle which although had limited features was made for a purpose. But the iPad does not fit in any of the categories and neither does it fulfill any requirements for a new category of device. Have a look at the specifications of the iPad, (source) A trying-to-be Jack of Many, and Master of None is what I would call it.
- CPU: Apple’s custom 1GHz A4 SOC, manufactured by Samsung. And we can tell you, it’s blazingly fast.
- Display: 9.7-inch, 1024 x 786 (132 PPI), LED backlit IPS with capacitive touch.
- Storage: The iPad will come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variations.
- RAM: No word on this from Apple (just like with the iPhone and iPod touch).
- Wireless: The devices comes standard with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1. You can also purchase a version which has 3G connectivity (UMTS / HSDPA 850, 1900, 2100MHz and GSM / EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz).
- Sim Card : The iPad uses new micro SIMs.
- Other sensors: The iPad has a digital compass, there’s AGPS on-board in the 3G version, and both versions have an accelerometer and ambient light sensor.
- Ports / input / output: Headphone jack, 30-pin dock connector, built-in microphone, built-in speaker.
- Battery life: Apple claims "up to" 10 hours web surfing on WiFi, listening to music, or watching video, and over a month on standby.
- Dimensions: height: 9.56-inches, width: 7.47-inches, depth: 0.5-inches, weight: 1.5 pounds (1.6 for the 3G model).
There’s no question that much of what the iPhone and iPod touch do translates here, but nothing I saw during the online keynote or online made me sit up and think, "Wow, I need this." If Steve Jobs hoped to answer the question about why we need this third device, or how it’s better than a netbook, he didn’t make a compelling case. Where is video chat? Where is multitasking (honestly, only one app at a time for a device of this size and speed)? Why is the lock screen so embarrassingly empty? Why are there no active widgets to fill that huge home screen space? Where is the expansion of the multi touch user experience? These are things that you will really expect from a device from Apple. In case you can’t tell by looking at the thing, the iPad does — indeed — resemble a large iPhone (actually, more like an iPod touch). The front of the device is a large, smooth piece of glass with no buttons save for the familiar "home" button in a bottom center location. There’s no phone or SMS functionality on this device, and no iChat, though the iPad can run "almost" (Steve’s words) all of the 140,000 apps made for the iPhone and iPod touch. Besides the standard music and video partnerships Apple already has for its stores (and those aren’t changing yet), the company has teamed up with give publishing houses to start bringing ebooks to the iPad: Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachett. What does all this scream out, Apple is looking at the magazine / ebook market and it’s not a secret with all the partnerships and slightly larger than eBook readers sizing.
Although most of the software chunks that have been missed out are going to be definitely plugged in by the Army of private Apple developers, the main trick that they have lost is in the hardware. Not including a camera for the front and the back was a cardinal sin if any for a device this powerful. 2 Way video chat would be ideal on a device like this and also the inclusion of a camera at the back would have given a break to the frustrated Augmented Reality world. What could have been is something I will ponder over the next post. But for now, unless Apple really works towards providing some hardware / software fixes to this device I am sure it will just settle into the eBook reader category with very little success. Sorry Mr. Jobs, this was a bad Job.