It’s been a month since the magical tablet device (as Apple claims) debuted in the US, selling an astonishing Million+ units, we can finally pre-order it here in the UK, that too a much higher price (From £429) than our mates across the pond. But despite all the moaning, complains and praising abilities of rival tablets, it has once again been proved that nobody does it like APPLE.
Sure, iPad has got its shortcomings (hey, who is perfect), but you will have to give it to them for introducing the most unique and the best user interface ever offered on a device. The apple tablet/slate device initially caused a stir with every manufacturer, big (MicroSoft) and small (Notion Ink) announcing their own versions of the same concept, but what happened since then?? We have just seen glimpses of these devices with no information what-so-ever about when we can actually get our hands on them. Whereas, Apple has introduced a non-existent new category of devices and also offered the best possible device in this category. You might feel that I am an Apple fan-boy, maybe I am, but I still try to find logic behind my obsession. To be honest, we never knew that a mobile phone could be used for soo many things before the iPhone came out. Initially, when mobile phones came out with the ability to browse the internet, I eagerly tired it out only to be confronted by a cheap WAP version of the webpage and a ridiculous charge on my bill!!
iPhone changed it all for me. I now check my email almost every hour, get onto twitter, check for directions using the Maps, amongst hundreds of other things. (Recently found out about Air Video app which is amazing. You can wirelessly stream movies stored on your PC/Laptop over wifi and play them on your iPhone.)
Coming back to Tablet Computers, these have been around for ages but no one remembers seeing (or using) one. They were heavy, difficult to use with ridiculous battery life. Then came Apple and introduced its version using the simple but efficient iPhone OS, killer design and a never heard of battery life. Added to that, it also takes complete advantage of the iTunes-Apps-Movies-Music-eBooks eco-system providing the best multi-media experience for casual users.
And where do other rival manufacturers stand…
- Microsoft Courier: This concept looked cool on paper (actually, Video presentation). It would have been good to hold the file-o-fax of 21st century in hand but this is not going to happen. Microsoft has officially shelved the project.
- Joo Joo: This is the only tablet which saw the day of light amongst the slew that were announced earlier. You can pre-order them, but quick internet reviews of the gadget suggest that they are heavy, un-responsive and using flash (which is absent on the iPad) will kill the battery life by 50%. Added to that APPs are just shortcuts to bookmarks. It is also not that cheaper than the iPad.
- HP Slate: I was hoping that this device would prove as a good alternative to the iPad, incorporating the much friendly Windows OS. But how wrong was I, even HP got it soo wrong that they canned the whole project and are working again from scratch. The initial prototype tested by some German company gave an absolute thumbs-down, dismissing it as a Netbook without a physical keyboard. HP are in the process of acquiring WebOS used in Palm Pre handsets which might provide a good alternative to the iPhone OS, but we are talking about a year or two before we can see a prototype. Apple will have established its firm ground till then! The initial HP Slate is based on Windows 7 using Intel Atom processors found in most of the Netbooks. According to tests Windows 7 absolutely lacked the multi-touch abilities of the iPhone OS and the Atom processor was slow in performance.
- Notion Ink Adam: Fast processor, trackpad on the back side, 180 degree swivel camera, ability to switch between e-ink and back-lit LED..all these sounded too good to be true. Looks like constant delays in getting the device out in the market is making Notion Ink miss their time-slot. The delay reported by Notion Ink was due to the lack of a stable version of flash to run on the tablet device. (Lack of stable version…killing the battery life..so Steve Jobs had his valid points after all!!)
- Android based tablets: There are a slew of devices of different sizes coming out sooner, but expected time of release is currently unavailable.
So, it took an iPod to make people realise that a gadget can look cool at the same time perform seamlessly, it took an iPhone to make them realise that phones can do a lot more in the best possible way…and it took an iPad to make everyone realise that tablets can be made efficient and simple to use…Well if it takes all of this to turn me into an Apple Fan Boy, then so be it..I am an Apple Fan and feel they are the most innovative company of our times!!
I have seen, even used countless MP3 players since the time of iPod and none have that cool design/interface or appeal. There are soo many touch screen phones since the iPhone and all of them look like cheap imitations of the iPhone, none perfecting the interface/usability/Eco-System of the iPhone. And now manufacturers are hammering down the tablet computing concept. Only time will decide the outcome and the variety, but it took Apple’s iPad to jump start manufacturer’s interest in the tablet computing concept. So, every other device will have certain level of imitation and will be compared heavily with the Moses [Apple :))))))] tablet.
Also, browsing the net, I did find some really cool, must-have apps as soon as you power your new device:
DesktopConnect – This allows you to connect and control your PC/Mac over wifi via the iPad. Sounds amazing!!
Elements – A cool periodic tablet with graphics/videos of every element known to man
Dragon Dictation – A speech recognition system that types words in for you while to speak
GoSkyWatch Planetarium – Star-Gazing in high-def
iBooks & Amazon Kindle – Excellent eBook apps
Scrabble – the coolest thing about this classic is the ability to use your iPhone as the word tray.
And a slew of other APPs, almost for everything.
Will post an in-depth opinion once I get my hands on the iPad. Till then, adieus :-)
- Ravi Adloori
[TAGS: Apple iPad, iPad, Apple, Tablet, iPad APPS, APP Store, iBooks, Amazon Kindle]