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January 28, 2010

The Apple iPad: What it lacks

So that's it. The waiting is finally over and Apple has unveiled its latest must-have, simply-can't-live-without, world-changing device that'll revolutionise the way we consume information.Or will it? CBR looks at some of the features that may hold

By Cbr Rolling Blog

So that’s it. The waiting is finally over and Apple has unveiled its latest must-have, simply-can’t-live-without, world-changing device that’ll revolutionise the way we consume information.

Or will it? CBR looks at some of the features that may hold the iPad back

No Flash: Steve Jobs said that the iPad is the best way to surf the web. But that simply is not true if you can’t see any part of the web that uses Flash. On the iPhone or iPod Touch it’s not so much of a problem because they are not designed to replace a netbook or laptop as your primary Internet-enabled device. The iPad is. Jobs slammed netbooks and laptops during the iPad launch – and that’s the market Apple is going for.

What’s the reason for the lack of Flash? Could it be that Apple is worried about a potential loss of revenue if people play free Flash-based games online rather than pay to download them from the App Store?

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The Guardian’s Bobbie Johnson makes a great point about its impact on advertisers. If we can’t see those Flash-based adverts then what’s the point of suppliers paying for the adverts to be there?

Apple’s App Store: Being locked down to just Apple-approved apps will seriously impact the flexibility of the device. You won’t be able to run another browser apart from Safari, for example. Yes, there are countless apps to choose from but they’re all designed for the much smaller iPhone and iPod Touch. Many will require additional development work to enable them to run properly on the iPad.

No multitasking: Often cited as a big problem with the iPhone, particularly with music streaming services such as Pandora the ability to be able to run more than one app at a time is a must if you want to use this as an everyday device. As Adam Frucci says on Gizmodo: “Are you saying I can’t listen to Pandora while writing a document? I can’t have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser? I can’t have AIM open at the same time as my email? Are you kidding me? This alone guarantees that I will not buy this product.”

It’s flat: If you’re used to typing on a laptop/netbook/notebook keyboard, then placing the iPad flat on a surface so you can type two-handed is going to take some getting used to. Yes, you can buy a physical keyboard to attach to it but if you’re paying £600 already, why would you want to spend more money on something that is standard on a netbook? You also can’t adjust the screen the way you can on a netbook, so you have to find the optimal viewing position if you want to watch a film. What about glare from the sun if you’re out and about?

Continuing on the screen theme, the beauty of eReaders is that they are designed to look like a book; you can stare at them for hours on end without straining your eyes. The iPad isn’t. The glare off the screen will hurt your eyes and really drain the battery power. Having said that, iBooks looks pretty nice.

The price: The top-end models are going to cost a fair whack. But isn’t that always the way with Apple?

The size: It’s too big for your pocket. Can you see many people using it on the Tube or a bus?

It’s fragile: On top of the initial cost (plus whatever monthly fee) you’ll have to splash out for a cover for the iPad, a screen like that won’t last long in your bag.

Capacity: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. Not much, is it?

No camera and no USB connection.

I think that’s about it for now although I’m sure I’ve forgotten one or two things. Do these limitations really matter? Will they stop you from buying an iPad?


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