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Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

Posted June 07, 2010 12:00 AM by moorec74
Pathfinder Tags: Apple iPad iPad

With its still-recent introduction, the Apple iPad seems like a worthy topic for discussion on CR4. First, let me note a disclaimer: I do not personally own (nor have I ever owned) an iPad or any other Apple product. That being said, I used a friend's brand new iPad for a weekend and thought I would share my experience and gather your opinions.

Just a Big iTouch?

The first comment I heard about the iPad was that, "It's just a big iTouch." Considering the iPad's size (smaller in height and width than a piece of paper and only slightly thicker), it is very light and easy to carry or pack. The iPad even fit in my purse, since it was about the size of my daily planner. Having what amounted to an Internet-ready computer with me at all times was quite handy – for checking movie times, getting directions, or simply not being bored – but it wasn't a necessity in my daily life, either.

Someone else mentioned that since they already had an iPhone, it would be silly to simply get a larger version of it. But then this person was immediately hooked on the iPad after fooling around with it. Many of the applications from the iTouch have been converted for iPad use. The larger screen allows for a much more enjoyable experience when playing games or watching videos. "Flight Control" even has more runways and helipads on the iPad version of the game than the iPhone app. I was also a fan of the Netflix application that was perfect for two people to enjoy a show.

Useful But Practical?

One thing the iPad was great for was keeping the kids entertained. During a weekend road trip of several hours, it kept two kids in the backseat thoroughly occupied for the entire ride – a very pleasant and quiet surprise. They weren't asking, "Are we there yet?" either! The kids were able to stay connected to the Internet for the entirety of the drive (this iPad was 3G ready) so they could even stay updated on Facebook.

Although my experience was with high school students (they're kids in my eyes), I'm sure that the iPad would accomplish the same goal with younger children as well, considering the vast amounts of gaming and puzzle options available. Granted, it is quite an expensive investment as a "toy," and I would not recommend purchasing it solely for that purpose.

I was significantly impressed with the battery life of the device. It got quite the use (between the "kids" and myself) and only needed charging at night. I do not know how long this will last, although the battery could always be replaced – but only by Apple for a fee.

What Do You Think?

What is your opinion of the iPad? Did you race out and buy one the day it were released, or are you skeptical about its necessity? Do you think this new device is worth the hype it's receiving?

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPad

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#1

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 6:30 AM

I'm waiting for the next revision and see what it morphs into.

If it can make or save me money in my business than I will bite. Right now Apple is still paying off their engineering costs and I haven't seen a compelling need to add one to my bag, yet.

I hope that Apple succeeds with the product and perhaps generates a new tool for the market.

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#2

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 7:51 AM

It looks interesting, but as you say, it's not going to replace my smart phone (I have a Droid).

If I ever do enter the e-reader market I will probably choose the iPad. It's more versatile than the others. Plus, I do like Apple products... my iPods are great and I'd have a Mac if it were easier to use with my other software/work. And if it didn't cost so much!

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#3

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 9:08 AM

Nope, I think it's a waste. From the article, here's the applications of the iPad I picked up on:

  • internet capable (granted that you pay AT&T for the 3G service every month)
  • checking movie times
  • directions
  • not being bored
  • more enjoyable experience playing games or movies, including improved applications over iPhone
  • entertaining kids

Not to be a nay-sayer, but come on...$500 (and up!) for a toy that does this? If you put that money towards a smartphone, and the monthly data charges by AT&T towards a data plan (considering you don't already have these in this increasing digital age), you will be more than covered...AND have to carry around one less gadget.

I've played with it, I think it's a really cool toy, and that's it, not much more to take from it besides its bells and whistles.

Are you looking for a smaller/cheaper/more mobile computer? Try a MSI Wind or NetBook, both of which are cheaper and give more flexibility in functionality and performance (I don't believe you can create word documents on an iPad, nor would it be fun without a dedicated keyboard)

Are you looking for an e-Reader? Back-lit display on iPad (or any monitor) is bad for the eyes over long periods of time, so if you're a serious reader, beware. I would go Kindle.

Do you have a load of change in your pocket and don't know what to do? Sure, get it. It's fun. But, if you are honest with yourself, I wouldn't expect the device to change your life so many have claimed.

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#21
In reply to #3

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 4:19 PM

For e-books I have a Nook from Barnes and Noble. Love it! I've taken it all over the world in the past 4 months and have really enjoyed using it.

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#4

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 10:35 AM

I'm interested in getting a tablet in a year or two but I want one that runs PC software and I wouldn't buy consider one that didn't have a USB port and memory card slot.

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#5

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 4:28 PM

I think the iPad is a nice toy, but I also wouldn't buy a tablet without a USB port. I might consider on of those Tegra 2 powered Android tablets when they come to market, with those you can at least watch Hulu. Windows 7 tablets will be the most productive, but probably also the least fun to use.

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#6

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 4:59 PM

If someone handed an iPad to me would I play with it?

Absolutely

Would I buy it?

No

There are too many things that I already have that would replace this device. My ipod touch is one of them. I could not justify buying something that big that doesn't have loads more functionality than the ipod touch. However, I hope for the sake of the product that they come up with something spectacular that would make it work the investment. So for now... I Pass on the Apple Ipad.

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#7

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 8:42 PM

I recently received the iPad as a graduation gift. I wanted one because I wanted an e-Reader and also something that I could use instead of my laptop. The iPad can do almost anything a computer can do (Yes you do have to purchase the apps for the Office like programs-~$30). Having gotten my laptop four years ago it isn't as fast as it used to be; therefore this "toy" was great because it covers what I need it to do as a computer and also has the free e-Reader application.

I also have a iPod Touch and think this is so much better. It all comes down to the size. I don't like doing much more then listening to music and playing an occasional game on the Touch. This screen is large enough to surf the web and read on. As for the light, yes it doesn't have the ink feature the Kindle has but I like it and have no problem looking at it for long periods of time/before bed. I wouldn't want to spend the large amount of money on an e-Reader that can really only read books. I also have a Blackberry and use that throughout the day. Still though the iPad is just so much easier to use due to the screen size. It's really simple to type on also.

Overall, I love the iPad and would recommend it to people. Don't get it if you only want to read on it but if you want something easier to carry around then a computer and a lot more fun, get one.

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#10
In reply to #7

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 1:16 AM

"Having gotten my laptop four years ago it isn't as fast as it used to be;" I replaced windows xp on my gf's old compaq laptop and got a huge speed boost. (The windows partition is still there but much smaller) Just in case. She uses it mostly for net surfing. I think maybe the perfect way to go would have been reinstall xp, disable its internet connection and then you have xp for the kids games, etc at a half decent speed and ubuntu for fast startup and internet browsing. Seriously we were ready to throw the thing in the trash, it was so damn slow. And I was terrified that I would screw everything up if I put linux on it. Now she is annoyed with me that I let her suffer so long! Antivirus was the real slowdown maker, I think.

I think the apple thing is a toy. And most phones are addictive toys too. If you are checking your messages or texting, or blasting music in your ears all the time, when do you actually use the thing for work?

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#18
In reply to #10

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 9:46 AM

I've re-imaged my computer twice and it works fine now, just not at the same speed as a new computer. I like the iPad because it is a lot lighter/smaller to carry around than my computer.

Also, I'm not sure if you were referring to me, but I never said I use the iPad or Blackberry for work currently. Of course both could be used for work and I did use my phone all the time when I was still in school to respond to group e-mails and meetings. As for the iPad right now I am still learning all the things it can do, and when something comes up when I need to make a powerpoint or a document I will try it out then. As for them being addictive...they're only as addictive as you allow them to be. I have no problem using them only when time permits and still getting all my work done for the day.

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#8

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 9:20 PM

Am I the only one who is mentally challenged by all these devices? My grandkids can pick up an ifone they have never seen before and will be working with it within a few minutes. I'm still trying to use the features on my cell phone.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 2:33 AM

Have you actually tried one Ron. I'm like you I get really frustrated with menu systems that are totally illogical, and suffer from the Microsoft "help" and "we know what you want to do better than you" syndromes. But, I understand that this is the area where Apple stands out.

I've always* used Palms (which were easy and intuitive), so, I don't know about Apples, perhaps someone else could comment.

*always?? I must have a very short memory.

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#9

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/07/2010 9:41 PM

No USB, no HDMI, no SD and stuck with AT&T?

No thanks.

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#12

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 2:57 AM

I have read a few comparison articles in various German magazines and the cumulative effect is that a) I want one of these "pads" b) No I won't buy an iPad (or anything from Apple for that matter, too much price and hype).

The magazines all imply the same, great name, high price, missing some important interfaces, a (relatively) slow processor, coming to the market BEFORE its really well thought out, the new version will be much improved, they did exactly the same with the iPhone and LG have a great "look-a-like" at half the price, that annoyed Apple completely. Well its going to happen again.....

They also mention several "Look-a-likes" coming to market this year that address all of those problems completely, so I will wait up and see what is coming and do my own comparisons when the others are there to play with.

Congrats to iPad for being the first one of course.

The have done their marketing well and got THE name as well......but that alone has never made me swerve to buy such products, in fact it makes me even more "Leery!" - Scottish blood!!!

By the way, the best looking one (with all the bells and whistles, has all the interfaces, faster processor and is cheaper) under test (only) at this time is one from a small German company (that I have forgotten the name of!), it should appear I believe in September.....I will post the name when I remember.

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#13

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 5:37 AM

My biz partner has one and I was quite impressed with it as well. He uses it to make presentations to clients, take notes in meetings, etc. Quite a handy tool it seems and I wouldn't mind owning one but I will wait for a year to see what the next generation will bring, ex a lower price for one.

The display resolution is astounding, as is its speed. The Book Shelf feature was quite interesting to me as well. Carrying this little creature around would be the absolute end to boredom in waiting rooms and such.

I was surprised to find that it doesn't support Flash. Steven Jobs says that it's because he feels Flash is trash but that certainly creates a compatibility issue with a lot of websites out there! Perhaps that sort of thinking is why Apple is where it is and Microsoft is where it is.

That said, though. I will have one at some point in the future but I will give it time to prove itself with regard to longevity and reveal any latent bugs lurking about.

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#14

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 6:17 AM

How well does the apple spreadsheet and word processing program work on it? These programs are what would convince me to replace the laptop with an IPad.

If it had the abilities to run Parallels so I could take a copy of Autocad and Revit with me, our office would have 20 of them by now. Right now MAC laptops are doing the work for us.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 6:30 AM

Off topic Geode Hunter : Have you found any geodes or nodules? How do you go about looking for them? Would it make a good topic for a CR4 blog?

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 7:42 AM

Not as much of a hunter as gatherer, I suppose. We seem to find these in the stream beds everywhere around here as we are hiking and geocaching. The wife likes to decorate the gardens with them. So we (me and the grandkids) usually end up packing out our limit in weight.

Hmmmmmmmmm! Come to think of it---- maybe a mapping program like MacGPSPro would be a good use of the IPad. I wonder how rugged it could be made. I tried a Palm pilot linked to a Garmin handheld gpsr for about three years. The palm tungsten C seemed to last about a year and a half before dying.

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#19
In reply to #14

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 9:55 AM

I bough an iMac earlier this year, and got the iWork package (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation builder). The sub-$100 price is better than Micro$oft's Office, making it about the only thing Apple competes well on. I'm an Office power user, but not that good with Apple's stuff.

In my limited experience, the Apple office software is roughly as capable as Microsoft's, but different. The help is adequate for figuring out how to do something.

I can't put my finger on it, but the built-in designs of Apple's Keynote program are just slicker than PowerPoint's.

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#17

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 9:27 AM

I have been a personal and professional user of Apple products for 30 years and as amazing as the Macintosh was in the 1980's Apple's innovation over the last decade is nothing short of incredible. The iPod, iPhone and now the iPad all went into areas where other companies had been producing products and redefined the functionality of each in a way that made them at least 10x better than everyone else. They are a little like Wal-Mart, everyone could see them plain as day but no one could do what they were doing. The reason being that like Wal-Mart's total system approach to retail, Apple has developed a common platform approach towards media consumption and personal communication. Full disclosure, I own and have owned Apple stock for 10 years.

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#20

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 12:43 PM

The first question I always ask when a new "gotta have" product hits the market is; Do I really need it? From the point of view of the manufacturer, It's what we do; make money. If we stopped at that point developing new products, we would soon go out of business. Companies would like you to believe that today's "improved" product will serve you better, but are we so "enslaved" to the latest and greatest technology that we can't live without it? If a new product does what my older model doesn't do, that's one thing, but if my old model will do what the new one will, but maybe not as quickly or conveniently, then I question whether it's worth buying. Might be better to wait until big changes come forth. To me, a screen that is a few mm bigger is not justification to turn in my old one for a new one. I guess there are people who believe money is no object. I'm just not one of them. Just my 2¢.

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#22

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 4:24 PM

Lots of folks tout the iPad as a competitor for the Kindle. It does some neat stuff as an ebook (color, easy paging, etc). BUT compared with Kindle it is heavy (x2), has short battery life, expensive 3G, and you can't read it in bright daylight. I am very satisfied with my Kindle. Also with my iPod, great interface. Two sets of great engineers with different motivations. Neither product is BETTER; they are just different. We have a choice.

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#23

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/08/2010 5:26 PM

To anyone who has not yet bought one, DON'T!

Wait until at least the end of the year, compare the new products just starting to come to market, with each other, include the new to be updated iPad of course.

Ignore the hype and the name.

Then buy the one that suits you best.

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#24

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/09/2010 6:00 AM

iPads and iPhones are beginning to change home automation systems. Leading companies such as Crestron and AMX are beginning to use them in place of dedicated touch-screen controllers and I think this trend will sweep across the industry.

Although I welcome the use of off-the-shelf hardware in these niche applications, I wouldn't buy one for myself as a general purpose device as I would not buy into such a closed system.

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#25

Re: Apple’s iPad: The Coolest New Gadget or a Big Waste?

06/09/2010 6:44 PM

And then there are the security issues ....

http://gawker.com/5559346/

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