iPad Arrives—Some Worship It, Some Critique It, HP Tries to Kill It

By Andrew Moseman | April 5, 2010 5:43 pm

ipad-220Something was different in the DISCOVER office this morning. A strange feeling (other than the unseasonable early April heat) hung in the air. When we found the box that showed up over the weekend, everything was illuminated: our iPad had arrived.

Now that we’ve crossed the threshold of the magical Apple product opening ceremony, we could give you a rundown of its neat little tricks. But as Apple sold 300,000 iPad on the first day, the Web has become super-saturated with iPad reviews since the first ones came out this weekend. The New York Times‘ is one of the best, reviewing the product first for tech nerds and then for everyone else.

For techies:

When the iPad is upright, typing on the on-screen keyboard is a horrible experience; when the iPad is turned 90 degrees, the keyboard is just barely usable (because it’s bigger).

And,

The iPad can’t play Flash video. Apple has this thing against Flash, the Web’s most popular video format; says it’s buggy, it’s not secure and depletes the battery. Well, fine, but meanwhile, thousands of Web sites show up with empty white squares on the iPad — places where videos or animations are supposed to play.

But for everyone else:

The simple act of making the multitouch screen bigger changes the whole experience. Maps become real maps, like the paper ones. Scrabble shows the whole board, without your having to zoom in and out. You see your e-mail inbox and the open message simultaneously.

While some reviewers have scoffed at the early iPad as not much more than an oversized iPhone, The Big Money points out that some of the early apps, like Pandora, Netflix, and Kindle, that will be key to the product’s early success. But what’s missing so far? The ridiculous. Here at DISCOVER we’ve been faithful chroniclers of the absurd apps for the iPhone, but thus far the pickings on the iPad are far more buttoned-down. There’s no iPad version of iFart Mobile, Koi Pond, iBeer or Bubble Wrap — yet. These simple, time-wasting apps are among the most popular programs for the iPhone and iPad Touch, but there’s no sign of anything like them in the top downloads section of the App Store [Washington Post].

Frankly, the iPad would be a much more inspired product if it contained the apps in our April Fools’ Day review. Or, if you could multitask—the initial iPad won’t let you run apps simultaneously, so as many reviewers pointed out, you couldn’t listen to Pandora while doing something else. This is a backbreaker. If this is supposed to be a replacement for netbooks, how can it possibly not have multitasking [Gizmodo]?

As iPad mania comes down a notch and more of the machine’s shortcomings become clear, competitors now stand poised to fill the gap. HP, for one, continues to leak video teasing the talents of its tablet PC, including one just released to try to steal some attention from Apple. HP’s Slate is likely to have a built-in camera, video-recording capability, USB port and a SD card reader — all features pointedly aimed at the iPad, which lacks all three [Wired.com]. Its added features ought to appeal to those looking for more than an expensive new toy or e-reader: As much as the community at large has debated the value of the iPad as a business tool–Apple failed to hold up its end. Apple was so focused on building a consumer gadget that it left off critical elements that could have let the iPad not just be used as a business tool–but dominate as a business tool [PC World].

Related Content:
Discoblog: DISCOVER’s iPad Arrived Early… And It’s AWESOME
80beats: Apple’ iPad Tablet: It’s Here, It’s Cool, and It’s Slightly Cheaper Than Expected
Discoblog: Weird iPhone Apps (our growing compendium of the oddest apps out there)

Image: Apple

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology
  • Brian Too

    For some counter hype on the HP Slate, et al:

    http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/tired-the-ipad-already-try-these-vaporware-alternatives-075?source=IFWNLE_nlt_daily_2010-04-02

    One wonders why Apple chose to use the iPhone operating system on something that is clearly *not* a phone. It isn’t a smartphone either. Apple would appear to be trying to control the software environment as they do with the iPhone.

    Which is fine, except that I think this device is much more akin to a computer than a phone. Ultimately I think Apple is going to have to convince purchasers that this is an appliance-type device and limited software upgrades are the price of ease of use/minimal setup.

    Yes, I know about the apps. However Apple has a strong control mechanism in place to filter which ones reach the mass market. So far Apple seems to be successful in making design choices and then selling the public on those choices.

  • http://www.maison-avignon.com/tag/montfavet montfavet

    don’t forget that Apple will announce a big deal on April the 8th ?
    perhaps a new Apple OS, muti-tasking ?

  • http://clubneko.net nick

    Two things, 1) why didn’t they make it able to run iPhone apps (ones that don’t use the camera or phone functionality) in a small window and/or make them maximizable. It’s the same OS, can’t be that damned hard.

    2) just bought an Asus eeePC. Within an hour it had a new hard drive (SSD) and Linux installed, happily multi-tasking away and letting me get some business done. Has a 6 hour battery life, and honestly that’s more hours than I want to spend away from home at a stretch anyway.

    As usual the iPad is over-priced because it’s pretty. The second you drop that (assuming they’re still addicted to glass screens) or wear out the battery, be prepared to shell out more money for fixes. When my battery dies (or before) I’ll buy a bigger, better one and out-class the iPad on battery, too.

    I can upgrade my ram, too. Apple’s version of upgrading is “buy version 2.”

  • Al

    @nick: “why didn’t they make it able to run iPhone apps (ones that don’t use the camera or phone functionality) in a small window and/or make them maximizable. It’s the same OS, can’t be that damned hard.

    FYI, it does play iPhone apps and they are maximizable. Obviously you haven’t tried one out yet. Join the ranks of the thousands of envisioned product reviewers that have taken a crack at the iPad. You know, those people who base their (usually emphatic) product reviews not on actual experience with the product but on what they envision that experience would be like.

  • http://www.ipadhdmovies.com/ iPad HD Movies

    This article is informative. I am now upadated about ipad. Thanks for sharing.. :)

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