Something 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.
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).
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].
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