iPad or iPhad?

On January 27, 2010, Apple launched their newest addition to their “mobile” line, the iPad. If you’ve yet to catch any of the hype the Apple iPad is the latest version of an ebook reader or tablet pc…well realistically the iPad fits best in between. If you need more specifics check out Apple’s iPad website.

Since the iPad’s release the blogs have been hot with postings concerning the iPads failure to meet expectations. Well Vertmob is going to weed through all those blogs and tell you what is really important… from the future of mobile + social perspective :-)

So at first glace the iPad looks like a neat piece of technology. It’s thin and light. It has a wonderfully large and colorful touch screen display. The UI seems to flow well without much delay (at least from what we can see from videos). The applications native to the device seem to be well thought out and function well. We all know Apple is a user experience design clearing house, no worries there… The problems come when you begin to look at what the iPad lacks.

Right when Steve unlocks the iPad you can immediately see it basically looks like a big iPhone or iPod Touch.  It has the same homescreen layout, the icons look the same, ect.  As he moves through each application, they look great, all catered to the iPad’s specs.  The problem is, they really are the same as the iPhone/iPod Touch apps, and so is the OS, quite literally. This presents a number of problems for people that were hoping for an iTablet of sorts, something with more power, more like a mini laptop.  Running the iPhone OS users are still restricted to running a single application at a time, no multitasking here.  Additionally, just as with an iPhone there is no native way to drag and drop files.  Moving files to your iPad, at this time, can only be done through sync.  On the hardware side the iPad lacks an expansible SD card slot, USB ports, and doesn’t even include a camera.

With each feature the iPad lacked came more criticism from the online community following its announcement yesterday and then again today.  Vert even spoke with a friend and associate editor of the immensely popular blog Engadget to gauge his reactions on the iPad release. Having been at the release event and getting a chance to “fondle” the iPad first hand, he mentioned he felt quite underwhelmed by the device.  He noted it was a big iPhone without voice, that he couldn’t stick in his pocket. It seems many people really expected something more from Apple’s new “Tablet”.  The problem is Apple didn’t release a tablet yesterday, they released something different.  Apple released a device for consuming all different types of media inside a convenient form factor with all the normal Apple bells and whistles.  The iPad will be great for looking at pictures, browsing the web, reading a book, watching a movie and maybe even for using a simple application or game.  However, the iPad is not a tablet pc or laptop computer.  It has to be more than an oversight that Apple left out items like a camera or USB port.  They simply didn’t want them included on the device.  We could speculate the reasons why, but one would assume it might be connected with Apple’s wonderfully booming and profitable laptop business.  Maybe it’s possible Apple didn’t want to cannibalize their currently laptop product offering by creating another option for customers.  Additionally, maybe thats why the price is fairly “affordable”, maybe Apple wants you to have both!  Or maybe they truly weren’t shooting for anything more than a top of the line media consumption device.  We’ll leave all those maybe’s up to you to decide…

Even with the iPad’s, yet so far, negative feedback, the Vert team and I still see quite a lot of hope for the device.  The difference between this device and the iPhone is not everyone will need, want or even have any use for one.  Everyone wants a killer phone, not everyone needs a fancy touch-screen media device.  However, we see great potential for the iPad in education.  Since the introduction of the first Kindle I’ve always wondered when 15 pound textbooks might meet their maker.  The iPad pushes closer to that time.  While some student already carry around editions on their textbooks on Kindles and other e-readers, those devices still lack where the iPad excels.  Could you imagine carrying all your textbooks in one device that could still show you full color images or even video right on the page you were studying?  Or could you imagine a chemistry book application that allowed students to build molecules by dragging, pinching and turning atoms?  That’s just a start…

So we here at Vert are in the same boat as many other people, we wish there was more…however, we do not fail to recognize the iPad has its place and purpose and we think it will fulfill its role well.

If your interested in further info on the iPad check out some of the cool posts below:

- Interest in something other than the iPad, maybe more tablet like?  Check this out.

- What did everyone say about the iPad on Twitter?  Take a look.

- Are people going to buy this thing? Cast your Vote.

~ Matt Griffin
Principal, Creative Technology

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