It's a Tablet Running a Touch OS

At the heart, er surface, the iPad is a tablet computer. This has been tried before and usually met with very little success. The problems were three fold: hardware, form factor and UI.

What sets the iPad apart from those that came before it is that it finally has the right combination of all three. The hardware is powerful enough to run the OS quickly while maintaining good battery life, the form factor is thin and light enough to be portable and the UI is tailored to the device.

The latter is especially important. Where Microsoft has failed in the past with both its approach to smartphones and tablets is in its attempt to scale down a desktop OS. As we've seen countless times, the only way to design for a different segment is to start from the ground up. Microsoft itself learned this with the Media Center Edition UI on top of Windows.

Since this isn't the 1980s, the iPad only has four physical buttons on the device. At the top you have a power/lock button, on the right you have a rotation lock switch (keeps the desktop from rotating) and volume rocker, and then at the lower part of the face of the unit there's a home button. If this seems familiar it's because this is the exact hardware layout of the iPhone, just on a larger scale.

The vast majority of your interface to the iPad takes place via it's 9.7" capacitive touchscreen display.

Along the bottom edge of the iPad you'll find Apple's standard 30-pin dock connector. You can use existing iPod Touch/iPhone USB cables, however this is a much more power hungry device and thus you can't charge off of a standard USB port (more on this later).

For your charging needs Apple supplies a single 10W power adapter, which looks a lot like the power adapters for the first iPhones.

Will it Part the Seas? Pricing: Heard Ya Got Robbed
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  • stcredzero - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    The review authors are displaying the case configured incorrectly, in picture after picture. The flap needs to be tucked in! This makes the case much more usable in the vertical, taller orientation as a stand. Also, who would set the case up as a stand and try to type in portrait orientation? That's like complaining your car can't do highway speeds in reverse! That's not what it's for!

    Tuck the flap in, then review the case. It's much better that way!
    Reply
  • TemplarGR - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I would like to thank Anand for this terrific and just review. Most reviews i have read so far are biased in favour of Apple, but this is just right.

    It is the only review so far that describes the total cost of ownership of this device. This device is a luxury item, an expensive toy. The starting price is a joke. 499 dollars for 16gb disk, no 3G, no camera, lack of apps? When you add the additional costs this device brings, it is way overpriced compared to a netbook or tablet pc. An EePc costs 300 while being more complete and far more powerful. And yes it draws more power, but i believe there are netbooks out there with 10+ battery life. I have to admit it also has a better display than most netbooks though.

    I like some aspects of the iPad. I really like the touch interface for certain uses. I believe Apple has done a terrific job with its UI. The problem is that Apple charges a lot for just a touch UI compared to netbooks.

    Since i am a Linux user and a programmer, i wouldn't buy it anyway. I am against Apple's closed ecosystem practice. But i like Apple's contributions to modern device and UI design.

    The reason i am critical of Apple is that i do not like companies which make a practice to sell on hype and marketing instead of tech. Apple is almost like a cult. There are reviews out there(Ars for example) that say that luck of multitasking is a nice feature and makes their lives easier. This is almost pathetic.

    I was afraid that Anand was under Apple's influence but i am happy i was wrong and he reviewed it for what it is, a luxury item not able to replace current devices. Thank you Anand!
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Is what I gleaned from that review. A nice looking screen isn't useful if the rest of the device is pretty much useless.

    There's maybe a single use case, and that's if you want to watch h264 encoded video miles from civilisation. Even then, I'd argue a netbook and a couple of spare batteries would always serve you better.
    Reply
  • nquo - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    thoughts on iPad and its potential:
    http://nquo.posterous.com/ipad-bigger-than-a-big-i...
    Reply
  • Jalek99 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Every local news report I saw today featured iPads. The anchors showing pictures on the device when they have the usual corner of the window or the huge monitors behind them.

    Then Jimmy Fallon showing some app on one...
    The manufactured buzz is far more negative for me than anything the device itself merits.
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    He was asking for 720p on the IPHONE! This can be done by using a 3rd party file manager that allows you to transfer videos to the iPhone without iTunes and then select them inside the app. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Ahh, you are indeed correct sir. I didn't do the encode for the iPhone, I'm assuming we just re-encoded again. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • SunLord - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Did you know an apple store employee can pick a $499 ipad up for $350 which leads me to think per the norm for apple we be getting ripped off. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Well, no shit, it's an extremely low cost computer (with the possible exception of the screen) priced with a high price point. Reply
  • manicfreak - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    From some of the articles out there, the gross profit for the ipad can be anywhere from 50-60%. I'm not a fan of Apple's product, but I do admire their ability to get almost anyone from the media and the bloggers to hype up their underperformed, overpriced product. Reply

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