Apple iPad

So, I’m a little late to the blogsphere on this one, but then when am I not? I’ve read some pretty damning things about the iPad, it doesn’t have a SD card reader, it doesn’t have a camera, it has files and no file system, it doesn’t do Flash, and that the name suggests a type of adult nappy… I thought that I’d look at these comments and generally give my views on the iPad and it’s hardware.

First up, I’d like to say that the lack of an SD card reader really doesn’t bug me. All my photos are stored in iPhoto, I transfer them there via a cable from my camera. And this is, perhaps, one of the reasons why people seem to hate the fact there is no viable file system on the iPad. Windows users are used to dragging files around, Mac users (with the introduction to iLife) have enjoyed the magic of self-organised photos, movies and music. Windows users have applications available to them, but many don’t see to use them, Mac users seem to like the increased productivity iPhoto and iTunes gives them. I believe in a number of years, all these files will be gone. File space and network speeds will mean that compression is no longer needed, so people will only have to concern themselves with Photos, Documents, Music, Spreadsheets, Movies, etc…Apple know that the desktop isn’t ready yet, but the mobile platforms of today are. Having said all of that, Apple have created an accessory for connecting a camera via USB or by using a SD card.

The lack of Flash doesn’t worry me either. I visit very few sites that require Flash to get the most out of the site. Most Flash on the web seems to drive adverts. It’s a shame that Flash games won’t run, but I tend not to play games that often… Flash videos can go, with the introduction of H.264, YouTube doesn’t need Flash and neither does a number of other sites offering video streaming.

iPad. I guess it could conjure the image of an Apple branded nappy:

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However, I feel the name has slightly more technical and historical background. In the late 1980’s Xerox PARC’s Mark Weiser coined the phrase “ubiquitous computer”, a term to mean “computing all around us”. He believed that we were entering a new era in computing. We’d had the mainframes (one computer to many people), we’d had desktops (one computer to one person), but now we were entering the ubiquitous era, with many small (perhaps task specific) computers serving many people in everyday life. PARC created three devices in the early-mid 1990’s, the tab, the pad and the board. The tab, a small palm device that ran applications on a server and the GUI on the device, it encouraged computing on the go and had the vision of always being connected to the network. The board, similar to an interactive whiteboard today, allowing many people to interact with it both over the network and physically. The pad, a smaller more personal board, one could use a tab to drive a board. Pads ran on workstations with forwarded graphics. Today’s iPad, in my mind, fulfils pretty much what the Xerox PARC Pad tried to accomplish almost two decades ago. The iPhone/iPod Touch is similar to the tab.

The iPad’s hardware is something to marvel at. Whatever Apple have in there it’s super power efficient as Apple claim the iPad will last for ten hours on a single battery charge, and it all squeezes into an incredibly thin package. The tablet is powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 chip. The A4 chip is a CPU and GPU all on one chip. I’m guessing the added bonus of having this combination is perhaps less power consumption and added room in a cramped space. I can see the next-gen iPhone having an Apple chip. The A4 drives all of the applications and the 9.7" screen which runs at a 1024x768 resolution. The three capacities given are 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, each costs $100 more than the previous. Apart from that, I think it will be interesting to see the first break-apart.

Pricing isn’t too bad. The 16GB model is $499 as of 31/1/10 that’s £312.79! Perhaps Apple will up this to £350, though I fancy that they’ll charge around £400 for it.

I’d like to see how the iPad is received when it is released. I’m also looking forward to seeing the second and third generation iPads.