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The Truth Behind Apple's iPad

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 94 comments

It's a console.

Apple's iPad, which launched today to much fanfare, is simply an enabling platform. Those who have the iPhone or iPod Touch, know what it's like, for the most part, to use the iPad.

Sure, the iPad's got a much larger screen, and a faster processor, and even 3G, but it's just a bigger iPod Touch.

The killer application for the iPhone, was in fact, its ability to fit right into your pocket. Can you see yourself grabbing an iPad while you dash out your front door? Not me. It's big. And I already have my notebook, which also happens to be a MacBook Pro. Sure, call me an Apple fanboy, I don't care. My main desktop is in fact, a custom built PC. But even someone like me who has an Apple product, I can't vouch for the iPad.

The most critical point about the iPad, is the fact that it can't multi-task. Like the iPod Touch and the iPhone, it can only run one application at any given time. Despite having a powerful CPU on the inside, the iPad is crippled because of its operating system, the same operating system behind the iPhone. Fundamentally, if you already have a notebook and an iPhone, the iPad will have a difficult time finding a place in your daily routine.

Let's all say it together now: no multi-tasking? What the bleep?

The truth.

The iPad is a console, in every sense of the word. The real money maker for Apple, is the App Store, iBook store, and iTunes store. The iPad will capture the audiences that the iPhone/iPod Touch wasn't, and then some. It'll also capture the core Apple audience too. I've talked to a few real Apple fans today, and even they difficulty wrapping their heads around the iPad.

The iPad is a closed system. You can't do anything you want to it. Apps must be from the App Store. Like an SNES, or a PS3, software must be sanctioned. And like consoles, only one game can be played at any given time. And Like those consoles makers, the money is in the software (for consoles, it was the license to make software).

The iTunes store, the App store, and now the iBook store. Even if Apple sold each iPad for $50, it would make back its losses in a very short time period.

Truth be told, the magic should have been in the software. Given that the iPad is a tablet, we can understand that it doesn't have a keyboard. But not to be able to let its owner run more than one app is a miserable thing. The OS could have been so much more for the iPad. What the iPad should have shipped with, was OS X, with a tablet designed UI--not a tablet, with the iPhone OS.

Like a console though, it almost doesn't matter. It's all about getting people onto the App Store and making small payments, but a lot of small payments. One closed system, many software purchases. And because of the iPhone's already enormous popularity, it's not hard to convince just even those users, to hop on the iPad.

No doubt, there will be some instances where the iPad can deliver some unique uses. For many mainstream users who either just chat, email, or browse, the iPad may be OK. But for power users who love their software and want to get things done, there are alternatives.

Did I mention you can at least chat while playing games on current generation consoles?

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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 27, 2010 9:30 PM
    I give it 4 weeks and someone will crack this mutha open like an egg and have Linux running on it...

    Start your watches... NOW!!!
  • 30 Hide
    ominous prime , January 27, 2010 9:23 PM
    I completely agree with you Tuan. Apples use of the iphone operating system completely crippled the iPad. Really loved; "The iPad is a console" summed it up in four words.
  • 22 Hide
    tpi2007 , January 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    given there is a legal dispute with Fujitsu (not to mention Tampax...), I suggest they change the device's name right away to: iUseless
Other Comments
    Display all 94 comments.
  • 30 Hide
    ominous prime , January 27, 2010 9:23 PM
    I completely agree with you Tuan. Apples use of the iphone operating system completely crippled the iPad. Really loved; "The iPad is a console" summed it up in four words.
  • 21 Hide
    kravmaga , January 27, 2010 9:26 PM
    Tell that to all the bozos oozing of smug who even right now are picturing themselves sitting in a snob cafe sipping on a cup of something I can't even pronounce with a modern jazz track in the background while reading the latest gazette on an iPad.

    The focus group for this thing was never the productive cross section of the bell curve.
  • 16 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 9:27 PM
    Im equally dissapointed. No USB so that you can share documents and presentations. No infrared eye to cannot be used as a remote controll. Flimsy instable docking solution. Biggest mistake, no OSX. Screen resolution seems also totally wrong. As an eBook you will get very tired eyes with the backlight screen and too limited battery capasity. This 1st edition will be given a pass by me. Maybe if some of these issues are corrected it might be a chance to get this one. As is now it's just a iTouch with a bigger screen and the advantage of the new aps is not too bad but how do you import the photos from your camera when on the road? Oh, you need another computer, right!
  • 36 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 27, 2010 9:30 PM
    I give it 4 weeks and someone will crack this mutha open like an egg and have Linux running on it...

    Start your watches... NOW!!!
  • 3 Hide
    demonnn , January 27, 2010 9:31 PM
    I this is pretty useless. it's just an ipodtouch/iphone with larger screen. There is no reason to get it if you have either of those two devices. The only thing good on iPad will be internet browsing , like iphone . It's great
  • 1 Hide
    fafner , January 27, 2010 9:34 PM
    I wonder how long it will be before someone jailbreak this thing.
  • 5 Hide
    snotling , January 27, 2010 9:35 PM
    Must be something they whipped up in a few months when they figured they could not "NOT do it" without the whole world throwing tomatoes at them.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    I have to wonder why you would watch a movie on a iPad rather then your TV?
    As a country that has embraced big screen TV's. I cannot imagine anyone tying themselves to Apple and iTunes for content. Except for the Apple cult users. The other downfalls with it are a weak CPU, no full OS which probably means no Flash. What exactly is thing going to bridge? This looks more like hardware trying to sell Apps. Another way for Apple to bring you into their ecosystem. I am not buying.
  • 0 Hide
    micky_lund , January 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    ... ... apple ... ...
  • 22 Hide
    tpi2007 , January 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    given there is a legal dispute with Fujitsu (not to mention Tampax...), I suggest they change the device's name right away to: iUseless
  • 12 Hide
    ravewulf , January 27, 2010 9:38 PM
    *Pounds gavel* As far as tablets go, I deem the "iPad" a dud.
  • 12 Hide
    alvine , January 27, 2010 9:41 PM
    iPhail
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 9:50 PM
    iFail
  • 9 Hide
    botabota , January 27, 2010 9:51 PM
    ifailed
  • 6 Hide
    ekidhardt , January 27, 2010 9:51 PM
    iNothanaks
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2010 9:51 PM
    iPharked
  • 15 Hide
    falchard , January 27, 2010 9:51 PM
    An apple based processor, no graphics performance, and limited memory for a very large price tag.
  • 6 Hide
    tenor77 , January 27, 2010 9:52 PM
    Not loading OSX on this was dumb.

    Mac's "tablet" fails the primary definition of being a tablet.
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