On the day that Apple launched the iPad over 300,000 were sold and an estimated 1 million in the first week. The allure of this Wi-Fi tablet PC, taking up the shortfall in the gap between the iPhone and laptop which promised to surpass any tablet PC currently available, was obvious for all to see: sleek, small, light weight, portable and essentially beautiful; even before its functionality was even considered. As the big sister of the iPhone, this was inevitably the gadget to have or at least hanker after.
Now that the release of iPad2 is rumoured to be taking place anytime from April 2011 the question that perhaps needs to be asked is whether the first one, in all its glossy magnificence actually lived up to expectations.
With an interface like that of the iPhone and iPod touch, with its resolution enhancing methods, it is elegant and easy to use. Boasting an adequate processor, a ten hour battery life and brilliantly colourful screen it is perfect for surfing the web, reading books, newspapers or viewing PDF documents. It also has a built in speaker, microphone and access to a vast amount of useful apps.
Whilst these attributes are numerous there also seems to be a disappointing downside to this appealing piece of hardware. Surfing the internet is a pleasurable experience, a Facebook status can be easily updated and a Twitter feed easily followed; pleasurable that is until a website demands the use of Adobe Flash Player. Many websites that stream music or video such as BBC iPlayer and certain apps on Facebook cannot be used without Flash but the iPad does not support it, thus streaming media from these sources is subsequently impossible, The iPad’s vivid screen is perfect for the gaming experience but aside from the various gaming apps other gaming websites are woefully inaccessible due to the fact they need Flash player. (This is also the case with certain shopping websites examples include Moet,or Cartier) Being a perfect viewing platform for photographs, not only does the iPad not have a camera but it also does not have USB port or SD card reader. Although it is possible to read books, using the iBooks app and PDF documents, there is not a great range of textbooks available nor is it possible for the user to create a PDF document themselves. There is also no drag and drop facility, which, with the added impracticality of the virtual keyboard makes it an unwieldy virtual office companion. This can be alleviated by buying the Apple Keyboard Dock for approximately £60, but the benefits of this are surely outweighed by the iPads original portability.
Is it consequently fair to say that although the iPad, with its convenient Wi-Fi web browsing capabilities, is an improvement on the tablet pc but has genuine scope to better itself? Perhaps the release of iPad2 will remedy such irritations producing, with the addition of other snippets of genius, a product that is beyond censure.