Apple Introduces the iPad – Revolutionary or Evolutionary ?

The last time there was so much hype about a tablet, was possibly when Moses came down the mountain with one made of stone !   Steve Jobs – who has almost attained the same legendary status in the tech world  - officially announced  the much-anticipated Apple Tablet today and it is called … the iPad.

The pre-launch buzz around this event was so massive, that when Apple finally made the announcement today, it was actually a bit of a let-down. Although the die-hard fans may not admit it – you could sense the disappointment in the posts on blogs and on Twitter.   The device is certainly beautiful, sleek and impressive, as all Apple products are, but is it truly revolutionary as was promised ? A few years back maybe – but certainly not today.    The first impression of many was that it is  a giant iPhone/iPod combination.  It  has nothing that we have not seen before –  there is no single feature that is truly groundbreaking.    Of course, when expectations are so unreasonably high it is not surprising that they have not been fully met.

Update :   There are many wonderful attributes of the iPad and they are highlighted everywhere including Apple’s website.   Apple also claims that the iPad  is  “the best way to experience the web, email, photos, and videos. Hands down.”    But is it really ?  There are some serious drawbacks to the iPad  that  make that claim ring hollow. And there are a few others that may well  prevent it from becoming the game changer that Apple hoped it would be :

  • No support for Flash in current iteration.  While Flash may ultimately be phased out by HTML 5/CSS 3, it is ubiquitous on the web right now. Not supporting it is a serious drawback for any serious web browsing.
  • No support for Multitasking. This is understandable on the iPhone but is a serious shortcoming for the iPad.
  • No SD I/O,  USB ports or HDMI connectors   – which are industry standards for any such device to interface with your camera, external storage or TV.  (To do so you  will need to purchase an extra – expensive –  adaptor from Apple)
  • No video camera.  This is surprising considering that even the most low end phones today come with these built-in.
  • 4:3 Screen Aspect Ratio : Again a surprising drawback.  Most HD Movies are widescreen (16:9) and will  not look great when displayed in the 4:3 ratio (which is used by older standard TVs).
  • Locked to iTunes & Apple : The iPad is a closed Apple eco-system – you will not be able to download and run movies, videos, songs, MP3s or any applications from anywhere on the web except  from  Apple’s iTunes store .   That is a severe restriction that is a huge drawback.
  • AT&T 3G data connection :   AT&T’s 3G data connection has  notoriously spotty and unreliable coverage. It is puzzling that they did not chose Verizon for this.

Of course, Apple may well remedy these shortcomings in later versions of the iPad  based on user feedback.  But the version as demoed today by Steve Jobs,   has certainly received swift criticism across the blogosphere.

[ The coverage for the launch was fast and furious among all the tech blogs - including Techcrunch and Mashable but the traffic spikes brought down Techcrunch several times during the launch (with many  "Database connection errors").  Twitter held up surprisingly well.  Friendfeed crashed several times as well  ]

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