Since yesterday, you can buy it in Germany and several other European countries: the iPad. Apple succeeds in making true what other manufacturers can only dream of: People flood stores and order a device for several hundred Euros—without knowing what the device can do.
Fancy. Innovative. Multifunctional. This is how Apple presents their newest achievement, the iPad, in TV spots and on its website. A computer to take with you, wherever you go… In the U.S., the flat tablet computer has triggered a true mass phenomenon: More than one million sold devices in the first month. The concept seems to be right.
The iPad is definitely changing the way how we use computers, especially at home. This is what iPad is made for: To be used at home, to surf the Web in your living room or at the table, to check mails, view photos or movies.
Its touchscreen makes it possible
In situations like these, you don’t need a keyboard—or very rarely. A finger tip is enough to display the content you want—whether it is photos, web sites, documents or anything else. Everybody can deal with the touch-sensitive screen. It is not important how you hold your iPad.
Without a doubt, the battery lasts for ten or more hours. I was really surprised by that, as the iPhone runs out of battery quite fast when you use the device much.
Excellent display quality—with just one disadvantage
You have to say it: The display quality is really excellent; the speed is impressive. But: the display is a reflecting one—extremely much. Depending on the lighting and outside, you will have difficulties reading the display contents. However, you will see fingerprints the more. That doesn’t look good, and of course, Apple won’t tell you.
iPad as reading device
Primarily, iPad wants to be a reading device. You should read books, newspapers and magazines—you can get all of these onto the iPad. The font is clear and crisp, photos look sleek as well. You can turn pages and zoom in for details. Some ebooks also offer interactive elements and are thus quite vivid. Reading on iPad works nicely. The device weight though is higher than you might assume at first hand. Rather make use of a table or desk, or your arm is going to be harmed…
You can buy books and newspapers in the new iBook Store. Publishers in non-English store versions though are holding back a bit yet, so there is not much to search through yet.
Gaming on the iPad
Gaming is an important sector, as the rather high number of iPad games indicates. For example, there are racing games where you take the whole device as stirring wheel replacement, instead of pushing buttons. You control the game with simple movements. The iPad detects them with integrated sensors.
Some tasks are really fun to do with the iPad, foremost surfing the Web, watching videos—or browsing photos. That works really well on the iPad: You can organize your photos in albums, check their contents, and if you got the right album, you can view its photos and take a look at them in detail. Slideshows are available as well, really nice.
However, other tasks can drive you crazy. This is true always when you try to accomplish something that Apple doesn’t provide. Apple is controlling everything: You can only install applications offered in the AppStore. That’s somehow worrying, maybe less for a mobile phone, yet definitively for a computer at home.
No computer replacement
While we’re talking about computers… You might ask: Can the iPad replace a normal computer? Clear response: No! The iPad is NOT a full-featured computer. You cannot store files on the iPad easily—or download files from it. You cannot even simply connect a USB stick.
You even need a real computer to use the iPad. To activate it, to update the system software, to make back-ups. You could say: The iPad is too stupid to work this out on its own.
The iPad costs between 499 and 799 Euro, depending on its available memory. So, not a cheap thing. And: extras like keyboard, docking station or adapter cable to connect the iPad to your TV or to plug in a digital camera, add to that cost—and aren’t cheap either. Expensive fun, the iPad.
Without a doubt, the iPad is fun. It can be useful, especially at home. But it has its bad sides as well—and Apple earns, much. Some manufacturers, like Intel or Google, have announced iPad alternatives—but you cannot buy them yet. Thus, Apple is the first.