Apple IPad – Hands on

The same contact who gave me the Samsung Galaxy tab also gave me a 1 day evaluation loan of his Apple IPad, as he senses i was keen on getting a tablet.  While i had several fleeting experiences using the IPad this was the first time i had a complete experience, and coming just a few days after trying out the Galaxy tablet also ensured i had a good idea of what the non-Apple tablet products offered. Note that my comments are mainly using the IPad as a ebook reader and portable computing, and not as a gaming platform where i am sure the IPad may have a far superior set of games available than the Androids (for now). Though the IPad got was the 3G version i could not try out the 3G or the wireless since i did not have a microSIM, and my trusty router gave me trouble.   My attempts at using the X10 as a router failed as i found all the apps on the Android market for using the phone as a hotspot required the device to be rooted.

Positives

  • The larger screen definitely made it an ideal magazine reader as you could manage to read a magazine without any need for a zoom.
  • The PDF reader was able to flip through pages with practically no lag which is very impressive, since you sometimes have a lag even on your desktop
  • Built-in mic useful for skype video calls

Negatives

  • No SD card slot or ability to play video and content from a memory card even with the camera kit which has a SD slot.  All content has to be copied to the on-board memory (which is why you have to decide the capacity you want in th IPad as there is no going back).
  • The lock on file transfer is so tight that even the bluetooth is purely only for voice, and has no support for any file transfers.  Considering we are used to transferring files through BT using our phones (non Apple phones atleast!) this was very limiting.
  • Limitations in syncing on multiple computers – The Ipad already had a load of applications installed, however i could not install any new apps without loosing all that was there, since iTunes sync detects that you have set it up with another desktop and disallows any additions without erasing all existing apps. Another high security feature of the Apple to avoid people misusing the licenses on apps i guess :).  However it does seem to allow upto 5 computers to officially registered for syncing, though the restriction still limits the flexibility you need.
  • No DivX support (officially) – You cannot import DivX videos into iTunes and transfer to iPad directly.  You have to convert DivX videos to iPad compatible videos or purchase an app such as CineXPlayer/OPlayer HD or stream divx content through apps like AirVideo.  The third party DivX players though have many limitations, where some files may not be playable.
  • No front facing camera – Sadly paying $500+ for an IPad just for the ebook reader seems criminal, when other pure ebook readers sell for less and have much longer battery life, albeit that most of these are eInk implementations (grayscale only, bar the Barnes and Noble Nook Color which however seems more tablet than ebook reader!).   However the IPad not having a front facing camera for video calls seems a criminal omission (Bet Stevey J wanted to sell the next gen IPad with the camera, and suddenly now finds that omission is hitting him hard as all the Android devices are featuring cameras and even dual 3D cameras to lure clients away from the IPad).
  • Micro SIM.  Possibly another move by apple to allow their telecom partners to make things harder for the users to use the device with other providers.  Thankfully a simple modification to the normal SIM makes it a Micro SIM to overcome this rather stupid decision.  See http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/apple/how-to-make-your-own-ipad-or-iphone-4-micro-sim-681020 in case you want to DIY.
  • No official headset with mic for IPad – unusually though the device has a built-in mic, the headset accessory with a mic is not available officially and you have to try and find an unit that will do this job
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One thought on “Apple IPad – Hands on”

  1. Great review Bobby!

    Apple’s stance on one iTunes library per phone is really giving me a headache!
    I do use a rooted iPhone yet it gives a big headache when moving music to and from the device.

    And speaking about “closed-ness” of the platform I don’t think they will get away from their current eco-system. Since it has proved to be working – we can suspect the Marketing strategy of Apple is way advanced than others – at least for the moment. (Yeah i know i have become a “fanboy” now 🙂 )

    And hope we get a good device this year in the iPad2 launches!

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