June 2012: Yesterday, I bought an iPad. Before going to the Apple Store, I did some research to figure out which model I need. The 16, 32 or 64 GB memory with WiFi only or WiFi and Cellular. That's when I found several issues related to the new iPad. I don't have answers to all of the issues and also did not research them all in detail. I leave it up to you to decide if they are important. There are plenty of resources that have the answers.
WiFi only or WiFi + Cellular?
The iPad Wi-Fi Problem from ZDNet is only one of many articles written.
Apple seems to have a replacement policy for the faulty devices and replace problematic units.
After reading this, it was clear to get a Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
Below are Canadian prices for iPad data (as per June 2012)
You can buy the WiFi + Cellular model without having to sign up for a data plan. I keep the SIM card in a safe place and when the time comes, I'll sign up for the service. You have to choose a provider when you buy the iPad, but it is my understanding that you can changed this at a later time.
|up to 5MB = $5||up to 5MB = $5||up to 10MB = $5|
|up to 250MB = $17||up to 250MB = $15||up to 100MB = $10|
up to 500MB = $20
|up to 5GB = $37||up to 5GB = $35||up to 5GB = $35|
If you have plans to connect to your PC over Bluetooth, you are out of luck. There is no native support for this. The two options are network and USB cable. Keep in mind that the USB cable connected to the PC will NOT charge the iPad.
There were also reports that the iPad is getting very hot after prolonged use. Didn't concern me enough. Every newer device, phones and tables are running warmer than the old brick-like cell phones.
Software security in iOS didn't leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling. The issues in Important Apple Security Updates make it clear that Apples iOS faces the same problems like Windows. Automatic software updates are not always a blessing and Apple found out the hard way. eWeek was not very pleased with Apples "inexperience in handling such security situations and dealing with the security community".
Another issue of concern is the fact that the built-in security can be bypassed with Jailbreak software. Jailbreak allows you to start the device and bypass the restrictions put on by Apple. There are many applications that depend on Jailbreak to manipulate the interface in ways that are not supported by the native programming interfaces. Being able to load Jailbreak onto your Apple devices is one of the reasons they are not getting FIPS approved, and THAT is a problem.
Great display - speaker sub standard
Getting the iPad out of the box and powered up, the first impression is the amazing Retina display. The fonts are crisp and reading is a joy, no matter how small the fonts are. Same holds true for pictures. I was not able to snap any of the colorful picture yet, but the ones I imported from last years vacation look stunning. If you plan to create a slide show and use the iPad, keep in mind that you won't have stereo. The iPad has one speaker at the back and it is way below any standard I find acceptable.
Weight and handling
The iPad is heavy and has a slippery back. This is a personal observation and reported by many users as well. I can not hold the device comfortably in one hand and do the touchy stuff with the other. Some of the gestures require four or five fingers, so there will be times where you have to let one hand go. Add the 662 grams (1.46 pounds) to the equation and reading may become a strain on your hand. Before you say anything, keep in mind that this is a handheld device, not a laptop! Looks as if I really need some sort of a shell or case to make the handling better. The $50+ shells at the Apple store didn't appeal to me, so I may need to check out one of the accessory stands in the shopping mall.
USB port and charging
The iPad has one plug for all external connection. When you plug into your PC (without iTunes loaded), you get the tablet as an external disk with access to your photos and video clips. The bad thing, it does not charge the battery, at least not on my PC. I actually noticed this at a customer site. The iPad battery was drained and my customer was dead in the water until the iPad had enough power to connect to another device. If there is a way to charge the iPad and connect to PCs, it's an option that is not included in the box, or maybe requires iTunes on the computer. Viewing pictures or videos on the TV screen is definitely not included and requires additional gadgets.
Memory and storage
The iPad is available in 16, 32 and 64GB. There are no external memory options. When you sign up to iCloud, you get 4GB of free storage. If you have an iPhone or Mac and plan to wirelessly synchronize music and videos, the 4GB storage will not be enough. So the question is, how much memory do I need on my iPad and how much storage space on iCloud?
I did a short HD movie with the iPad and came up with the following calculation:
3:20 minutes (200 seconds) = 520MB
This translates to 150MB per minute or 1Gb for 6:30 minutes.
If you plan to use the iPad to capture videos in HD or watch movies that are stored on the iPad, you will need the 64GB version. If you only do email and some Internet browsing, you may get away with the 16GB version. You have limited space to store pictures. When you use Facebook or email to send pictures, a clean up will be required every once in a while. The good thing, Windows 7 connects to the iPad with the USB cable and you can copy the pictures or movies from the iPad to the PC and delete them from the iPad. iTunes is not required for simple copying. This is a one-way copy, from iPad to PC. Getting files from the PC to the iPad requires 3rd party software.
Possibly the best advice I can give to all smartphone and tablet users: Buy the tablet that works with your phone. If you like your Samsung or BlackBerry phone, the iPad may not be the best investment.
|There is an app for that!|
You will need them, the iPad ships with the bare minimum.
Messages for texting
Mail, Contacts and Calendar. They are business grade.
Notes and Reminders
Safari to browse the Internet
Maps uses the Google service
Camera, Photo Booth, FaceTime, plus Photo and Video folder
iTunes and Music folder
App Store, Game Center and Newsstand
Settings to configure your options and preferences
If you need to run a calculation, better get your pen and paper ready, or get a calculator from the App Store. Be prepared to spend money at the App Store, you will outgrow the free ones in a very short time.
From a web programming point of view, the iPad returns a screen resolution of 768 x 1024 and a Pixel Ratio of 2 (see screen sizes for technical details). The Retina Display is actually double the reported resolution (2x768 by 2x1024). No matter how you hold the iPad, the screen resolution always reports as 768 x 1024 and not the actual orientation.
My thoughts after the first week
The Retina Display is excellent for reading and viewing pictures. I question the weight of the tablet that make prolonged reading somehow uncomfortable. The iPad is too big to just take it with you. I guess Apple figured this one out too, they announced a 7 inch version for later this year.
Speaking to some of my business contacts that already have the iPad 2, none of them was ready to upgrade to the new iPad. "No new features" was the reasoning and the Retina display doesn't seem to tip the balance in favour of the new iPad.
I will give the iPad to my son who has an iPhone and post some of his comments in about a month.
|I am disappointed from Apple. The iPad lacks some of the basic tools. Is it too much to ask for a calculator? And how about two front facing speakers?|
The applications that are included enable you to buy the tools, books, music and news. Ever since Apple became the darling of the masses, they seem to be getting greedy. After spending more than double for an iPad compared to competitive products, you have to spend more money to actually do something. In Apples favor, you can download Help for free. It does however require a login and the submission of your credit card information is optional. That's just a sad highlight.
When I bought the iPad, the staff in the Apple Store tried to make this "an experience".
It's a mass produced computing device, not an adoption!
All I want is pick the box from the shelf and pay on the way out.
A short comparison between iPad and PlayBook can be found here
Update June 14, 2012: MacBook Pro news and comments by Gadget Lab regarding the components in the new MacBook and iPad. By the looks of it, the new high-tech devices depend on glue to get the quality and small size. This also makes them difficult to maintain, repair and recycle.
First published on June 06, 2012