I have to admit, my first experience with an Apple device of any kind was an iPhone and it was a very confusing one. I had fallen for its sleek look and even more so, when a friend told me that the Twitter app, TweetDeck could be used on it, I was clearly very impressed. I got one as soon as I could but it turned out to be clunky as hell (although with extraordinary graphics) and generally, very low battery life. I would go through a fully-charged battery in less than a day; a serious problem for a volume user like me.
However, no company hypes a product like Apple does and while on vacation in the US this year, I came across the iPad and believe you me, I was sold. The iPad was everywhere – from its leaked pictures to flashy advertisements to the Keynote and of course, the product itself. I visited three different Apple stores in hopes of buying it but finally had to order it online. I must say that this tablet, call it an in-between device or a glorified Kindle, it is hands-down the most remarkable piece of technology I have ever tried. Let me explain why.
The iPad which comes in two categories: Wi-Fi and 3G plus Wi-Fi and three different memory slots of 16, 32 or 64GBS – is a bigger, better version of the iPod, iTouch and even the iPhone. Weighing in at about 700 grams (25 ounces), its size and weight are between those of most contemporary smart phones and laptop computers. Apple released the iPad in April 2010, and sold 3 million devices in 80 days. I have honestly not even touched my laptop since I bought this device. Here are some of the myths I’ve busted so far:
Myth # 1: The Ipad cannot multitask
As far as the average user is concerned, multitasking does not involve having four or five different applications and switching between those like a mad hatter. One usually listens to music while browsing or while typing an article (such as this one which the iPad does quite beautifully!). In fact, it runs any of the native Apple apps that come with it in the background without any issues. Plus, the new OS release scheduled for next month will extend this capability to all other iPad applications. Speaking of which, the word-processor I have been using to write articles, etc was for US $ 3 at the app store, and it does everything MS Word does, and more.
Myth # 2: Typing is difficult on a touch screen
You most definitely can. In fact, the onscreen keyboard on the iPad is the same size as any mini notebook out there, so once you begin typing on the nine-inch screen, in about 10 minutes you forget you are typing on a screen, heck the touch screen is so responsive I now beckon to my packet of cigarettes by mistake on occasion instead of reaching for it. Ever felt like that?
Myth # 3: The Flash conundrum
Many forms of media available online are in the form of “Flash,” a very popular multimedia platform by Adobe (formerly Macromedia) which acts as the base player to run the code that helps animates, stream videos, etc. The iPad does not support flash, but guess what – it doesn’t need to! Because like the so many other times when Apple has innovated in the past, the market adapts to such innovations seamlessly, meaning most videos on the internet are already available in a format which the iPad recognises and plays effortlessly. Ditto for websites.
Myth # 4: Without a Wi-Fi router this is just a flat brick
Wrong again. Yes the iPad Wi-Fi version which was the first edition, needed the internet for its multitude of functions but now the Ipad has a 3G option which means you can insert your sim card in to it and unlike the iPhone, it’s designed to work worldwide. Presto! The GPRS continues to run smoothly. Oh and for those with the Wi-Fi only version (like me), you can get a USB dongle which lets you connect many phones to it (with some fiddling) to act as a modem as well.
Myth # 5: Low battery life
Yes I know, we have all been through this, Apple batteries are embedded inside the case and can fade fast, However, after using my iPad for about three months, it lasts a good two days even when used for quite a few hours each day. That is some serious battery life for a machine which does all that this one can.
Lets face it, there are other players lining up to take a swipe at the iPad, Samsung’s “Galaxy” and RIM’s “Playbook” being just two of them. But they cannot match the speed, the user-friendliness (my 2-year-old can use this) or the panache of this device where you can read books, comics (amazing 3D versions), listen to music, watch videos, word process, make spread sheets and presentations on (it has an optional TV/projector streaming kit). All this aside, there is just no replacement out there for the range and the sheer number of iPad applications available for free and paid ones that can easily be downloaded from the Apple app store. If you thought browsing was nice on the iPhone, just see what Safari can do on the iPad. My device has six newspaper apps which download the morning papers for me automatically which opens in true colors and I can easily ‘flip through the newspaper pages’.
So yes after a lifetime of being a PC user, I have finally been converted. Please note not because of how sleek and flashy this device is but for the convenience it offers. If you have ever carried a 15.6-inch heavy laptop, you will want to buy the iPad for the mobility it offers. As far as creations in the gadget world go, this one is almost perfect.
As published in the DAWN BLOG on 11 Oct 2010