The Apple iPad: What’s Missing?

ipadNow that I’ve had a chance to think about it and perhaps Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field” has worn off a bit, there are some things about the iPad I don’t like or wish had been, or hadn’t been, included in the new device. On the surface, the iPad seems like a great device and one that I will most likely get. But today’s announcement still left me wondering about a few things.

And here they are:

No camera – For a device like this it would make sense to have a video camera for video conferencing and to take pictures and video, much like the iPhone 3GS. If this device is supposed to be some sort of laptop replacement, it should have a camera. The deliberate omission of a camera smells like an obvious ploy by Apple to not cannibalize sales of the iPhone and iPod.

No Flash – Say what you will about Adobe’s Flash but for the full Internet browsing experience you still need to have Flash. Sure, the iPhone doesn’t have it but if this is supposed to be a larger, better device that can replace my 13″ MacBook, it should have Flash.

Navigating to web pages and seeing those black rectangles where video should be isn’t the fantastic experience Apple makes it out to be. It’s just bad and seriously undermines the credibility of Apple’s mobile web browser.

Storage – I realize that Apple probably isn’t positioning the iPad as a complete laptop replacement but it would still be nice to have more storage than the maximum of 64GB. Of course, having more storage would probably mean that battery life would suffer or the device would be more expensive but still, video files are usually pretty large and I’ve also got a lot of music and other files, plus applications and games, so larger storage options would be great.

No multitasking – Although the iPad features a CPU that can handle multitasking, it still won’t let you have multiple application open at the same time. Again, this is a limitation that will probably force some people to continue to use their MacBook instead of the iPad.

The screen – Although the screen looks beautiful and is probably great for looking at pictures and video, its reflective properties will probably cause some people to experience eye strain when trying to read books on the device. Plus, the screen itself isn’t really 16:9, which is the aspect ration of HD TV’s these days. Not sure why Apple went that way.

3G by AT&T – Words cannot describe my negative opinion of AT&T’s network, but I’ll try. Trying to make a call is often impossible and the 3G coverage is spotty at best and at worst, non-existent. Why Apple still clings to AT&T as a partner for an advanced and innovative device like this is beyond me.

Maybe Apple knows something we don’t know about AT&T’s network or maybe the 3G coverage is really good in Cupertino? Whatever the reason, I’m very disappointed at this particular development.

Still, you do have the saving grace of access to all of AT&T’s Hotspots so when the 3G service fails you, and it will, you can switch over to Wi-Fi. Of course, this will all come at a price premium of around $130.00 to get an iPad with 3G capability and will also cost at least another $14.99 a month to use AT&T’s anemic 3G network, which just adds more to the problem. Why Apple didn’t partner with Verizon on the iPad I will never understand.

I’m sure as more information comes out on the iPad and people (including myself) actually get their hands on one to test it, I’ll come up with more things for this list. Until then, anyone want to buy a slightly used Kindle 2.0?

  • Scarlett
    January 28, 2010 at 3:47 am

    iPad sounds like a robot kotex. Bad, bad name.

  • Sven
    January 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    No flash is a big killer for me. I have an AppleTV, and am disappointed with Apples lack of support / upgrades for the device. I’ve hacked it with Flash, XBMC, and Boxee, but still can not get Hulu to play correctly. It stutters, stops, and glitches. So I’m guessing this will be the same way. I just don’t think the wimpy processor can handle flash, even if Apple wanted to include it 🙁

    I’ll stick with my macbook, and maybe get an iPod Touch which is more portable and can do everything the iPad can do.

    Not to mention the name. iPad. really?

  • Stuart
    January 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Chris

    Interesting thoughts. I agree, once the ‘reality distortion field’ effect wears off, one’s left wondering the same things. Other thoughts:

    1. where will people actually use this – not as portable (or usable when standing) as an iPhone – need to be seated

    2. touch screen the way to go but not for prolonged book reading

    3. agree re storage. Also, how Apple get away with their pricing policy for extra memory has always mystified me (and caused great admiration!). $100 to upgrade from 16 to 32GB, same for 32-60GB

    4 how about a MacBook Air with the same touch screen (which might even flip to create the tablet)?

    5 can a non-backlit e-ink screen be combined with this screen type?

    Is what they have produced enough to be as paradigm-shifting as they claim? Maybe versions 2 and 3 when they come out, but not as is surely. Only time will tell

    Stuart

    • Chris Ullrich
      January 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      Stuart,

      All good points. I’m going to seriously have to think if I really want one or not. Will probably try it out a lot before making the choice.

  • Tracy
    January 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Apple sticks with AT&T because of the type of system it uses to provide service. AT&T uses the same network technology as most other companies around the world. Apple can make one product that works all over the world, instead of having a Verizon version and a world version.

    • Chris Ullrich
      January 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm

      Hi, thanks for the comment. I know the technical reasons why Apple sticks with GSM, I just wish they could make a hybrid device that would work on both GMS and CDMA and allow users to choose which 3G company to support. Other companies do it, why can’t Apple?

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