Why The Apple iPad Falls Short

The Apple iPad shows great promise because it’s thin and sleek and it’s an apple’s product. And it’s means quality and a lot of good apps. But anyway is it worth buying? The answer boils down to how much you’re willing to pay for a toy.

It's "fun to play with," Ker Than and Robert Roy Britt wrote for LiveScience's report, but "it's hard to figure out what role it fills that some other device doesn't do much better." Photo: Apple

The Apple iPad shows great promise because it’s thin and sleek and it’s an apple’s product. And it’s means quality and a lot of good apps. But anyway is it worth buying? The answer boils down to how much you’re willing to pay for a toy.

Ker Than and Robert Roy Britt for LiveScience have been testing both a low-end and top-end iPad all weekend, also letting family members age 9 to 59 try it out and offer their reactions. It’s “fun to play with,” they wrote in their overall conclusion, but “it’s hard to figure out what role it fills that some other device doesn’t do much better.”

Here are the most severe problems they saw:

  • It’s Awkward: “You can’t carry it on your hip like a phone, so it presents the same portability issues as any laptop – you’ll need a case of some sort to protect it and carry the power cable. Even around the house, there’s no simple way to carry the iPad. It’s too thin, heavy, slippery and expensive to put under your arm. Several of our testers were seen carrying it like a dinner tray, as a butler would, to go from the kitchen table to the couch. Portability, shmortability.”
  • Forget reading in the sun: “If you thought to take your iPad along for an outing in Central Park or at the beach, forget about it. While bright and contrasty indoors, the iPad’s screen looks washed out and is almost impossible to view in bright sunlight. The Kindle’s non-glossy e-ink display fares much better outdoors than the iPad’s screen.”
  • The browser is limited: “The iPad also uses the same limited Safari browser that’s found on the iPhone. While much fuss has been made about the iPad’s inability to play Flash video, there are other things it can’t do as well. For example, Safari on iPad can’t be used to create Google Documents, only to view them.”
  • iPhone-only apps look horrible: “Apple boasts that many of the 150,000 apps already available on the iPhone will also work on the iPad. What the company doesn’t tell you is that when enlarged to fit on the iPad’s screen, these iPhone apps look horrible, with images and text very pixelated. For this reason, many people will opt to buy apps that are made specifically for the iPad, which tend to be more expensive than their iPhone counterparts.”
  • The price is just too high: “$499 is just the beginning, a low-memory model that will fill up too quickly for anyone with a big music library and/or an appetite for video. Toss in ample memory and a 2-year, $280 “we’ll replace it even if you drop it” warranty at Best Buy, and you’re out $1,000. Given the iPad’s weight, awkwardness and slipperiness, we think the warranty is smart.” [via LiveScience]

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