Apple iPad review – Is the iPad for You?

Apple iPad review – Is the iPad for You?

by Richard Lawrence Jr.

As the 1990s came to a close and the Internet and email were fast becoming a part of everyday life, companies such as 3Com, Microsoft, and even Oracle saw a future in a new classification of computing devices: the Internet appliance. These devices were designed to be stripped down computers performing just a few dedicated tasks such as email and web browsing and offered a low cost simple alternative to more costly and complex personal computers.  Companies saw the Internet appliance as opportunity to really bring the web mainstream and into the home, not just the workplace. For about $100 plus monthly connection fees, customers could join the information age.

However, as the cost of PCs became more affordable and prices quickly began to fall well below $1000, the Internet appliance lost much of its initial attractiveness. Now, more than a decade later Apple has come up with what could essentially be classified as the reincarnation of the Internet appliance in the form of its new iPad tablet.

When Apple announced it would unveil a new product last January, speculation abounded in terms of what features would be included – namely, how would this new device stack up against products already on the market?  Dedicated ebook readers such as Amazon’s Kindle were gaining foothold and companies such as Hewlett-Packard were introducing new tablet PCs with advanced touch screen technology, not to mention the wildly successful netbook market. (Related topic: “Are you addicted to free eBooks?“)

Apple’s answer is a very thin (.5 inches) slab-like device slightly smaller than a sheet of notebook paper (9.56 inches tall x 7.47 inches wide). Using a version of Apple’s iPhone operating system, the iPad tablet, which ranges from $499 for the 16gb Wi-Fi only model to $829 for 64gb, Wi-Fi and 3G is intended to be simple to operate – right down to the familiar home button.  Think of it as an iPod Touch that took growth hormone.

Is the iPad tablet for You?

On paper and in commercials, the iPad tablet appears well-suited for people who desire something not only easy-to-use, but also fun and affordable.  While the iPad is not necessarily designed to totally replace the desktop (or a fully-featured notebook) computer, the iPad might better be classified as a “portable entertainment device.” Sporting a vivid 9.7 inch display, not only are you able to surf the web and read email, but also watch movies and videos, listen to music, play games, as well as read ebooks. Apple has also created compatible versions of its iWork office suite to make the iPad an even more useful device.

While comparisons are sure to be made pitting the iPad tablet against the Kindle as well as other competing tablet PCs, perhaps the biggest challenge will come from customers considering netbook PCs. The iPad’s introduction places it squarely against the fast-growing netbook segment of portable computers, which are essentially trimmed down versions of their bigger notebook cousins. They have proven successful due to their small size and small price.  Like the iPad tablet, netbooks are extremely portable but unlike the iPad, netbooks have much greater storage capacity and run standard operating system software.  They are, in essence, miniaturized versions of the desktop computing experience.

So, why choose an iPad tablet over a netbook? Come April 3 we will discover the answer may be as simple (or as complex) as “Apple magic” when we have the first opportunity to touch, feel, and experience iPad for ourselves.

By Richard Lawrence Jr.

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To iPad or not to iPad?
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About Richard Lawrence Jr.

About the Author: Richard Lawrence Jr. (his blog: The Scooting Scholar) is an avid iPhone fan and Apple enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter: rjlawrencejr