By: Hillel Fuld
Yesterday was a big day for me. While I am a complete gadget nut and always want the newest toys, truth be told, I am not much of an early adopter. It is mainly budgetary constraints since I do not usually have money laying around to buy the newest toys. However, yesterday, I got my iPad 3g 64GB.
Before I go into the details of what you are here to read, let me just say that somehow every time I open any Apple product, the same thought comes to mind. “Why can’t other companies have such nice packaging?” Apple pays attention to every little detail and it is very obvious in the elegant packaging they use for their products. OK, I know, I have not told you anything you did not already know.
As for the iPad, not to sound to clich’e but, wow. Everyone around me seems to be saying wow for the past 24 hours and my co worker actually was so impressed with the device, that he offered to buy it from me on the spot for $1,100 (it costs $820 new). I love the device and I would recommend it to anyone. However, nothing is perfect, and there are some serious flaws with Apple’s debut into the tablet market (did that market really exist before the iPad?). I am not going to be talking about the lack of Flash or USB ports because we all read about these issues and to be honest, neither of them really bother me. However, other things do, and someone needs to tell people about them, so here goes.
The following is a list of issues I have with my iPad:
- Fingerprints: I am not an expert on the topic, but it seems to be that there has to be a way to make displays more resistant to finger prints. The iPad, whether you like it or not, is a beautiful device, but after using it and turning off the screen, you will notice that every single point of contact has finger prints on it. I plan on getting a screen protector to fix this problem, but if Apple can come up with a Retina display for the iPhone that exceeds the capabilities of the human eye, they have to be able to invent a screen that is somehow resistant to fingerprints. Am I missing something?
- Awkward: This is something I read about a little before buying the iPad and it is also the reason all the Apple clips show the iPad users laying down with the iPad on their laps, but I did not realize if was such a real issue. How on earth am I supposed to hold this thing? Putting aside the whole laptop replacement or not, the iPad is a tablet computer and I for one, do not understand how one is supposed to input text on a device like this. When I am laying down in bed, I can place the iPad on my knees, but when at a desk, it is flat so I cannot type, and I am not going to talk about moving around and holding it in your hands. Without a case, the iPad is awkward.
- Heavy: Yes, it only weighs 1.5 lbs I know, but somehow the iPad is much heavier than you would expect. In Apple’s defense, I prefer a heavy device that is engineered to perfection, which is what I believe the iPad is, over a device that is light and feels flimsy. Having said that, the iPad is way too heavy to hold in your hands for an extended period of time. Then again, maybe I need to pay a visit to the gym.
- CoverFlow: OK, till now we covered some hardware issues, now onto the software. There are some features that would have been such a natural fit for a device like the iPad and for some odd reason, they are missing. One of my biggest surprises was the lack of CoverFlow for the iPad music player. You know the famous iPhone interface that allows you to swipe between all your albums with the cover of the album in full size? Yea, you can’t do it on the iPad. Now, truth be told, if this feature had been implemented on the iPad, I would have had to replace most of my album art because they are mostly low resolution pictures, but that is something I would have happily done for a little CoverFlow action. Strange on Apple’s part to leave this out.
- Camera/s: OK, I know what you’re thinking. “OK, the iPad has no camera, move on, and if it bothers you so much, don’t buy one”. You’re right, but I cannot talk about the missing features of the iPad without mentioning this. The ability to Skype call on an iPad is something that would have been the very first feature I enabled on such a device, if I were Steve Jobs. We now know he recognizes the potential of video calling technology, so why would he leave it out on the iPad? Not to mention a regular camera, which is something so standard today. Sorry to be so conspiratorial but the only explanation I can think of is that Mr. Jobs wanted to save an iPad camera for next year’s “One more thing”.
- Music Player: I am a big believer in the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but apparently the engineers of the iPad music player are not. Correct me if I’m wrong but the music player on the iPhone/iPod Touch is near perfection, or at least the best the market has to offer, so why change it on the iPad? The new interface is significantly more confusing. Whether it is the lack of a Now Playing option, or the confusing hidden Shuffle buttons, I am not going to say I don’t get it, but unlike the iPhone version, it took me some time to get used to. Not a huge deal but more of an unnecessary annoyance.
- Button Confusion: We have all heard the claim that the iPad is just a big iPod Touch, and while I disagree due to enhancements in the iPad’s screen, processing power, and interface, I will say that there are a lot of similarities. However, I am not sure why the buttons, and specifically the power button could not have been in the same place as the iPod Power button. I know you think I am nitpicking, but it has been 24 hours and I am still trying to hit the power button on the top left side every time, and forgetting that it is actually on the top right side. I want to believe there is a reason for this inconsistency, and in Apple’s defense I will say that if this was any other company, this point would be a non issue, but Apple does things right, and this is wrong. UPDATE: Turns out the Power button is on the right side on the iPhone as well (I am using a BlackBerry, so what do I know?), which strengthens my point since it is on the left of the iPod Touch, so why the inconsistency? Thanks for pointing that out Guy.
- Video Conversion: Nothing new here, I know, but wow is this annoying. Getting a video from my Canon camera onto the iPad is a serious and annoying process. OK, I get it, Apple supports limited video types, but why can’t iTunes convert the video to a compatible format? If I add an Avi file to my iTunes, it just sits there, does not tell me it won’t work on the iPad and then generates an error when I attempt to play it on the iPad. So the way I see it, Apple has two choices. Either offer support for more video types or help users make their videos compatible with your software. Leaving it the way it is now is unacceptable especially since the iPad is supposed the ultimate device when it comes to ease of use, and no way in hell my dad will be able to convert his videos to work on an iPad.
- iPhone Apps: I am not a developer, so I am not speaking from that angle, but as a user, the whole iPhone apps scaled to fit the iPad screen is not an acceptable solution. If you have no idea what I am talking about, the iPhone has over 200,000 apps available in the App Store, while the iPad has close to 10,000 so to allow users the use of iPhone apps on the iPad, Apple has enabled a magnify button so the iPhone app fills up the 10 inch screen. However, naturally the iPhone apps look pretty pathetic on the iPad screen, and once again, that is unacceptable. I do not know if this is something that can be improved in the iPhone SDK or something developers have to change in their code, but seeing pixelated Facebook pictures on my iPad kinda defeats the purpose of having such a nice display.
- App Prices: Only in a mobile market with such fierce competition could this point have any validity. I would never have complained about mobile apps costing $5 two years ago, but with so many free iPhone apps, not to mention Android apps, the iPad apps are a little pricey for me. Now, let me say that I am all for developers making some money and I understand that iPad apps given the larger display should cost more money, but I am suggesting a different solution. If Apple would loosen up its gates a little and approve more apps, we users would have more selection. Now for a device that is in existence for just two months, 10,000 apps is an astounding number, but I just wonder how many apps Apple has rejected over the past two months (I can personally think of two apps that should be on the App Store and were rejected or not approved, tawkon and Appsfire). More apps= more competition= better products and lower prices! That is my vision for the App Store.
- iPhone 4: Wait, what? The iPhone 4 is something that bothers me about the iPad? Yes! Apple does this all the time. Before I even get to enjoy my new toy, they come out with a new one that gives you a clear indication of what your toy will look like in the future. It is now pretty obvious to all that the next iPad will have a significantly enhanced display, something along the lines of the iPhone 4′s Retina display. In fact, I read somewhere that after using the iPhone 4, it is very hard to go back to the iPad’s screen. Now I know the technology world moves fast, but can’t Apple wait a little next time to let me glow in my fortune of having the coolest toy on the block?
Now, I have to state for the record that if I were to list the things I love about the iPad, the list would be a whole lot longer. The display is mind blowing, the engineering is flawless, the OS is a piece of art (and I am not even using iOS 4 yet), and the HD apps are stunning. However, the above issues are real issues not mentioned in any of the iPad reviews I have read (and I have read a lot of iPad reviews). Would I say any of these are reasons not to get an iPad? Unless you are a person who has the patience to wait for iPad 2.0, I would say no. The iPad is an overall game-changing device, and I am loving it as I am sure you will.
One more thing I was thinking while writing all these points is that I am such a complainer. This reminded me of my favorite online video of all time, entitled “Everything is Great and Nobody is Happy.” It talks about our lack of appreciation when it comes to modern technology and it is an absolute must watch! Watch the video below.
Do you have an iPad or are you thinking of getting one? Do these issues change anything for you? Please let us know in the comments!