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iPad - An Objective Analysis

The blogosphere is buzzing with iPad articles. From jokes about its name (to some, it sounds like female hygiene pads) to raves about how it will change the world, people are writing and speaking about it. In the meantime, the moBistro dev team had downloaded the SDK, the designers are looking at the Human Interface Guidelines and the analysts are making objective observations. We are neither Apple haters nor lovers. In our offices, you will find a plethora of Windows 7 machines and all versions of iPhones, Androids, Blackberries and Macbooks. So here are some objective observations:
  • The Name: We agree that name “iPad” is a bit of a downer. With Apple’s clout, they could have named it something abstract (e.g. the iCaz or even the iX). We preferred the other names bandied around like iSlate, iTablet or iBook. So we laugh at the jokes…

    Grade: D
  • The O/S: Consumers probably won’t care what Operating System the iPad uses, but developers do. None of the Mac OS applications will run on the iPad. Instead, the apps available on the iTunes app store (there are more than 140,000 of them) will run on it. From a developer’s perspective, iPad app development will continue on Objective C. This is definitely not a positive.

    Grade: C-
  • The Form Factor & Hardware: With a 9.5x7.5 inch screen, the super-thin and super-light iPad is a winner. Its different models weigh in at 1.5 and 1.6 pounds respectively. It is an incredible 0.5 inches thin. The screen-resolution could have been better, but we think 1024x768 is acceptable. It also has a built-in Accelerometer and Ambient light sensor. Battery life is an incredible 10 hours. The lack of a camera (especially for video-conferencing) is a bit of a downer and so is the non-self-changeable battery.

    The iPad will come in several different models. The top-of-the-line iPad will have built-in 64G flash drive and 3G support. It will also come built-in with 802.11n support. This should be enough bandwidth to watch full-screen hi-res video wirelessly. Of course, the customary built-in speakers, microphone, digital compass, assisted GPS, etc. will come standard. Bluetooth will be built-in too. Overall, it is feature-packed. You can buy additional accessories to add convenience (e.g. keyboard dock, camera connection kit, etc.)

    Grade: A
  • The Built-in Features: The iPad will come built-in with a bunch of few software features:
    • Safari: Ho-hum, there will be a browser.
    • Mail: Apple is making a big deal out of this, “see and touch your email in ways you never could before.” We are not impressed. This is a necessity.
    • Photos: Okay, so there will be a photo gallery. Again, a necessity. Of course, Apple is using words like “crisp” and “vibrant” – in the end, this will depend on your screen resolution, and as discussed above, it is not very impressive.
    • Video and YouTube: With a 10-hour batter life and built in 802.11n, we think that the video-watching (including streaming) will be an impressive feature.
    • iBooks: It remains to be seen how the iPad will compete with the Kindle. Will consumers spring the extra few hundred bucks for the coolness factor and a bunch more features? Our intuition says “yes,” but it will also depend on how well the economy will do in 2010.
    • Maps: Nothing special here, the iPad uses Google maps. We’ll see if Google comes out with a competing device to make Apple drop Google in favor of Bing.
    • Notes, Calendar, Contacts: Ya sure, it has these.
    Grade: B
  • The Price: The various models will be available in a couple of months. Here are the prices:
    16G 32G 64G
    Wi-fi $499 $599 $699
    Wi-fi + 3G $629 $729 $829

    Grade: B-
  • Coolness Factor: This is where Apple shines like no other brand. If you are one of the first ones to get an iPad, people around you will talk about it. Yes, some will be skeptical and even jealous, but you can quietly smile at them ‘cuz you will be cool.

    Grade: A+
Those are the facts. Whether it will be a revolutionary product or not remains to be seen. Are you going to buy one in the first few weeks? Will you wait for version 2.0? Or are you going to wait for a Windows or Android version to come out?

The blogs are divided along party lines. Apple-Kool-Aid -drinkers (we have a few in our office) can’t wait; Google-lovers are skeptical; Microsoft-homies are avoiding the subject. Which one are you?

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