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iPad Initial Thoughts

Well the must have gadget for 2010 has been announced and will be available in the US and UK from March (WiFi Version) and April (3G and WiFi Version) if HRH Steve Jobs is to be believed, and let’s be fair they have a pretty adequate record recently for hitting launch dates. In the ‘good old days’ they used to launch a product at a Keynote, and then announce it was rready to buy straight away.

That said, I prefer this way as it gives people time to resist the impulse buy and figure out how the iPad fits into their technology needs, and in many cases (certainly in mine) figure out what it can replace and what I can do without.

First impressions during the launch? Looked great as you would expect, but felt it was a case of style over substance as who really needs a overgrown iPhone running iPhone applications? Don’t get me wrong the applications MAKE the iPhone, but that is because it is an iPhone. Surely they can’t have the same effect on a tablet PC?

Internet surfing without Flash and Java? Come on, that is just about OK on the iPhone (well actually it isn’t at all BUT I can live with it on the iPhone as I rarely use it to surf the net) but on a device designed and promoted as ideal for surfing the net you are having a laugh right?

Second impressions after a morning pondering and discussing it? Well it is inevitable that I will get one at some stage, even though on the surface and after much debate it is hard to come up with any reasons how I would actually use it but that isn’t always the point is it!

Undeniably Sexy

What Would I Use It For

  • Twitter: sat on the sofa, watching sport I can see this working well
  • Skype: docked in the lounge, with Skype running could be useful
  • Email: always useful to be able to check and respond to quick ones
  • RSS: because of blogging and work I check RSS feeds all the time
  • Blogging: quick posts and working on drafts
  • Media: viewing our photos and videos, as a control for iTunes

So this is the deal. I will get one no doubt, but not because I need one, just because I want one as I have a gut feeling it will turn out better than it currently looks. I am banking on my iPhone experiences here. When the iPhone first came out I bought one, but was pretty underwhelmed by it, and it was only once the applications starting hitting the iTunes Store did it become at all useful. I have a feeling that the iPad will be the same, with the bigger screen, and greater options I think we will see some pretty neat applications over the coming months, many based on controlling things ….. and let’s face it who isn’t excited at the thought of crashing on the sofa, sexy iPad in hand, turning the volume up on some speakers in a room that nobddy is in!

But I have agreed with Sands that I will try and make the purchase self funding by selling off some of the redundant Apple equipment that I reckon an iPad would enable us to do with out!

How am I going to do this?

Well first up I need to decide on which iPad, and that is pretty easy to be honest. As I have no intention at all of increasing my monthly costs to access the Internet I do not have any desire for a Wi-Fi + 3G Model, a Wi-Fi only will be fine (am sure that via Bluetooth will be able to tether to the iPhone anyway). I have no desire to duplicate files and content, so will rely on the cloud, and online content, so the smaller 16GB version will be just fine. Sorted!

Well apart from the accessories that is (see below). I really can’t see the point of the Keyboard Dock on the simple basis that if I am going to have a keyboard and a screen then I stick with the Mac Book and Mac Book Pro. The beauty of the iPad to me is the flexibility I think it will give using a ‘tablet’, so I have every intention of keeping it that way. No doubt I will get a case at some point, but as they are already been announced by third parties the options will be vast and I will worry about that at the time. iPad Dock ….. I do like to keep things neat and tidy, and I can see the iPad living in the living room, so yes, will probably go with one of these. Camera Connection Kit? Nope, no intention of breaking from current workflows so iPad will only be used to view existing stored media. USB Power Adapter? Maybe, I always ensure we have more than one means of charging a device.

Second I reckon I need to do a full inventory of the stuff that I currently have, and then figure out what the iPad would replace ….. so here goes:

Apple Inventory

Has been a while since I took stock of all the Apple ‘stuff’ that we (well I) have accumulated over the years, and as I said above I think the iPad launch (and inevitable purchase) is a good opportunity to see what we can do without, and what it would replace, and ideally see if we can fund it through the sale of some older Apple items:

Chris

iPod’s: 5th Generation iPod with Video, 1st Generation Shuffle (used as a memory stick), 2nd Generation Shuffle, 1st Generation Nano, 3rd Generation Nano

iPhone: 3G

Computers: Mac Pro, Mac Book Pro, Mac mini (used as media center)

Services: Mobile Me

Other: Apple TV, Airport Express (2), Airport Extreme

Sands

iPod’s: iPod Mini, 1st Generation Shuffle (used as a memory stick), 2nd Generation Shuffle, 4th Generation Nano

iPhone: 1st Generation

Computers: iMac, Mac Book

Services: Mobile Me

In addition we have a whole bunch of cases, cables, and docking units that can go if the associated hardware is dispensed with.

So what does all this mean?

First to go will be Sands iPhone! Seems strange but as it isn’t 3G she really doesn’t benefit at all from the Data Plan that she currently subscribes to, so if she cancels the Data Plan we save 15€ a month. We will use this iPhone as a ‘spare’ unit for our UK SIM card for as and when one of us goes back to the UK. Of coure she will need a phone but we have a few spare ones, and we will get her a iPod Touch as well, so not a huge saving up front, in fact additional cost up front but the saving on the Data Plan will soon add up. Movistar charge 1€ a day to access 3G on a PAYG basis, so as long as her phone is 3G (it is) and has buetooth (it has) she should be able to tether the iPod Touch and mobile phone if urgently require access and no Wi-Fi available.

Second to go could well be one of the Mobile Me accounts. Again not a huge saving per annum, but over the years it will add up, and I think that we can get by with one shared account to sync address book, calendar etc and have one set of documents stored online. It will be strange and we will need to set up and use groups and specific calendars carefully, but the plus side is that we can then genuinly pick up, share and use any computer or device and have access to the same information. No more ‘his and hers’, which I think will make the iPad much more useful to us if either of us can pick it up.

Third to go are the unused iPods, so will just keep the 2 latest Nano’s, and the 2 latest Shuffle’s. The Nano’s we use when running, walking or cycling, and the Shuffle’s I think are too cute to discard!

Fourth, and this is the ‘biggie’ is I reckon that we can get rid of Sands Mac Book. At the moment she does 80% of her work on her iMac and 20″ ACD in her study, with the Mac Book sat on a desk in my study with a 2nd display attached for when she wants to work in my study. From time to time she takes the Mac Book into the bedroom or lounge, but only for emails, Internet etc. As and when she goes to the UK she takes it with her, but again only really for emails and blogging. So ….. I reckon that if we share the Mobile Me account, we can use my Mac Book Pro in place of the Mac Book in my study, and still have one really powerful portable solution as and when we need it (primarily that is when I am out taking photos or video, or traveling on business). When that is out of the house Sands would still have access to the iPad for any portable computing she wanted to do. Sands will probably find it easier to take the iPad to the UK with her, and for the few weeks of the year that this happens I certainly aren’t going to miss it.

Obvioulsy this is the largest saving, and on its own will fund the purchase of the iPad, but I think it makes sense to dispense with the other stuff as well.

iPad Specifications

Size and Weight

  • Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
  • Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
  • Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model; 1.6 pounds (0.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G mode

Display

  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously

Wireless & Cellular

Wi-Fi Model

  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Wi-Fi + 3G Model

  • UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Data only
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Location

  • Wi-Fi
  • Digital compass
  • Assisted GPS (Wi-Fi + 3G model)
  • Cellular (Wi-Fi + 3G model)

In The Box

  • iPad
  • Dock Connector to USB Cable
  • 10W USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation

Capacity

  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive

Processor

  • 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chi

Sensors

  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light sensor

Audio Playback

  • requency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
  • User-configurable maximum volume limit

TV & Video

  • Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite Cable
  • H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

Mail Attachment Support

  • Viewable document types: .jpg, .tiff, .gif (images); .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .rtf (rich text format); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel)

Languages

  • Language support for English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian
  • Keyboard support for English (U.S.) English (UK), French (France, Canada), German, Japanese (QWERTY), Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese (Handwriting and Pinyin), Russian
  • Dictionary support for English (U.S.), English (UK), French, French (Canadian), French (Swiss), German, Japanese, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese (Handwriting and Pinyin), Russian

Accessibility

  • Support for playback of closed-captioned content
  • VoiceOver screen reader
  • Full-screen zoom magnification
  • White on black display
  • Mono audio

Battery & Power

  • Built-in 25 Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
  • Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system

Input & Output

  • Dock connector
  • 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack
  • Built-in speakers
  • Microphone
  • SIM card tray (Wi-Fi + 3G model only)

External Buttons & Controls

Mac System Requirements

  • Mac computer with USB 2.0 port
  • Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later
  • iTunes 9.0 or later (free download from www.itunes.com/download)
  • iTunes Store account
  • Internet access

Windows System Requirements

  • PC with USB 2.0 port
  • Windows 7; Windows Vista; or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later
  • iTunes 9.0 or later (free download from www.itunes.com/download)
  • iTunes Store account
  • Internet access

Environmental Requirements

  • Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
  • Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

Accessories

At the time of launch Apple announced 5 accessories:

  • iPad Keyboard Dock
  • The Keyboard Dock combines a dock for charging your iPad with a full-size keyboard. The dock has a rear 30-pin connector, which lets you connect to an electrical outlet using the USB Power Adapter, sync to your computer, and use accessories like the Camera Connection Kit. An audio jack lets you connect to a stereo or powered speakers.

    • iPad Case
    • The iPad Case not only protects the iPad, it can be used in various positions. So it’s easy to type, look at photos and slideshows, or watch movies.

    • Pad Dock
    • The iPad Dock lets you dock and charge iPad. The rear 30-pin connector lets you connect the iPad Dock to an electrical outlet using the USB Power Adapter, sync to your computer, and use accessories like the Camera Connection Kit. An audio jack lets you connect to a stereo or powered speakers.

    • iPad Camera Connection Kit
    • The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card.

    • iPad USB Power Adapter
    • The 10W USB Power Adapter lets you charge your iPad directly through an electrical outlet. And the 6-foot-long power cable allows you to charge it from an even greater distance.

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7 Comments

  1. Ah, c’mon Chris. Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? MyAppleStuff. Remember that old chestnut? (Yes, I do realize you still use the monicker at times.) Why MyAppleStuff? It was to show what Apple stuff you had! To exclaim to the world that you like the Apple branded products. What’s wrong with that? Nothing! Embrace it!

    Any of this sound familiar? Take a second look at your equipment that you just shared.
    love the iPhone, I want an iPhone, but I wont be getting one now or in the future (caveat inserted here – in it’s current form) for one simple reason, I don’t need one.
    or even
    After a couple of months ‘tinkering’ I have finally sorted out my network, and one huge benefit is that I do not need an AppleTV.

    I’m just saying, whether you are overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the announcements, even if you don’t think you’ll ever need or use it, you and I usually wind up with the product anyway. So have fun with it! I’ll bet you like it and use it a lot more then you think you will.

    I’ve said it before, it’s exactly what I’ve wanted and been waiting for. Yes, believe it or not, just a big iPod Touch. The thing is, and no one has even bothered to even think about, is this is a 1.0 product. It’s all the pre-hype and rumors that made it out to be more than it is. They never said they would be coming out with the tablet to end all tablets! They just said they were going to come out with something new.

    Why can they not make a “Pro” model? Or a model that is between it and the Macbook? They never said they wouldn’t! I can’t stand the people that are already claiming it a failure. I don’t consider myself knowing as much as a typical grandmother about computers, (I actually think I know quite a bit about them,) yet the comments on the blogs are saying that it is that type of person that this thing is geared toward. And no Flash? I have an app on my Mac Pro that does nothing but block flash. I get along great without it. My portable Mac is an iBook G3 Dual USB. That thing cannot play flash hardly at all! Anything video, or even games, that I try to play on it kills it right there. I don’t see how anyone can say it’s a worthless piece of equipment, then.

    Anyway, I’ll be one of the first with my fist full of cash waiting to buy one. It’s exactly what I want! So why do I care what some of these morons on that are commenting on the big sites/blogs that are dissing this thing left and right have to say? I don’t. Because they don’t realize that if they don’t like something, how is it even possible that someone else might not have the same opinion?! I’m just glad they aren’t running the show. (And do they really think that Apple didn’t think this thing through, over and over? For Years! I guess they think that the higher-ups at Apple are going to read their comment, smack themselves in the head, and say “Wow! We sure did screw that one up!”)

  2. All true, but ……

    I stopped that site as you recall because I was ‘fed up’ with change for change sake with applications in particular, and wanted to just use the Mac for the stuff that I needed to do.

    The same is true with hardware.

    Truth be told I haven¡t used the Apple TV for over a year. Nothing wrong with it, just that the only HDMI TV in our apartment is in Sands room and although we thought it would be a good TV room, truth is she watches a bit of news from time to time but we never watch films in there.

    The iPhone I could live without 🙂 Well not true as I use it all the time for Evernote, QIK, Twitter etc. In theory then a Touch would be fine.

    So yes I am sure I will use a iPad, but my logic remains I don’t need it, and in this day and age I need to either only buy things I really need, or find a way to make them self funding.

    I do though still feel strongly that there is too much of a ‘all things Apple are great’ mentality around. I can’t agree that interet without flash is good, I mean I use it on all my sites to show videos!!!!!

  3. Yah, I kinda forgot about that. And as far as being able to live without either the iPhone or the iPad, I would have to argue that technically, I don’t think either is something that is a necessity. But they’re still fun! 🙂 I’ve lived without the iPhone this long, in fact I’m still using the 1stGen iPod Touch. (Of course my kids all have the 3rd Gens…) Heck, Kristine’s still on her 3rd Gen iPod Video.

    There is definitely a problem with anyone who says that “all things Apple are great.” But there’s also something wrong with a mentality of saying to a company that ‘unless you make something with x y and z, exactly how I want it or envision it, or your products are crap.’ (And I’m going to tell the whole world that.) Isn’t that what the free market is supposed to dictate? If a company makes something and it doesn’t do well, the company changes it or dies. It’s not up to the consumer to tell the company what it should make!

    Seriously, what other company can you think of that get’s so much flack simply for trying to bring a product to market? Ever see someone like Logitech announce a new mouse, only see the entire stratosphere telling them what’s wrong with it? Without it even being out yet? How about all the tablets that are starting to pop up now? I don’t see articles in
    Engadget panning them. Is it because everyone just expects them to be bad?

    There’s an article at stevenf.com that sums up what’s happening perfectly. He talks about the new and old world computing. It’s a stunning look at where computing is going and frankly something I never thought of until now. I guess it takes a look at why I switched to Apple in the first place.

    The reason I’ve been blocking flash lately with the application ClickToFlash is because of those annoying ads that are becoming more prevalent lately. You happen by a web site and suddenly there’s this guy walking across your screen very loudly promoting something. That bugs me.

    Well gotta go. Another test scheduled at the docs. I need to stop writing books as comments, but thanks for letting me have a place to vent! 😀

  4. While I agree with you, I don’t have any symapthy for Apple. They play and exploit the blogging and fan base to their advantage.

    I still think they are guilty of over enthusiastic promotion and statementsthough that make people think some of the products are better than they are actually are.

    In many cases people adapt their use to fit the products because thay want the product. Nothing wrong with that per se, just better all round if people accept that is the case rather than take the Apple is Great pill every day LOL

  5. And ;), while I agree with you, I think all companies try to over promote and make people think some of their products are better than they are.

    I actually think it’s the fan base that over-extends the actuality of the products. It’s the fans that actually hyped this thing up to actually be something more than it really is. I agree with your statement that Apple exploits their fan base. If they would have simply came out months ago and said that they were working on a tablet-like device that was essentially a large iPod Touch, I don’t think that the backlash from the perceived or actual let-down would have been as much. It’s almost as a lot of these people take this stuff personally!! That’s the part that baffles me.

  6. Agree totally, but Apple do set themselves up for it!

    Remember that iPod speaker thing that Steve said was the ‘best’ way to listen to music ever????

    SO when he says the iPad allows you to browse the Internet as it was meant to be browsed but with no Flash or Java he really is setting himself up.

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