I’m not going to write a review of the Apple iPad, that would be completely pointless as the most I’ve seen of it is a couple of hands on videos and a few photos.
However, based on that and the spec that’s been released I’ve decided I REALLY want one.
But first let me explain how I came to that conclusion, how I made use of the logic behind ‘Man Maths’ as James May would call it to work out it was good value for money.
First lets take a look at where I think this device sits in the gadget spectrum.
On one side of this spectrum you have the mobile phone – the standard candy bar style of mobile phone – the Nokia, Sony Ericsson etc…
Next to that we have the smartphone – at the moment a whole range of companies have operating systems in this space: Microsoft, Apple, Blackberry, Google (Android)…
But the dominant three (excluding Windows because Windows Mobile is just crap to use) are Apple for the iPhone, Google for Android and Blackberry for … well the Blackberry.
The first is a device that allows you to make phone calls with the internet and simple applications as a sideline – the second group reverses that.
But they are both shades of the same part of our spectrum and so one of these two devices is needed for the ultimate geek kit bag – my device of choice is an Android phone.
The iPod also fits within this area.
I’m going to jump around a bit here by telling you I don’t intend to explain the third part as everyone knows what it is – that’s the full laptop. Instead lets skip back to the middling zone.
So lets move on to the second part of the spectrum – again there are two sides to the this part as well – the netbook and the tablet.
I have one and I use it all the time – it’s really light so I can take it away with me without having an extra load on trips to deal with and I’ve got the Samsung NC10 which is powerful enough for everything I need.
However, it’s still a pain in the rear having to pull it out of the bag, open up the screen, turn it on, wait for Windows to load, wait for it to connect and then get started.
Then you’ve got the problems faced with having a smaller screen, the resolution on this isn’t bad but it is still a pain – especially for real estate hungry apps like WordPress and Wave.
So we move on to the tablet – this isn’t really a new idea, Steve Jobs didn’t just pull the concept of a tablet out of thin air – the tablet concept has been around for a while now and in theory it’s a better approach to mobile computing than a small laptop.
However, every time I’ve looked into this in the past the implementation has been universally shit – a laptop without a keyboard attached – not great for quick, on the move web browsing, reading, writing and viewing.
Before I get on to the iPad – there’s a side market to this, a more recent development in the eBook reader – basically a tablet computer designed for reading large amounts of text relatively easily and in comfort.
The current gold standard, albeit pig ugly, is the Kindle from Amazon – using eInk to make reading more comfortable – it has an always on internet connection so you can buy books on the move without having to be in a WiFi zone.
Now we have the iPad. Some say a giant iPod Touch, some say a heavily locked down and crippled device that is useless for anyone but the most basic users.
Personally, I say it does what I need, it is better than the other options and at $499 for the most basic options – pretty good value for money.
And here is how I justify that claim using the technique pioneered by James May from Top Gear but perfected over many a generation of manhood – Man Maths.
An Amazon Kindle (I can live without eInk as I happily read books on my LCD screen anyway) costs around £311
A new Samsung NC140 costs around £300
An iPod Nano costs around £120
The iPad can do the same things all of the above can do and is just one device that will turn on quickly and be easy to use.
So, at over £700 for the three separately - even if Apple sell the iPad $ to £ with the basic 3G model costing £630 it’s still cheaper than the three items.
See – man maths in action.
Although I REALLY WANT ONE there are two reasons why I’ll wait until version two or three with two probably out for Christmas and three out by next Easter.
Having the ability to listen to music from Spotify (there WILL be an app) in the background while working ona document or even writing a blog post is essential – the iPad currently doesn’t allow that.
However, this is something I expect they’ll introduce eventually under a hail of Apple fanfare as some miraculous and revolutionary new feature.
My first thought when Steve Jobs started talking about this device was ‘fantastic tool for video conferencing’ but a lack of multi-tasking (writing notes while talking with someone in another office) and a lack of camera makes that impossible.
Also – what’s the microphone like on the device? In fact does it have a microphone?
The camera is obviously held back so they can release version two or even three with an ‘added extra’ and given the track record of doing something OTT – it will probably have at least two camera on front and back.
So in summary – will I get an iPad? More than likely but will I get it as soon as it is released? No. I’ll wait until they’ve had a couple of versions out.
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