So the cat’s out of the bag: there is no iPhone Macro. I indeed purchased an iPad. Here is my review after having used it for the last few days.
There are six models to choose from, but the only factors of differentiation are memory size (16GB, 32GB, 64GB) and whether or not it has WiFi or WiFi + 3G. 3G just refers to the ability to connect to the internet when you are not in the range of a wireless network. Here are the prices in the US:
It should also be pointed out that if you want to take advantage of 3G services, you have to subscribe to a plan. Currently the only plans available are $14.99/month for 250MB of data or $29.99/month for unlimited data (this is through AT&T, the only service provider in the States). There are no contracts and you can activate the service right from your iPad – no need to call anyone or go into a store – and you can cancel anytime. Realistically, I can’t imagine these price points and non-contract feature will trickle through to Canada, but the Canadian pricing has not been officially released yet.
Do you need 3G service?
In my opinion, no. Think of it this way: do you have a laptop with wifi? It does the trick, right? Right. No need for the monthly costs. Stick with a WiFi only model and save some money now and forever. There are apps available that allow you to cache web pages for future offline browsing.
Do you even need an iPad, period?
Funny that you ask. Just yesterday I ran into an old colleague and he said he was due for a new desktop and laptop computer and was trying to figure out if he needed a laptop now that the iPad was available. After playing with the iPad he realized that it was capable of doing about 95% of what he needed a laptop to do while he wasn’t using his desktop. It would also be about 50-65% of the price of the laptop he was looking at getting. So to him, it makes sense. If you already have a laptop and desktop, you don’t need an iPad – it would be just for cool factor and nothing more.
What does an iPad do?
Where to begin. The entire interface is built on a touch screen which encompasses the entire front of the device. It really is just like a giant iTouch (aka iPod Touch). The main difference is that it’s much bigger which makes for a great experience. Any app you have for your iPhone or iPod Touch will migrate over once you plug it into your iTunes account, but the apps appear just as they do on your iPhone (i.e. small). You can double the size of these apps to use up the screen real estate, but they become pixelated. There is nothing different about them. The new iPad specific apps are gorgeous though, with much more functionality (hovering toolbars and pop-up windows).
One of the central apps will be the iBookstore application which is Apple’s ebook reader app. It is not available to Canadians yet (it’s turned off for Canadian iTunes accounts so far). However, you can download the Amazon Kindle app where apparently, the same books are cheaper anyways.
You can also plug it into your TV to watch movies and TV show you download from iTunes.
What doesn’t an iPad do?
Lots. And it was probably designed that way to get a lot of recycled sales for the 2nd gen models to follow.
It does not have a camera – so no video conferencing.
It does not have USB ports.
It does not work as a phone (out of the box anyways). You can simply get the Skype app and use it as a phone, but only as a speakerphone. I have a Skype Out account so I can make unlimited calls to computers and phone in North America for a whopping $2.95/month. But since Skype In accounts are not available in Canada, you can only receive calls from computers, not landlines. The iPad has become our new home phone line and we don’t have regular home phone service anymore.
So what’s the verdict on the iPad?
If you are looking for a new laptop and you already have a desktop for the heavy lifting applications, I recommend it. It’s pretty rare that someone needs a full laptop and a full desktop.
If you don’t want a desktop and are wondering about laptop versus iPad: get the laptop.
It wouldn’t replace a smartphone because it is too cumbersome, and isn’t a real, fully functional phone.
So essentially, it’s a cool gadget but you don’t need one. Having said that, it is a dream to use and to surf the web with. It’s very intuitive and the ingenuity of the app designers is pretty much unlimited these days. I’ve been using it for meetings for presenting powerpoint presentations to small groups of people, or individuals – and it is very useful in this capacity. It turns on instantly and you can pull up a presentation and have it running in literally 5 seconds.
It’s definitely a winner.
But you don’t NEED it.
Perhaps you should just wait for my contest to launch for a chance to win a FREE iPad. Stay tuned… :)