So, MacTablet day is over, and what have we learnt? Steve Jobs can’t do magic, either. The emphasis Apple put on the iPad’s assumed magical abilities in the official presentation video, in which Apple developers do appear a bit, well, over the top (not to say, enchanted). And, I think, Apple is actually very much aware of the device’s lack of magic – the iPad will cost half of the rumoured prices.
Apart from that – it’s just what everybody expected. A great looking device taking design and UI cues from both the iPhone and the iPod touch, with a proprietary CPU that appears to be relatively fast and economic in its use of energy. 10 hours of battery life in such a sleek device, that’s definitely quite something.
It will be interesting to see whether extended typing will be bearable on the virtual keyboard, but initial reports indicate it’s probably not going to be. The screen is not actually high resolution – 1024*768 in a 9,7” screen is, well just barely above standard. It could be a good screen, but that remains to be seen.
But even so, it is an LED screen, and that’s really something entirely different from the electronic ink technology used by, say, Amazon’s Kindle. Apple’s bookstore will probably sell books, but reading on a backlit device will not be as convenient as it is on an e-ink screen. I don’t think it’s too surprising Amazon’s stock was up after the iPad’s presentation – investors probably realized the iPad won’t kill the Kindle. Currently, alas, there is just no “best of both worlds” – e-ink is not available in colour for mass consumption and neither is any other non-LED based technology.
The iPad apparently also doesn’t feature a camera, so it’s useless for video calls.
But the device’s biggest problem may turn out to be what is Apple’s huge strength in the phone market (- and, if Microsoft is clever, an opportunity to regain lost ground in the market it pioneered with a “Windows7 tablet PC edition 2010″…): The system is currently closed, and Apple controls who gets to put what on the system. Flash, for example, is not currently supported. And that’s a pretty big problem for a web-surfing tablet, and ‘pretty big’ is probably an understatement.
We’ll see, in three months everyone will be able to do a hands-on test.