The iPad. No, it’s not some new high-tech menstruation device; it’s Apple’s newest toy. According to Apple, it will revolutionize the “way [we] experience the Web, e-mail, photos, and video. Hands down.” Or will it?
The tablet resembles a giant iPhone and has many useful features such as Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities, the immediate availability of 140,000 apps from the Apple Store upon purchase, and has up to 10 hours of battery life. Perfect for travellers who don’t want to be weighed down, or those needing to do simple tasks on the go. The iPad starts at $499 for the 16 GB model, all the way to $829 for the fully loaded 64 GB model.
Not everyone is excited by the news, however. Jeremy Crich, manager of a local computer store, doesn’t understand Jobs’ marketing angle, “I’m surprised that Apple is touting their new tablet as revolutionary. This is defiantly not a new technology. HP, ASUS, and Toshiba, all make similar products, offering way more capabilities then Apple’s iPad.”
Then why is Apple so popular, particularly in the university demographic? Most believe it is the simplicity, and loyal brand following that Apple has created. Take a look at the iPod interface, it is simple and straightforward. The iPad will be using the same interface, to keep it easy for new and old users alike. From a visual standpoint, Apple computers look sleek and clean compared to the sometimes bulky, crowded looking HPs and Dells.
“The best way I can describe it is that using a Mac is like driving a Lexus, Jaguar, or Mercedes and using a PC is like driving a Ford, or Chevy. The Mac just feels good. It just looks good. You feel like you are using a quality piece of hardware,” Steve Cherubino, tech consultant and owner of Geek Force Computer Repair, said.
Apple has created a “sexy” brand image. Think of the “I’m a Mac” commercials – Mac is established as the cool, hip, young, guy and PC is the uptight, older gentleman. The average university student would identify with the Mac.
Apple is sold to schools all over the world, to elementary, high school and university levels alike. By exposing young people to the Mac software so early, Apple is molding future customers. As the students grow older they want what they know, and admittedly, once you know how to pinch zoom on your iPod Touch it’s impossible to think of switching to some other kind of mp3 player. Hence simplicity and brand loyalty are the iPad’s biggest selling points.
But the question remains, is the iPad really necessary? It doesn’t fulfil any obvious need. For people who already have an iPhone or a laptop, it seems pointless. There is no memory card slot and no USB ports, which makes transferring files a nightmare. Most tablets come with a stylus for easy note taking and document editing which the iPad lacks, not to mention built in keyboards, as opposed to Apple’s fussy touch screen keyboards. Other standard tablet features the iPad does not offer include a built in camera and the ability to run OSX or multi task between programs (how will you take notes and play Farmville?).
Still, Apple remains an ingenious company. Who wouldn’t take a sleek Mercedes over a bulky Chevy? Ultimately though, the lack of important features and the price compared to other tablets on the market turns the “revolutionary” iPad into an over-sized, over-glorified iPod.