Before buying the Hype Pad

Over the weekend when the iPad was released, Apple Computers reported 300,000 sales. However, while many of them are probably Apple fans with at least $500 to spend, there are some that may have disappointments. Thankfully, there is a 14 day return policy. And while I personally don’t have one, nor do I see a purpose for one for myself, there maybe some needs for this. Here are some things that you would want to consider before spending between $500 and $830.

First, you should know the limitations. The iPad is about the size of US standard sheet of paper (about 8.5” x 11”), and weighs 1.5lbs. While this may not seem heavy, Apple been touting this as your ebook reader, game machine, and video player – much of the time, you would be holding it. After a while, that weight can get to you.

The iPad runs iPhone OS 3.x. This alone means that the device has been crippled without the capability of multi-tasking. Want to run Pandora while composing email – you’re SOL. This is despite that even smart phones (except iPhone) can multi-task. There is a 32bit CPU which is essential for true multi-tasking, but Apple for years been touting you don’t need it. This might change on Thursday (2010-April-08) if the suspected OS 4 supports it. You may have to pay an upgrade fee which would be a slap in the face after paying at least $500. Even then, don’t expect true multi-tasking, but expect only multi-tasking with Apple’s software. This would mean no running a twitter client while listening to Pandora.

The infamous iPod dock is the only real connection to update or accessorize your iPad. There is no SD card slot, or any other expansion slot. No USB port, no HDMI, nor even a camera. Want photos on your iPad, you would need a computer and iTunes. This automatically means that for it to do everything it can do, it can not be your only device.

Charging is a pain in the a**. Your best bet is to use the including cable, and AC adapter. It would charge from some computers, but don’t expect it to be quick nor flawless. On the good side, it has proven at least by first perceptions that it does hold a good battery life.

As an ebook reader, it can work with Kindle book store, but where Kindle uses an easy on the eye eink, the iPad uses LCD. You know how you get an eye strain or headache when viewing at a brightly lit screen for a couple of hours? Expect that while reading your book. Oh, if you are like me and like to have music playing regularly, well you would still need another music player.

As a game machine, don’t expect many games to work as good on the iPad. This isn’t the iPad, or the developer, but not as many programs are designed for the nearly 400% of the iphone screen. You’ll either deal with the smaller window, or have a severe pixilation issue. Apps and games would be coming out to take advantage, but iPad apps have already proven to be more expensive than their iphone counterparts. Also, at 1.5lbs, it may not be the most pleasant long gaming unless the game uses multi-touch.

As a media player, it has iTunes support naturally. In a matter of fact, you would need it to get much of your media files on your iPad. It has Netflix Watch instantly support. While not as grand as a TV, and with no HDMI support, no plugging in, it is better than on a smart phone. You can of course buy music and videos from the iTunes store, and enjoy it on your iPad. Just remember, while listening to your music – you would not be able to get your Twitter updates. It would be a nice screen to watch, but since having a kickstand would “ruin” the aesthetics, get a few books to prop it up.

It does have a works suite (a low end office suite). This would allow you to compose letters, spreadsheets, and probably a couple of other things. However, even people promoting the iPad aren’t sure how to comfortably type on it. If you are expecting to type a great deal on it, be prepared to buy a physical keyboard, and charging stand. It would connect via bluetooth, so you would know you would have to throw down an extra $100. Something like this would most likely be used for an in-between a smart phone quickie, and long document on the PC.

It would make a wonderful picture frame, once you get your pictures on there. But for $500, you would simply want other uses for it. Home Automation Interfaces like Control4 has apps in the App store, and they should work on the iPad. Now, your iPad could show pictures as a screen saver, and access your home automation when you need too. However, I heard some people had problems with the wifi connection, and this would be required for it to work properly.

So, if you are fine with something that hasn’t quite hit as a your only need device, and you are fine with the current limitations of the iPad, maybe this is something for you. However, keep in mind that you would still need an MP3 player if you want to listen to music, while doing anything else on your iPad. You would want to invest in some accessories to make full use of it. Also, beware it is not the best in a few things it’s intended to do.

So, where would I see myself wanting one? I don’t, but possible reasons if that ever happened would be just that – an in between device. I would definitely need a more powerful computer considering the one I have now takes forever to load iTunes. Since I don’t have many photos, I would want a screen saver app of some sort to show the time. I will use it to compose quick emails if it supports my protocols (need aliases support). In which case, I definitely need a keyboard. I would more likely use it to play Pandora, and Netflix on it than my PC. Until Hulu rewrites their site in HTML5, I would still need the PC for that. If I had a home automation system in my residence – I would of course use it with that as long as the wifi proves reliable. Since it would have a keyboard attached to it, it can also serve as an Internet terminal so people would not have to use the new PC I would have to have first even if I wanted the iPad.

So, there is my thoughts. Is it for some, it could be. Is it for you – possibly, but not completely. Is it for me, not really. Did Apple screw this up – in my opinion – yes. The decision would lie down to how much use you could find out of this, and is it worth the price you would be paying for. Personally, for about $500, I can find better things that would do all the iPad would do, and more. Keep in mind, the $500 price is for 16GB of storage, which in my conservative spending, I have almost twice that much in music. I would “need” the 64GB which is only $700.

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