Yes I am the same tiny little blogger who wrote off the tablet concept ending my original review of the Apple iPad with the following words ‘Are you made for the iPad’. A year down the line, I have a different story to tell.
Shortly after owning the first iPad which was a WiFi only mode, I sold it off (partly due to the heavy premium I got on eBay.in and partly for I had no real use for it). And as months passed, everyone around me had an iPad. I walk into a Blog Camp and the gentlemen sitting next to me has an iPad on which he is merrily tweeting (it was a 3G model). GizmoMeet #1 Mumbai, iPad was still hot and a friend was carrying it. People wanted to get pictured along with it! GizmoMeet #2 a few months later and a couple of iPads again out there.
Finally, then our senior editor Nimish bought an iPad and just before it was officially released in India, I got an opportunity to buy the iPad 3G. A friend from US was returning and he wanted to sell his 16GB WiFi+3G here. I picked it up at a good discount and got a Vodafone card configured on it. An EDGE connection, but it worked just fine. So here I am using the iPad with a data connection on the go for around 2 months now. And I sure want to keep this with me!
The iPad or lets say a tablet itself is a new concept and in the past I have written (and spoken) enough about how it is a luxury, difficult to carry around and a toy for rich. So is tablet a necessity today? No, certainly not. I still have a desktop at home, at office and a notebook. Add to that the smartphone. But still the tablet and specially with an on the go internet connection is a big plus.
I haven’t used much of any any Android tablet, so I wont really tell as to whats missing there (others have noted some points). But I sure can tell you why I am loving the Apple iPad. I started today morning with a podcast on the netbook lying next to me on the sofa and moments later I was hunting for the iPad. The audio wasn’t playing on the IE window that was open and I had no patience to open up another browser there. I would rather put the 30 secs of effort in locating where I left the iPad last night. But that isn’t the point here.
I typed down the URL on the iPad and moments later I was playing the podcast on the iPad. While that plays in the background, I would continue browsing, checking my twitter / FB and just as I was called out for breakfast, I paused the audio, replied and continued. Wait a min, how did I do that? Well I just double tapped the home button, went to the iPod controls on the multitasking bar at the bottom and it worked for the audio I was playing on the browser. Wow!
A few hours later I suspected. It was mobile Safari I was using and thats as good as using the iPod app in the iPad and cheering about the integration. I copied the Podcast URL and played it again on iCalbrowser (a 3rd part browser on the App Store). And guess what, it worked. I could use the quick audio controls on the lock screen of the iPad (without unlocking it) or from the multitasking bar at the bottom.
The secret lies in the multitasking API that Apple made available to developers. You may call it tight control, fake multitasking, but the fact remains that it works wonderfully. The battery life on the iPad is a testimony to that. I can sail through overnight with 1% battery and 15 apps open on the iPad kept on standby and yet check my mails in morning before the iPad dies out on.
The NETbook is dead!
When the netbook concept turned out to be a super hit in the market, there were few who noted the attempt Palm made with its ill-fated Foleo. The smartphone companion of the previous era couldn’t even make it to the market. And yet today, in 2011, they are introducing the Touchpad. Yes its the HP Touchpad, but do you see the Foleo link here? The Touchpad is the new Foleo. It talks to your webOS smartphone, it is your travel computer! The netbook might not have been inspired by the Foleo, but thats exactly what it was aimed as – a travel computer. And lets accept it, the iPad does better. And now the tablets come in.
I am completing this writeup sitting in our home at London, where I am primarily on a vacation. I have my home office setup on the dining table, but more often than not, I am glued to the iPad. The only other system (apart from my Macbook) at home is the Asus EeePC (running Windows 7 on a Atom N475). And guess what? We now hate using it. Be it playing a YouTube video smoothly or just some music, the iPad just does so much better even inside the house. And we haven’t even spoken about gaming yet…
Last month I visited Kolkata, attending a family wedding and it was 6 days with 100+ family members around me. The only time I can open my Macbook to work there would be past midnight. And the iPad did the trick for all 7 days. Be it gaming with the kids around or checking my emails. No netbook would have worked for me there, no smartphone either. The 10 hour battery life on the iPad, ensured that the kids could do gaming on it, I could do email on it, catch my feeds and we could all see old family albums on it. So from 5 to 55, all ages loved it and yet I was productive at work.
A netbook may do all that your full fledged computer can, but the moment I open a few tabs, attempt youtube, the whole thing comes down to snail speed (blame that party on the fact that Windows slows down over time with applications being added). The otherwise wonderful desktop UI is destroyed by the small screen, slow performance and cramped keyboard+trackpad. A tablet (and in my case an iPad), is an evolution. I may repeat what Jobs says, its the post-PC era.