iPad. Less Exciting than Cat Woman.

Well Apple finally released the long rumored Apple tablet computer.  Amazingly enough it was one of the most dull and uninteresting product releases I can remember.  I was honestly excited for a potential Apple tablet.  While I was pretty sure it wasn’t something I would rush out to get, I did believe it would have a fairly high drool factor.  What I wasn’t expecting was all that Apple was releasing was an iPod touch with a thyroid condition.

I’ve watched the videos, read the reports and Steve Jobs spiel and still I am amazing overwhelmed.  Sure, it may have just been the massive amount of hype that has been surrounding this thing, but I don’t think so.  I can pin point a few of, what I consider to be, pretty glaring short comings.

  1. The very first thing I noticed about it was that it’s not a widescreen device.  For something that’s only 9.7″ when I’m watching video I don’t want to have to deal with black bars when watching wide screen content.  For a media oriented device this just seems silly to me.  No, not a deal breaker, but something that rubbed me the wrong way from the get go.
  2. While the iPad seems to have a more polished version of the iPhone OS, it seems like too stripped down, and too locked down to be a “great” product.  Sure, it’s still useful, and the iPhone OS is entirely serviceable.  But in a time when other companies have touch screen machines running full OS versions this just seems a bit silly.  Especially after how much he cuts on netbooks and then releases a product that is more stripped down than “a cheap laptop”.
  3. Again it seems as if Apple wants nothing at all to do with Flash, as, like the iPhone/iPod Touch, the web browser lacks a Flash plugin.  A device like the iPad would be great for Hulu video, or any number of streaming content sites.  However without Flash these sites are a no go.  While some people see Flash as becoming irrelevant in the not so distant future as HTML 5 brings its own embedded streaming standards, it is however relevant now.  They are releasing this device now, not in the future, and to ignore a current dominant standard seems absolutely silly.
  4. Finally, what I see as the biggest deal breaker of them all, is the lack of multitasking.  Only being able to have one app going at once is short-sighted, and something I’d expect from a device from several years ago.  On my 1st Gen iPod Touch I can understand there are hardware limitations.  On Apple’s much touted “blazing fast” A4 chip I’d expect it to handle the running of multiple applications like a champ.  Why is this feature lacking?  I wish I knew, but it sets the iPad behind devices that are less technologically impressive.  Big fail on this one Apple.

It’s true that three of these four complaints could be addressed by software updates.  I certainly hope that they are.  Currently, however, this device seems aimed at a very small niche market.  It looks to me more like a proto-type than an actual prime time ready release.  I can see the iPad, however, sparking competing devices that will force innovation in this newly emerging market.  The iPad might be a precursor, but in its current incarnation its nothing more than an overgrown iPod desperately seeking a market.