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January 28, 2010

Apple iPad: Discussion of Features and The Name

My first step in coverage of the Apple iPad was to understand the features not only as a techie but as a mom that appreciates mobile gadgets. Yesterday I posted a write-up with all the information I could find about the Apple iPad features. Looking at the Apple iPad features I listed yesterday, there were many that make the iPad a valuable tool, including it's user friendly design and interface, attractive build and access to a large number of applications from the iPhone (140,000 as of today), entertainment media and eBook libraries. These are all features that moms and families look for on a mobile gadget.  Today I wanted to look more into the Apple iPad features and reflect on the much discussed name "iPad".

The features:

While writing the post about the features I did wonder if the Apple iPad had a webcam as some had speculated before the official announcement. Mashable wrote a post that summarized what features are missing, including a camera and no USB port. The Mashable article also summarized that the Apple iPad seemed to be centered on "media consumption, not creation". Another missing feature in my opinion is the video webcam, which would of allowed use of Skype via the WiFi functionality, live video and video recording. Video recording is a popular feature many use on mobile gadgets, especially after seeing the video's being made on the iPhone 3GS.

Walt Mossberg in his first impressions also mentioned the applications and build as a plus, but had questions about the comfort of using the virtual keyboard. Because I have not had any hands on exposure to the Apple iPad yet, I can't add any personal experience about the keyboard.  David Pogue posted in the New York Times with his first impressions of the iPad and I agree that the iPad is like a giant iPod Touch. I also agree that reading eBooks or newspapers and watching TV shows or Movies (from iTunes) are a "natural" for the iPad. The iPad as an eReader for books and newspaper is a strong feature.

The next question I had was if the Apple iPad supports Flash. From what I have found, it currently does not support Adobe Flash. One of the posts on TechMeme that discussed this was from Anthony Ha of VentureBeat titled "No Flash on Apple’s iPad".

The Adobe Flash Platform blog posted with the following details: "without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web".  The Adobe Flash platform blog also posted that Flash Developers are working on iPad applications, which will be an advantage for the iPad moving forward. Here is that post: Adobe Flash Platform Blog -   Building iPad Applications with Flash:

"We announced the Packager for iPhone at MAX 2009 which will allow Flash developers to create native iPhone applications and will be available in the upcoming version of Flash Pro CS5. This technology enables developers to create applications for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (though applications will not initially take direct advantage of iPad’s new screen resolution). It is our intent to make it possible for Flash developers to build applications that can take advantage of the increased screen size and resolution of the iPad."

**UPDATE Apple iPad - Adobe Flash info 1/29: The 9To5MAC Blog posted "The iPad has Adobe's Flash on Apple's video" and Mashable posted "Adobe Calls Out Apple for Lack of Flash on iPad".

I have also been actively asking for input on Twitter to see what other's think about Adobe Flash not being supported on the Apple iPad. Others also view that as "anti-webish".  I do think that it is important to pay for content. I will be HAPPY to pay for magazines and eBooks - that is important to support authors and journalists. But I also feel that new gadgets should also allow users to view free content as well through sites such as YouTube (that requires Adobe Flash to view).  That balance is something that will be of much debate moving forward**

I also found a few other posts on TechMeme that added information about the iPad features:

1. TechCrunch - AT&T Already Has One Million eReaders On Its Network, Without The iPad

The TechCrunch post brings up the question if AT&T's network will be able to handle the new iPad users.

2. PRWire - Apple Lifts 3G VoIP Restrictions, iCall with 3G Support Available Immediately

PRWire posted with information that Apple lifted restrictions on using iCall on the iPhone and IPod Touch. So will it be available on the iPad in the future?

The name "iPad":

While there were some pretty funny comments about the name on my post as well as feedback from Twitter, blog posts and video - I actually did not mind the name. Especially with the other options listed in the PC World post "Apple Tablet Needs a Name Cooler Than iTablet, iSlate".  I think the Apple marketing team knew there would be the jokes, but decided that they wanted to keep the naming simple and one that fit with their naming conventions. From what I could find, Apple had the rights to use either iPad or iSlate. While iSlate would have probably been better received, the term "slate" does not give the same image that the word "pad" does. Beyond the jokes, pad also represents a pad of paper and I think that is the image they wanted the iPad for it's simplicity. iTablet would have been the best name overall if they could have used that. 

The two most common terms for gadgets that are somewhere in between a smartphone and a laptop - but not a netbook are the terms "tablet" and "slate". Tablets should be smaller and lighter then a netbook so they are mobile and filled with functionality for mobile entertainment and media. Answers.com has the following definitions of pad versus slate versus tablet:

Pad: As a noun it is defined as " A number of sheets of paper of the same size stacked one on top of the other and glued together at one end; a tablet ", as a verb to "To line or stuff with soft material".

Slate:  As a noun the term can mean "A fine-grained metamorphic rock that splits into thin, smooth-surfaced layers or A list of the candidates of a political party running for various offices" as a verb to "to put on a list of candidates or to schedule or designate".

Tablet: As a noun it is defined as "A slab or plaque, as of stone or ivory, with a surface that is intended for or bears an inscription" and as a verb "To inscribe on a tablet".

Just from looking at the Answers.com definitions, the term pad does bring up the image of a pad of paper while the slate brings up the image of what I want to put on my kitchen counters instead of the ugly tile I have now. Or maybe that is my own slanted view because I happen to be writing this post on my kitchen table looking at my ugly kitchen counter.


Taking into account the features of the Apple iPad and the humorous but practical name - my view is that the Apple iPad still offers a full suite for functionality for what Mashable calls "media consumption" in an attractive gadget that is easy to use. For users that have a full suite of Apple products but want a mobile entertainment product that is bigger then an iPod or iPod Touch, but not as big or heavy as a netbook or light laptop - then the Apple iPad is a good bet. I mean, come on, how many tablets either out or coming out will have access to 140,000 applications?

My next area of discussion will be: How does the Apple iPad stand up to the other Tablets, Slates or Netbooks? But that discussion is worthy of a new post.. in the works...


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I think IPad is the better choice..

I can't see myself ever getting used to the keyboard. It seems like it would be like texting on a larger scale and I can't work effectively like that.

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Having just gotten a kindle, part of me wondered if I should have waited and bought the Ipad (Oh, well. The kindle was a gift and I love it). I chose the older smaller kindle so I could throw it in my purse and not leave it at home for being too big or bulky. Part of me was wondering when I would use an Ipad and if I would find it makes my Apple laptop feel obsolete, in terms of e gadgets? In fact, if I had one I wonder if it would make my Mac laptop, my portable DVD player which we use for kids when we fly and my kindle all feel obsolete? If so, that may be reason to get one. But like columnist Troy Wolverton in the SJ Mercury News, I will wait for version 2.0 if I get one at all b/c I want it to be able to multitask and support Flash.

The iPad needs a usb port. I will not buy one without it.

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