The Revolutionary iPad...Just How Revolutionary?


With the dust settling on Apple's announcement of the iPad, as well as the publicising of the of the internal specs, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look a just what Apple is offering us. The iPad is powered by Apple's new A4 system on a chip, a chip that according to Steve Jobs, is made specifically for the iPad. It promises a more snappy interface, fluid video playback and all in all, an improved user experience.

The iPad is slightly smaller than an A4 sheet, and weighs in at 1.5 lbs (1.6 if you include the OPTIONAL built-in 3G). The multitouch LED screen has a resolution of 1024x768, and with a 9.7" diagonal, resulting in a pixel density of 132 ppi (pixels per inch). The 16GB model will cost $499, 32GB $599, and the 64GB version will set you back $699 (R3 700, R4 500 and R5 200 respectively - subject to change with conversion rates). The optional 3G modem will cost a further $130 (R980) on top of the base price. A pretty steep price, regardless of which model you choose.

The specs that Apple have given the iPad have the potential to make it a really powerful and versatile machine. However, that potential lays it foundations in one factor alone: the ability to multitask. That, unfortunately, is something the iPad cannot do.

Combining this with the fact that there are no Flash capabilities in the Safari browser, nor cellular features; and you end up with yet another failed iteration of the iPod.

With all that said and done though, I wanted to take a different approach with this one. I wanted to compare this iPad with a similarly specced Windows Tablet PC. The Tablet in question is the HP TC1100. A simple comparison of basic specs and features should be enough to show the product that has better value. Here it goes:

It seems that the HP TC 1100 out-specs the iPad very slightly, but even more so when you look at the hard drive capacities and the fact that the tablet has USB ports, the iPad has none. What is frightening though, is not the lack of expansion ports, it's the age difference between the two products. The HP tablet was released way back in 2003. That's an age and a half in technology-years! I find it hard to believe that a product as old as the TC1100 can outrun the iPad. Sure, it doesn't have the multi-touch ability, nor does it have a very long battery life (about 2hrs compared with the iPad's 10hrs); but what it can do is play Flash, replace/recharge the battery and most importantly, multitask.

Apple has given us a product that was supposed to revolutionise the way we use touch-computers. And yet, with all its bells and whistles, I'm still going to feel something missing when looking blankly at that screen while listening to music because I can't access my favourite Facebook games, or many of my favourite sites don't work. I expected Apple to pull out all the stops with this one, but I’ve had to stop myself pulling my hair out in frustration. Let’s hope HP, Toshiba or the other leading tablet brands can come up with a better solution.

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