Jobs was right: iPad is magical and revolutionary

Jobs was right: iPad is magical and revolutionary

Summary: Apple uses some terms that seem to exaggerate a bit when describing their products, but after 3 weeks of using the iPad I think they may have been right in describing the iPad. Here are four reasons why the iPad is magical and revolutionary to me.

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Special Report: Apple iPad I went back and forth over whether or not I was going to buy an iPad since the device was announced and as you know I did pre-order one on the day the online store opened. Steve Jobs likes to be a bit dramatic during his presentations and after hearing that the iPad was going to be "magical and revolutionary" and then seeing it looked just like a big iPod touch I had to chuckle about his apparent exaggeration. After spending just over 3 weeks with my 32GB Apple iPad I have to honestly say that it actually is quite magical and revolutionary in a few different areas and I have no regrets about my purchase.

My computing habits have radically changed since I have had the iPad and you can find it in my hands when I am relaxing on the couch watching TV, commuting daily for 2 hours on the train, following a Seattle Mariners game, and when reading a book in bed at night. I only use my MacBook Pro now for editing review video and for writing longer articles. The iPad serves all my consumption needs and is a joy to use on my commute where it is much lighter than a notebook.

Here is my list of magical features and functions:

  1. Battery life is absolutely crazy. I have owned a LOT of mobile devices and with every single one of them I have had to be concerned and consciously think about managing the battery life. With the iPad I have yet to see a low battery warning and can go a full heavy day or two before even thinking about plugging it in.
  2. It is cool. With my smartphones and notebooks I have always experienced some kind of heat during heavy usage. This heat rise happens during charging, heavy video usage, or in the case of my first generation MacBook Pro ALL the time (to the point your lap almost gets burned). With the iPad I have not experienced ANY heat coming from it even after streaming hours of straight video content.
  3. Speed kills. Apple has their new 1GHz A4 processor (manufactured by Samsung I believe) in the iPad and I have yet to experience any lag at all when running video, playing games, surfing the Internet, etc. Everything happens just about instantaneously and it is extremely refreshing to have a computing device that responds this way.
  4. Futuristic touch experience. I know this may just be fluff and fun, but I get a real kick out of browsing and manipulating photos, working with Office documents with the iWork suite (What, how can Office docs be fun?), checking out the periodic table, and using my fingers to interact with the device in ways I never have with a computer before.

The applications are also amazing and we are seeing more released and optimized for the iPad every day. I honestly think the iPad will succeed in large part due to the applications and the fact that Apple chose to use a mobile operating system rather than a desktop operating system to power the device. You may have some limitations on capability compared to a "full PC", but the user experience and these other "magical" elements are so much more compelling that they override much of that IMHO. In addition, developers will probably figure out ways to address any glaring needs. Not to mention, iPhone 4 will come out in the Fall and make the device better as well.

Topics: IT Employment, Apple, iPad, Mobility

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171 comments
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  • Well, we do have to give Apple credit where credit is due. They made the

    first true successful mass market tablet. Sure,
    it was a combination of everything aligning for
    them. Faster, smaller, cheaper processors with
    lower power consumption. Cheaper, smaller,
    thinner, better screens, memory, batteries,
    etc, etc.

    But, Apple was the first to put it all
    together, with a great OS.

    Congratulations Apple.
    DonnieBoy
    • Time will tell

      I've pretty much come to the same conclusion regarding the iPad as the author. I love my iPad and use it all the time. Of course it will be leaving me soon as I put it on craigslist or ebay in the next few weeks (depending if my local BestBuy has any 3G iPads on Friday). What I think is going to be interesting is how we will view today's iPad 3 or 5 years from now. Bigger, smaller, lighter, perhaps rollable/or foldable? Will today's iPad look like some sort of dinosaur? My guess is they will make some further advances in power conservation which will allow less battery for the same 10+ hours. Maybe reducing the weight closer to a pound. Maybe there will be forward/rearward facing cameras and USB ports. Maybe not. None of that is effecting my enjoyment of the iPad at this point. My wish list right now would be 1) slightly less weight 2)Individual user accounts or profiles 3)A real file mgt system and oh yea, Flash support. Not because it is really important to me, but it would kick the crutch out from under the whiners.
      jondrew
      • All good points, not to take anything away from Apple for the GREAT design,

        but, I will wait for an Android based tablet,
        possibly the 11 inch Dell model coming next
        year.

        But, the evolution of tables will be VERY
        interesting.
        DonnieBoy
      • I knew you existed but here's living proof!

        You actually bought an iPad w/o 3G because you couldn't wait 30 days.

        I'm sorry, there is really nothing wrong with being that level of an Apple fanatic. I mean, by the time you sell this one and buy a new one you'll only have paid at least 25% more than you could have, but I'm glad to see some people have money to burn. <br>
        ;)

        I think many people would like flash support because so darned many sites use it, no?

        I really think the idea of "showing those whiners" really gives off the Jobs diciple in you.

        My wife has an itouch and I don't like the non existence of true multi-tasking and Apple not "allowing" me to download mp3s as I wish to play on the device. I can only download using Apple channels.

        They are literally blocking full internet access which stinks.
        xuniL_z
        • MP3s...

          You can import mp3 audio files using iTunes. Then sync with your iPod
          Touch.
          msuper69
        • I had the mp3 discussion with a colleague...

          ...and am completely amazed that someone can complain about "having to
          use" iTunes to download music, when what they're implying is that they want to
          use several mechanisms to download (sometimes illegal) content and then are
          too lazy to do 1 more conversion?

          The iTunes store IS meant for my parents. And the lovely girl I sit next to at
          work who asks constantly for help with her autofilters in Excel. It's NOT meant
          for me, who studied for 4 years to achieve an Honors degree at Uni in
          computing. But here's the lovely part - should I choose that it is easier to
          subscribe to the Season Pass for Masterchef than $20 of my time scouring the
          net for an illegal copy, in different formats for every episode, that I may require
          additional CODECs for, then I have that option.

          And should I wish to put the latest family video into my iTunes library, then I
          can spend some time with some fairly basic tools to do that.

          The simplicity of the iTunes Eco-system is what makes the iPod so
          successful... In much the same way the Amazon Eco-system made the Kindle
          successful.
          mattmuir
          • I'm a legal mp3 user

            ...and am completely amazed that someone can complain about "having to
            use" iTunes to download music, when what they're implying is that they want to
            use several mechanisms to download (sometimes illegal) content and then are
            too lazy to do 1 more conversion?
            >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
            I buy all of my music on Amazon. No DRM hassle, lower prices, same selection (so far for what I'm interested in), no BS apple device authorization headaches.
            It's kind of ridiculous that you can load such mp3s into iTunes, then load it into iDevices, but you can't just browse to Amazon on your iPod, iPhone or iPad, buy it, then directly download it to the device.

            Luckily I have a personal computer to buy music with. I don't download illegal files (ever) and I can see his point.

            Device freedom is important for some of us as a matter of practicality. Ask anyone that's forgotten their iTunes password (or gotten their account stolen) how much it sucks when you lose your authorization capability after you have to rebuild your computer or the old one simply fails, and your entire music collection goes poof.

            /shrug
            pwn0tr0n
          • Good thing iTunes doesn't DRM their music.

            Allowing device freedom and it makes making backups of the library so
            simple and easy, when you loose things and it goes POOF, the easiest
            thing to rebuild is iTunes.
            Bruizer
          • Step into the future...

            I believe iTunes is totally DRM-free now (or almost there). The days when it
            was only offering DRM music are gone, only a very small percentage of iTune
            users bought (vs using their own CD collection).

            It's the users responsibility to backup their music. But if anyone's computer fails,
            they always have a backup of their music on the iPod. Getting it off is easy.
            dave95.
      • how odd...

        [i]Flash support. Not because it is really important to me, but it would kick the crutch out from under the whiners.[/i]

        So you only want Flash on the device to shut other people up? Really? Their problems with [b]your[/b] iPad affect you in that way?

        I find that odd.
        Badgered
    • "...everything aligning..."

      This is NOT a case of "...everything aligning..."! This is another case of Apple aligning everything - starting with the concept.

      Whereas previous tablets were designed as general purpose computers in an alternative form, Apple designed a product that reversed their standard practice. Typically for Apple, form follows function. In the iPad case, function follows form. They started with the pad form, came up with uses for it, optimized its human interface - not just multitouch, but size, weight, balance, battery life, etc. Actually, once Apple came up with the ideal functions for the form, they fed that back and refined the form to follow the identified functions.

      Designing a product like the iPad is not like putting together a jigsaw puzzle - merely a matter of aligning pieces. It's more like designing a mosaic. Not only do you have to fit the pieces together. You have to design the final picture yourself. Sometimes you even have to create the signature pieces that give the mosaic style.
      Steve Webb
    • er..

      wankwankwankwank
      thatroom
  • It is interesting...

    ...that the path to Tablet success passes by way of the mobile phone. Granted, iPhone is based on OS X, but the user interface used clearly derives from the iPhone.

    Portable touch-initiated products bear a lot in common with phones, at least from an interaction standpoint, with the main difference of the iPad form factor being its size (making it suitable for longer use).

    I, too, think the iPad has a great future.
    John Carroll
    • Raises a Question

      It raises the obvious question. This is a new model that caters to the non
      technical user over the technical cognoscenti and developer. Yes it is
      about multitouch, and yes it is about the store, but it is also about the
      eschewing of a computer's conceits, and with that, many of the conceits
      of open architecture. The user is served by integration and consistency. A
      managed code environment can be circumvented with a managed app
      store. Does it also run cooler and longer as a bonus? I guess we'll see.
      Developers have to realize that the customer does not respond to open
      architecture except to recognize abundance. They don't want to be be
      only laser disc owner in the neighbourhood. Beyond that, whoever best
      meets their needs wins.
      norgate
      • Yes, you are right....

        ...but the question is: does the open market do a better of job of meeting needs? That was the case with PCs, and I think it will be the case with phones and Tablets.

        Apple's model enables it to move quickly and early, but makes staying ahead harder.

        My opinion, of course, not yours.
        John Carroll
        • It's always harder to be the trail blazer and riskier.

          It's always easier to see what works and duplicate it for less. That is why
          I think we as a country should be very weary of our technological edge in
          terms of the military. It cost us a lot of time and money to make Stealth
          work not that we've shown it to be viable others will take that and run
          with it for far less.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
        • Are they even related?!

          Are "open" and "successful" related? Also, is the PC really an "open"
          platform? I can see from the hardware point of view - but a platform
          isn't just hardware. Windows is as proprietary as you can get, it's very
          common, but that isn't the same, the Mac is more "open" being based
          on Unix and having much (but not all) of the source code available.

          I think a lot of people talk about the "openness" of the PC being the
          key to its success, but isn't that just hype from Microsoft? In desktop
          computing there have only really been five really significant platforms
          across all sectors; the Apple II, the "DOS" PC, the Windows PC, Classic
          Mac, and Mac OS X. Sure there have been big sellers, but they didn't
          cross segments (so I'm not worrying about the Amiga, or the
          Commodore 64). If we look at the five (and we really should consider
          them separately) then "openness" seems irrelevant.

          What sells computers is applications. Little else matters. If we consider
          it this way, then I think we understand the "iPad phenomenon" better.
          Jeremy-UK
          • Openness != Open Source

            I believe the openness talked about is the fact
            that anyone can write an application for PC
            (OSX, Linux, Windows, Amiga, Commodore 64, etc)
            and it will run and can be sold to customers.

            This isn't so with the closed systems that
            mobile phones and the iPad is. Anybody can
            write software for them but to get them on the
            phone/tablet, you have to go through a
            gatekeeper (Apple, cell phone company, etc) to
            get their blessing to sell to others and not
            without them taking a piece of the action.
            joshandrebekah
          • Openness is merely a buzzword.

            Apple is called a 'closed' system because they don't let you mess with
            the hardware--but anyone is allowed to write software for them.
            The PC is called an 'open' system because you can mess with the
            hardware all you want--but just like Apple, if you want to write
            software, you have to use Microsoft's APIs. In all honesty, there is no
            openness when it comes to operating systems. Anybody can write to
            either one, but each one has its restrictions designed to prevent
            cross-platform compatibility. Apple doesn't want Windows software
            running naked through OS X and Microsoft doesn't want Apple's
            software running naked through Windows; both want--and need--
            some level of exclusivity to prevent the other from taking over their
            market.

            With this said, the iPhone and iPad are no more 'closed' than any other
            OS--nor are they any more 'open.' Apple's app store started with the
            same restrictions that the Android Market has now--none. Over the
            years, however, what they saw was what you'd find in any crowd, a
            smattering a greatness, a preponderance of mediocrrity and an
            element of crude obscenity. It helped them to develop a huge software
            base to build upon, but it also started earning them complaints from
            parents and certain morality groups threatening to sue. Considering
            the nature of the complaints, the App Store has been in flux trying to
            find a way to moderate the content without going too far either way.
            Honestly, this is never an easy process because what might be
            acceptable to one person might be grossly obscene to a second, yet
            what would be acceptable to that second, could be just as grossly
            objectionable to the first. Android, and Google's Android Market, will
            run into that same problem soon enough. In fact, if the anti-Apple
            zealots have their way, it will take Android far less time to hit that wall
            than it did Apple, and it will be their own fault.

            In other words, no matter which mobility OS you choose, you're going
            to end up with that gatekeeper. Apple's gatekeeper was set in place
            originally to serve one purpose--security; to stop malware from
            having an easy path into the environment. And you can't say the
            hackers haven't been trying to get past that gatekeeper, there have
            been dozens of attempts that we know of, but so far the only ones
            that have worked have only succeeded in entering 'jailbroken' models.
            How well will Android stand up? With its surge of popularity, especially
            from anti-Apple zealots, they know that it's a viable platform to
            attack. Supposedly there have already been a few minor incursions,
            but I can't verify that.

            Get used to having a gatekeeper for your software in the future.
            Considering the way so many computer stores have pared down their
            software aisles, it won't be that far in the future when all software is
            purchased online--not through brick-and-mortar stores. This also
            means that gatekeepers will be set up to try and block the trojan from
            using legitimate software to break into your machine. However, as
            Google's report just yesterday pointed out, almost 15% of new
            malware is fake software being sold as legitimate. In other words, the
            weak point in computing today isn't the OS, but the person at the
            keyboard. The same will hold true with mobility devices as well.
            Vulpinemac
        • By the looks of things right now...

          ... it seems that Microsoft is about to be relegated to the realms of
          irrelevance. Yes, the iPhone and the iPad have started a revolution in
          how we compute--at least as far as the mobile scene goes. However,
          with Microsoft's insistence that WinMob and desktop Windows is better
          in the mobility environment, they've given Google and Android the
          opportunity to leap ahead of them and, at least for now, develop a
          measure of parity with Apple's iPhone OS. By what reports I've read
          of--for want of a better term--WinMob7, Microsoft has realized their
          mistake, but they apparently waited too long and Phone7 appears
          more like a compromise between their desktop Windows and the
          iPhone/Android OSes, not going far enough towards a true touch
          environment.

          The question now comes, will Apple be able to retain its lead, or will
          Android, not Windows, surge ahead? And when things finally stabilize,
          will the market be as grossly one-sided as it has been in the PC world
          all these years? Personally, I expect to see more parity between
          operating systems in the future unless one player can do what
          Microsoft did 30 years ago and grandfather themselves to the top.
          This time, however, I think the enterprise will learn from their
          mistakes of the past and not let themselves get hooked into the same
          kind of situation Windows put them in.
          Vulpinemac