iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

Summary: The iPad, now finally unveiled, is a technical marvel and will be the envy of many. But should you be the first on your block to own one?

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware

Apples iPad first generation

The iPad, now finally unveiled, is a technical marvel and will be the envy of many. But should you be the first on your block to own one?

Wow. Steve Jobs broke the Internet. I mean like, really. People REALLY wanted to hear about this thing.

A lot of New Media Weberati made a number of predictions about this device, myself included. My own biases aside, I am incredibly impressed by what Apple has been able to achieve, not so much by the technology being deployed but at the sheer gutsiness of offering such a compelling product at such an aggressive price. As someone who has often been called an Apple hater and with a (self admitted) bias against many of the company's business practices and their supporters, even I have to acknowledge that the iPad is a game changer, for a number of reasons, most of which have been outlined by my esteemed colleagues.

All that being said about the iPad -- you might not want to own the first version that hits the market.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry link below for more".

Why not the first model? Because what is glaringly missing from the device that is about to ship will almost certainly make its way into the next one. Allow me be the first New Media Jackass to start predicting what is going to be in the iPad 2. Yes, I know the first one hasn't even landed in stores yet, but what can I say, I like to make predictions.

I think I was amazingly close in predicting what the iPad 1 would end up being, in my two previous pieces about the device. My predictions yielded a product that was pretty damn close to what was actually shown today, although where I missed completely on the mark exposes what the limitations are in the current design.

Where did I miss? Well, for starters, on price. I didn't expect the entry model to be so cheap, but then again, I also had much higher expectations on portability. Apple took the middle ground with iPad 1, in picking components that would allow them to offer the unit to early adopters inexpensively. This is probably the best evidence to date that yes, even Apple is subject to the limitations of what most consumers are willing to pay for certain things in the current economy.

I expected Apple to use an LCD screen to keep costs down, but I also expected the device to weigh less, due to a smaller battery and thinner/more compact form factor. Frankly, when you look at the iPad compared to other devices that Jobs and Apple's industrial designers have been involved with, it's kind of klunky, especially with the huge black frame around the display. 1.5lbs is a lot of gadget to be schlepping around especially if you already own a laptop and a smartphone. It's three times heavier than a Kindle 2, and about 6 ounces heavier than the $489.00 Kindle DX (so nice knowing you and welcome to oblivion) which has approximately the same screen dimensions, just to put that in perspective.

Much of the iPad's weight comes from the battery that powers that big In-Plane Switching (IPS) backlit LCD. While real world power usage scenarios have yet to be publicly benchmarked, Jobs claimed in his demo that on a 10 hour flight to Tokyo from San Francisco he was able to watch video constantly on it. I'm not sure how much of that time the unit spent being charged -- he claims none -- but if that's the case it needs a LOT of battery to provide a full day of usage.

I had thought that there was an outside chance that iPad 1 would launch with a Pixel Qi transflective dual-mode screen. Obviously, that did not happen. However, I think that it is almost a virtual certainty that iPad 2 will use this technology. First, because we know that the 10.1" part will ship in large volumes by the end of 2010. Second, the part will be comparable in price to the screen Apple is using today or even cheaper. Third, it uses less energy in that it does not require the constant use of backlight and can run in an e-Ink mode just like the Kindle's Vizplex screen.

I know my Editor in Chief, Larry Dignan, is a hardcore Kindle user and in our conversations today expressed concern that while he'll almost certainly buy an iPad to replace his netbook, he'd find difficulty tossing his Kindle because the iPad's IPS LCD screen will be next to useless while lying on a lounger at the pool in direct sunlight. Not so with Kindle's Vizplex screen or Pixel Qi's transflective e-Ink mode.

While I am happy that the iPad 1 will have a full day's worth of use out of its battery, I am somewhat disappointed that the unit actually needs to be plugged into a dock to be charged. The iPad would have been an ideal device to ship with magnetic induction charging out of the box, with the iPhone 4G and a second generation Mighty Mouse following on later in the year and being able to use a single induction charging plate to handle all your Apple gadget power needs. Proprietary power cords and various other clunky interfaces? Gah. C'mon Jobs, this was a no-brainer. Put it in the next one.

And how come there's no integrated swivel webcam with integrated mic? You'd think this thing with its kickass A4 custom silicon would be ideal for video conferencing, digital signal processing with voice recognition and augmented reality apps like we get on the DROID and the Nexus One. This one ain't got it, but iPad 2 may very well get one. No multi-tasking?  No HDMI output? No native 16:9 aspect ratio? Is that coming in the next model?

That being said, this Apple "hater" is probably going to pick one up, even though I'm sure to be ticked come the end of the year that I didn't wait until the next one came out. What were you expecting in iPad 1 that almost certainly is going to end up in iPad 2? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Apple, Hardware


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • It's not a game changer geez

    It's a over size iTounch / ereader big deal not life changing.
    • Definitely NOT a game changer...

      This thing doesn't even do everything I can do now with my 3 year old netbook and iPhone 3GS. I am really disappointed that they returned to the retarded pseudo-GPS of iPhone 1.0 and NO video chat camera. Every time I hear Apple call an incomplete and mediocre feature set "revolutionary," I just want to slap Jobs.
      • Camera

        If it had a video chat camera, you would likely be complaining that
        with the camera on the front, you can't use it to take pictures or video
        of anything but yourself.

        It would not be good for video chat since you would be holding it in
        your hands and the video would constantly be moving.

        Apple products are never about putting in every single possible
        feature. They are about determining the most likely usage and
        building the product around that.

        The ipad is a giant ipod touch.
  • Face it, Jason.

    You're gonna LOVE it!
    • True, but

      I think that we can all agree that the device is
      definitely heavy, and somewhat impractical to
      leave the house with especially if your
      backpack/messenger bag already contains a laptop
      for work use, your smartphone and your and
      digital camera, and never mind the chargers and accessories that go with them. While the iPad is
      an excellent MID for home use and maybe even
      replacing a netbook and an ebook reader -- what
      I intend to use it for, it still is going to
      need some work and further refinement before we
      start seeing them used outside and for other
      pervasive mobile applications. I'd actually
      would have liked to have seen "iPad Mini",
      something closer in dimensions to Kindle 2.
      • applications

        i suppose you will find yourself leaving your notebook at home more
        often than you can now imagine and ..."other pervasive mobile
        applications..."? you mean like the 140.000 that are already available and
        the thousands of optimized ones at launch day?
        • using the device outside in full sunlight or in bright natural lighting

          And weight/form factor Is going to be a major
          consideration until the screen technology changes.
          Doesn't matter what iPhone apps exist today, the
          usage patterns on a MID are different than a
  • RE: iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

  • Wrong form factor

    It is too big for what it is! I had a Kindle DX
    as a gift and downsized to the Kindle2, for, among
    other reasons, it was too big to easily
    manipulate/read as a
    book. Give me near edge to edge 5 1/2" X 9"
    tablet, and I think I would be happier.
  • RE: iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

    I'll buy the iPad once it comes down in price and has more memory.

    Check it out:

  • RE: iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

    I can't be bothered. Call me jaded, but to me the iPad
    seems like yet another excuse to be glued to a screen. Do
    I need this? Nope. Do I even want this? Nope. I'm going
    back to my paperback novel now.
  • RE: iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

    It sure is a great new device but some things should have been included.
    First of all- It is a PAD. So, we should have an app to scribble our notes,right!

    Second- Its memory space is laughable. 16 GB! Are you kidding? The apps will take the whole space! Where will I keep my music and pics and movies?
    It should have support for external storage.

    Third- It should have an attached stand or support. No one would like to hold it for two long hours just to watch a movie or read a document.

    But I am going to buy one anyways! If we wait for the next one we might be waiting like this forever in want of something else! So, move on and get one.
    • Why not just...

      Buy that HP Slate instead? It will have Windows 7...which will give you 5000 times the functionality.
      • Sound interesting

        When will it be available and how much will it cost.

        You know that HP is scrambling right now to figure out how to reprice it
        now that the ipad pricing has been announced.
  • Why Jason! You're mellowing with age.

    It's hard to disagree with you on many of the points you make.
    Although I have a house full of Macs, I'm likely to wait longer than you
    will. There's the potential for the iPad to find its way into some
    vertically-integrated markets. Let's hope they publish specs on the
    docking interface.

    I'm also very interested in seeing what happens with the bookstore. I
    read a lot of science magazines and various obscure publications.
    Their page counts have gone down and prices have gone up because
    of the expense of publishing and distributing. If the store interface
    works smoothly, this could make a difference in the ability to continue
    publishing important periodicals.

    I must admit to a small amount of perverse pleasure in looking over
    the comments here. No one would have accused you of being an
    Apple fanboy. Still, that's the way the comments are reading.
  • RE: iPad 1.0: Early Adopters Beware

    I want to know what people think about holding the device. At least with the ipod touch its small enough that I can hold it in both hands and type with my thumbs and hold it in front of my face. With this ipad I think its a bit awkward to do. A little too big to type with the thumbs, so you will essentially be holding and balancing in one hand and pecking at the keys with the other. Sure you can lay it down on your lap and type but wait until your back starts hurting because your slouched over.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Remember its targeting the netbook market...

      ...and not the MP3/smartphone markets. These are meant to be carried around when you walk. That is where thumb typing is nice

      A netbook is something you sit down at a table or rest in your lap. Not sure if this device will do that well but it has my attention.
    • Wow, I'm actually in agreement with Loverock

      Hell must have frozen over, because I find myself in agreement with you. That is a first indeed.

      I too have an iPod Touch, the latest 64gb edition. I can hold it comfortably in my hands and type adequately, though not as a substitute for my HTC TP2 with its superb hardware keyboard.

      I realize as another commenter pointed out to you that this is designed to lay down on a surface and type. Well, that smacks of inconvenience, since with a device like this I'm rarely going to wish to use it at a desk or table.

      No, I have mixed feelings about the iPad. Sure, I'd take one and would like one, but the more I've thought about it the harder I find it to justify spending the money, since I already own the Kindle 2 and the Sony Pocket Reader, along with my iPod Touch. And my Macbook Pro has such outstanding battery life that I don't necessarily need to be tethered to the wall charger much so it is plenty portable.
  • Adopters Beware? Why?

    It seems the full weight of Zdnets backers are pushing their bloggers to raise doubts about this product. Noone has hands on the product yet other than for a brief few minutes and yet we have many many threads about what's missing the down site etc etc.

    I'm never sure which are the more biased. The PC or the Mac fans. As a whole the PC supporters seem more prevalent and more rabid but that's been the case since the early days of DOS when they hated CP/M, OS/2 and almost everything else.

    As Jason says this seems to be a game changing device. The doubters would say that's just because of apple fanboys supposedly buy anything with a logo on. If that's the case I'm not sure how there were enough to have dumped parts of the net yesterday. Oh unless of course its an Apple plot.

    With any game changing device you either believe and become an early adopter or not. If the product succeeds you look smart if not you say nothing and hid it in a cupboard.

    I'll order one as it looks decent enough even if its just and expensive ereader at $500 as the rest are so dull. Its not worth going through an evaluation trial or the worry of deciding if I can own both PC and Apple products. That said if Steve B does not sort out Windows Mobile with a huge leap real soon and a android or Iphone may follow in 6 months time.
  • GPS? Who'd want a GPS in the iPad?

    Really. Mobile device? Supports maps? No GPS?

    That's the most surprising omission from my perspective.
    diane wilson