WhyPad? iPhone Shortcomings Reappear in Apple’s New iPad Tablet

AppleiPad.jpgFrom some 3,000 miles away from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where Apple debuted its iPad tablet device Wednesday, this blogger is quite confused as to why Apple didn’t address two of the most prominent complaints about its iPhone while creating its iPhone on steroids: its reliance on shaky 3G service from AT&T, and the lack of a removable battery.

AT&T’s ability to handle the 3G demand generated by iPhone usage has already been called into question, and the introduction of a new, data-intensive device doesn’t seem as if it will help matters.

AllThingsD reported: “A small groan rippled through the audience at the Apple event this morning as Steve Jobs announced that the device’s carrier will be AT&T — at least initially.”

And TechCrunch examined the good and bad sides of the issue:

Today, during the unveiling of the iPad, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that you’ll be able to get an iPad that has both Wi-Fi and 3G access, meaning you can download new content from nearly anywhere. That’s great news. The not-so-good? It’s powered by AT&T, which has been absolutely notorious for already being unable to cope with the 3G data usage of the iPhone. This sure isn’t going to help things.

However, there are some upsides. For one, this Internet access will not be based on a contract — you’ll sign up for the 3G access directly from the device, paying on a monthly basis. You’ll have two options for data plans: a not-too-impressive 250 megabytes for $15, or unlimited downloads for $29.99 (although that will almost certainly have an unwritten cap, as well). And you’ll be able to use AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots, free-of-charge. You’ll also be able to use these internationally — iPad 3G models will be unlocked and will included GSM micro SIMS.

It’s worth pointing out that most of what you’ll be doing with the iPad will consist of consuming content and surfing the Web. Unlike the iPhone, where a dropped connection can result in cutting off an important phone call, a lost data connection on the iPad will probably just mean your Website stops loading halfway. That said, the increased strain could make things even worse for iPhone users.


As for the battery, Jobs described it as an integrated 25-watt-per-hour battery that lasts 10 hours while video watching, surfing the Internet via Wi-Fi or listening to audio. However, estimated battery life and actual battery life tend to vary, and the ability to pack an extra battery might have been a smart feature to incorporate.

In comparing the powering solutions for the iPad and the Kindle from Amazon, Mashable wrote:

The iPad’s battery life, according to Steve Jobs, is an impressive 10 hours, and it has an even more impressive one month of standby time. Still, it’s likely that getting the full 10 hours means doing things that negatively affect the experience (like lowering screen brightness, turning off Wi-Fi, not playing video, etc.). The Kindle, on the other hand, can give you a full week of reading time with wireless on and two weeks with wireless off.

Two more potential issues stood out in sifting through the mountains of iPad coverage on the Internet: the device’s price tag, and its inability to run multiple apps simultaneously.

As for the price, the Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory is $499; a 32-GB version is $599; a 64-GB iPad goes for $699; and the 64-GB model with 3G from AT&T carries an $829 sticker.

With the unemployment rate in the United States sitting at 10% as of December, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, those price tags may prove prohibitive — or potential buyers may hold off in hopes of the price drops Apple implemented for the iPhone (and they may hesitate to become iPad early adopters in case Apple doesn’t offer rebates to buyers who paid the entry price, as it did with the iPhone).

Mashable, however, felt that the price compared favorably with that of the Kindle, writing:

Going into today’s announcement at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, most pundits predicted that the Apple tablet would cost at least $600 and perhaps as much as $1,000. Steve Jobs dropped a major bombshell when he announced that the non-3G, 16-GB base unit iPad would be priced at a very respectable $499.

In other words, just $10 more than the top-end Kindle DX — a device with a comparatively measly 4-GB storage capacity. A recent University of Georgia study found that cost was a major factor when choosing an e-reader. “Nearly all respondents balked at the Kindle DX’s $489 price tag for reading a newspaper,” according to the survey.

While $489 might be too much for just an e-book reader, $10 more for a device that does a whole lot more may be worth it to a lot of people.

And Engadget said of the iPad’s inability to multitask:

There’s no multitasking at all. It’s a real disappointment. All this power and very little you can do with it at once. No multitasking means no streaming Pandora when you’re working in Pages…you can figure it out. It’s a real setback for this device.

Last but not least, thanks to Silicon Alley Insider for closing this serious post with some humor:

Did no one at Apple even bother to search for prior uses of the term iPad?

Here’s a four-year-old video from MadTV: