Apple iPad

The Apple iPad was a fairly predictable announcement, perhaps one of the most anticipated in the history of Apple but what many expected to be a revolutionary device is, at first glance, only evolutionary and not only resembles a giant iPod Touch but makes no effort to claim otherwise.

Indeed, that’s exactly what the iPad is. Unlike the iPod Touch, however, the iPad has unlocked a new world of potential for well designed, widget rich App Store applications and an equal amount of potential for the jailbreaking community.

It’s not a matter of if the iPad will be jailbroken, but when. This potential, combined with the reasonable entry price are just a couple of reasons why I will be getting my hands upon an iPad as soon as possible.

Like the iPod and iPhone before it the iPad is taking a monumental amount of flack, with everything from its lack of a camera, to the ongoing lack of flash support cited as cause for not being interested in one. I find both of these features, in particular, to be of low value to me but can appreciate the appeal of Flash for the Facebook gaming generation, and the appeal of a decent iSight camera simply because iChat would be stunning on these things.

But it’s not the end of the world, it’s a first generation device running third generation software meaning it’s not quite your typical Apple revision A product. It’s got a massive software library ready available and simply begging for enhancements which will make much of the iTouch software library truly stunning on the larger and eminently more usable display of the iPad.

A couple of simple examples that would have me buy the iPad for them alone would be Remote Desktop, and a scaled up, super-powered port of Noise.io. Noise.io is a stunning synthesiser application the likes of which simply blew me away on the iPhone, just thinking about what could be done on the iPad excites me more than any other musical hardware I care to think of. Polyphony is just the start, the ability to simultaneously display a two to four octave keyboard, plus an X-Y pad is an exciting prospect that, if realised, would cement the iPad as a very heavily used outlet for musical expression.

Remote Desktop is another prospect that thrills me. If you’ve looked closely at the specifications for the iPad you’ll note wireless N support. This means a 300mbps wireless network is at the disposal of the already lightning-fast remote desktop protocol, all you need is to fire up a dedicated virtual machine on your iMac and you can access it remotely, gaining flash, multi-tasking and all manner of benefits from a full power computing platform. And someone can still use the computer whilst you access the virtualised desktop!

Remember when they talked about computers with detachable screen-tablets that you could use to interact wirelessly with a more powerful base station when lounging on the sofa or taking a dump? The iPad is just that!

For me, the iPad hit the nail squarely on the head. It fits nicely alongside my current compliment of hardware which already includes smaller form factor tablets, the iPhone and the N900 amongst others. It’s everything a tablet should be, minus the inevitable bulk, noise, heat and crap that usually bogs down a tablet attempting to run a desktop operating system with widgets too small and fiddley to be of any use. The iPad is exactly what a tablet should be, the iPhone and iPod touch are a roaring success, so why on earth would Apple fix something that isn’t broken?

Okay, okay. Multi-tasking. Even I can agree on that one, and this is the main reason why I use an N900 over the iPhone on a regular basis. But that’s exactly the point… how many people buying into the iPad, who really care about multi-tasking, don’t already have another, smaller device they can offload communications to? I mean, seriously? Use your iPhone/N900/Droid/Nexus/Touch HD2 or whatever you keep handy to idle IRC, send texts, call and all that nonsense, and use the larger screen on the iPad for things that really need it. To hell with multi-tasking, as much as I’d love it there just aren’t that many use cases in my gadget-stuffed environment and as an avid multi-screen user I much prefer things to be offloaded to a secondary device. Besides, you *can* multi-task on the iPad, in exactly the same way as Google Chromium OS multi-tasks. Via the browser! Multiple browser windows = multiple rich online applications. Google docs, Google talk, Facebook, Twitter, AJAXified IRC clients. You name it and you can probably find a non-flash web-enabled equivalent that will ultimately give you some semblance of multi-tasking in the confines of the iPad’s browser.

If the iPad is not your thing, then wait for a revised version or something better to come along. I don’t have much faith in the latter, but then I’m quite complacent to let Apple make many of my technology decisions for me. As long as they don’t take my bag-o-gadgets away I don’t care how locked down they want to make their devices, I’ll get my sandbox fix from the N900 and Open Pandora handhelds.

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