The real magic of iPad, Apple defines netbooks

by Ankur on January 28, 2010 · 2 comments

Filed in: All,Apple iPad,Launches,Reviews

It’s no secret that Apple hates cheap, low power substance and that’s why they always ignored the netbook buzz. However, the need to release a product at a certain (Read affordable) price point is what Apple now realizes, and thus you have the iPad going for as low as $499 – with such effect on the companies bottomline that late last year Apple actually reduced its earnings estimates owing to lower margins! What enables Apple to sell you a full multitouch 9.7″ tablet for $499? No camera, no HD output, no projector as rumored … fundamentally its a low cost airline with the latest Boeing jets. The iPad it as cheap as the original 1st Gen iPhone in 2007 and promises better multi-touch action given the larger screen.

Apple has developed its own A4 chip that was before the launch rumored to be “the most powerful, lowest-cost SoC in the industry”. This seems to be true, given the fact that we saw incredible gaming and battery life on the  iPad. (Jobs did announce that the A4 system-on-chip includes processor, graphics, I/O, and memory controller in one package).

So why are people hating the Apple iPad:

>It isn’t something alien like the iPhone, no magical design, no magical
>It is typical Apple – No USB port, no multitasking, no flash, no usb mass storage, no camera
No HD output

Originally conceived a decade ago, the tablet form hasn’t been a hit yet. It’s not practical to type on, and if I only wanted to browse media or email, the iPhone is strong enough. So why the iPad? Basically the iPad is just a large size iPhone with a few very crucial elements like the camera and multitasking missing. Apple places the iPad between the iPhone and the Macbooks. Many are wondering if there is undoubtedly a need for an iPad at all? Isn’t the Lenovo Hybrid concept better?

So what is Apple selling the iPad with?

A good CPU, low price and great UI. Mash of ebook reader and netbook!

So Is the Apple iPad worth a buy? Is it revolutionary?

Is it a worth buy? Well YES! Is it revolutionary? Not really, but the Apple A4 chip is something I am hearing could be the next big thing in mobile computing. Something that gives Apple an edge. The $499 start price and a good data deal with AT&T @ $29 unlimited are an attraction for now.

The need only tech concept still rules. We don’t want polished hardware, colourscreens with multi-touch. We want cheap, we want multi usable products. – Infibeam Pi.

While talking about the Infibeam Pi (an ebook reader that just came out in India)  I had mentioned that the strategy to put games, music and ebook reader all in one is good. While keeping the price under control. Apple is doing something similar with the iPad. It isn’t making something that will replace your Macbook Air, nor would it give you things that you can easily do on your iPhone (calls, sms, mms, pictures). It is truly defining the netbook for you. And that too powered by the App store and you did see the gaming support on the A4, didn’t you? A $30 cable and you will have this thing connected to your LCD and use the iPad as a controller (you can already do that with your iPhone btw), but iPad gaming would certainly be far better.

The true netbook that Apple is giving? Its simply a netbook as its originally meant to be. Do you remember Intel guiding its sales guys on who should buy a netbook and who shouldn’t? This was along with a report that some netbook resellers saw a 30% return rate.What the netbook is meant for is a travel companion that you can carry along, surf the internet with ease, do your email efficiently, and anything more it does is a bonus. The problem arises when you look at the netbook as a low cost computer that will replace your old desktop or save the expensive laptop budget.

Can your average netbook run the NFS Shift? Can it handle Google Maps? Can it deliver media like iPad does? Can Kindle do ebooks, magazines and newspapers like the iPad? The Kindle DX is priced at $450+. The iPad costs $499.

Yes now someone on twitter did point to me that an average netbook gives you 120GB HDD easily. Again, go back to the chart above that defines netbook. Why do you need 120GB in there? Rather save weight, save money, give a better touchscreen, better CPU+GPU. That’s what Apple did! And the bonus 10hr battery life is all yours aswell. Which netbook with 3G weights less than 800gms?

The Lenovo Hybrid is actually a good concept, if only Apple did it. My complaint with the Lenovo tablet is the software base and again the horsepower underneath. :(

iPad = True netbook + Possibly Gaming console for the masses! (not to forget the rich mans Kindle)

Is everything so cool?

No!

For me personally the lack of Flash is the biggest issue. Multitasking follows. Once the iPhone OS 4.0 hits town; these issues would be fixed – yes I am being optimistic. We certainly didn’t expect Apple to go ahead with a minor upgrade to the iPhone OS as v3.2 for the tablet or even the 4th generation iPhone. It had to be a significant update – 4.0? Where is that? What would that bring? Would Steve Jobs really display on a keynote showing a NY Times page that doesn’t load properly due to lack of flash? The rabbit out of the hat might well be the OS v4.0 come WWDC in June.



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Wut April 3, 2010 at 9:20 am

Good Read, but I cant really agree when you say “power”. The A4 “S-O-C” is said to contain a lowly arm A8, verses Nvidias Dual A9 Tegra2.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/02/meet-the-a4-the-ipads-brain.ars

It wouldn’t be surprising based on its inability to decode video higher that 720 (which doesn’t even matter because it cant output above 576p) while the slew of tegra2 devices shown at CES a month before the Ipad were outputting 1080 streams of (some dual outputting 2 different videos at the same time). Not to mention the x64/86 based slates running full operating systems.

And Ebook reading? On a backlit LCD? Theres a reason for E-ink, its called eye strain. Im gonna have to go with the mobileread.com crowd and stick to non-backlit screens.

Im assuming people that are hating on the Ipad were the tech nerds paying attention at CES. Personally Im waiting and hoping for the Adam to be worth the hype before I drop the money on the Ipad. Promising 1080p hdmi output, usb ports, camera, more sensors than the Ipad, and an LCD screen that can dynamically shift into sunlight readable B&W e-reader mode with no backlight. (also claims to beat the Ipads battery life and price)

Ankur April 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

Adam would be worth the wait, but I am not too confident on Android yet. The iPhone OS is a real USP