iPad – Just a Giant iPhone

by Matthew Crane

Yesterday, Apple announced their newest product – the iPad. This is designed to be a device that fills the niche between a smartphone and a laptop, but I am unconvinced that this provides much more than just a smartphone like the iPhone.

First of all, the iPad, like the iPod Touch and iPhone, only runs apps from the iTunes App Store, and can only run one app at a time. While running only apps designed for the iPhone or iPod Touch does ensure that all apps it has will be multi-touch enabled, it limits the freedom to do as one pleases with their phone – e.x. running custom software or open-source software is definitely not going to happen. Also, running only one app at a time makes it nowhere near capable of replacing even part of a laptop’s functionality.

Secondly, the iPad has a 9.7" screen, right in-between an iPhone and a laptop. This means that you can actually view web pages at a readable size, which is nice, but also means that it will not fit in a pocket. This and the fact that a laptop, which is not much larger, can do a whole lot more, limits the reasons to carry this device around everywhere.

Finally, the iPad has many of the features of the iPhone, including GPS, 3G network access (in the 3G version – $130 more), and an iPod app. These all suggest that the iPad is designed to do many of the same things as an iPhone, in which case I wonder why not just use the iPhone – it can do them all and can also fit in a pocket, something the iPad is definitely not capable of.

The only place I could actually see the iPad being commonly used would be at home, as a casual device used wherever needed – in the kitchen to pull up recipes, in the living room to watch movies, and maybe eventually to control the electronic devices in your iHouse. The only other possible use would be as a replacement for an ebook reader like the kindle, as this has a color screen, only weighs twice what the kindle weighs and has a claimed battery life of 10 hours.