iPad: One year later…
The iPad was introduced very close to this time last year. Now the iPad 2 is out, let’s see how it’s well it’s going for Apple and for this platform as a whole.
The tablet format seems like it should be a well-adopted platform. But, does the iPad (or any tablet) really have many use cases? Yes, but not where you think. I’m not sure Apple even knew the potential use cases for a tablet format before releasing it. Apple just saw that they needed a netbook competitor, so they decided to go with the iPad. I am speculating that Apple released it with as wide an array of software and development tools to see exactly where it could go. After all, they likely had no idea if it would even take off.
Yes, the iPad has had a widely and wildly accepted adoption rate. Although, market saturation is probably close at hand with the numbers of iPads sold combined with the Android tablet entries (Samsung’s Galaxy S, Toshiba’s tablet and other tablets out or about to be released). That is, those people who want a tablet now can have one. But, the main question is, what are most people using a tablet for?
I received an iPad as a gift (the original iPad, not the iPad 2). I find myself using it at work to take notes first and foremost. I can also use it as a systems admin tool in a pinch. However, instead of carrying paper and pencil into a meeting, I take notes in the notepad app. This is actually a very good app for taking quick notes. Tap typing is nearly silent, so no clicky key noises or distracting pencils. The good thing, though, is that these notes will sync with Gmail and you can read all your notes in Gmail. You can’t modify the notes on Gmail, but at least you have them there. You can modify them on the iPad, though. You can also sync your notes to other places as well.
My second use case is watching movies. So, I have put nearly my entire collection of movies on the iPad. Of course, they don’t all fit in 32GB, so I have to pick and choose which ones get loaded. The one thing the iPad needs, for this purpose, is more local storage. I’d like to have a 128GB or 256GB storage system for the iPad. With that amount of space, I could probably carry around my entire movie collection. In fact, I’d forgo the thinness of the iPad 2 by adding thickness to support a solid state 256GB drive.
The rest of my use cases involve reading email and searching and, sometimes, listening to music… although, I have an iPod touch for that. I might listen to music more if it had a 256GB solid state drive.
Cloud Computing and Google
This article would be remiss by not discussing competition to the iPad. There is one thing about Google’s Android platform that should be said. Android is completely integrated with Google’s platform. Apple’s iPad isn’t. Google has a huge array of already functional and soon-to-be-released cloud apps that Android can take advantage of. Apple, on the other hand, is extremely weak on cloud apps. The only cloud app they have is the iTunes store. That, in fact, is really a store and not a cloud app. So, excluding iTunes, there really isn’t any cloud platforms for Apple’s devices. That’s not to say that the iPad is excluded from Google, it’s just not nearly as integrated as an Android tablet.
Eventually, Android may exceed the capabilities of Apple’s IOS platform. In some ways, it already has (at least in cloud computing offerings). However, Android is still quite a bit more buggy when compared to IOS. IOS’s interface is much more streamlined, slick and consistent. The touch typing system is far easier to use on an iPad than on Android. Finally, the graphics performance on Android is incredibly bad. With Android, the scrolling and movement is choppy using an extremely slow frame rate. Apple’s interface is much more fluid and smooth and uses a high framerate. The transitions between various apps is clean and smooth in IOS, but not in Android. This graphics performance issue Google must address in Android. A choppy slow interface is not pretty and makes the platform seem cheap and underpowered. Worse, the platform is inconsistent from manufacturer to manufacturer (icons are different between manufacturers). Google has to addresses these performance and consistency issues to bring Android to the level where it must be.
That said, the iPad (or more specifically Apple) needs to strengthen its cloud offerings. If that means partnering with Google, then so be it. Apple needs something like Google Docs and Google Voice. It also needs cloud storage. It needs to create these offerings that are Apple branded that integrate with the iPad natively, not as third party add-ons through the app store. This is what Apple needs to work on. Apple is so focused on its hardware and making the next device that it’s forgetting that it needs to support its current devices with more and better cloud offerings. This is what may lead Apple out of the tablet race. This may also be what makes Google the leader in this space.
So, what things do you use your iPad for?
Let’s Find Out
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