I have a longer list of things that should be considered before deciding to replace the purchase of a new laptop or netbook with the Apple iPad.
Many will want to have the iPad at any rate, for what it can do, but this way they're prepared for what is missing.
Before making the iPad the main laptop, be prepared for:
1. No multitasking capability (it may come later).Also, I've seen that many haven't understood that the $499/$500 base version of the iPad does not include cellular wireless access (the type of wireless used for the Amazon Kindle's book downloads). It has only WiFi, usually on home and office networks.
2. No flash (that means no videos from Hulu, JibJab, ESPN, Disney, Netflix, etc.)
3. No webcam
4. No real keyboard for heavier writing tasks although you can get a wireless keyboard (using Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR) -- which has made some think that an all-in-one laptop might be preferable in some cases.
5. No hard drive. The base unit gets 16 gigs of solid state memory for a device advertised as making heavy use of video, so you'd not be storing many videos on it. I think most would want at least the 32-gig option, for $730, and those who could afford that will likely just choose the 64-gig one, for $830.
6. Basic file transfers require the same procedure as the iTunes syncing-transfers of iPod files via computer.
7. No SD slot
8. No ethernet connection (I used this a lot in hotels on a 3 week trip in November.)
9. NO USB port (discussed everywhere, but one person in a CNet forum explained that there is an optional SD and USB adapter for the 30-pin dock connector, which allows USB transfers. Another person said that what's included is "Just a dock to USB cable - meant to synch to other computers"
10. No drag & drop for file transfers then. As with the iPod, the iPad must be sync'd with a main computer as the primary content management system for the device.
11. The back side or bottom is not flat, as there's a hump. When you lay it down to type, it'll move some.
12. Though the ePub format is used for books, the DRM (Digital Rights Management) apparently is not via the usual Adobe method (used by Sony, Barnes & Noble (Nook), and Astak and several other ereader makers) -- it's via Apple's own proprietary method -- meaning, buyers should know that it's, like Amazon's, not compatible with other systems despite the 'ePub' label.
The cellular network type of access will be an additional $130, plus whatever data plan is chosen, and the ones they offer are good.
However, the $15/mo. data plan, for no more than 250M of data per month, would cover mainly email needs and not video ones.
So it's more likely most would need the $30/mo. option, which is still only half the cost of most netbook contracts with Sprint and Verizon, and the iPad does not require any term contract. What you don't use in a month is pro-rated and credited.
For comparison with the Kindles, which do have (slow) cellular wireless access to the Net (for free, and that access has been its unique feature for the last two years), the prices used should start with the iPad's $630 pricing as the base cost for cellular network access (though you can choose to go without the convenience of that form of wireless).
Then you add the data plan you choose. That's either $180 or $360 per year, but you don't have to stay on it for a year.
Again, the $499 base price is for only WiFi access - can't use it out on the streets unless you find a hotspot with AT&T WiFi, other free hotspots, or paid access.
Internet reaction to the iPad, due to the reasons above, hasn't been entirely positive, to understate it, but a good number of people I've read on forums (including those with Kindles) do want this for its couch web browsing feature. Most do not plan to use it as an ereader for long-form book reading.
Most people discussing this on forums don't consider the iPad, at this point, an e-reader that should be compared yet with current dedicated e-readers because basic functions haven't been announced or demo'd.
Also, it's viewed as not on a par with e-paper type displays like e-Ink, as the reading is done on a transmissive LCD display (sending light directly into your eyes) rather than the more eye-friendly reflective e-paper screen (reflecting light it gets back to you). As I've said, there's quite a difference for many, including me. But, aesthetically speaking, the iBook app's representation of a book is otherwise beautiful. I may get one, depending on what the coming tablets by other vendors offer. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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