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Ever since Apple announced the iPad, I've been fairly bullish on it. Now that I have one in-hand, it's about what I expected: if you've ever used an iPhone or iPod Touch, you'll feel right at home. That said, there are a few things that I feel are missing. Some are areas that lack polish. Others, however, are shortcomings that can impede usability.
E-mail Attachments Are Trapped In Your Mailbox
In our iPhone OS 4.0 wish list story from last summer, we pointed out that the iPhone could use a centralized repository for files. As it stands, for example, you can't view any mail attachments outside the iPhone's e-mail app. The same holds true for the iPad.
Universal E-mail Inbox: Still Missing
If you're like me and have several e-mail accounts, you may find yourself a little frustrated by the lack of a unified inbox. To view e-mails from another account, you have to back out of the inbox you're viewing, then go to the other account's inbox. Hopefully we'll see this in the next revision of the iPhone/iPad OS.
Before I got a chance to use an iPad, I didn't think that the omission of a camera--front-facing or otherwise--would feel like a big deal. In reality, though, I'm really pining for a camera. The iPad would be perfect for snapping and sharing photos with others, and for videoconferencing with friends and family.
Another thing I didn't think was going to be a big deal was the lack of a USB port. I have a perfectly good USB keyboard at my desk that I'd like to use with the iPad. Except I can't. Sure, there's always adapters, but that's yet another purchase you have to make, and one more dongle to misplace. I'd probably be writing this story on the iPad right now if not for this omission.
Blown-up iPhone Apps Aren't Anti-aliased
As you may already know, the iPad can run all existing iPhone apps; you can run them at their iPhone-size in the center of your screen, or blown up to fill the screen. Unfortunately, Apple does nothing to smooth out the apps, so text and images look chunky. One of my colleagues mentioned that it was like watching standard-definition TV on an HDTV.
What are your initial thoughts on the iPad? What would you like to see? Leave a comment below.
Apple looks set to shake up casual computing with a tablet that offers clever design and ease of use. But that streamlined approach may also be the iPad's weakness.
- Best-in-class touch interface
- Large display shows pics and videos beautifully
- All-day battery life
- No way to manage files, no camera, no multitasking
- Lack of Flash support cripples many Web sites
- Poor scaling of iPhone apps
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