Michael Padon" />
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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Apple iPad more than a gimmick

Apple unveiled its much-anticipated tablet PC on Jan. 27, and it seems that the public was underwhelmed by Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs’ new device.

According to Jobs, the iPad was introduced as a “third category device” — a niche intended to be in between laptops and smart phones. The iPad was designed to focus on a handful of capabilities offered by the iPhone and perform them better than a laptop could.

The iPad’s hardware is impressive for any tablet computer on the market.

It has a beautiful color, 10-inch screen with multi-touch capabilities as its main interface, which leaves limitless potential for interface upgrades.

The tablet is also thin, which in addition to its 10-hour battery life, would make it the ideal e-book platform for college students, as the iPad allows users to take notes on it.

Apple also designed its own 1 GHz system-on-a-chip processor, which contains integrated 3-D graphics, audio support, power management, storage space and I/O interfaces on one processor die. In theory, it sounds like an impressive chip, but only the details — which are currently unknown — will tell for sure.

It’s safe to assume that the processor is more power-efficient than the Intel Atom chip, which Apple openly passed on using in the iPad because of its power consumption.

Critics have been quick to harp on the various software offerings, saying there is little difference between the applications for the iPad and iPhone.

Apple introduced mobile versions if its iWork productivity software and mentioned that a dock-able keyboard accessory was in development for the iPad. Apple has also said that its Bluetooth keyboard will be supported.

But the iPad’s announcement was not about software.

When it came out, the iPhone made a huge splash for two reasons.

It featured a revolutionary finger-only touch screen, but more importantly, it was a complete interface paradigm shift. Instead of limited functionality buried in menus, full-featured applications are available right on the home screen.

The iPad did not create any such shift in the way we view technology, but neither did the original iPod when it was released in 2001. The device didn’t dominate the market until 2005, when the now-iconic click wheel was added to it.

The iPad might be a letdown compared to the iPhone and iPod Touch, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less revolutionary. With this product, Apple has created an entirely new category of mobile device.

The real issue is whether iPads ultimately be more useful than laptops. The hardware potential is there, but only a software update will really tell.

I just hope the next version will be scented, for when your data feels not-so-fresh.

Michael Padon is an engineering sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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