Everybody’s calmer and most of the giddiness has passed so now it’s time for the evil review.
The UI is lukewarm. Everybody was expecting something new and brilliant in terms of interface. Turns out it’s a huge iPod. Same homescreen and all. And the onscreen keyboard is a dream to type on ? Really ? Didn’t hear anything about haptic feedback so it looks a lot like drumming your fingers on a glass table. And it basically fails for one hand input. Decent enough to type a quick email ? Sure. Dream to type on ? I’m sure Jobs had to force this words out of his mouth.
Did it have to be microsim ? Everybody else does really well with “regular” sims, even the people doing tiny phones. Were those extra couple of cubic mm really needed for something else ? The truth is obviously no, that tiny extra space could be sacrificed for compatibility. The real reason is appeasing the carriers. It’s unlocked, but they can control the deployment on their network by supplying (or not) the microsims. And since nothing else uses the microsims they’re also a price point tool, carriers can create special iPad packages, cheaper or premium. Yesterday I wrote I’d probably get the 3G version. That was obviously a mistake. Not with microsims and $130 premium, there’s a wonderful world of Joikuspots out there that manage to bridge that gap.
No DisplayPort ? No USB. For something that’s supposed to be nearer a computer than an iPod the connectivity looks pretty ipodish. And most of all, no front facing camera ? Just imagine Steve doing iChat AV on stage with the Pad, that would’ve blown everybody away. I’m also told college kids really like videochating hotties. Forcing people to see my ugly mug isn’t high on my list but it will probably hurt on the college market next September.
This thing has iPhone 3-year plan written all over it. It’s not like I can see into the future but I can see a 3rd gen iPad a couple of years from now with front facing camera and USB and regular sim slot. This isn’t exactly a cheap toy so people might just hold out for the next model, the one that’s really great.
And the elephant in the room is, this isn’t 3 years ago. 3 years ago the iPad would reign supreme and the closest “competition” would be from an HTC or HP “slate” running Vista (Intel, 2h of battery) or WinMo5 (350MHz ARM, 4h of battery) and it would be utterly irrelevant. Now, however, I’d be holding out for the snapdragon powered Android “pad” someone (my money is on Asus) someone is going to release in the not so distant future. It won’t be aluminum, the screen won’t be as stunning and it probably won’t be glass. But it will have a front facing camera, it will have have USB and 3G people can actually use. And it will be in the same class as the iPad.