This one’s a little puzzling, but early reports from Apple’s unveiling event confirm that the iPad won’t be able to run multiple Apps at a time; in order to open a new one, you’ll have to close the old one first. While we’re willing to bet that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to music while, say, reading a book – a functionality the iPhone already offers – it does mean you can’t run a streaming music service while working on a document, or quickly alternate between Web browsing and editing images in Brushes, which kind of limits the iPad’s appeal as a “do-everything” device.
Above: Three things? At the same time? Why would you ever want to do that?
No webcam or texting
One of the most obvious – and exciting – potential uses for the iPad is as a videoconferencing device. With the optional 3G connectivity, a portable tablet that enables you to speak with people face to face over Skype is exactly the sort of thing that could completely revolutionize how people talk on the phone. Which makes it all the more puzzling that Apple opted not to include a webcam, or any kind of camera at all, in the first-generation iPad.
Above: No video chat anytime soon, sorry
If early reports are to be believed, you can’t even use the thing to send text messages. That’s a missed opportunity, and if Apple is considering including all that stuff in a future version of the iPad, well, that’s just one more reason not to buy this one. Not that it’d do you much good anyway, though, seeing as…
Its 3G service is exclusive to AT&T
Do you like dropped connections, sudden outages and entire swaths of the country being off-limits to 3G access? Then you’ll love Apple’s exclusivity deal with AT&T, a carrier whose 3G network has been inspiring seemingly endless complaints over the past several months. While we don’t like to play favorites with companies, it looks like the maps in those Verizon ads are accurate; just take a look at AT&T’s own map of its nationwide 3G coverage if you need proof:
Above: Composite image made from here
What that means is that unless you live in one of the blue areas above, the iPad’s 3G functionality will be completely useless to you. And even if you do, you can expect to run up against the same coverage problems and dead zones that have been plaguing AT&T’s cell-phone customers for a while now.
Its storage space kind of sucks
Another thing holding back the games (and other software, for that matter) is that it has to be small enough to accommodate the iPad’s relatively stingy storage space. 16, 32 or 64GB might seem like a lot when you’re thinking about music and iBooks, but introduce videos, games and Apps, and it’s going to fill up quickly. With that in mind, you can expect Apps to continue being relatively small – and therefore relatively uncomplicated – for the foreseeable future. And you can expect to continually run out of space anyway.
This is a biggie. The lack of Flash functionality (YouTube excepted) is one of the worst things about web browsing on the iPhone/iPod Touch, and leaving it out of the iPad severely limits its appeal as a web-browsing device. It won’t be able to run Hulu or any other Flash video service, Flash games will be off-limits and even sites like this one will look like a mess of missing plug-ins.
Above: Get used to seeing this a lot
The worst part of this is that it reportedly stems from an apparent inability on the parts of Apple and Adobe to come to an agreement over a special version of Flash for the iPhone OS (workarounds notwithstanding); the devices could run Flash, if only the companies involved were willing to play ball with each other and give their customers what they want. Until then, it looks like web browsing on the iPad will be an incomplete experience.
Jan 28, 2010
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