2010 Gadget of Year – the Apple iPad

Hardware Review

There’s no competition really, whether you love them or hate them, Apple have changed the face of personal computing yet again. I’ve never been a particular fan of Apple equipment and I’ve always thought them overpriced. I’ve admired the beauty of their designs for sure, but have never particularly bought in to that Apple ethic, until the iPad that is.

Some say the iPad is just a big iPhone without the phone bit (I don’t have an iPhone), true, perhaps it is, but who would 20091015_zaf_c99_002.jpghave thought that simple change in size would provide the most unique and innovative device of 2010.

I discovered the iPad quite by accident when I was thinking of getting iPods for my kids. All their peers at school seemed to have iPods and the paltry, but functional, little Sansa clip, MP3 players (no offence SanDisk) that I had bought them a couple of years ago were beginning to look seriously un-cool in the face of the latest touch screen iPods. It was while visiting my local Apple store in Sheffield that I chanced upon a young assistant demonstrating the then brand new iPad to some potential customers. Bingo! That’s just the device for my wife I thought. She’s never been particularly interested in computers, doesn’t really understand the internet (bless her!), and no matter how many times I’ve showed her how to send email on a windows laptop, something has always gone amiss whilst I’m away. Whilst all my work mates receive regular emails from their spouses when working overseas, for me it was a 2 to 3 time a year affair.

It was a strange birthday present (she’s not into tech), but I can honestly say the iPad has been a huge hit with my other half. Now she’s browsing the net, shopping online, exchanging emails with her friends, downloading the kids homework and school schedules, and even checking out relatives abroad on Facebook. These things she could never manage on a PC without getting into a muddle. I can honestly say the iPad has changed her life. OK, I had to set it up for her, synchronise it with iTunes and set up an account for her, but this simple little device has been a huge, huge hit.

I too was impressed with the iPad so plundered the piggy bank and bought my own not so long ago. It connects to the home WiFi faster and easier than any of my numerous laptops and desktops we have around the house. It was easy to setup, recognised all our email accounts, and is just so easy to use. I’ve never been a fan of touch screens (I have 2 redundant mobile Windows devices sitting in the bottom of my desk drawer) but the touch sensitive screen and inertia scrolling on the iPad just work brilliantly and so responsively. So much now I want every screen to work like that. I never though I could do without a keyboard, but typing on the iPad is a dream. And for browsing the internet, I haven’t come across a better device yet. If you’ve ever sat in bed trying to use a laptop (go on admit it, I bet you have!), whether it be for emails, late night work or just watching movies, you know it’’s just not designed for that, but hey, the iPad is a dream (no pun intended) to use. Now I can download and watch movies, watch my DVD’s, email, browse, listen to music or audio-books, read my blogs, journals, newspapers, magazines, my photography books, novels and much, much more, all in comfort on my iPad. I find I use the iPad around the house more than my laptop now. It’s just plain and simple fun and I can even use it out in the field on photo-shoot to back-up and review my RAW files.

Sure, it has a few caveats. Mr. Jobs in his arrogance, refused to implement Adobe Flash into the Safari web browser, so many websites (and that’s about 70% of them)are not fully functional, and what’s worse, I can’t watch the replays of the goals on the BBC football pages! It has no USB port although you can be duly ripped off by paying another 25 quid to Apple for a little plastic plug-in one. You can’t upgrade the memory, it has no SD card slot, and you have to do everything through the rather prohibitive and cumbersome iTunes. However, I can can live with all that, because I just love my iPad.

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