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Saturday 10 December 2016

Digital Life: Would I iPad? Yes and no

Published 03/08/2010 | 05:00

An apple a day.... Ronan Price gets to grips with the iPad
An apple a day.... Ronan Price gets to grips with the iPad

Apple's latest gadget has hit Irish shores, and has sparked demand and debate in equal measure. So, is it really worth the hefty price tag?

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1 The iPad packs incredible muscle into a small space. Its physical presence amounts to barely more than its 10-inch screen and yet as a computer it feels blazingly fast for navigating the web, email, photos, music, reading books, etc.

2 It possesses impressive staying power. Hammering the battery via frequent use of the internet connection and watching videos still got me almost three days on a single charge.

If you were careful, you could probably get a week.

3 Compatibility with iPhone apps gives the iPad an instant library of 250,000 programs.

From the simplest currency converter to full-blown sat-nav software, nothing's more than a few taps away in the iTunes Store. Not to mention the millions of songs and thousands of movies also available to buy wirelessly.

4 Innovative apps developed specifically for the iPad point to a new direction for computing. It's a fascinating crossroads where fingertip controls, the large touchscreen and the bottomless well of the internet meet.

Publications such as Wired and aggregators such as Flipboard showcase, for example, the eye-opening potential for interactive magazines, incorporating text, photos and videos in slick packaging.

5 Detractors are keen to point out what the iPad is missing versus a full computer. But most people will find it meets 90pc of their needs, with the absent 10pc compensated for by the sheer tactile pleasure of swiping at the screen instead of foostering with a mouse and keyboard.

You won't catch any viruses, nor can you lose your documents. True, half the video and many games on the web are off limits because the iPad doesn't support Flash but there's always YouTube and the myriad games in the app store. 1 There'll be another one along one in a minute. Well, a few months. Just as Apple introduces an improved iPhone every summer, the iPad will follow the same pattern.

1 There'll be another one along one in a minute. Well, a few months. Just as Apple introduces an improved iPhone every summer, the iPad will follow the same pattern.

No doubt the next one will address niggles, such as the lack of a camera, and wise computer heads never advocate buying the first version of any product.

2 Bar a power adaptor, you get bugger-all with the iPad. Not a cloth to clean the screen that attracts fingerprints like a magnet. Not a pair of headphones.

Expensive, but some would say crucial, accessories (eg, case €30, keyboard €70, camera connector €30, word processor €8) bump up the cost of what is already a luxury item.

3 It cannot replace your computer -- yet. As with an iPod or iPhone, you need to hook up the iPad periodically to a Mac or PC to load music, photos, etc.

Lacking a camera, it can't do video-chats or snap pictures -- though Skype voice-chat is possible with a headset.

4 The iPad already lags the multitasking software of the iPhone. With the fix not due until November, iPad owners are stuck with the clumsy inability to run two programs properly at once. It was an annoyance on iPhone until recently but it's infuriating on iPad.

5 It's quite heavy and uncomfortable to hold with one hand like a book. Speaking of which, the iBook store lacks any paid-for titles at all yet -- just 15,000 old classics.

Outdoors in sunlight the glossy screen is impossible to view. On all these counts, the light, well stocked, more readable Amazon Kindle has the edge.

Apple iPad, €500 to €800 www.apple.com/ie/ipad

Irish Independent

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