So here I go - I'm writing a review for the iPad. Why? I've been thinking a lot about mobile development recently for a passion project of mine as well as some new features for NBF. Got a friend with a pad and the owner of Mach 3 composites has offered to ship out some of his carbon fiber cases for review. So hey! why not?
I will start by saying that I've never been much of an Apple guy. Most of my background lies within PC-based platforms, namely Windows. However given my experiences as a dev/sysadmin for NBF and other projects, I've obtained knowlege of linux systems. I see most of Apple's products as proprietary Linux distributions with pre-packaged hardware. In fact, everything Apple has to offer seems to be sold as a unit and the iPad is no different.
I wanted to follow Notebookforum's review template and line up some of the features of the pad, then bash out what I really think. There's a TON of iPad reviews so if your looking for a super duper resourceful review, go elsewhere
Our very own QHN has translated some content which exposes iPad internals:
and Marker01 has a steller review.
Specs are mostly standardized across iPads accept for the hard drive sizes. I played with the 16GB version.
- 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
- 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
- 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive
- Ambient light sensor
- Built-in 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
- Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
- 256mb (accessible memory)
- Built-in speaker
What's in the Box:
I had the good fortune of borrowing this unit from one of our mods who is big on custom systems and new technology so I didn't get the official UPS delivery. If you want to know what's in the box go
My first impressions blew me out of the water. As with most of Apples products design of the iPad is sleek. It's important to note that the iPad attempts change up user computing experience largely. You control everything via the touch screen. No mouse, no keyboard, no USB ports, no external monitors. The screen is terrific and the colors were so intense and so crisp, I felt I could take off my glasses. You don't have to worry about glare and any touch smudges are invisible simply because of the bright ass screen. Also the viewing angle is near perfect due to the LCD's in-place-switching.
The Keyboard pops up as you need it. Typing is pretty easy but does not stand as a viable substiute for a standard keyboard. At least not for long period typing. So, if you have to type for an extended amount of time, get the keyboard dock or hook up a bluetooth keyboard as Marker01 mentioned.
Speakers are built in and on the side. They sound pretty good, decent volume (for a built in) and you can't crank the volume up high enough for sound to crackle which is good.
Unfortunately there is no webcam. There's a lot of complaints about this. You'd think since the iPad is a cross between a Netbook and mobile phone (both of which have cameras), it should include one.
The only benchmarks I could run on this machine was Peacekeeper which is hapens to be a great benchmark for web experience. The iPad didn't do so hot. 380 Points.
Size and Weight
My impressions were that it was very thin and heavier then you'd expect looking at it; and still lightweight. I'd say you couldn't read lying on your back, hands above your head for too long before your arms got tired. But I've been watching my wife play HD Pinball on it longer then I'd expect. She later started playing racing games and looked as if she was working out. Compared to a book, it's not cumbersome and has the bonus of custom font size/lettering and screen brightness.
Heat and Noise
The iPad doesn't get hot. Especially compared to most of the laptops I've played with.
The iPad gets an insane amount of battery life. Which leads me to what I wanted to talk about.
As I said earlier, I was curious about development. I've been coding over a decade and I know lots of languages well. I have a tendency to hand-code a lot of what I do and I like things my way. As a single developer, I'm all about cross-platform development - I don't want to have to code the same thing twice and is why I like web dev.
For the iPad (and iPhone 4). It's all about apps. Apps Apps Apps! Apps are written in Apple's objective-c (which is just extended c), that's good; it's fast and efficient. It's fast because c compiles into machine code/native code which the processor rocks out. But what stinks (besides having to buy the SDK) is apps aren't cross platform. The only thing that exists right now that delivers a decent cross-platform solution is Flash (Java is less supported). The iPad is flashless.
Flash is compiled into bytecode which has to be interpreted into machine code. This interpreter which is part of the runtime, comes at cost which Apple has decided isn't good enough to ship with. It's not as fast, is less memory efficient and consumes more battery life. But the way I see it, it's not like the iPad doesn't have great resource management and they could have easily made a sacrifice. I'd take the trade-off. I don't believe flash affects performance as much as stated anyway. Not to mention there's a ton of sites that absolutely require flash as a delivery medium. Who wants to spend 10 hours surfing an incomplete web?
Anyway the proposed "cross-platform" solution is HTML5. And there's a TON of information available on it. At one point I was confused because I had seen a demo of HTML5 running Quake II in the browser. That's not the case. It's actually google's nativeclient at work:
but they do have intent to incorporate a sand-boxed native code object in HTML5 and they want it standardized.
HTML5 of course is packaged as the browser - no runtimes - nice and portable. What else is HTML5 makes it easy for people to embed audio and video, and it will support a variety of codecs in the browser. Google already has an HTML5 version of youtube (which doesn't work very well).
Ok so, I get it. HTML5 is the bomb... However, it's brand new. Specifications are still being drawn and it's simply not a solution yet. Especially when your talking in regard to raw sound, microphone access, or web reach. For me personally, I fully plan to get my geek on with HTML5. But Flash at it's current state gives me real time ability to develop app-like interfaces and if it weren't for Apple it would be cross-platform.
Mach 3 Composites is shipping me their case and I'm looking forward to reviewing it. From what I've seen their cases are the best on the market. So I will try to get some decent pictures and update this thread when it arrives.
You can read the review here:
I just wanted to wrap up by saying that the iPad is pretty slick gadget.. Everything is lighting fast which is amazing considering the processor in it - near perfect. I applaud this system. Completely intuitive. I just wish it was a little bit more of a computer with things like shell access and runtimes. Then I'd buy it.