I have been tempted by the iPad for a while now, it seemed to offer the power of a laptop without the inconvenience of a laptop. A long battery, yet always connected and always on. I knew full well about the downsides and I didn’t expect to be typing large documents on it, but for browsing the web, checking email and chatting on instant messenger it seemed perfect. So was it?
Not prefect, but very good
The iPad 2, despite considerably lower specs than my laptop on paper feels snappy and rarely do I have to wait for anything to happen. Unlike a laptop, there is no fan – so I feel comfortable leaving it on my bed, or on the carpet knowing I’m not to come back and find it with fans whirling while it melts. The device seems durable, whereas the iPod has a an easy-to-scratch surface, the iPad won’t get scratched under normal use.
Lack of apps
One thing I have found is the lack of iPad specific apps. It’s still quite a new platform, so I can forgive app developers slightly – but the big hitters such as Spotify and Audible still make you use the iPhone versions of the app, which only work in portrait mode and look pixelated. The keyboard layout is also different for iPhone apps, which is rather confusing. While I can type pretty fast on the iPad, the lack of any blogging software as good as Windows Live Writer means I still prefer to fire up my laptop to write anything substantial. An iPad version of Google Chrome would be nice, or at least a way to sync your Google Chrome bookmarks easily (it can be done now, but involves using a 3rd party service and isn’t worth the hassle in my opinion).
Quality not quantity
Having said all that, the apps that come with the iPad are of a very high quality. The Mail, Calendar and Contacts app are very impressive. I was surprised Apple didn’t include an alarm clock and weather app, seeing as there is one available for the iPhone but it’s not a big deal as 3rd party apps have filled the gap.
For casually browsing the web or responding to emails, iPad wins. Booking a holiday? Then I’ll want 30 tabs open at once, and the iPad isn’t good at context switching. Overall I am impressed, it really does fill the void between a smartphone and a laptop. Tablets won’t replace laptops in my opinion, but they will take on many of their roles relegating laptops to the more comprehensive tasks.
Please Microsoft, do the right thing!
So Windows 8 will be all things do all people, a tablet operating system to rival iOS and Android for consuming content, while at the same time a fully functional desktop operating system that we use to create content. Sounds great, right?
So maybe Microsoft has taken the technology it developed for Windows 7’s “XP Mode” and made it so when you buy a tablet PC, the classic side of the system that can run all your old software is completely virtualised. This would mean the entire legacy system would be contained within a single process that could be paused to save battery.
When installed on a desktop, this extra layer probably wouldn’t be needed (Obviously games and other high-end software won’t run well in a virtualised environment) – but for a tablet I think it makes sense.
Obviously this is just pure speculation on my part, so lets hope all will be revealed at this year’s BUILD conference.