The Apple iPad is the latest addition to Apple’s ever-growing arsenal of revolutionary gadgets. While it may look like a normal tablet PC at first, the iPad in reality is almost anything but one.
Apple has always been one of the pioneers in the computer industry, with its series of critically acclaimed Apple Macintosh computers, and it also came to become a serious contender in the mobile telecommunication industry through the massive success of its flagship phone, the iPhone.
The iPhone is particularly well-known for the way it revolutionized the input system for touchscreen-based phones, eliminating the need for the stylus and allowing the user to get up close and personal with the device by using his or her fingers directly on the screen. With the aid of intuitive taps, flicks and sweeps with the fingers, using the iPhone was an experience that would have been unimaginable even a few decades ago except in the pages of hard science fiction novels.
The iPhone’s only weakness seemed to be its size. In order to counter this, Apple decided to introduce its revolutionary new touchscreen tablet, the Apple iPad. Essentially, the iPad is not much more than a large-screened version of the iPhone, or to be more precise, its non-phone variant, the iPod Touch. In fact, the iPad runs the same operating system that is used in iPhones. This, despite its advantages, also puts the device at quite a disadvantage. Although the larger screen allows for some pretty nifty tricks which can be done using touch gestures, the iPad fails nonetheless as a complete computer replacement. Despite its bevy of features and science fiction-esque demeanour, the iPad lacks some very basic features which even the most rudimentary computers of today never ship without.
The iPad sports a 9.7″ touchscreen, which doubles as its display and its main input device. The touchscreen is a capacitive one, which means that it works by sensing differences in electrical currents caused by the touch of fingers on the iPad screen, unlike in the case of typical resistive touchscreens which sense pressure exerted by the fingers on the touchscreen.
While the iPad comes with many standard features, such as 802.11in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and in case of some models, 3G, it still lacks some of the most basic features one would expect in a device of its nature. For one thing, it features no USB ports or memory card slots. This severely limits its connectivity and expandability. The device also lacks support for multitasking and the running of background applications.
At the heart of the iPad lies a processor of Apple’s own design, the A4. This chip has a decently high clock speed of 1.0 GHz. It boasts a battery life of 10 hours, and can come with up to 64 GB of onboard storage. A good thing about the iPad is that you can run iPhone applications on it natively, without having to install or make any modifications. The applications can be run normal-sized, or double-sized in order to fit the whole screen, although that can make them look grainy and pixilated.
The iPad can also be used as an e-book reader, which is where it truly shines. The gorgeous screen is ideal for reading books on for hours at a stretch without stressing your eyes. However, the iPad weighs slightly less than a kilogram, and holding it up for extended periods of time can actually cause your arm muscles to ache.
Several accessories manufactured by Apple are also available for the iPad, including a keyboard docking station, and a camera kit, which allows the user to connect cameras or memory card modules to the iPad for easy transfer of images.
All in all, it can be said that while the iPad is definitely not for hardcore users, it can still prove to be a very handy device for the average user with its simple interface and unbeatable quality.
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