Home > Market Commentary > The Surprising Limitations of the iPad

The Surprising Limitations of the iPad

After test driving an iPad for two days, I am generally unimpressed. It’s clunky. If you’re expecting the “internet in your hand” feeling touted by Apple, you’ll be disappointed. My advice is to wait for further developments, by Apple and competitors, before buying.

The main reason the iPad is clunky is that it seems as if everything worth doing has to be done through an “app.” There’s far less of the direct feeling of the internet than was advertised. I had to download the WordPress app to write this blog. When I accessed my WordPress account through Safari, I did not have full functionality. And the WordPress app I’m using right now is extremely limited.

Same for Yahoo Mail — it had to be synced with the iPad email system to work at all. I was not able to fully use Yahoo mail through Safari on the iPad, which seems, frankly — ridiculous. Another problem is that there’s no way to log out of your iPad email app, so anyone you loan your iPad to will have access to your email, unless you completely disconnect the feed, which is cumbersome.

The dumbest thing about the iPad is that it doesn’t play Flash videos. There’s a CNBC app where you can watch a small number of videos — very small — but you can’t browse the guest list and watch the video interviews of the pros you follow. Lack of Flash interferes with many other applications. Want to watch those fantastic lectures from Harvard and Yale at AcademicEarth.org? Sorry — they’re in Flash. (But you can watch all the YouTube you want.)

Next let’s discuss disk size. The iPad is about four times the size of an iPod — so why does it have barely over a third of the hard drive space (and that’s in the largest version)? Was this so hard for Apple to figure out? They sell 160 GB iPods, and they actively encourage users to sync their iPad like an iPod. What did Apple think would happen when users tried to fit 160 GB of music and videos onto a 64 GB iPad? It forces the user to engage in a long, tedious process, deciding what to sync and what not to sync. As big as the iPad is, I have to think they could have squeezed the same amount of memory as the iPod on board.

Also disappointing is the lack of a USB port. You can’t just copy files as on a PC or Mac, and manually manage your directories.

Overall, the iPad is a work in progress. I recommend that potential buyers wait and see what Tablet 2.0 brlngs. You’ll probably get a lot more value in a year, 18 months at the most. This was the rule with the iPhone, and it’s likely we’ll see similar price cuts and enhancements with future versions. I also expect future tablets will be designed more like laptops and less like phones.

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Categories: Market Commentary
  1. June 21, 2010 at 12:27 am

    waow… the great post today, thank you.

  2. June 21, 2010 at 1:41 am

    waow… the great post today. thank you.

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