10 April 2011

Should you buy an iPad? Here's what you need to know

Its no secret that the iPad has taken the consumer electronics industry by a storm. With over 15 million of them sold in a year, it is threatening the pants off a giant incumbent with an installed base of over a billion devices . If you work for the PC division for any vendor, you know what I am talking about.

Reports already suggest that tablets are set to impact the sales of PCs. Many manufacturers are feeling the heat too - Acer recently saw a churn in its management citing its failure to read the demand of tablets as a chief reason for the subdued future guidance. Lenovo now believes that tablets would take over 20% of the PC market in the next five years.

So the question is, do folks like you and I need one? Will it replace my PC, or end up like the treadmill in the corner serving as a cloth hanger. Let's try and find out.

To start off, here's a list of what the iPad offers:
  • Nice and big screen- great for watching movies, reading ebooks and casual gaming
  • Thousands of apps, made specially for the iPad across all content categories
  • Can take over many primary PC functions like email, web browsing, social networking while being immensely portable
  • Great pricing with twice the bundled Apple coolness factor
What it can't do:
  • Full web browsing. Browser on the iPad does not support tabs and browser addons. Also, many people still access a lot of Flash based gaming and video websites which do not run on the iPad. (Though YouTube and Facebook videos run just fine)
  • Given the nature of its touch screen interface, it currently cannot handle precision tasks like Photoshop. Heavy duty gaming is also a no show.
  • On screen keyboard is fine for short typing but can get awkward if one needs to write long pieces.
  • Won't run torrents, downloaded avi files. Does not have USB/memory card support, so no quick transfer of files either.
Verdict

iPad is a product that everyone wants, but a few need. It is far from being your PC replacement device, but will serve you just fine if you spend most of your time on Gmail, social networking websites and watch some videos and read some ebooks here and there.

In short, here's the deal.
  • If you don't own an iPhone/iPod touch and already have a Smartphone, go for the iPad. But yes, wait for the iPad2, which according to some reports might land in India this month.
  • If you don't have a Smartphone (No, E63 is not a smartphone) and have never had an Apple product, buy the iPod touch, or the iPhone (if you have extra cash) first.
  • If you own the iPhone or the Touch, you don't need an iPad right now. Extra cash, sure!
Hope you have it all nice and clear now!

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