In case you missed it, Apple on Wednesday unveiled the long-rumored and even longer-awaited iPad, a tablet computer in the same family as the iPod Touch and iPhone. Some of my friends and colleagues are excited about the device. Indeed, it features a fairly amazing design, has a 10-hour battery life, and already has 140,000 apps in the iTunes App Store that run on it. And the inclusion of Amazon's book store is a coup.
But it's not at all what it could have been.
It's not that it isn't cool--it is, technically. But I was underwhelmed. And it's not because of the rampant rumors flying around the Internet in the last few weeks but rather because there are some simple things I had hoped--and a couple I had assumed--would be featured that aren't. Here are just five of them.
The aspect ratio isn't wide screen When the iPhone was introduced, Steven Jobs specifically said it was a "wide-screen iPod." People had been clamoring for one for a while, so Apple delivered it as an iPhone component. Sure, it wasn't the actual 16:9 many wanted, but it was better than the standard definition 4:3 that the current crop of iPods was sporting.
And the latest versions of the Nano are also wide screen. Apple TV supports 16:9 natively, so why is the iPad--with 1,024x768 pixel resolution--stuck in the world of 4:3? Apple says it plays back HD video, which technically it does, but with down-converting. HD video at 720p, which is what the iPad supports, is 720x1,280. With a maximum width of 1024 pixels, the iPad really plays back true 720p--which uses 16:9, anything else isn't truly "720p"--video at 576x1,024. That's not much better than 480p.
There are LCD screens out there in the same relative size range as the iPad that are true HD-proportioned. Why didn't Apple use one of these?
Video output is supported but only at 480p I could have forgiven the limited screen size if the device offered true HD output. It doesn't. Again, why not? The new proprietary Apple processor seems powerful enough to power 720p video, yet it's restricted.
It may be to keep from cannibalizing sales of the Apple TV, a device that Apple is somehow still supporting and one that truly does output crystal-clear 720p video.… Read more