The unrealistic iPad: not useful, not worth it

Elika Beck, Staff Writer

Last year it was the iPad, a few years before that, the iPhone and before that it was the iPod. Notice a pattern? That’s because all of these products are made by Apple. Apple products are seen by some people as the definition of cool, sleek and savvy technology. The iPad certainly was no exception. But could an iPad replace your laptop, or is it just an entertainment tool?

iPad certainly is a completely new technology available on the market, however its basically an over-sized iTouch. According to the apple website (apple.com) it is “the best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video. Hands Down.” This is a little bit of an over statement. There are several basic design differences between the two, laptops and iPads, that make this impossible.

In terms of basic functionality laptops have a keyboard and mouse pad that is used to navigate the screen. iPad’s have a multi touch screen making it easy to slide around pages and play games, but a pain to type anything longer than a short email. Most laptops are also equipped with a memory card slot to upload pictures, USB ports (to hook up cameras or flash-drives to share files), and a DVD/CD drive, while iPads come with none. iPad users aren’t completely out of luck for these things though, that is if they can afford the extra stuff, like an add-on keyboard and camera connector.

In terms of best way to experience the web, that is just blatantly false. iPads are unable to play any flash videos or show flash graphics which, according to Adobe (www.adobe.com), makes around 75% of all video on the web. This means that a lot of video on the web is unavailable to iPad users.

The bottom line is, yes, iPads look cool, are fun to play with, are great for watching movies and reading books or web postings, but realistically it is not a replacement for a laptop. For one thing a computer, laptop or desktop, is necessary for syncing iPads so that they can even be used. Apple left so many things off that it is unrealistic to even consider using an iPad as a stand alone computer, and iPads are expensive, the cheapest one starting at $499. When you add in all the additions, the songs, the videos, and the apps, it can get pricey, and I’m not sure it’s worth it.