Jokes about feminine hygiene products aside, the iPad seems to get the size issue just right. You don’t really carry a laptop around with you and typing on a phone is fine for your 13 year old niece, but nothing has ever really occupied the middle ground between the two.
At 700 grams and less than 1.5cm thick, the iPad obliges. It has the iPhone operating system rather Mac OSX, which means it’s more an oversized iPhone than a portable PC, but you can finally use it for the stuff a traditional phone’s too small (or poncey) for.
Sights and Sounds
The iPad’s primarily a media device. It does what your iPhone or iPod Touch does — play music, let you scroll through and zoom in on photos and watch videos and movies through YouTube or the iTunes store.
With a 9.7 inch screen and 10 hours of battery life, watching movies in particular is going to be a lot easier to handle, as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried to watch one on a 3.5 inch iPod.
And that leads us to the next absolutely critical issue — porn. Any tech watcher will tell you where sex goes, technology follows, and studios in the US like Digital Playground are already on the bandwagon, embedding your favourite skin flicks with automatic detection for the screen you’re watching it on. That means movies you watch on the iPad will automatically optimise for the clearest picture and sound. Studio Pink Visual has even launched a whole website designed to be used on the iPad, pinkvisualpad.com
It’s likely to be the first in a series of technical innovations that’ll see porn studios bend over backwards (as it were) to make it as easy as possible for you to avail yourself of their fine arts. And what porn perfects, the more respectable entertainment industries embrace wholeheartedly.
You can get already get ereading software from the App store (along with millions of other tools, games and distractions) and reading them on a device the size of a book instead of a cigarette packet will not only be far more comfortable, you’ll look less like a teenage manga tragic constantly glued to a mobile.
The iPad will also come with the in-built iBookstore, Apple’s first dedicated ebook sales effort. It’s a clear signal the company smells profit potential, and when Apple makes a market foray it’s usually a sign it’s about to go through the roof.
The latest wireless and Bluetooth standards will be under the hood so you’ll be able to connect to keyboards or headsets, email, surf the web, browse maps and subscribe to the news.
In the US the iPad’s unlocked despite a partnership with carrier AT&T, so when it arrives on Aussie shores you’ll be able to use it with your current mobile carrier — but there’s a catch. The iPad will use the new Micro-SIM format, so you can’t just pull the SIM out of your phone or USB modem in it. If your carrier doesn’t offer the new format or wants to charge you a premium to get one, you’re screwed.