iPad proves useful for students

Nathan Smith

     It’s one of the most anticipated Apple products of the year, and no one knew much about it until Steve Jobs debuted the new member of the Apple family on January 27.  The next generation in touch-screen computer technology has arrived, and it’s not receiving the warm welcomes that Apple employees and enthusiasts had expected.

     The Apple iPad is a 9.56-inch by 7.47-inch multi-touch tablet computer and one of the first of its kind to come from this particular computer company.  All and all, this new device is more along the lines of an iPhone or iPod Touch, with its own derivatives to give it the feel of a personal computer, rather than purely an entertainment device or mobile phone.  While still fully capable of running the same applications and media as the Apple devices to come before it, the iPad brings its own features to the table.  The new device promises functions that allow the user to write out that long-winded quarterly report on its all touch-screen keyboard, or perhaps sending those emails (capable of being attached with images and videos) back and forth with your friends at home, school or the office while separately loading photos from your latest trip onto its hard drive.

     “I like that it holds books so I can read on the go,” Alex Mendoza, sophomore, said.

     The iPad is equipped with a fingerprint-resistant, 9.7 inch (diagonal) multi-touch-screen with LED backlighting for one of Apple’s most crisp and clear displays ever.  And while the iPad’s screen may not be as large as other tablet computers on the market today its thin, sleek design ensures portability and a comfortable experience for use in restaurants, around the house, at school, even outside — basically all the places you wouldn’t normally be using a computer.  But this sense of portability is a new step in the direction of personal computers that can be taken anywhere, a goal which has been sought since the first portable tablet computers.

     The iPad will perform all the functions of an iPhone or iTouch, including playing music, movies, sending email and connecting to the internet, running apps and everything else.  But what must be kept in mind is that the iPad is a step in a different direction.  Just as the iPhone is now establishing itself as a cellular device and camera and the iPod Touch is more of an entertainment and gaming machine, the iPad is taking the same technology of its predecessors and utilizing it for the use of someone who may not necessarily need another cell phone or want a music player.  In other words, the Apple iPad is not necessarily your entertainment system – instead, it’s more like your laptop or desktop on steroids.

     While the Apple iPad may be quite an intriguing and innovative device, its price may be a bit too much for the average Joe looking for a new computer.  The models are priced individually, based on amount of memory and whether or not you want both Wi-Fi and a 3G connection or simply Wi-Fi.  Prices reach as high as $829 and as low as $499.  However, while this may seem like a steep price, reviews have been generally positive.  And, although the iPad is a bit pricey, it’s nothing in comparison to the prices of Microsoft’s or HP’s latest tablets, which run as high as $1,500-plus.

     While some may complain about the lack of USB drives, Apple defends by saying that “the iPad is meant to be an easy-to-use appliance, not an all-purpose computer.  A USB port would mean installing drivers.”

     “I don’t think it matters if it has a USB port,” Carson Felder, senior, said.  “In this case, it’s not so much about the hardware as it is about the software.”

     In the end, however, with all of these alterations from the average personal computer and the obvious center around Apple’s normal designs, will the Apple iPad survive the marketing process?

     “I don’t think it’ll take off as much as the iPhone, but I don’t think it’ll sink either,” Mendoza said.

     “People will need to overlook the hardware and go mainly for the software,” Felder said.  “Otherwise, the iPad might not do as well as Apple would hope.”

     While business men and women may be eyeing the product right now, a friendly suggestion would be to give the iPad about half a year or so and wait until the price drops down to something more affordable for everyone else.  The Wi-Fi model of the Apple iPad will was released March of this year, and the Wi-Fi/3G hybrid model will be released later this April.   This new personal computer will be available in three different memory storage capacities (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB) and two types of internet and network connection.

     For all of the Apple-product enthusiasts out there, or just those who are looking for an interesting change of pace from the average desktop computer, check out the Apple iPad, “a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”