In late January 2010, Steve Jobs took the stage and unveiled a mind blowing product, that was seen as unnecessary at first and indispensable afterwards. I’m talking about the Apple iPad, first criticized for being a bigger iPod touch and then hailed at the killer of all PCs, notebooks and netbooks.

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Jobs dismissed the netbooks, saying they “aren’t better at anything” and showed the world the iPad, a device placed somewhere between a smartphone and laptop. We take the iPad for granted today, but it took a lot of work and prototypes to reach this point. Early on, even the name was a problem, since the product seemed to remind people of a feminine hygiene product.

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Weeks after the April 2010 store debut, it was clear that the computing world had changed. There were a lot of apps to play with, everything was simple and intuitive and surfing the web was brilliant on the tablet. The whole computer experience was rethought and Apple even managed to sell more iPads than some companies sell PCs, in a sense something they always wanted to do (sell more PCs than the competition).

Tablets are omnipresent today, killing the smart TVs and laptops, even if the growth has slowed down. Where would we be today without the iPad? It’s true that other companies have toyed with this idea, but none of them has given it the needed physical form.

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  • Robert Jasiek

    The physical form is great but the iPad still fails in these respects:

    – Reflections prevent it from being read as pleasantly as printed paper, especially outdoors.

    – The Walled Garden prevents easy file management and easy local file transfer. That some users like this environment is not any excuse for enforcing it on everybody else because file management can be offered as an option: hidden for those disliking it and apparent for those needing it. Cloud file transfer can never replace local file transfer because of security, data protection and different law systems. The management of only one file can never be as efficient as the management of an arbitrary number of files at a time. The management of only particular file types can never replace that of all file types. Sandbox security can never be an excuse for prohibiting some file management because sandbox security and easy file management can be combined, as Windows demonstrates.

    – The Walled Garden and simplicity of design sacrifice USB. This is a terrible decision because most peripherals use USB. Energy management cannot be an excuse because unused ports can be temporarily deactivated.

    – The WLAN quality is not top world class. For a device sold as the best in every respect, there is no excuse for offering only second class connection quality.

    In conclusion, the iPad is a consumer-only device and fails to be suitable for serious contents creators. Mission will be accomplished when the iPad surpasses its own aims and becomes equally useful for contents creation. CPU and battery technologies are not quite ready yet. We need to wait a few more years to see the tablet combining the iPad and the Surface Pro 3 while being silent.