Magical and revolutionary, both of which are keywords which have been used to describe the Apple iPad. Putting Apple’s indulged PR spin aside, this iPhone XL, as I like to call it, has proven to be one of the major products among the tech-sphere in 2010. And while it won’t be parting seas anytime soon, for the right person, it could be a real gem.
About The Product
The Apple iPad was announced on January 27, 2010 and was released the following April. As of the end of September 2010 it has sold 7.5 million units world-wide, and until the recent release of Microsoft Kinect, it garnered the title of the ‘fastest adopted consumer electronics product’. In a nutshell, the iPad is a tablet computer marketed as a media consumption device. The 9.7 inch multi-touch display, estimated battery life, iOS platform, Wi-Fi/3G connectivity, along with the iTunes Store and App Store have made this product the premiere 2010 consumer electronics device.
What Makes It A Great Gift?
Obviously the iPad is a niche product. It has many limitations power-users may find to be a pain to their everyday computing needs. That being said, the beauty in the iPad is the simplicity and ease of use. This has everything to do with the Apple iOS platform and the App Store that comes with it. What would the lucky gift recipient use such a device for?
As an e-reader
As you may have read from my last entry to our ‘2010′s Top Tech Gifts’, I gave the Amazon Kindle a huge thumbs up as the e-reader of choice for this holiday season. That being said, the Apple iPad is probably a close second in the e-reader sphere. I’ve heard many debates as to why or why not the iPad is good as an e-reader. Honestly, it just comes down to your level of comfort reading from a backlit screen. Some people say it’s a huge strain on the eyes, while others say it’s not a problem. And while the debate on sustained reading on the iPad probably won’t be over anytime soon, the ‘App’ ecosystem provides the Amazon Kindle library, as well as a host of other book offerings.
The iOS platform is undoubtedly the best choice when it comes to interactivity with online content. How so? Most apps allow for an interactive layer of sophistication that is really unique to iOS, and in this case the iPad form factor, or at least has been for some time. Customized applications for various websites just make things easier in many cases, allowing information to be presented in a more fashionable way than one would see in a web browser. Obviously we have had this for some time now with the iPhone, but in this case bigger is better.
Obviously Apple knows what they are doing when it comes to consuming media. So much so that iPod has become synonymous with ‘mp3 player’. Things haven’t changed here. Playing back music, movies, and videos is as easy as it has ever been. One can listen to music while navigating other applications, or easily take advantage of the screen real estate to enjoy movies/tv shows via the iTunes store or one of the many of the other applications in the App Store that provide streaming video.
The gaming experience
I’m still very much on the fence about gaming with touch screen only devices in general. My experience has ranged from great, to just downright awful. Yep, I’m looking at you Sonic 4 Episode 1. My number one tip here is to steer clear of anything you think has an screen D-pad and you’ll be fine. The developers who have thought outside the box here more than likely have taken the time to make the experience with their games above average. But gripes aside, it wouldn’t be hard for anyone who gets this gift to find more than a few games to keep them busy.
All in all, I’d have to say that almost anyone who receives this gift would find it more than useful. Whether it’s reading, gaming, internet browsing, or video/audio consumption, the general purpose and ease of use of this device, would put a smile on almost anyone’s face. Who said getting a great tech gift would be cheap? The Apple iPad can be had for the hefty price of $499 for the Wi-Fi only version, and $629 for the 3G enabled version, which requires a data plan to take advantage of the 3G capabilities.