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Ipad, Computer Replacement or Just a Bigger Phone?

Recently, I purchased an Apple ipad 2. I must admit, I was caught up in the marketing hype that the ipad was going to be the future of computing, and that I would soon get rid of my bulky computer or notebook in favor of the ipad. Sounded great, I talked to sales guy at apple store about creating word documents and other "bread and butter" applications that all computers can do, and he assured me that whatever I wanted or needed to do, there was an app that would do it for me, all ready to download and install.

buoyed with this knowledge, I purchased my ipad2 and set about putting it through its paces to see just what it could do. First thing I found that it was easy to connect to my wireless network at home, and it was equally easy to connect to the 3G mobile phone network, (I purchased the one with 3G connectivity, but to date have rarely used it).

Once connected to the Internet, I wanted to see if there was any difference surfing with the ipad as opposed to surfing on a real computer. One of the first sites I visited was a real estate website. I went to check out a listing there, and received a message that in order to view content on this page, I needed to install or update Adobe flash player. I clicked the link and was taken to the Adobe website and was immediately faced with a message which essentially said that there was some sort of legal problem between apple and adobe, and because of this, I couldn't use the flash player. Thinking back to "Apple sales guy," who said that "anything that I wanted or needed to do, there was an app to do it," I began looking for the Apple ipad flash player alternative. I found that It doesn't exist.

There is one third party app that you can buy that says that it will play most flash content, this is not very assuring.

I checked the ipad forums and the most popular view is that "If you can't view flash content on a website, don't go to that site", useful advice.
Another Apple forum view is that flash uses too many resources and would run the battery flat too quickly. According to the forum writers, Apple is correct in not allowing the ipad to use it.

Another pearl of ipad wisdom says that if enough people try to view these sites and can't, the web site developers will change the players on these sites, hmmmm...Wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

My thoughts are that if you are not going to use a free resource that everyone else uses, can we please have an ipad alternative that will do the same job.

Apps are very easy to download and install, once you set up an account through iTunes, the only thing is that you have no control over where things get installed, although to be fair, Linux uses the same philosophy. Perhaps we, as users don't really have to know where a program is installed in order to use it. Apple have extended this idea to include data. This means that if you install an app that creates data, the app decides where to put that data. this is fine until you decide to delete the app. If you haven't backed up the data, it disappears along with the app.
Speaking about backups and transferring data to and from your computer, this is done using the iTunes program which must be installed on a real computer. I tried to synchronize my Outlook contacts to the ipad but only succeeded in transferring all of my music from my computer. I didn't want to transfer the music, I wasn't given any choice and only found that it had done this weeks later.Don't you just love it when computers assume that they know what you want to do, and just go ahead and do it without your knowledge.

I discovered that although the ipad2 is very much like an iPhone, you can't use your ipad as a phone even though most iPhone apps will run on the ipad and you can connect to the 3G mobile phone network, still scratching my head over this one, the best you can hope for is a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) app, which if you are using the 3G network to connect to the Internet, will cost you more because you have to pay the VOIP provider as well as the 3G network cost.

Summary:

In using the ipad for an extended period of time, I found that the main things that I use it for is the eBook reader, checking emails and viewing web sites that don't use flash.
Would I recommend getting the 3G model? the short answer would be no. If I traveled a lot and needed to be able to connect to the Internet from my car, I might consider it, but as most Motels, and lots of other places, Internet cafes etc can provide wireless network connection, there isn't much point

There are no USB ports on the ipad, which means that you can't create a document on a real computer, save it to USB and then work on it at home. If you need to do that, you will have to come up with a different way of getting it onto the ipad, emailing, using Drop-box or synchronizing through iTunes etc.

Don't get me wrong, I love my ipad, but as a computer, I think it is a great toy that you can use for music, photos, videos, checking Internet sites, sending and receiving emails and playing games. I wouldn't try to do any serious work with the ipad as this would only lead to frustration. Tablets and phones are fantastic at content usage. If you want to do content creation, you are still better off using a real computer.

Overall impression, great toy, a lot of fun to play with!

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