Look, we're into cute cat videos just as much the next guy. But mix a feline with a shiny new iPad, and we start to worry. Yes, the person who posted the above cat-plays-with-iPad video to YouTube Tuesday assures us the screen is fine since "the cat's claws are not as strong as glass." But is letting a scratch-prone pet loose on a pricey new purchase really the best way to break it in? We'll get back to you on that one as soon as our CNET ferret's done with its iPad benchmarking.
For those of you who didn't read part one of this little tale, I was recently in an Apple store in New York looking for the new, updated MacBook Pro units and toying with the idea of buying an iPad, when I was approached by one of Apple's friendly and knowledgeable sales people, who asked me whether I needed any help finding what I was looking for.
After conversing with her for a few minutes and having a frank discussion about some of the product's shortcomings, including its overheating issues, I found myself ready to take possession of Apple's "magical" new slate despite my reluctance to buy first-generation products. I wrote how she'd sold me with her zen-like anti-sell and I realized that "a thousand iPad ads seared into my retinas had taken their toll and worn me down. I was a beaten man, ready to submit."
But alas, there were no iPads to be had, and when we last left off, I was in the MacBook section of the store, filling out an online form to reserve a 32GB iPad, feeling disappointed yet relieved that I'd been temporarily released from the iPad's gravitational pull.
As I filled in my iTunes account name and password to generate the request, I actually thought the white entry-level $999 Macbook I was writing on looked better than I remembered it looking (somehow when you're in an Apple store, the products just have an added glow to them, a halo effect if you will).
"Do you have the new, upgraded MacBook Pros?" I asked, suddenly having an urge to pick up a laptop instead of an iPad.
Maybe the fact that there were no iPads in stock at this particular store was a sign from God for me to buy another product instead.… Read more
If you ask me, the iPad's prowess as an e-book reader lies not in pulp fiction, but in kids' books. Think about it: the latest Grisham novel is just raw text, which any old Kindle can deliver. But children's books are all about big, splashy pictures and wild colors--elements perfectly suited to iPad screens.
And needless to say, the iPad can do a lot more than just display static pages. It can read stories aloud; it can enrich a classic tale with touch-powered extras; and it can even render pages in 3D. Let's take a look at five dazzling e-books for kids, starting with an eye-popping rendition of "Alice in Wonderland."
1."Alice for the iPad" This lavishly illustrated 52-page abridgment of the classic tale incorporates animation like no other e-book to date. Readers can tilt the iPad to make Alice grow and shrink; shake it to watch the Mad Hatter's bobblehead bobble; and so on. The frantically paced demo video (above) is a little over-the-top, but there's no question this is a showpiece iPad app. Thankfully, there's a free Lite version you can try before splurging on the $8.99 full version.
2. Dr. Seuss books Already among my favorites (uh, I mean, my kids' favorites) on the iPhone, Oceanhouse Media's three Seuss titles--"Dr. Seuss' ABC," "The Cat in the Hat," and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"--are just that much bigger and better on the iPad. Each interactive story sells for $2.99--quite a bit less than their respective hardcovers (as it should be). Oh, and stay tuned: one of my all-time favorite Seuss titles, "The Lorax," will make its iPad/iPhone debut in about a week.
Making a device that's somewhere between a laptop and an iPhone comes with challenges beyond app design. As I've been wondering since I've owned an iPad, what exactly makes a good iPad case?
I know one thing: it's not the same thing that makes a good iPhone case.
First of all, I'm terrified to drop my iPad. I've heard the stories, and I'm not about to test mine the same way. I don't trust myself to even hold it in bed--I'm afraid it'll slip out of my hands and shatter somewhere while I'm sleeping.
An iPhone gets held to your ear. A hard shell seems best, one that prevents scratches. The iPhone can tolerate a drop or two (or five), at least from my experience. I'm not worried about that. I just want a hard shell for it.
As for the iPad, I'm never likely to use it in motion, and at a subway station or bus stop I'd prefer it to be protected even when reading. The screen on an iPad is tremendous. Though the glass is scratch-resistant, I prefer a cover if at all possible
Many case makers, however, are treating the iPad like a giant iPhone in terms of their case design. I've seen some sleeve/hard-shell concepts that seem a little ridiculous.
Others are treating it like a laptop, offering soft-skinned neoprene sleeves and slipcases. Booq has an iPad sleeve for $29 that is a nice little slipcover, reinforced on the back. Its top is exposed, but the iPad's glass screen nestles against the hard back, fully covered. It's best for sliding the iPad in a backpack or bag.
But, though it's easy to remove the iPad at a moment's notice, the iPad is then exposed when in use. I'm back where I started without a case.… Read more
Apple's argument for banning both web-based Flash and apps converted from Flash are similar: they both hurt performance of the iPad/iPhone. And they're right, in many cases! But developers are not psyched about being forced … Read more
Apple's iPad won't be available outside the U.S. until the end of May, a delay of a month from its original global launch date.
With customers grabbing more than 500,000 iPads during the tablet's first week, demand has been higher than expected, Apple said Wednesday, and will likely exceed supply over the next several weeks. The company said that it's also trying to handle a huge number of preorders for the 3G iPad models, which are also supposed to reach the hands of U.S. customers by the end of this month.
Google has basically just taken the iPad's Safari browser and used this app to make it very Google-centric, but that's about the only thing the app brings: no Chrome, no Android-ish interface, nothing. Sure, you get voice search and location-specified searches built in, but it comes across as a half-effort.
Recently, I was in an Apple store in New York looking for the new, updated MacBook Pro units and toying with the idea of buying an iPad, when I was approached by one of Apple's friendly and knowledgeable sales people. She asked me whether I needed any help finding what I was looking for.
I really didn't--or at least I didn't think I did--but we started chatting anyway. I told her I'd heard the iPad could overheat in the sun and shut down. To my surprise, she responded that yes, it could, especially if you had it lying flat on your lap. But, she explained, it wasn't that big a deal, because it would just take a few minutes to cool down and then start up again.
The way she said it made it seem like it was an integrated feature to protect the device--not a downside. She talked about how the iPad didn't have a fan inside to cool it down like a laptop, which was why it shut down if it got too hot.
"Where'd you hear about it?" she asked.
"I read this article on the Internet," I said, then quickly changed the subject, afraid she might have actually read the article and somehow associated it with me. "Has anybody returned an iPad because it was overheating?"
"No, I haven't had to process a return for that."
"What about a cracked screen?"
Nope. No one she'd seen had come in yet with a cracked screen. She thought that was because people were treating them like laptops, rather than phones. They were more careful with them.
"So, why do people return them?" I asked. "You have 15 days to return it, right?"
"Well, people really only seem to be returning them because they decide they want the 3G version, which comes out at the end of this month. We get some of those." … Read more
Why is this, exactly? It's not like I dislike gaming. In fact, several developers have sent me games to look at, and so far, few have stuck. I attribute the relatively game-free life I've lived with the iPad to two factors: it's not a great handheld system for gaming, and developers are still treating it like a giant iPhone.
To address the first: to me, games on the iPad work best when the device sits in your lap, allowing you to freely touch the screen anywhere. Board games, strategy games, and a few arcade-style titles fit the mold. There are iPad games I'd been hoping to see, and some of those have already come to pass. I'm still waiting on others. The iPad can be held in your hands, but the weight of it makes it hard to hold upright for periods of time. When I say the iPad isn't a great handheld for gaming, this is what I mean. My iPhone can be used for one-handed subway gaming (Drop7, Bejeweled Blitz) or for PSP-style action games via its virtual control pad.
The virtual control pad scheme on the iPad is a harder sell. Gameloft's NOVA, while an impressive FPS, takes some awkward controls in its larger size, and required me to be sitting with the iPad in my lap to really be used the best. Real Soccer controls as easily as its iPhone sibling, but doesn't seem to offer any gameplay or graphic advantages despite its larger size. Meanwhile, a game like Mirror's Edge works better because its swipe-to-run controls can be used in a more casual way when lap-gaming, and in fact won't work great when "hand-held." Of course, Scrabble is fun, but EA's version of the board game doesn't use the iPad real estate in any new or surprising way.
When I'm commuting, I'm not likely to find the physical space or the proper position (i.e., I'm standing) to game on the iPad. At home I might play games, but then again, I also have my consoles.
Labyrinth 2 works great, using the iPad's surface like a giant tilting table. Plants vs Zombies is also perfect, although it doesn't really need the extra real estate on the iPad to play. Despite the big push for iPad driving/flying games, we found Top Gun HD hard to control via a larger device. On the iPhone, it was a much easier fit.
The small-scale strategy game Strategery a tap-to-play casual board game, seems to suit the iPad better with its larger maps and its table-top feel.… Read more
Most often cited is the iPad's speed, and it indeed feels very quick and responsive, and generally comes off as a powerful tool compared with a standard Netbook, which can feel sluggish even when performing the most basic tasks.
Yet under the hood, it's obvious that a typical $299 Netbook has much more powerful hardware. It's Atom N450 CPU runs at … Read more