"Does less than my smartphone!"2.5 starson by Tight-Like-That
Pros: - HD videos look great
- lovely product design
- pleasant to scroll & swipe around
Cons: - tiny storage space on device
- no built-in card slot
- can't open or export images via Lightning adapter(!)
- slow importing files by Lightning adapter
- Lightning Adapter can't read 64GB disks
- limited app/software options (for me)
Summary: After holding off for a long time, I finally bought an iPad4 yesterday with high hopes, but am returning it today very disappointed.
To minimize cost, I bought a 16GB wifi-only model. My hope was to use the iPad while traveling to view & show photos, share presentations, do basic email & web surfing, listen to music, and watch videos. I had no illusions that a tablet would be equal to a laptop computer, but didn't realize just how limited the iPad is even for basic tasks.
For one, it can only open digital photos for viewing from the internal hard drive. You can't even preview a .jpg on SD card or camera connected via the Lightning Adapter! The adapter only lets you *import* image files onto the iPad --not *export* from the iPad to the SD card, nor from the SD card directly to a web photostream, Dropbox, or the like!
This alone was a deal-breaker for me since I'm a photographer shooting very hi-res .jpg & RAW images with a Nikon D800, and viewing photos on the retina display was what most appealed to me. I knew the built-in disk space was insufficient, but figured the Lightning Adapter would let me view images from SD cards on the iPad (the Apple Store rep sold me camera and a SD card Lightning adapters for $30 each, assuring me I could access my images with them; I believe he didn't know the truth).
Thinking I might be able to quickly move image files on and off the iPad for viewing, I tried copying some from a recent trip. But the Lightning adapter couldn't read a 64GB SanDisk SDXC. Using a 32GB SD card, it took 15 minutes for about 50 thumbnails to load. Copying 3 photos onto the iPad took 4 minutes, 28 seconds --way too slow for on-the-go.
Ironically, my Samsung S3 smartphone allows me to insert a 64GB micro SD full of images and videos, and all of them are instantly viewable and directly uploadable via WiFi. I figured a tablet --any tablet-- could at least do this much.
I hit a similar wall at the App Store. 3 of my favorite and most-used free apps on my smartphone (GTasks, ColorNote, and FireFox browser) aren't offered in iOS. I use FireFox on my desktop Mac, but Mozilla says Apple restrictions prevent them from offering a mobile iOS version. I eagerly browsed the App Store after reading about all the variety, but the biggest part of this appears to be games & entertainment.
With the basic accessories (2 adapters, cover, earbuds) plus a few good paid apps, the final price tag for my $499 iPad exceeds $650.
The highest-capacity iPad (128GB) with similar accessories would cost me almost $1,000. Add another $100 for AppleCare extended warranty...
I can't say whether my low rating reflects unique limits of the Apple iPad specifically or the state of tablets generally (this was my very first tablet purchase). I can say, however, that I'm very surprised at how much my experience differs from all the apparent enthusiasm among consumers. The iPad4 is fun and attractive, but for the price, it doesn't seem all to offer much that is useful.