Apple’s latest must have device is the iPad, a tablet computer predominantly used for web browsing, media consumption and electronic communication. It is hoped to bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops but beyond all the public relations hype does this new technology have truly innovative merits? Or is Apple just trying to shove a new shiny play thing in to our hands?

Media and gadget buffs have been salivating over the iPad since it’s release but many consumers and journalists are yet to be convinced. It’s market price is similar to that of a laptop’s or new netbook so the direct competition is there, however for those that require their device to be multi-functional with flexible input options, video editing power and so on, then many laptops will still be sold in the future.

The iPad’s touchscreen is very tactile, the usability level is extremely high, navigating the internet is a intuitive as the iPhone except even easier, as it’s on a much larger screen. However the success of touchscreen keyboards is very subjective, for those of us that don’t like typing on the same angle as the imagery we’re looking at, the iPad will not be an ergonomic dream.


A major admonition is that unfortunately, as of yet there’s been no confirmation from Apple headquarters or Mr Jobs himself, as to whether there will be mouse driver support for Bluetooth external pointing devices. The severe lack of mention in Apple’s tech specs implies that there is no precision pointing device, and even when using an external keyboard with the iPad mounted on its dock, it will still be necessary to navigate and click using the touchscreen interface. This is not convenient for users who like to sit well back from the screen when working with a laptop or desktop machine.

However many fans have argued that the iPad is about the software, rather than the hardware and it’s proficiency lies with the applications available and it’s user interface. The competition that the iPad has brought to the mobile computing market has made other manufacturers work harder with their latest models. Take Toshiba’s Satellite series of ultra thin and mobile laptops, or the new Sony Vaio range.

The iPad is still a work in progress, perhaps similarly to the iPod it won’t really come into it’s own until the 3rd generation models hit the shelves. Laptops are safe for now, they provide a different service and certainly a different user experience. As other companies are forced to up their game the innovations in mobile computing continue to astound, but will the iPad make laptops obsolete? Not any time soon.

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The author has been designing ultra thin Toshiba laptops for years now and is proud of the laptop special offers available.Author: Don Robers