Believe it or not, the iPad isn’t perfect. And it’s not the perfect tablet for everyone. There are many things it does great, and it will be a great purchase for most. But in making some of the design choices, such as going for a simple easy-to-use interface, Apple has created some drawbacks, such as limiting the ability to customize the device.
iPad: The Advantage
The App Store. The biggest strength of the iPad can be found in the 300,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad. And going beyond these apps, the iPad is capable of running the 500,000 apps designed for the iPhone in compatibility mode. But it’s not just the number of apps that make the App Store such a strong selling point, it’s the time Apple takes to review each app individually before it can appear in the App Store. For the customer, this does two things: (1) ensure that the app does basically what is says it will do and (2) helps protect the buyer from malware or other mischievous apps.
Accessories. One advantage of being the market leader is that everyone wants a piece of the action. This has resulted in a vibrant ecosystem of iPad accessories that go beyond just tablet cases, wireless keyboards and external speakers. For example, the iRig allows you to hook your guitar into the iPad and use it as a multi-effects package, and the iCade converts your iPad into a classic coin-operated arcade system (minus the need for quarters).
Stability. The iPad is often referred to as a closed system, with Apple controlling both the hardware and the software. There are some disadvantages to a closed system, but one advantage is the stability it provides. While Google and Android app developers must support dozens and even hundreds of tablets and smartphones, Apple and iPad app developers are supporting a very limited number of tablets all based on the same basic hardware. Apple’s app approval process also helps stability by ridding apps of the most egregious bugs before they are approved.
Ease of Use. While Android has made great strides in this area, Apple still leads in providing an interface that is easy to learn and simple to use. While Android tablets allow for more customization, which is great for people that love to tweak their devices, Apple’s simple approach makes the iPad less overwhelming.
Plays Nice With iPhone and Apple TV. If you already own an iPhone or Apple TV, one big advantage to owning an iPad is how well they play together. Not only can you share apps between the iPhone and iPad, which is great for universal apps that support both within the same app, features such a Photo Stream blend together well. Apple TV owners will also enjoy AirPlay, which lets you connect your iPad to your HDTV wirelessly.
iPad: The Disadvantage
Little Customization. Both an advantage and a disadvantage, the downside of limited customization is that the tablet experience cannot be altered on the iPad. This means no widgets on the home screen, but it also means some apps simply aren’t available for the iPad. Apple’s approval process does keep some apps from appearing in the app store that could actually help the experience, such as an app that simply switches Bluetooth on and off so you can hook in your wireless keyboard without digging through menus. You can get it on Android, you can only get it on the iPad if you jailbreak the device and find your way around the App Store.
Less Expandability. If you run out of storage space on the iPad, you may be left clearing out music, movies and apps. The iPad doesn’t support flash drives to expand storage, and external hard drives and/or cloud storage can’t be used to store apps. While all tablets are inherently less expandable than laptops, which in turn are less expandable than desktop PCs, the iPad tends to be more limited than some Android tablets.
Limited Multitasking. Another trade off with good and bad aspects, the limited multitasking means apps will behave better alongside each other and battery life won’t be drained too much, but if you really need true multitasking, the iPad cannot provide it.
More Expensive. One big advantage to the iPad when it was released was the price point. $499 for an entry level tablet was tough to match, but as the market has matured, Android tablets have appeared that offer a good experience for less money. The 7-inch tablet market is making this even more clear, with current generation Android tablets going as low as $199. In comparison, the cheapest iPad — the iPad Mini — is $329.
But no matter what, I still like iPad ‘cause I do believe it is the best tablet PC in the world, what about you? Share your opinions on our site or you may also read more articles, too.