“I have an iPhone and a MacBook. Where does the iPad fit in?”
Two days ago, Apple announced their much anticipated tablet device, the iPad. There was a lot of buzz about the device before it was announced. As usual, mock-ups were posted and various websites with a lot of speculation.
Now the tablet has been announce and not everybody is amused by it. Apple executives seem pretty happy about their new device but various polls and online comments suggest that people are not enthused at all. I am not enthused about it too. I am quite disappointed with the iPad. I remember when the iPhone was announced at Macworld 2007. That was a real breakthrough device. The euphoria of owning one gripped everybody but the iPad…
I think Apple rushed in announcing this product and they could have done a better job. Let me tell you where I think Apple went wrong with this device.
1. Design: Apple is noted for sleek designs. The iPad looks ugly. It’s that ugly you get used to and then you think it’s beautiful. The space between the ends of the screen and the device could be a little a thinner than it is. It is just ugly!
2. Software: Can you believe Apple? The iPad runs iPhone OS 3.2. Why not Snow Leopard? And as if that’s not enough, the OS hasn’t been tweaked enough to multitask yet. I believe multitasking will come with OS 4.0, which is expected in June or July. Running OS 3.2 makes it look like a big iPod touch. The iPad isn’t a stand-alone device. This means you require a mac or pc with iTunes to set it up. Come on! This also means you can’t connect your iPhone or iPod to it and sync it. That’s just shitty!
3. Camera: The iPad lacks an in-built camera. This is 2010, Apple! iPod Nanos even got cameras. How can you not put a camera into this device? The lack of a camera just throws a lot of people of.
4. ITunes + DRM: Does Apple have to tie all their mobile devices to iTunes? I love iTunes but what if I buy an iPad to use in Ghana? Apple doesn’t have a worldwide iTunes Store or Ghana Store and the last time I checked, it was illegal to use an iTunes Store account in a country other than the country of the store. Apple wants to replicate the success of the iPhone and the App Store but I already have eBooks on my mac. Can’t I just sync them? Oh and according to the Apple site, iBooks is US only! With the iBooks application, it means a new era of DRM. DRM sucks!!!!
The iPad has some pretty good sides too. I watch the presentation by Steve Jobs and the demo on the iPad site and I like some things about it.
1. I like what Apple did with the screen; a high-resolution, 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS display with a wide 178° viewing angle. That’s really picture perfect.
2. The iPad has a month stand-by time and 10 hours of battery life while surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching videos, or listening to music.
3. I think the web surfing experience on the device will be wonderful. The safari demo as well as the mail demo was on point. We just need flash and it better be in 4.0
4. The one reason I will get the iPad is iBooks. I think it will be pretty cool reading on this device. I have a feeling the iPad will change a reading habits worldwide.
5. The iPad comes with Wi-Fi basic and a 3G option. Costumers will have the option of getting a Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi+3G model. I would go for option 2 so I can surf the web everywhere.
6. The iPad will have a digital compass (which I love), built-in speakers and microphone
7. The iPad will have a mobile version of Apple’s Office suite; iWork
8. The iPad runs on Apple’s own silicon; A4. A4 runs at 1GHz while the chip on iPhone 3GS works clocked to 0.6GHz. What this means is that running iPhone OS, the iPad will deliver superior performance
Check the full list of the iPad specs here
The iPad will be available in the next 30 to 90 days. I am not too sure if spending $729 on a 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad is a good idea but if and when I get $729, I will give the iPad a try. I am still confused about where it fits in if one has a MacBook and an iPhone. Help me if you have the answer. I would love to read books on it and tweet from it and occasionally watch a movie on it probably on a bus from Accra to Sunyani.
Today’s blog post has been inspire by a question posed by Dr. Amos Anyimadu of AfricaNext Knowledge Brokerage & Initiative on my mobile broadband experience. It’s an interesting question and it stirred a lot of questions and answers through my mind.
My mobile broadband experience has been ‘slow and expensive’. I have used all four gsm mobile phone operators on my iphone. After months of switching between them, I can say Zain Ghana does it for me.
Tigo was the first I tried because I had a better coverage than the other networks at the time. It is interesting to know that Tigo Ghana charges GH¢1 per megabyte of data. This is ridiculous. As a heavy user who uses over 1GB data on my phone monthly and without monthly data plans, where does that fit into my budget? Tigo’s connection is quite stable and quite fast (Ghana fast).
I moved to Vodafone Ghana’s mobile internet. It’s no different from their broadband facility previously known as GT Broadband4u. It is slow, unstable and unreliable. Vodafone doesn’t offer monthly plans for the prepaid mobile user. Vodafone also doesn’t detail charge on 1mb of data on their website. From my experience, I’m guessing they charge 50p or 90p per 1mb.
MTN Ghana wasn’t such a bad experience. With the GPRS signals compared to the EDGE I was getting from Tigo and Vodafone, it was faster & better. Connection was stable and it was cheaper than Tigo and probably Vodafone. I decided to stay on MTN mobile internet so I checked their website to see if they had monthly plans for the mobile user. Yes, they did and they pricing was cool. But how do I activate a plan? I called MTN the next day to inquire and I was told the plans were for their postpaid costumers and as a prepaid costumer, I wasn’t qualified for a monthly data plan. After arguing with the costumer service representative, I gave up and switched to Zain Ghana.
The first time I accessed the web on my iPhone, I was redirected to the Zain data site where I was given the option to choose a ‘charge on use’ plan or ‘limited (monthly)’ plan. Wow, this was what I was telling the MTN costumer representative. I went for the economy bundle (500mb @ GH¢25). The other option was the super saver bundle (1gb @ GH¢60). Zain has gone on to add 5 more bundles. Currently, I use the Zain On The Go (Light) bundle (1gb @ GH¢30) and I can say I am very satisfied with the service. It has brought my iPhone alive. It is very stable. The only time, I don’t enjoy it when I am on the road. Zain’s coverage is quite limited.
So if you want to choose a data carrier for your phone, the choice is yours but I would strongly recommend Zain or MTN. In part 2 of this post I will discuss my experience with Kasapa powered Mobile2i and Zipnet.
God Bless Our Homeland Ghana!
I have owned several ‘smartphones’ from sony ericsson to nokia to blackberry and I must confess nothing comes closer to the iPhone. If you are thinking about getting a new phone, think Apple, think iPhone, if you are thinking of getting a portable music player, think iPod touch. I have been using the iPhone for close to two years and it hasn’t ceased to wow me. I also believe that the core of every smartphone is the software and Apple got it right with the iPhone. Allowing the iPhone to run Mac OS just does the trick. Windows mobile OS and Symbian seem too crappy for me. The Blackberry OS is just all right. I am yet to try Android though.
What makes the iPhone and the iPod touch super cool is the wide range of apps you can get through the App Store. 60,000 apps and counting and there is almost an app for everything. As soon as I get on the iPhone programming, I will write an app for pounding fufu and for the best fufu joints in Ghana :D Not kidding! If you’re reading this post and you don’t have an iPhone or iPod touch yet, please get one. You wont regret it.
Now let me share some of the coolest apps in Apple’s App Store with you. These are apps I use personally and I would recommend for everyone. Its hard making choices from 60,000+ apps so I hope this will be your guide.
1. TwitterFon Pro, Tweetie, Twitterrific & Birdhouse: these are my favourite twitter apps. TwitterFon does it for me. It caches me tweets so I can read them even if I am offline, it has a counter so I don’t miss a tweet. That’s the first twitter app I recommend for everyone. The free version of this app comes with ads. If you don’t want it eating your data, you have to pay $4.99 for it. Birdhouse is a small app, which allows you to draft tweets so you can post them later. Why would you want to draft tweets? Lets say twitter is down or your data service is down, wouldn’t you want to draft your tweets? Tweetie and Twitterrific are equal super twitter apps too. They dont disappoint.
2. Newsstand: this is without a doubt the best rss reader for the iPhone. It can sync with Google reader and you can also add feeds manually. Best part for me is that you can tweet from the app. If you come across a news item you want to share, you can do so via twitter or email all within the app.
3. Pocket God: This is the best and the most creative iPhone game. Created by @davecazz, it is one game you won’t stop playing. It makes you a god of an island and you can let it rain, make a volcano erupt, let the islanders cook etc. What’s even cool is that @davecazz updates it regularly. Oh and it ‘s only $0.99
4. Facebook: you are on facebook? Well you need this app. It’s a free app which allows you do almost everything you can on the web.
5. BeejiveIM: the only instant messenger client you will need. Jabber, Yahoo messenger, AIM, GTalk, Facebook Im, MySpace IM, ICQ and Windows Live all in one. It also has push notification.
6. My Soccer: it’s football (soccer) season and you don’t want to miss out, this app got you. Check the scores, fixtures, line ups, team news etc. A must-have for all soccer fans.
7. iWiki: Wikipedia without going to your browser. I use Wikipedia a lot. Price: $1.99 There is an official wikipedia app but I like iWiki better.
9. Holy Bible, Universalis & iRosary: must have for Christians. iRosary is really cool. It makes praying the rosary easy for me. Happy I paid $0.99 for it. Holy Bible is free and Universalis has a hefty $24.99 tag :D
10. Convertbot: best unit convertor for iPhone. I just love the interface. Beautiful and free.
11. AppMiner: what if you want an app on your iPhone and cant afford to pay the hefty tag? You put it on watch in AppMiner and app miner will let you know when it goes on sale. AppMiner also allows you to see the new apps in the store and which app is on sale. Price: Free
12. Dictonary.com: what does the name say? Dictionary from dictionary.com. it’s free and it has a word of the day section so you get to learn a new word everyday.
13. Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil, Top Gun, Sonic the Hedgehog, NFSU, Crash Kart, Tetris, Scrabble, Sudoku, Monopoly, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, Puzzloop, Caissa Chess, Hangman & Real Soccer 09: Had to kill all these apps with one stone. If you or your girl play zuma or luxor? You will like puzzloop. Crash Kart looks like Mario Kart. You have seen the movies, the game show, now you meet the app; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. All the games listed are just fantastic.
I could go on and on about the apps, but seeing is believing and trying is loving. I will be blogging about these apps and more in subsequent posts.