The iPad and Your Living Room

April 26th, 2010

Apple's latest brainchild, the sleek iPad is flying off the shelves. Conservative estimates put iPad sales at around 2.2 million for the calendar year, while overall tablet sales are expected to top 10.5 million. If Apple even comes close to these estimates, we can look forward to a changed portable computing market landscape. Combined with the exciting changes in the Audio/Video market, we believe the iPad will play an interesting role,….but no-one seems clear on what that role will be. Here at IOGEAR, we've taken out our crystal ball and provided some thoughts on how the iPad will change the world ... (cue world dominating laugh). Getting Started Whether you use a professional installer or you are a DIY pro, the iPad could help spearhead a new standard for instruction manuals. We already have Internet web sites that fulfill this need, such as HowCast, but unfortunately with the norm is still cryptic user manuals and PDF formatted installation guides. Take a moment to envision standing your iPad up next to you, while installing your next device into your home entertainment system, using a voice activated interface to pause, rewind and fast-forward video instructions. No more re-reading confusing instructions over and over while pulling out your hair – the iPad could offer a quick-glance guide to troubleshoot even the trickiest problem. Perhaps even with video instruction you are still having trouble figuring something out. No fear - the solution may lie in your iPad's built in WiFi or 3G for live streaming video, or audio help by tapping the help icon on the screen. Here is where a built in camera might come in handy – allowing you to show a live stream of what you are doing back to the customer support agent. Integrating We know that Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR connectivity is included with the iPad, but further details regarding connectivity options are unclear. WiFi and 3G connectivity already allows us to interact with all sorts of devices that can be controlled through the Internet or over the air. So how can we fit the iPad into our home entertainment center setup? Many are making the switch from traditional cable to web TV bringing the PC into to the living room. The iPad can be the interfacing device between the PCs, consoles and TV. Think of it as the ultimate programmable remote control with all the advantages of Apple's “magical” user interface. The iPad also provides a unique experience for gaming with the way you interact and control the game. Integrating the iPad, or using it as a sole controller could open up new avenues of at-home gaming - whether it's using it as a steering wheel control for racing games, or as a virtual map while playing an action/adventure game. iPad vs. NetBooks vs. Slates One of the advantages of a portable computer such as the iPad is the ability to take your home entertainment on the road. This is already a crowded market, with NetBook and Slate computers competing for your attention and dollars. A key factor to your decision of where to spend those hard-earned dollars will be the answer to the questions: what do you need your portable device for, and what kinds of functionalities are a must? Undoubtedly a NetBook or Slate computer will have much more functionality, both in terms of software (e.g. you will not find QuickBooks or Starcraft on the iPad yet) and hardware (the iPad suffers from a lack of standard ports, while both the Slates and NetBooks have at least standard USB interfaces. In the end you should ask: what do you really need in a portable computer? More importantly, how much is the user experience or the ‘cool factor' worth to you? Battery life is one area where the iPad significantly outshines the other solutions, with an impressive 140 hours of music capability or 10 hours of uninterrupted eBook use. However, the lack of a removable battery may be a minus, unless you don't mind using an external battery, such as the GearPower Mobile Portable Battery. Finally, pricing is always an important issue. Even at the starting price of $499 for an iPad there are some very powerful NetBooks available at similar price points that could arguably match the iPad in terms of user experience. With a rumored $500 price tag, the HP Slate is one of the more popular contenders at this point, though there are some very interesting non-Windows contenders at similar price points. Conclusion What would you use the iPad for instead of a NetBook? Is there a deal breaker that would cause you to choose a Windows, Android or Linux powered NetBook or Slate vs. the iPad? What do you think about the pricing? Please take some time and share your thoughts here on the blog, on Twitter or FaceBook.



About the Author

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IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.