Top 10 Features Missing from the Apple iPad

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Top 10 Features Missing from the Apple iPad

by Clint Boulton

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People have become so spoiled by their Swiss army knife smartphones and laptops that they really, really want to flit from one application to the next, whether it's listening to music, watching a video clip or typing an e-mail. Actually, that's not being spoiled. That's the way of personal computing for work and play, and the iPad lacks this capability.

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For many Web consumers, this is a big issue and speaks to Apple's impasse with Adobe: Apple simply doesn't support the Flash multimedia technology in the iPhone or in the iPad. Evidence of this came with the holes in Jobs' presentation. One eWEEK reader wrote: "Flash is all over the Net. Apple needs to allow Flash 10.1 on the iPad. They should even consider it for the iPhone. Obviously, they need to let the user decide. But give the user the option for kripes-sake."

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E-Book Interoperability

Gartner analyst Allen Weiner was annoyed with Apple's DRM stance, pointing to the fact that though Apple has standardized on the EPUB format, because it employs its own DRM to protect electronic books, consumers won't be able to transfer content across devices. For example, EPUB content protected with Apple DRM won't work on the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Sony Reader. And what about interoperability between iPad and the Amazon Kindle? Forget about it! That's not good for consumer choice.

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Apps Not Made by Apple

It's not just Flash or e-books that are banned, but applications not made by Apple. The iPad only runs apps from the App Store. While the App Store does have more than 140,000 apps to choose from, not everyone wants to use Apple apps all of the time. Fortunately, we have Web apps to fall back on. The sooner the application-writing universe cottons to HTML5, and the sooner HTML5 becomes exceptional rather than just passable, the sooner we can move on from the native lock-ins Apple favors.

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Keep that iPhone handy for taking pictures, Apple fans. There's no camera on the iPad, at least in this current incarnation. That means no video chat, which means only half-baked WebEx, Skype and other Web conferences.

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Believe it or not, some folks think the iPad needs a stylus or else it's not really doing what a tablet is meant to do: let users scribe digital notes. One reader told eWEEK: "Personally, the thing it lacks most is that is still not a replacement for a pen and a napkin. The original Newton was starting to head there—it allowed you to scribble and then save and repurpose. Without an (optional at least) stylus, that's not as likely ... I use a keyboard 90% of the time, but 80% of the good ideas start as a pencil or pen sketch."

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No Physical Keyboard

No, seriously. You'd think the tablet was about enabling multitouch on a big screen, but some detractors note the iPad is awkward to type on. Gizmodo's Adam Frucci wrote: "This is the same big, ugly touchscreen keyboard we've seen on other tablets, and unless you're lying on the couch with your knees propping it up, it'll be awkward to use."

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Bad Input

An eWEEK reader noted: "A tablet that can be used for work has to have good input methodology. With no obvious handwriting recognition or voice recognition and no easy way to use a conventional keyboard (carry a Bluetooth keyboard for it?), this gadget is a glorified entertainment center, not something I can imagine many using to get real work done."

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Missed Connections

No integrated USB or SD ports. You need adapters, which Gizmodo noted here.

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Verizon Wireless, Other Carriers

One cool thing about the iPad is that it offers the option to use 3G, but it comes with a caveat. Apple turned to exclusive iPhone carrier AT&T to provide the limited data plans for $14.99 a month or $29.99 unlimited. This story is an old one, but a good one: When will Apple allow other carriers to service its iPhone and forthcoming iPad?

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