After a weekend of testing, Ker Than and Robert Roy Britt wrote an article for MSNBC on the “13 glaring iPad shortcomings” and they present a list of issues which I will address:

[Update] iPad will get multitasking in Fall of 2010 with OS 4. iPhone will getting it in summer.

  1. It’s awkward (to carry/hold)
  2. It’s heavy (tires your hands out)
  3. It’s slippery (unstable)
  4. The screen has too much glare
  5. Forget reading in the sun
  6. Fingerprints are annoying
  7. It does not multitask
  8. Browser is limited
  9. Virtual keyboard stinks
  10. No USB port
  11. iPhone-only apps look horrible
  12. Too Pricey
  13. Doesn’t replace anything

Numbers 1-6 are all physical grievances against the iPad where as 7-13 are more software/function related.

Glare, fingerprints and slipperiness

The glare and fingerprints issue is easy to fix. Just like the iPhone, the iPad screen is virtually scratch-proof. So if you don’t mind it, use NO screen protection at all, otherwise there are multitude of options to reduce fingerprints and glare on the screen. The concensus on the web from reviews and videos is that the Power Support Anti-Glare screen is the best at doing this job, although it does wear out over time and have to be replaced.

I show here in the photo that in fact the finger prints and the glare ARE pretty bad but even adding a cheap screen protector sample, there is noticeable improvement.

Even cheap screen protectors reduce the ugly fingerprints and glare.

On the other side, the iPad’s aluminum back is NOT scratch-proof so you’ll want to get a padded case for it. Once you get the case, the slipperiness will also disappear. (3,4, 6 solved!)

Heaviness and awkwardness while reading in the sun

To make the iPad lighter, just pump some helium into the 1/8 inch headphone jack. No, really, there is no easy cure for this. The kindle will always be a better e-reader due to its 10oz vs 32oz for the iPad. The best cure for heaviness is not to hold the iPad for prolonged periods of time. Prop it on your lap, on your hands, or any other leverage you may have.

I don’t see why anyone would want to carry it like a butler’s tray as the article suggests. To carry it around the house, I found it easiest to hold it in one hand with the screen facing your arm. Since the screen side weighs more, if you face it away from your arm, it will likely fall out, but if you face it into your arm, it won’t. Intuitively, hold it in landscape to get a better balance so it won’t fall.

The easiest way to hold the iPad

Surly compared to the kindle, reading the iPad in the sun or even the shade seems like a more lackluster experience, but can you watch a movie on the kindle or show your clients colorful photos of real estate, models, products, food, and etc? With the help of an antiglare/fingerprint resistant screen protector, the iPad will read just fine. (1,2, 5 addressed!)

Does not multi-task and the browser is limited

Just you wait, the jail break for the new bootrom (iBoot-359.32) and baseband 5.12.01 for the iPad/iPhone 3.1.3 will be released soon, hopefully coinciding with the announcement of the 4G platform this Thursday.

Virtual keyboard stinks

I 100% agree with this atrocity. It seems like a bigger keyboard makes it easier to type, right? There are 4 options:

  1. Hold in one hand and peck with the other.
  2. Hold in both hands and use thumb to type (iPhone style).
  3. Put it on your lap or table to type.
  4. Spend $69 and buy an iPad Keyboard Dock.

(1) is so slow and will tire out your other hand holding it. Just impractical and frustrating.

(2) works if you only use the two sides of the keyboard (reeeeeeeeally stretch your thumb for that “G” key)

iPad Finger Type Fail
You must hold up your fingers from the screen while you type or you’ll risk doing this.

(3) seems like the best option on paper but practically it fails. Unlike a regular keyboard where your fingers are supported on the key, the iPad keys will activate with the lightest touch. The whole time, while typing keyboard style, I expend all of my energy keeping my fingers lifted as high as they’ll go in fear of touching the wrong key inserting random characters. Finally, without tactile feedback you can only use vision to locate the keys but you can’t see the keys on the screen because your fingers are blocking them. BIG FAIL. Another fail is that unless you’ve bitten off your finger nails as a kid, you will have trouble hitting the lower keys on the keyboard because nails do not work on the touch screen.

(4) I think this totally defeats the purpose of having an iPad. If you’re willing to lug around a keyboard dock, you’d be better off with a laptop.

All of the 4 options SUCK big time, however, I propose a solution. Have an option to split the keyboard in half and shrink it to where your thumbs can have access to all the keys on either sides so you can type iPhone style on the iPad while still holding it with both hands. Perhaps we can achieve a simple fix through a jailbreak + thirdparty app.

My proposal for a split screen keyboard (photoshopped, obv)

No USB port

The slot where you plug in to charge the iPad is essentially a USB port. There will just have to be a workaround.

iPhone-only apps look horrible and too pricey

It’ll be just a matter of time before more iPad apps come out. The iPad prices will fall. And when did price ever deter Apple’s main target market from buying its products? Especially a “toy”?

Doesn’t replace anything

I don’t think Apple developed this TO replace anything. It’s meant to be a new platform to give people CONVENIENCE. It’s useful when a laptop is overkill but an iPhone’s screen is just too small. It’s like an entry level DSLRs (my Nikon D60)–a point and shoot’s quality is not enough, but my Nikon D700 is just overkill and will guarantee I will never pull it out on a trip/vacation.


At the end of the article Than and Britt say

Frankly, we’re not sure what need the iPad fills, other than the desire to be cool by owning a device that is in a class all its own.

As a marketing consultant, it’s a great way to show clients how to use mobile social media apps on a bigger screen as opposed to the iPhone screen. As a photographer, I’m able to show clients photos without handing over a laptop and have them use the touch pad to navigate. Also, there’s a good feature called picture frame which cycles through all photos in an artistic way as you can see in my second iPad review on YouTube. More blogs more about its uses in the future.

The iPad is still in its infancy and no one knows where it’s headed but one thing is for sure: the iPad will take time to define its role in this new tablet/pad/slate niche market. How do you think the iPad will fare in the future? What would you change about it? And how do you deal with its inadequacies?