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In computer news this week 01/25/2012
Ipad 1 2012 Apple II 1979
A review of the Apple Ipad 1
We bought an Ipad1 recently. We have a nonverbal autistic grandson and there’s a very neat application that lets him communicate very clearly through it – if he’s hungry, thirsty, or he wants to do something or express himself, and also allows him to surf the internet and watch videos. So for him it’s a wonderful tool for him to function better in the real world. It was recommended by his teachers and he does very well using it. So as a special application computer it does the job we bought it for.
We bought a used 16 Gb Model with several accessories and protective cases, in case he drops it, for around $ 300.
This is the 2nd Apple Computer I’ve owned. The first was an Apple II back in 1979 that could use a television screen for a monitor if you wanted color, had a floppy disk drive, a case with a built in keyboard, and 48 K of memory. The list price back then was close to $ 3000. At the time the Apple II was one of the coolest microcomputers available.
The Ipad has several glitzy features. The screen rotates automatically vertical or horizontal. It has a full color screen, bigger than a Smart phone, but much smaller than today’s computer monitors. It’s about 7X6 inches, and most websites look pretty scrunched up on it.
It has built in wireless networking so it will connect to any coffee shop or business or home network you happen to be near, and It has built in sound too so you can hear music or voices.
For surfing the internet, it uses the Safari web browser, which is a very rudimentary browser compared to others like Firefox.
There are some rather significant things it doesn’t have, and things you can’t do. Probably the biggest is that it doesn’t have a keyboard. Instead you type on a screen keyboard with your finger tips, which is awkward and cumbersome. I couldn’t imagine typing even a letter on it. Using an Ipad also involves learning special finger movements and combinations.
It doesn’t have a printer, because you can’t plug a printer into it, so you have to have and print to an Airprint enabled wireless printer.
You can’t plug a USB drive into it to copy files. Instead you have to do it the Apple way, which involves using a technology called Icloud, a service that stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to your devices and computer, automatically keeping everything up to date.
In fact, it seems the Ipad presumes you want to do everything the Apple way, buy music through Itunes, buy all your apps through Apple, etc. It also comes with several trial apps which you’re supposed to buy and upgrade to the full version.
Recognizing that this is 2012, I can see how a device like this would be very popular for young people who want to surf the internet, send mail, and do social networking. I think it’s a very good device to do things like that, but I wonder if a smart phone would be just as functional, plus let you talk and text.
For me personally I’d rather have a netbook with a keyboard and standard devices.
The International Consumer Electronics Show results show that many PC vendors have committed to building Ultrabooks; laptops that use flash memory instead of hard drives, have no disc readers in order to stay thin, and weigh less than three pounds. Some computer makers see Ultrabooks as an evolution of the laptop in response to demands created by lightweight tablet computers
Whatever, it’s all going to be fun and interesting.
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This is Frank Delaney
(C) 2012 MTA Micro Technology Associates