Students weigh in on the new iPad

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The Apple iPad, a tablet computer announced on Jan. 27, 2010, will have versions released later this year in March and April. (Courtesy of Apple)

The Apple iPad, a tablet computer announced on Jan. 27, 2010, will have versions released later this year in March and April. (Courtesy of Apple)

Apple recently went public with its new tablet computer, the iPad.

Features of the new device include Web browsing, picture viewing, gaming and support for e-books. Almost all of the current iPhone applications will work on the device. It weighs 1.5 pounds and is half an inch thick. Prices for the device are set to start at $499 and will increase based on memory size and optional 3G service.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” Apple chairman and CEO Steve Jobs said when he unveiled the product.

On the Wash. U. campus, student reactions to the iPad are varied. Many students think that the iPad is redundant technology, given its similarities to Apple’s iPod Touch and traditional laptops.

“I already have an iTouch, and I don’t feel like I need any of stuff that it [the iPad] has,” freshman Christine Lang said.

Freshman Tiffany Kang agrees: “I think it [is] kind of pointless because there are already too many gadgets out there. It has the same functions as a laptop, which I would rather buy. There’s no extra benefit over having an iPod. I would find it extraneous to have one.”

Price is also a factor that plays a role in whether or not students would consider buying the device. Most students are not willing to splurge on the iPad when it is so comparable to devices that they already own.

“I am perfectly happy with my iPod Nano,” sophomore Brendan Cook said. “Five hundred dollars is way too much for something that is so similar to what I already have. If they added a bunch of new features I would probably consider getting it.”

Laura Yu, a sophomore, said, “They look interesting, but I would never buy one because I feel like I could do the same stuff on a MacBook and don’t need to buy one.”

Junior Nick May said the iPad “seems like a giant iTouch, but I haven’t really looked at it. I’m sure it has more stuff, and on the other hand I don’t think it could do everything a laptop could do. It’s the first generation. The next generation will have more capabilities.”

This sentiment is common on campus. Some students claim that they would be more likely to buy the iPad if it had greater capability.

“I would want to wait until they came out with a new edition to buy it,” senior Becky Bell said.

Some students feel more positive about the new Apple gadget.

“I want it because it’s new technology and it is interesting,” Bell said. “I feel like its function is to be hip and trendy.”

People have also found humor in the similarities the iPad shares with previous products.

“I already have a laptop and an iTouch, so I’ll just tape them together,” May said.

Apple also released a new kit for developing apps to run on the iPad. The Software Development Kit (SDK) allows developers to test apps on a Mac and program them to run on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. There are currently more than 140,000 apps that run on Apple products.

The tablet computer will be sold starting in March. Storage capacities range from 16GB to 64GB.

  • Ted Landry

    I think what we’ll also see is a growing trend of pirated “scans” of every single page of the most expensive textbooks… just like what happened with Music and Napster around 1999ish. The iPad will open this door because of the extreme portability and large screen. So ponder that.

  • sam

    It’s a reasonable alternative to sitting uncomfortably in front of your laptop while reading yourself through your literature for your phd, master etc.

    This seems to me the greatest advantage compared to laptops, netbooks and even iphone… lounging and doing research on publications, long time didn’t fit together, did they? ;)

  • First and foremost the iPad is an accelerated learning device. Your textbooks on steroids. A glossy magazine with unlimited content in your hands.

    Out of the box the iPad provides the power and scope of the Internet as a research and discovery tool, but the major revolution the iPad will foster is the delivery of high quality custom written content, content you will be willing to pay for, delivered into your hands for consumption at your leisure.

    Whatever you want to learn about there will be polished multimedia presentations with text, images, and video – all designed to be absorbed at your own unique learning pace.

    The killer app for the iPad will be knowledge.

  • Geek

    I have used a tablet, I own an I-Touch, I-Pod and Mac Air. I do not need to hit my finger with a hammer to know it hurts. The I-Pad is not new technology unless you consider the A4 ARM processor that is SOC if you are a interested Geek.

    The I-Touch is an Apple branded tablet and the speculation about how it may make you student life easier is at this point speculation. It is unknown what textbooks may be available and at what cost. The ease of use is a matter of opinion. Typing on a hard surface has no appeal to me and using a stylus to take notes, no a a current feature. Tilting the display is something easily done on a laptop/netbook, not so easy with the I-Pad. I don’t think it is the ease of use that will be the selling point but rather how useful it is compared to other options. Oh by the way the cost is not trivial.

  • RB

    Though I was not impressed with the iPad upon introduction I have to say that I agree with Ted in that it has interesting possibilities.

    I use mass transit to commute to work and I daily see students carrying backpacks stuffed to capacity with their books and binders. The iPad could eliminate that excess weight & consolidate their textbooks. I also see the iPad being used by a lot of people who were previously afraid to jump into the computer pool. It appears to be as easy to use as an iPod and that ease of use is what will attract people to the product.

  • Ted Landry

    The magical advantage of the iPad is it will now allow you to carry all your textbooks in one thin, light weight device. The Apple announcement also included agreements with all textbook publishers, so ponder the possibilities of having all your books plus email, the web and music on one touch screen device.

  • BC

    The real question is which version: 32 GB or 64 GB … in fact we think there should be a 128 GB option. How can everything fit? The 3G is a non-starter since there is wifi all over campus. Who cares about 3G?? Maybe business people. Finally, Apple has seemed to make it old fashioned to be using a laptop for just email, browsing, and lite spreadsheet work (iWork option). I just wish texting could be made multi-tasking … but not a deal killer.

  • Louis Wheeler

    I see a lot of negative comment here for a product which hasn’t even made it into people’s hands yet. Those opinions are, hence, based on hearsay, not actual experience. It reminds me of all the quotes of experts who declared that man would never fly or walk on the moon.

    Most of the people who you cite are comparing the iPad to what they know. They don’t know what new uses the iPad will be put to. The greatest benefit of the iPad is for people who don’t like computers now.

    Will the people you cite, above, to be open minded enough to give the iPad a chance when they get around to operating one?

  • David L

    Well no surprise to the students reaction at Washington U, afterall St. Louis is in the “Show Me” state !! ;-)

  • Viswakarma

    I suppose you heard of the poem “Blind Men and the Elephant”.

    The iPad is an Elephant in the room!!!

    It definitely has use on the campus– note taking for students and curriculum delivery for the teachers.