What we don't know about Apple's upcoming slate PC
As the smoke clears from Steve Jobs launching the Apple iPad, missing details suggest there's less to Apple's tablet than meets the eye.
Can you use media services other than iTunes on the iPad?
The idea of a highly portable media player is compelling - I'd love to have one when travelling so that I could watch what I chose, rather than be stuck with the usually uninteresting terrestrial fare.
My MacBook Pro gets too hot to place in my lap, and watching a DVD or streaming video on the MacBook Pro while sitting in a hotel desk is not very pleasant.
But there is no way to watch streamed video from other services on an iPad. On an iPhone or iPod touch, the screen size doesn't make for great movie-watching, so the lack of apps on those devices isn't so bothersome.
On an iPad, it will be. So far, it appears that iTunes will be your only quality media source on the iPad (YouTube doesn't qualify; it's more of a needle-in-the-haystack source for amusing clips), which means you can't use a service from someone else that you already paid for; instead, you'll need to give Apple money. Maybe using my laptop isn't so bad an option after all.
Will Apple allow the use of such video services? There's been no comment so far.
Can the iPad be used for videoconferencing?
The iPad has no embedded camera, as the iPhone and MacBooks do (but not the iPod touch).
That's riled many people who could see the iPad as a great videoconferencing tool.
There's potential for adding a camera through the iPad's sole connection port; after all, companies have offered plug-in microphones to iPods this way. But it's unclear that even with an add-on camera whether Apple would allow videoconferencing apps on the iPad.
One theory is that The health care industry has long been interested in tablets but has not liked the bulky, hard-to-use Windows offerings, and an Apple tablet is conceptually appealing to hospitals.
However, a built-in camera would raise too many privacy issues for them to adopt the iPad. If true, that's easy to address: Apple can offer a camera-less model. In either case, Apple won't say.
NEXT PAGE: Is the internal storage upgradable
- We look at what we don't know about Apple's slate PC
- Support for Microsoft Exchange?
- Can you use other services apart from iTunes
- Is the internal storage upgradable
- If Apple won't say, maybe you shouldn't buy