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.
Will the iPad's internal storage be upgradable?
We do know that the iPad's internal flash memory will not be user-upgradable - you can't just swap in a new card.
But will Apple provide, or let others provide, an upgrade service for the iPad, similar to how you can have a battery replaced in an iPhone or iPod touch by an authorised service provider? Apple won't say.
Will the iPad allow multiple apps to run simultaneously?
The iPad has as much in common with a PC as it does with an iPhone: iPad developers can use desktop UI conventions such as menus and dialog boxes, and the bigger screen opens up the possibility of apps that can do more desktop-like things, as the bundled app shows.
So iPad users will expect to be able to run multiple apps at the same time. (Some parts of the iPhone OS do run simultaneously on the iPhone and iPod touch, but beyond those core capabilities, Apple forces apps to suspend or close when the user switches to another app, ostensibly due to memory-usage and processor-performance issues.)
Apple's use of its own processor chip, the A4, in the iPad raised the possibility of running multiple apps at once. But Apple won't say.
Will Apple allow the use of Flash on the iPad?
Users have been complaining about the lack of Flash support since the very first iPhone three years ago.
Apple has said little, though Jobs has criticised Flash for taking too many system resources and Flash Lite for being not capable enough.
It's true that Flash technology is often used to create buggy, memory-sapping videos and animations - you see that in your desktop browser all the time. But as Apple increases the performance of its mobile devices, you'd think it'd hit a point where it can support Flash and let ill-behaved Flash files simply close the app running them.
The iPad is a natural device for playing back Flash files, both on the web and as native files.
Apple should let Adobe release a Flash Player app and Safari plug-in, and if Adobe screws it up, Adobe gets the blame.
I suspect the issue really isn't about Flash performance issues, but instead is about blocking a video-delivery conduit that Apple doesn't control and can't charge for.
Whatever the truth is, Apple won't say.
NEXT PAGE: If Apple won't say, maybe you shouldn't buy
- 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