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.
If history is any guide, Apple's ongoing silence may mean the first-generation iPad will not be as compelling or as useful as many of us had hoped.
I've asked Apple a set of questions about what Jobs and Apple have not revealed about the iPad over a week ago. However, Apple's PR has yet to get me the answers or receive permission to relay those answers publicly.
Others in the press and analyst community are also getting the silent treatment regarding the iPad capabilities that matter to many prospective users.
Famously tight-lipped, Apple often views the press as an extension of its marketing effort, treating all but a favoured few to a sadistic game of hard-to-get.
When Apple extends this silence beyond a product's razzmatazz unveiling, it's usually meant that the product in question could not deliver the functionality journalists have asked about.
With that in mind, unanswered queries about the iPad may imply that the iPad is less "magical" and "revolutionary" than Jobs suggests.
Here are the questions Apple has not yet answered, and why the 'silence = no' implications diminish the iPad's value.
Can you save and transfer documents to the iPad?
You have to set up a wireless connection over a local Wi-Fi network, enter the IP address, and transfer the files, or you send the document via email on an Exchange account so that it can be opened as an attachment.
Apple says its 'no save' restriction is meant to prevent malware from being placed on the iPhone or iPod touch.
I've never bought that argument, as the iPhone and iPod touch allow you to save images to what is in essence a folder and sync those images via iTunes - so why not other file types?
Of course, that may be a loophole Apple is closing: the iPad's Photos app (a photo gallery), like the iWork for iPad app, appears to do away with saved photo files altogether, instead embedding them into the app itself.
Yet it doesn't appear that the iPad will let you transfer files in folders via iTunes, email attachment downloads, or wireless networks. (I do, however, expect some of the Wi-Fi file-sharing hack apps will enable you to transfer files, though it is unclear whether Apple's iWork productivity app will be able to see them.)
Given that Apple will offer a version of its Mac-only iWork suite for the iPad, it would make sense to be able to transfer files to and from the iPad.
Unfortunately, Apple's website only mentions access to iWork and Office files from email and avoids any claim of saving the file to the device.
The implication is that iWork for iPad can open email attachments, edit them in memory or within protected cache in the app itself, then send out the edited version in email.
It's also apparent that iWork can read both Office and iWork documents, but only send back iWork or PDF documents. Again, Apple remains silent on this discrepancy, one that essentially restricts document editing to Mac users who have iWork - an extremely tiny sliver of the world.
NEXT PAGE: Support for Microsoft Exchange?
- 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