The Apple iPad has certainly taken the world by storm since it was released in the US back in April, and a further nine countries including the UK in May. It’s got a good number of mentions here at Zath since we were first introduced to the iPad at Apple’s announcement of it.
Despite being a huge success, though, there were still a number of features missing from the iPad that iPhone users were happily using for quite some time, such as multitasking and the ability to store apps in folders.
This update came in the form of iOS 4.2, with early beta versions being released to developers in September. Although it took a while for the final iOS 4.2 version to come to consumers, we got there eventually! Won’t you join us as we take you on a tour of the iPad and iOS 4.2? You know you want to…
In case you need your memory jogging a little, let’s go over some of the hardware features that the iPad has to offer. The bright, LED backlit display measures 9.7”, and packs a resolution of 1024 x 768 for a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Around the display is a low profile, half-inch thin casing that looks stunning. From my experience with the device, it’s pretty resistant to surface scratches too, unlike past generations of the iPod.
You’ll find the same 1GHz Apple A4 CPU that resides in the iPhone 4 here, although somewhat surprisingly the RAM in the iPad is only 256MB, compared to the 512MB you’ll find in the latest iPhone.
Of course, a product such as the iPad can’t just rely on good hardware to make for a great user experience; software is key, and now that iOS 4.2 is available to every iPad owner, the experience just got quite a bit better!
Some may argue that iOS 4.2 has seen the iPad re-launched in a way. It’s brought so many wanted features with it that make a vast amount of difference, such as folders, multitasking and other tweaks.
Folders on the iPad work identically to folders on the iPhone. Simply drag two icons on top of each other to create a new folder, and you can rename them and rearrange the order inside the folder.
For instance, a stacks-like feature like you see on OS X could work really well and make good use of the screen estate with a bit of eye candy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this is going to happen anytime soon, as Mac OS X is taking more and more cues off iOS, including that for folders in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.7, so it looks like this one’s here to stay!
If you’ve used multitasking on an iPhone before, then you’ll know exactly what you’re getting in to on iOS 4.2 for the iPad.
It’s literally identical, as you double tap the home button to bring up the multitasking bar at the bottom of the screen. From here, you can scroll through all the open applications and switch between them, or hold down on them for them to wiggle around so that you can quit ones that you no longer need.
It’s frustrating to see that an application such as Multiflow can be available from third parties, yet Apple insist on implementing a more simple solution. I’m not expecting full blown Exposé, but I’d love to see a bit more eye candy yet again. From a purely functionality-based point of view, however, it works well.
Certain additions were made from the original beta that we took a look at back in September, and one of these changes is in the multitasking bar, which adds a lock orientation button and volume control slider alongside the iPod controls.
The switch on the side of the device which previously locked screen orientation is now a mute switch, although I’ve already jailbroken my iPad to change it back to an orientation one as it makes a lot more sense to me on a device such as this, especially when holding the volume down button quickly mutes the device anyway. This change was definitely not a welcome one from iPad users around Zath.
All things considered, iOS 4.2 is a well needed, and well executed update to the Apple iPad. Things can only get stronger as iOS 5 is introduced alongside the iPhone 5 next year, and one thing is certain: no tablet on the market, not even the best Android tablets really come close to the iPad experience as things stand.
It will be interesting to see what developments 2011 bring to the tablet market. Have you got an Apple iPad or a different tablet device? How useful do you find it? Will you always want to have one, or has the novelty worn off for you now?
UPDATE: We’ve also got another iPad review that questions and answers what the general usage of a tablet device can be, which you might also find useful.