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The Buzz Report
Buzz Report: Special iPad EditionOn the Buzz Report, we try hard not to make jokes about the iPad name, but we do have to wonder: who is this good for?
Hi, I'm Molly Wood, and welcome to the Buzz Report, the show about the tech news that everyone's talking about. This week, it's a bear giving birth on a Webcam. Oh, all right. Apple tablet. It happened! Steve Jobs announced the long-awaited touch- screen tablet-like device this week at a special event in San Francisco. And it shall be called ... the iPad. I've made enough jokes, so let me just ... show you what was trending on Twitter immediately after the announcement. So. I think that about covers that. For now. Anyway, here's what we know about the iPad, in case you don't live here on earth. It's got a 9.7-inch LCD with an LED backlight. It's based on the iPhone OS, but some of the apps, like iTunes, the games, and iWork, are specific to the, uh, pad, and are more robust. It comes in three sizes: 16, 32, and 64 gigabytes and it's available with only WiFi or with 3G for an extra 130 dollars. The data plan costs 15 dollars a month for 250 gigabytes, or 30 dollars for unlimited, and it's running on the AT&T network. It's very pretty. It has a cool multitouch touchscreen with new redesigned core apps that look really nice. And there's a new eBook store and book app that syncs with your iPhone while you're reading. So that's cool. Prices range from 499 at the low end to 829 dollars for the top of the line model with 3G, not counting the data. What's missing? Well, there is no: multitasking -- you can still only run one app at a time camera -- you can't use it to make Skype Webcam calls or even video chat with Grandma Flash -- Steve Jobs may say it's the best browsing experience you'll ever have, but it's still not as good as the real Internet. Which uses a lot of Flash. For things like VIDEO, which I would imagine looks pretty good on the iPad. Except that it's also missing ... widescreen 16:9 video support -- and on top of that, there's no: HDMI to connect it to your TV and watch video There's no SD card slot -- you'll have to pay extra for a camera kit adapter No e-ink, so reading books will be hard on your eyes. There IS existing technology that can flip screens from e-ink to LCD and back again, but ... that's not in here. And there's no kickstand to keep it standing up -- you'll have to pay extra for a dock, or a case that includes a dock, or an external keyboard that includes a dock. So, there's that. And then, well, ok, I know I've been saying this for a while, but let's make it official: Who NEEDS this thing? Let's see if we can figure it out. Here are neat things it can do. It has a New York Times app, so the paper looks all slick and you can move around the columns and watch video in place. There's the bookstore, which is good; it makes the books look all animated and pretty. It's definitely a nice way, I guess, to read the paper and books, and it might be good for students who don't want to lug around a lot of books. And certainly, e-textbooks can be cheaper than regular ones, as long as you can make notes in the margin or whatever. You do get all those iTunes apps, like games and the calendar and the cool iPhoto thing, and then there's the painting app, which looks pretty fun, and Steve Jobs said artists would like it. Probably not, like, starving artists. Or art students, unless they have rich parents. Or trust funds. So, ok, let's review: you've got your New York Times liberal intellectuals, students studying in disciplines that offer a lot of electronic textbooks, and artists. Who have a bunch of extra money. So, I added it up and ... yep, something like I said, I think. 800 people who are going to buy the iPad. Oh, wait ... there's also just rich people who love new gadgets. That's probably like another two thousand. But you know what? Let's get back to the name. I'll let the Internet make the bulk of the jokes for me, because, well, they are doing a great job. But I will say this. I've never HAD an easier Clogging the Tubes. Thank you, MadTV for predicting this entire debacle way back in 2006: Seriously? iPad? Apple, put some women on your focus group next time. And that's the Buzz Report for this week, everyone. I'm Molly Wood, and thanks for watching.