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The iPad's five worst surprises

By Rob Griffiths
January 27, 2010 09:07 PM ET

Macworld - My colleague Dan Frakes has chimed in with his take on the five best surprises from the iPad's launch. I'm in total agreement with his list--well, except for the name thing. The iPad's design is elegant, the size seems about right for a device designed to surf the wWeb and handle e-mail and e-book reading. I really want to buy one...

Almost.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of shortcomings with the iPad that I have to think about before I buy the tablet.

No video camera: The lack of a camera surprised me--it almost seems like an intentional omission, so that Apple has something neat to show in "iPad 2.0." A device with a large, gorgeous, full color screen, a 1GHz CPU, wireless and 3G internet access...and no way to hold a video chat? (Or audio chat for that matter--I don't think there's a microphone, either. Perhaps there's one in the headphones, though.)

With a video camera, the iPad could definitely replace the Mac laptop in our family room...but without it, that means I'll need to lug out the laptop anytime grandma wants a video chat with her grandkids. If I have to do that anyway, I might as well just use the laptop in the first place.

No multitasking: If there were a video camera and you could have a video chat with someone, it would be very useful to leave the iPad version of iChat running in the background--otherwise, you'd be quitting and launching it all the time to check if grandma had arrived yet or not. Notifications are nice, but not nearly as nice as simply having the window there all the time.

It'd be pretty simple to design an interface to allow toggling between two running apps; some variant on Exposé, or a three-finger twist-swipe. I'm not talking about full OS X-style multitasking (though that'd be great), but just the ability to keep a key app or two open in the background.

Support for Flash: Let me start by saying this...I have a strong dislike for Flash in general. The fact that it takes up to 80 percent of the CPU in a quad-core 2.66GHz Mac Pro to render a 400x300 Flash game just boggles my mind--full OpenGL games running at 1920x1200 often do so with lower CPU utilization! So yes, I know Flash is a CPU hog. I know it kills battery life. But like it or hate it, Flash is still a large part of the Web experience today for many people--and not just for those seeking Flash games.

Even during casual browsing, the odds are very good that you'll run into a Flash-enhanced (and I use that term loosely) site at some point--heck, it even happened to Steve Jobs today during his presentation! At one point, while a page was loading, the "missing plug-in" icon appeared where a Flash movie would have been playing.

Originally published on www.macworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from Macworld.com. Story copyright 2012 Mac Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
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