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Old 04-28-2010, 05:54 PM   #1
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Post Things the iPad Does Not Do

As some people have mentioned, there are some things the iPad does not do, and some things it doesn't do very well, or perhaps well as other hardware. This is my attempt to compile a list of these things for potential buyers. This isn't an attempt to gather a feature list. Features can go in other threads, or on the wiki.

ALERT EVERYONE! PSHRYNK JUST CAME UP WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THE IPAD CAN'T DO!
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Originally Posted by pshrynk View Post
One thing that you can't do, or at least I haven't figured out how to do, is change avatars on MR. For those who know me, that's a major downer for me. I guess I won't be getting rid of the laptop any time soon...
Internet:
  • The DHCP client on the iPad functions poorly in some homes and campuses, causing the internet to appear to randomly drop out. I have found that (re-)opening Safari will usually resolve the problem.

Safari:
Safari does not support most plugins. If you are used to firefox and adding features to your browser, you will find Safari to be lacking in this area.
In particular:
  • No flash
  • No shockwave
  • No Java applets

What this means for you, the purchaser, is that if you often watch movies on the internet, or play rich games, many of these will not play. In particular, youtube will work fine, while hulu will not.

iBooks:
  • iBooks reads ePubs. It does not read externally purchased ebooks which are protected by DRM, such as those bought from B&N, Amazon, etc. If you want to read those books you should download the B&N app or the Amazon app from the app store. To import your unprotected books to iBooks, you can use iTunes. There is no other method for importing to iBooks. There are, however, several other apps available with different methods of importing books for reading in those apps.
  • iBooks does not support embedded fonts. As of the time of this post, no other iPad apps do either.
  • iBooks does not have a night view.
  • You cannot (currently) read books purchased from iBooks on any other devices, including the iPhone.

Mail, Pages, Keynote, etc.:
  • These apps (or any other apple apps) will not print directly from the apps themselves. If you want to print, you can email your document to your home computer and print from there. Alternatively, there are some apps which provide some support for printing. Many of these apps will use your home computer as a go-between.

Viewing:
  • The iPad works well in moderate to darkly lit environments. Some users report it doesn't suit them out doors in bright sunlight.

Device input and Hardware:
  • The iPad does not ship with a stylus, though you can purchase capacitive styli that work fairly well. The device does not do text-recognition out of the box (the apple apps don't support it), though there are some external apps that do.
  • The iPad does not have a USB input for external drives, keyboards, or other input devices. Instead, it has a standard apple port. It also has bluetooth with which you can use with bluetooth keyboards or headsets. Apple provides a Camera Kit for $30 which will allow you to add photos from cameras with usb output to your library.
  • The iPad does not provide access to SD or microSD or other memory slots. The amount of memory is fixed at purchase. Apple provides a Camera Kit for $30 which will allow you to add photos on SD cards to your photo library.
  • The iPad does not multi-task at this point. It is scheduled to receive an update late this fall which will add some multi-tasking features, such as the ability to background sound. Currently, application developers are recommended to save the state of applications, so when a user re-opens them, they will return to the previous activity.
  • There is no built-in camera or video camera. You cannot video conference with the iPad.

For those unfamiliar with Apple mobile devices:
  • Only applications which are approved by Apple show up in the app store. If you wish to download apps that aren't sanctioned by Apple, you will need to jailbreak first.
  • The size of these devices prohibits the inclusion of optical drives (cd or dvd).
  • The file system of this device is not intended to be used in a manner similar to your computer. Applications themselves are encrypted, and media files are stored in an Apple database format which requires special drivers or iTunes to add files or copy them off the device. There is a shared folder on the iPad which you can add files and folders to, but not all applications read from it yet as this is new to the iPad.
  • This device (and other Apple mobile devices) will not actually make your bed for you, clean your house, or bake you a cake.

If you've already bought one and miss one of these features strongly; I'm sorry. If the device doesn't work out well for you, craigslist is a great place right now to pawn it off!

That's it for now. Perhaps folks have other features which they expect it to do or think it ought to do, which it doesn't?

If people find this useful, perhaps a mod can sticky it, so new users know what to expect when purchasing an iPad.

Last edited by nikkie; 05-16-2010 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:00 PM   #2
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OMG! Why didn't anyone tell me this up front? I so don't want to buy an iPad now!!!!!

Thanks Nikkie for this comprehensive list, might save some people some troubles. Certainly should be stickied. Maybe Apple should hand a pamphlet out to prospective buyers.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:01 PM   #3
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I would add the oft forgotten, but nevertheless important and common on the web, Java - the iPad cannot run Java applets embedded in web pages.

"
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OMG! Why didn't anyone tell me this up front? I so don't want to buy an iPad now!!!!!
... Maybe Apple should hand a pamphlet out to prospective buyers.
We all appreciate the barrage of snide remarks.

Yet, Apple has always ran ads which at least imply that the iPad/iPhone does everything a normal browser can do. They were forced to pull down similarly misleading iPhone ads in England in 2008.

See "Misleading Apple iPhone ad banned in the UK"

"...The ASA said the express nature of the claim would lead viewers to expect Flash and Java support, as such it rejected Apple's defence and declared the ad - created by long-time agency TBWA/Chiat/Day - to be misleading."

Last edited by Sonist; 04-28-2010 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonist View Post
I would add the oft forgotten, but nevertheless important and common on the web, Java - the iPad cannot run Java applets embedded in web pages.
Added.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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Cannot do video conferencing, Skype. that's the deal killer for my mom who is going to buy a laptop. I'd love for her to get an ipad, but not when skyping with the grandkids is the MAIN thing she wants to do.

Does not have a cd/dvd drive -- so you can't play your movies or music without some serious effort.

Does not currently print.

Does not run windows programs, Mac programs, Linux programs.

Does not make phone calls (well, you can use skype for that)

Does not fit in your pocket.

Is not as light as the Kindle/Nook and it's larger than both of them.

Can not read in direct sunlight.

Can not read Sony ebooks (unless you remove the DRM).

Can not (yet) read Barnes and Noble Books (but an app is coming soon for that)

Does not run Hulu (yet, app is forthcoming)

You can watch ABC shows, but not NBC, CBS, Fox without buying the shows from iTunes.

The wifi only model does not run on a cellular network.

The 3G model only works with AT&T and you have to buy plan (either $15 or $30/mo but not contract).

Does not run java apps.

Can not get software anywhere but from the app store (unless you jailbrake it)

You can not just drag and drop files from your computer to the iPad.

The iPad's file system is not available for you to access -- and one app cannot see the files of another app.

Does not multi-task (yet, coming with OS4.0 in the fall).

Does not have a camera -- neither still nor video.

You cannot change the battery yourself.

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Old 04-28-2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebase View Post
You can not just drag and drop files from your computer to the iPad.

The iPad's file system is not available for you to access -- and one app cannot see the files of another app.
Lee
Actually, these are not true with the iPad, though they were with the iPhone. Most apps haven't taken advantage of the new APIs and shared storage locations yet, but it is possible for an app to open its files in a different app and to share files with your computer. Goodreader has taken advantage of this already to allow files emailed to be opened in the Goodreader application.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Does not have a camera -- neither still nor video.
Added.

Most of the others were either already present or not things people would expect the iPad to have. For example, I think most people will realize that the iPad will not fit in their pocket particularly well.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:49 PM   #8
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Should also note that the Camera Connection Kit also supports usb keyboards and mics as well as video import (thought not necessarily playback - for instance, you can import from a Flip Mino HD, but the files will not play on the iPad).
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:04 AM   #9
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It works, but this isn't supported by Apple. This is just an Undocumented Feature (tm).
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:51 AM   #10
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It works, but this isn't supported by Apple. This is just an Undocumented Feature (tm).
Video import is officially supported.
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:06 AM   #11
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That's it for now. Perhaps folks have other features which they expect it to do, which it doesn't?
Perhaps this is a little misleading, because anyone can walk into an Apple store, or visit apple.com and have their expectations confirmed or denied. I can't have the expectation that the iPad has a standard USB port when it is obvious from looking at the device that it does not, reading on Apple's web site or talking to a sales person in the store.

Also some of the items, such as embedded fonts in an eReader or printing, while not available out of the box, may be available with 3rd party software or a future update. One does not criticize Windows for not managing my recipe box when there is 3rd party software available to do so.
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Old 04-29-2010, 02:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjl View Post
Perhaps this is a little misleading, because anyone can walk into an Apple store, or visit apple.com and have their expectations confirmed or denied. I can't have the expectation that the iPad has a standard USB port when it is obvious from looking at the device that it does not, reading on Apple's web site or talking to a sales person in the store.

Also some of the items, such as embedded fonts in an eReader or printing, while not available out of the box, may be available with 3rd party software or a future update. One does not criticize Windows for not managing my recipe box when there is 3rd party software available to do so.
Not the point though. None of these are meant (by me) to be criticisms. I like my iPad, I think it's great. And I definitely think it's the best of its class.

And yes, I'm sure some of these will be addressed eventually. I'm certain within a year or two they'll announce a version with a front-facing camera for video conferencing - the new iPhone is getting one. I'd be shocked if it got USB ports or an SD slot. In addition I have attempted to mention where third-party apps fill holes in the current OS.

I know a lot of folks who take things like USB slots and optical drives for granted without even considering that the device they're drooling over might not have them. Better to be educated, right?
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:39 AM   #13
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You can watch ABC shows, but not NBC, CBS, Fox without buying the shows from iTunes.
You can watch some CBS shows on their web site.

Edit: I take this back; there is currently only one full episode available on their website for iPad. If you want the latest episode of Survivor, though, there it is.

Quote:
The 3G model only works with AT&T and you have to buy plan (either $15 or $30/mo but not contract).
Actually, it is not carrier locked and should work on any GSM network. The micro SIM card is an issue, but I bet it won't be one for long. In the US, though, the other issue is that T-Mobile's 3G is in a different frequency range and therefore doesn't work... But the 3G model should work with T-Mobile's EDGE.

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Old 04-29-2010, 11:19 AM   #14
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Actually, these are not true with the iPad, though they were with the iPhone. Most apps haven't taken advantage of the new APIs and shared storage locations yet, but it is possible for an app to open its files in a different app and to share files with your computer. Goodreader has taken advantage of this already to allow files emailed to be opened in the Goodreader application.

I don't think that's fair, and do think his point should be listed.

1. He also pointed out that one can't access the iPads file system--which is still true.

2. All that stuff is used on such a limited basis right now, that it can still be listed I think

For me, having a clear file system where I can make folders, move stuff around and most importantly open those folders from ANY app that supports them is a must for me on a tablet since I want to use it more for productivity than leisure.

Goodreader is solid with it's file system and multiple ways to get files into it etc. But doesn't solve the problem that I can't easily then open those PDFs in say iAnnotate.

So I think mentioning the lack of a file system (along with drag and drop which I think you already have listed) along with the current shortcoming of many files only being accessible to one app is worthwhile in your list.


Quote:
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Perhaps this is a little misleading, because anyone can walk into an Apple store, or visit apple.com and have their expectations confirmed or denied. I can't have the expectation that the iPad has a standard USB port when it is obvious from looking at the device that it does not, reading on Apple's web site or talking to a sales person in the store.

Also some of the items, such as embedded fonts in an eReader or printing, while not available out of the box, may be available with 3rd party software or a future update. One does not criticize Windows for not managing my recipe box when there is 3rd party software available to do so.
That's just silly. This isn't a thread about Apple misleading customers so that they're suprised by it missing a feature etc.

It's about features one might EXPECT any tablet device to have to fit their needs, but that the iPad lacks.

It's a thread that can save people going to an Apple store or looking up the info elsewhere. So listing things like USB ports as missing is perfectly valid in an informative faq about missing features on the iPad.

I have expectations that any tablet I buy will have a USB port, a bigger screen, a true file system, simple drag and drop in Windows without having to use a clunky program like iTunes. The iPad doesn't have those things, so I'm not buying one. A thread like this can help others who want those things--or others in Nikkies list--to see that the iPad is not for them.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I have expectations that any tablet I buy will have a USB port, a bigger screen, a true file system, simple drag and drop in Windows without having to use a clunky program like iTunes. The iPad doesn't have those things, so I'm not buying one. A thread like this can help others who want those things--or others in Nikkies list--to see that the iPad is not for them.
But those are your expectations, not necessarily mine, not necessarily John Public's. Take that 100yo woman who recently got an iPad that was all over the web. Do you think she expected a USB port? A SD slot? Do you think she cares about a "true file system" (from a technical standpoint, this term doesn't make any sense, the iPad does have a "true" file system, you just can't get to it the way you would like to)? She's just happy she can read the screen due to her vision problems, the iPad's large fonts and bright display make it easy for her. She has no expectations other than being able to read the screen.

I think Nikkie has the best of intentions listing things that aren't included in the iPad but to say that they were expected and missing is definitely misleading. I have an old PC "tablet" (more like stone tablet compared to how thin the iPad is) from 10 years ago (buried in dust in the basement), it has a 9pin serial port and a VGA port, today's PC tablet's don't include them, they have USB and HDMI. Should I complain that I was expecting one and the device is a failure?
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