back to article Steve Jobs re-invents the portable telly

If you don't understand what Apple's iPad is all about, think of it this way: it's a portable TV. You think we jest? Consider. What we call a TV has long become divorced from its original function: to receive and display broadcast pictures. The process of separation began in the 1980s when we started watching pre-recorded tapes …

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Killer App is missing...

... to make your comment a proper reality. And that's an iPlayer app on the iTunes store. When/if that happens, (and its not the dodgy french music player thats already there,) the iPad might be of some use :)

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iPlayer...

... already works on the iPhone. As the iPad OS is iPhone OS 3.2, I'd expect it to carry on working. You go to the iPlayer site on the web browser, select a program and it plays in the built-in media player...

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Anonymous Coward

iPlayer

You don't need an app for the iPlayer, just put a bookmark (www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/iplayer/index.html) on your home screen. Unless you want a way to download and store shows for viewing later (a la the desktop iPlayer app).

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Portable TV?

That's well and good, and it's nice not to have every article on the Register saying that Apple Has Done It Wrong, but do you think the audience this is aimed at are going to be so happy with a (claimed) 10 hour battery life? Somehow I don't think the beautiful industrial design will look quite so great when you have to hang a power brick off it...

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one slight quibble

As a portable telly it fails - you can't receive TV programmes on it. And how many people do you see walking around with a portable TV, anyway?

Maybe i fyou put a couple of knobs on this thing, you could pass it off as an etch-a-sketch?

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who cares about broadcast TV?

It's pretty much all shite. If you want good TV (i.e. imports) then you either get it on DVD from lovefilm and rip it to watch at your convenience (with a delay) or grab it fresh from bittorrent. For the 3% of UK broadcast material that's watchable, there's web viewing to get it when you want to see it, rather than when they want to show it.

It's that last bit where it all falls down. Jobsy no like flashy, and UK TV companies no like anything else. Ooops.

But like TFA says - it's a portable media consumption device, for people who can't work an Archos. Might work, I've heard stupider ideas. Might not work. Who cares?

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Missing an essential ingrediant.

In the UK, anyone with a Sky subscription can access live content from anywhere on the interweb, likewise, the BBC streams plenty of live content. So I'm afraid to say, you are wrong in that respect.

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Anonymous Coward

My iPhone can receive live Freeview broadcasts

As others have said, you can get iPlayer, 4OD etc. for non-live playback, but my iPhone can get live TV broadcasts from the EyeTV DTT connected to my Mac. Via Wi-Fi or 3G and the cheap as chips EyeTV software on the phone.

The iPad undoubtedly will be able to do so too, should you want it.

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Where does it fit though?

You want music you buy an iPod, you want to watch video on the go, you buy an iPod Touch. Similarly if you want a phone you buy an iPhone and if you want to surf the web or do some work there's a Mac for every occasion.

I just don't see where this iPad actually fits in the product range. The bezel is too big, it's too underpowered, it doesn't have 3G built in so you can't use it to watch video on the go unless you are within range of Wi-Fi and I can't see it actually being powerful enough to tackle HD video with all that much competence.

You want to get screwed over by Apple? There's an app for that, or now you can just buy an iPad.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm, wrong.

Base models don't have 3G. But there will be a model which does, albeit for a $130 premium.

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Happy

Douglas Adams would have loved this!

It's yer actual Hitchhikers Guide (all the information about the galaxy available on one small device)

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Unlike a phone?

I know *my* phone seems to offer all this, albeit in a portable formfactor. And I can use it as a star-trek communicator too.

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Paris Hilton

@Gareth Gouldstone

surely, the iphone is more of a HHGTG (plus you can talk to people on it!)

the iphones compact form and optimised features are more flexible and pocketable, rather than the 10" monster..... where do you put this 10" when you go to the pub? (steady, this is a family website !)

Paris...., as she knows where to put a 10" monsterr

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I agree

The iPad is for people who love what a computer in the home can do, but who can't be bothered having a computer in the home.

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it's what Apple do best.

They make computers for people who don't like computers. Apple products are just information versions of washing machines and fridges.

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Jobs Halo

@It's what Apple do best...

This.

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FAIL

"Hands up"

"If the 1 thing you have been missing in your life is a portable TV? nope didn't think there where many, not you your wearing a 'I wnat Steve Job's children' T-shirt"

Its just FAIL from where i'm sitting.

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FAIL

The one flaw...

The one flaw, of course, in this line of thinking is that the iPad does not actually receive television broadcasts, which is a fairly fundamental feature of any good TV.

That said, you can trust Apple to leave out some of the most essential features, then gradually introduce them in the 2G and 3G versions, charging a little extra each time...

AC because of the blatant fanboi fodder....

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not sure about it being a tv... but

For all the hype that the reality was never going to live up to, and all the detractors who have badged it a flop before it's even seen an Apple store display shelf, I quite like it. After reading all the comment and looking at all the pictures from the launch last night, and showing the more interesting points to my wife, we sat down and had a fairly in-depth conversation about it, and I can categorically say we could find a use for it. Not a need, exactly, since we already have a laptop and a netbook, but we could certainly put it to good use.

First thing my wife thought of was the weekly shop, which she generally does online. This thing would enable her to wander around the kitchen holding it in one hand while she looked through cupboards etc to see what we needed, and then a few swooshes and swipes and taps on the screen with the other hand would have items added to the basket. No more going back and forth to the kitchen table where the laptop sits waiting for her to navigate around with the little track pad.

I would use it for study, mainly. Most of my provided distance learning study materials are online. The netbook is fine for this, but is a little awkward if I am sitting on the sofa… where I think the iPad would be more comfortable. And since its much thinner and a bit lighter than my netbook, it would be easier to carry around with me. A 3G model would mean I could access online study materials pretty much everywhere.

Also… it would be easier for my 2 year old to understand touching the bit of the screen she wants to activate rather than learning how to use a trackpad at such an early age. I am trying to encourage it, but as yet she doesn’t get it.

I wont be rushing out to buy one in March, but if there havent been any major problems with them by, say, Christmas, I will probably seriously consider parting with the money for it. If it proves to be a good replacement for what I use my netbook for (study and browsing various news pages/facebook etc) then I would probably sell the netbook and recoup a bit of the money.

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Sell the netbook?

I don't think so. What are you going to activate it with, synch to, and backup to if you do that? Oh, I guess you could then buy a macbook?

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Perhaps...

My full sized desktop-replacement laptop which while more portable than a desktop, is too much of a hassle to lug around the house. So tends to stay in one place most of the time. The main reason i bought the netbook was that my wife was bringing more work home with her and was using the laptop all the time so i couldnt get online with anything but my phone (not an Apple).

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yeah? 500 smackeroos for a 9" telly?

fluff off.

wall-sized tvs are the future. big fluff-off ones used instead of wallpaper.

this little thing? waste.

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I don't believe it!

As I write this, there are two "thumbs down" marks. They must be from people who think £500 is a reasonable price for a portable TV. Stunning!

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Underwhelmed

Totally underwhelmed.

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FAIL

Hmmm

I get your point, I do... but it's not the first device to be able to do this. As you've said, all smartphones (at least the ones I've used) can be used as your portable telly in the same way. Sure they have a smaller screen, but that's what makes them truly handily portable - the pocket sizedness of them (I'm aware I'm making up words but I don't care).

I can't see that the iPad adds anything new into the equation, anything revolutionary. If you want mobile content, use a mobile. If you want a bigger screen, use a note/netbook. And both have the same Internet capabilities, if not better, than your iPad. Maybe I'm missing something here but I just can't see why I'd need or even want one.

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@DrunkenMessiah

"If you want a bigger screen, use a note/netbook..."

Well yes, a notebook has the same Internet capabilities, but it's nowhere near as easy to use. For example, I have an old Windows laptop that my son sometimes uses. We use it so rarely that every time we turn it it sits there for ages installing software updates, rebooting three times, loads of dialog boxes about anti-virus trials having expired to dismiss etc. It often takes about 30 minutes to get up and running, sometimes more.

The iPad is a true Internet *appliance*. Pick it up and within 5 seconds you're playing a game or reading your email or checking your Facebook page or whatever.

One experience is fun and the other isn't. That's a HUGE difference. This is a device for consumers, not technonerds, and it probably provides exactly what they want.

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Megaphone

iPad

iPad .... reminds me of the Mad TV skit I saw a few years ago. A must watch if you ask me

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Jobs Horns

Isn't the aspect ratio of the iPad 4:3?

It's okay if you're watching TV from the 1980's!

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Alert

4:3

You forget, this device is primarily used in portrait mode, not landscape (although of course you can use it either way round). If Apple were going to produce a widescreen version of the iPad they'd have to make it square :-)

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@Aspect Ratio

Yes, it is 4:3. That's conveniently what you get when placing two iPhone screens (3:2) side by side. Coincidence? I think not...

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It's missing tight phone tether

It would seem that I will need a Voice/Data contract for my phone and another Data contract for my IPAD, what I would like is to be able to connect my phone to my IPAD, the phone then uses the IPAD screen, speaker and mike - the IPAD then uses the phones data connection.

(Also this way I will not need to use bluetooth or WIFI to connect the devices, thereby reducing battery usage).

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FAIL

And sorry

But can the Apple PR department please leave the comments section alone at El Reg, the amount of comments i've read on El Reg about the iFail that read like adverts is annoying, 'Me and my wife will be happily watching video, listening to music and browsing the internet's', please what sort of brain dead idiot comments like that on the interweb, funny enough most of the Apples PR departments comments here are the only comment they have evet made? strange.

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I'm sorry...

... but someone finds a plausible purpose for owning one of these things and you badge them up as an Apple PR spokesperson? That's just ridiculous.

Just because your own lifestyle wouldn't accomodate it doesn't mean everyone else lives in the same way and must be lying through their teeth or have an Apple logo tattooed to their forehead.

I think that Apple could have made a lot more of this product. But that doesnt take away form the fact people (me included) could find it useful.

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not another bother

so one more damn device spewing noise in the outdoors.

Movile phones (sic), radios, CD players and now TV for the peasantry to drag around to get their remnant mind numbed further, deluded by the merchants into thinking non-stop noise is fun.

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Not the first in anything

"The first true information appliance". Seriously? Have you every used a laptop or smart phone or tablet PC? You really need to get out of your cave more.

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@Juliusz

The key word is "appliance". As in "not gadget". As in "for non-techy folk".

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Anonymous Coward

Browser & Media player

Much as this device is interesting and will change the way of things I find a small question rattling around. . . .

So this thing is computer sized and comes with an embedded browser and media player.

Is the EU going to make Apple provide a version without the embedded media player and with the selection of your desired browser on start up? It would seem only fair, wouldn't it?

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@Anti-competitive

They will, as soon as Apple have 95% of the computer market. You cannot be done for "abuse of a monopoly" without first having a monopoly.

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Jobs Halo

At last

Well done Mr Smith, someone finally gets it. Cue the anti-Apple-tards...

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Invents Portable Telly?

I've had an Archos 605 WiFi with 160G storage and 800x480 touch screen for 2 years. It works as a "Portable Telly" via Web + Flash, vTuner application (WiFi) and H.264, Xvid, DivX etc files. It's 4.8" so very portable

There are 7" and 10" Arm tablets PMPs too.

The only "advantage" for this seems to be iPhone Apps and eBooks (but with poor battery life for reader). The Battery life is good for Streaming Video/ PMP/Browser. Poor for an eReader by x10.

I'm sure this will be very successful, but there is ABSOLUTELY nothing ground breaking about it. The ChromeOS tablet sounds similar (and also wants to be avoided).

These are very expensive PMP/Personal Video players with Web & Email. If you really need apps get a real netbook and most if not all of iTune iPhone apps then not needed.

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now watch the video

hated it at first, then watched the video of it in action, ignore jony ive and the gang, the ipad looks great in action.

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Yes

I quite agree. I was a bit underwhelmed when I first read the details of the iPad but after watching the video and seeing it in use I can easily picture one of those in every living room... perhaps even persuade my technophobe dad to use one!

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Excellent analysis

At last, someone on El Reg talking sensibly! What the majority of Apple-haters are rather smugly bemoaning is that the iPad isn't a fully-functioning laptop PC and the author of this piece has hit the nail on the head by implying that it isn't intended to be. Like the iPod before it, and the iPhone, it is simply a device for the consumption of mobile media. This is where previous tablets have fallen over, by trying to be all things (i.e. a fully functioning PC) in a mobile form factor. What Apple have cleverly done once again is to focus on a particular lifestyle requirement and put it all into one device. The iPad was never meant to replace a desktop or laptop PC, rather a complement to it. If this is how the iPad is marketed, then I think it will do well.

I would have been tempted to buy one, had I not recently bought a MacBook Pro (and it took a lot of justification to buy a mobile computer). But the price point does make it an attractive proposition.

I'd be interested to see how the iPad does and whether it will succeed in becoming another paradigm shifter that previous Apple products have become. Within a year I predict that other hardware manufacturers will be attempting to follow in Apple's footsteps.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Where does it fit though?

Well, I'd like to know how you justify 'underpowered' - there's no indication this thing's processor can't do what it's claimed to be able to do. It's not designed to replace your laptop. As it stands, it's more likely to be able to play HD video well than not. I accept real-world testing may prove otherwise, but why start out with an unduly negative opinion?

Yes it is a bigger touch, for a reason: you get a bigger screen. If the Touch/iPhone's screen is sufficient, you've no need to go for an iPad. That's why I won't be buying one.

And there are versions with 3G built in.

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HD Video

It doesn't support the required resolution (1280*720) for HD video, it's resolution is 1024*768 so yes, it's height is enough for 720p but 720p is 16:9, the iPad is 4:3 so it is therefore incapable of displaying HD video as the screen does not meet the specifications.

The on-screen keyboard is a joke, for the lesser screen area on an iPhone having a keyboard without numerics etc.. is justifiable, with the larger screen area on the iPad there is no reason to *not* have a proper onscreen keyboard so you don't have to faff around with pushing buttons to type in numbers.

If you want it to be really usable, you have to add objects to it, like I dunno, a proper keyboard? That negates the use of the thing turning it into an expensive netbook, so why not just get a proper netbook which is WXGA (proper 720p) for half the price? It has pretty much no use in the real world other than for people who will try to find a use for it to justify paying so much for something that is, in effect, an oversized ipod.

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@Tony Smith

OK I'll give you that one, it's not really underpowered since all you can run on it is iPhone apps at the moment but. I can't see it being geared to HD video though because of the aspect ratio plus I haven't seen any demos of full screen video yet. I just can't shake the "jack of all trades master of none" feeling I've got about the iPad. It seems to promise everything without delivering anything, there's a reason that e-readers have the display type they do, there's a reason devices like the Archos 9 have a 16:9 screen.

I'm sorry but as far as I can see if you own another Apple product there's no draw for anyone to buy this item. It seems to me closely related to the "MIDs" we saw pop up a few years back which really only browsed the net. Great little gadget if it were £50-£100 but we both know it will be closer to £399 when it is released judging by the quoted $499 price tag and from what I've read that's just for the base version.

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What about gaming

No problems with Steve's portable box. But is did seem rather slick and fast on the gaming front as well. We've all seen the success of games on the iPhone and with a bigger screen and more hardware grunt, I can see it sneaking up as a pretty good games platform in its own right.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: The one flaw...

As I say, it doesn't need to pick up broadcast television. iPlayer will do just as nicely, thank you. So will downloaded telly shows.

And the iPad doesn't require a licence...

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Stop

TV License

Surely if it can pick up live iPlayer content it would need a TV license? It would be receiving the pictures at the same time as broadcast signals and so would fit the definition of a TV receiver.

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Re: Telly on holiday

Of course, iPlayer (and pretty much all legal streaming services) are locked down by region, so when you get off the plane you'll be pretty disappointed. It isn't like you're going to be storing much HD video on the thing.

Why would you buy a media device that isn't pocket-portable? If you have to carry it in a bag you might as well carry a laptop!

Oh well, back to looking at standalone eReaders.

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