Introducing, the iPad
A year after Steve Jobs showcased the iPad to the world, Apple has released the product in India. Enterprising souls, also known as Apple "fanboys", made sure they acquired one from international markets well before it reached Indian shores. Several websites charged customers a steep 30-40 per cent premium on its retail price to home-deliver one in India.
So, it was a pleasant surprise when Apple launched the iPad pretty much at par with the global prices for the product - starting at Rs 27,900 for the plain vanilla 16-gigabyte model with Wi-Fi connectivity to Rs 44,900 for the topend 64-gigabyte model with both Wi-Fi and 3G.
You cannot fault Apple on its pricing. People may argue that there are plenty of cheaper tablets running Google's Android operating system. But the iPad still scores over other products. The biggest differentiator is the range of applications. On the AppStore there are many applications which are customised for the iPad and take advantage of the better resolution of its screen. In fact, Angry Birds HD alone is possibly a very good reason to buy an iPad. There is no doubt that the Android will emerge as a dominant smartphone platform in India, but it has a long way to go on the tablet front as well as apps.
Now, this is not to say that the iPad does not have its flaws. The aluminium body is extremely fragile and a leather or plastic case is a necessity. It might have been nice if one could attach the USB drive directly to the iPad to watch movies, but that's not a fatal flaw. While Android tablets allow you to make calls, we doubt whether people will lift a seven- or 10-inch tablet to make calls.
Is the iPad the best tablet out there? Absolutely. Should you buy one? If you have the money, definitely, though, after looking at the initial 3G pricing by private operators, one could skip the 3G version unless a BSNL or MTNL connection is available.
+ve: It is an iPad; Angry Birds HD
-ve: Fragile body, no USB port, inability to make phone calls