Top Reasons Why the iPad Lets You Down

June 1, 2011
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Here we take a look at some of the most significant shortcomings of the iPad 2 and iOS. While some love their iPads and iOS in general, there are a number of growing complaints that are beginning to show iOS’ age. Important areas of functionality like having a full web browsing experience with true tabbed browsing, bookmark syncing and Flash are all missing. Additionally, simple, to-be-expected fundamentals like being able to filter emails, are left out. Finally, nice features like proper voice integration are left out in the cold for all but the most basic tasks. Read on to find out why it’s time to start thinking more critically about the iPad’s shortcomings, and why more and more people are opting for more.

From a software standpoint, Android’s Honeycomb does have a steeper learning curve. For those who aren’t afraid to experiment with different things and get them exactly how they want them, Honeycomb is the way to go. Plus, it’s on many different powerful tablets, with great different form-factors, like a full keyboard dock that charges your tablet while in use, or extends the battery life by another 7 hours. For those who are looking for a more family friendly, passive mobile computing experience, where you don’t mind being locked into one brand, then the iPad will always be there. Without question, the iPad 2 and iOS are slightly more intuitive and are incredibly simple to use. Plus, the app ecosystem is more established.

Nevertheless, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Below you will find the most significant, and frankly, shocking reasons why the iPad and iOS are letting people down. Here are the top 8 reasons why people are leaving their iPads for Android Honeycomb tablets.

1. The Web experience is limited, at best

iOS is great for simple things, but bring on the productivity, and it falls short, and in a big way at that. Websites that employ TinyMCE and similar AJAX tools don’t work in IOS, but work great in Honeycomb 3.01+. Additionally, neither the iPad nor the iPhone can display Flash. While some think the lack of Flash as a good thing, it’s all about choice, and proving to a be real achilles heel for Apple and its adopters.

TinyMCE is used by a ton of site to allow rich text entry and formatting, and iOS doesn’t support it. Honeycomb does. iOS is similarly crippled in its inability to handle other modern web standards, like AJAX tools, that allow you to drag list UI elements to reorder them.

2. No ‘true’ tabbed browsing

Maybe iPad users are mono-taskers, but nevertheless, serious shortcomings present themselves to anyone familiar with the browser on the iPad, and in iOS. Say for example you are writing an email or a blog post, and you have to reference another tab to confirm an idea, or to grab a link to paste in. Upon returning to the original tab, you will be delighted to find all of your hard work gone, as it has been purged from the memory, and the page will have refreshed itself.

3. Poor email filtering

Email is still the world’s dominant communication protocol, and it’s an absolute mess on the iPad. With no ability to filter junk from gold, users are stupefied trying to sift through dozens of emails. Sure, you can leave your Mac on to do your iPad’s filtering, but is that really necessary?

4. Many apps are unstable

Android Honeycomb has gotten a bit of a bad rap for stability issues, but it’s a brand new platform, fresh out the gate, The iPad, on the other hand, is a relatively mature platform – but it’s not without its share of issues. Whether you blame it on poor coding or ineffective memory management  – some iPad (and iPhone) apps have a tendency to quit unexpectedly, and often.

5. No customizable alert rings

I’m sure you can buy an app for that, but really? At this stage, users should be afforded the choice to customize such a fundamental thing, but as it stands you simply can’t.

6. Email lacks functionality and customizabilty

Honeycomb stands as a exemplar of Google’s acumen when it comes to best-in-class information management. Critics have dubbed Android Honeycomb’s email apps as the best of any tablet platform, and a joy to use. Unfortunately, email on the iPad does not fair as well.  It is unable to let you add new folders or reorder the ones you have, unlike on your PC/Mac, or on Honeycomb or even Android 2.0+

7. Forget about hands free – poor voice integration

Android does voice navigation wonderfully, and its other voice features work remarkably well. On the iPad, you can pay $60 and get an app that will give you voice integrated navigation. The lack of voice control for the iPad is simply appalling, and prevents users from using it effectively and safely while driving, among other things.

8. Homescreen is bare

On any Honeycomb Android tablet, you can change the background, add resizable widgets and other light weight apps to your heart’s content. It’s as simple as that. You get access to see the applications you have most recently used, or you can see a dynamic listing of your latest emails/tweets/facebook messages all with the flick of a finger. The same cannot be said for iOS, which keeps the homescreen as a barebones app-drawer. Take a look at the above and below screenshots  – they both serve as excellent examples of what Honeycomb can look like. It’s a highly customizable and flexible OS, and you can choose where to put everything in a way that works best for you.

Thoughts

Obviously, the market for tablets is huge. Apple has sold millions upon millions of iPads, and this trend is likely to continue. There’s no denying that iOS has significantly more applications for their tablet computing platform, and many of them are excellent. The iPad 2 really is an excellent piece of hardware, and it’s incredibly unfortunate that the OS is so limiting. For those in the business of productivity, content creation, or those that desire to have access to a full web experience, Honeycomb 3.1 is ready for prime time. Email lovers, multi-tasking power users will undoubtedly love what Honeycomb has to offer, particularly in the areas where the iPad and iOS fall short. Still, we have to pay our respects to Apple for breaking new ground in both the smartphone and tablet markets, and showing the world that both are indeed viable and compelling mobile computing platforms. Additionally, iOS does music and video integration slightly better then Android at this stage, but requires you to plunge wallet-first into a world of peripherals, apps, and other such pricey matters, but the experience is top notch. Thankfully, Apple is rumored to be taking several pages out of Android’s book of goodies, and is said to be overhauling the whole OS to include Android essentials like widgets, and more.

How about you? Are there any improvements you would suggest either Honeycomb or iOS receive?

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