Apple iPad: Good for Web Working?


So, the much-discussed Apple iPad (s aapl) has finally arrived. But how does it stack up for web working? Last week, Darrell compiled “The Apple Tablet: What It Needs to Be Useful for Web Working,” a wish list of features that he thought were necessary for Apple’s take on the tablet PC to be a useful web working device. Let’s take a look a how the announced iPad compares to Darrell’s dream machine.

Feature Included?
Wi-Fi & 3G 802.11n Wi-Fi, 3G (via AT&T (s t)) available at added cost
Tethering No
Bluetooth (with input device profiles) Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Tabbed browsing No
Alternative browser support No, as it’s running iPhone OS (and no Flash support, either)
All-day battery life 10-hour battery life.

So, all in all, OK, but it’s probably not going to be a web working powerhouse. The lack of tabbed browsing and extensions might not be that bad — I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve actually used one, as the browsing experience does seem to be pretty good, based on initial reports, and the battery life sounds great. No camera means you won’t be able to use it for video calls. On the other hand, the surprise inclusion of the iWork suite should mean that it will be possible to get real work done on the device. However, the main issue for me (and the reason that I probably won’t get one) is the cost. As you might expect for an Apple product, it’s expensive — $829 for the top-of-the-line 64GB model with 3G, while the base 16GB model without 3G is $499.

Will you be buying an iPad?

Related GigaOM Pro Research:


Michael W. Perry

One very useful business application for the iPad would be a system for processing all the digital paperwork that executives and managers need to read, edit and approve every day. The iPad takes up little space in a briefcase, and, unlike smart phones, the screen is big enough to read even letter-sized documents.

Unlike a multi-use laptop where documents can easily get misplaced, it could be dedicated to that one purpose, with software that takes care of prioritizing and managing the flow of documents in and out. With the 3G model, work could go on almost anywhere. Easily held in the hand and with a fifteen-second startup time, even a few minutes in a cab or waiting in line at an airport could become productive time.

Ramon B. Nuez Jr.

You forgot no USB ports and no multitasking. Yeah, the iPad will be in the “nice to have” column. I really want to get an iPad but honestly it seems to lack many industry “standard” features. I think no Flash support is the most damaging with no multitasking a close second. I think that the price point is rather high – even for a Apple product. I think knocking off $150 might make it more attractive.

Dale Cruse

It’s the same old song: Apple releases a new product and we all complain about how it doesn’t live up to expectations. Then, six months later, we all wondered how we lived life without it.

The iPad doesn’t multitask? Good. It’ll be nice to focus on getting something done for a change.


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Will have to see what the 2nd Generation of the device brings. I’d expect a lot of these things to be rectified. It’s easier to get away without Flash on a smartphone, but not on a device that’s being touted as “the entire web in your hands.” The Flash-less web maybe…but that’s leaving a LOT of the web out… Customers aren’t going to settle for that over the long run on non-smartphone.


Think I’ll stick with my Macbook and and iPod Touch. Nothing special here.

Jonathan Kong

If we step back and look at how Apple has become evolved since Steve Jobs return, we can see that their product lines has been more streamlined and serve different groups of people with certain needs. Apple products are built around function and emotion.

Now, with the iPad, it ‘addresses’ the experience of assessing and using your digital content on the move or with greater mobility. As such, functions like video editing, watching content from discs etc are omitted in order to optimize that experience. They seemed to say, leave those intensive stuffs for the seniors (MBP/MP/iMac).

What is quite a killer but not really in the limelight, is the App store and the Apps that are essentially the heart of all things. I think we can see web apps for web workers optimized for iPad in the months to come.


You guys beat me to the punch on this one. I was in the middle of writing a piece about this very relationship and found this. I will be linking this piece instead. : )

My opinion is that it will be useful for some web workers, particularly bloggers. The 3G plan is very attractive to people who live in areas without ubiquitous WiFi. I do agree completely with your critiques though. The lack of tabbed browsing is a serious setback. However, the 10 hour battery life will make me lose sleep with anticipation. I will most definitely be buying one.

Jason Barone

It’s a slick device for sure, but it’s no computer. A smartphone is nice because it’s a phone, that doubles as an internet device, media player and everything else. A notebook is nice because it’s a compact computer. This is somewhere in that gray area…the area that is too big to be a mobile and too underpowered to be a computer.
I’ll pass on this for sure. I have good feelings about something like ChromeOS on a fast/thin netbook.

Aaron Templer

What about this I’m hearing about no multitasking? I can’t imagine working remotely without Skype, IM, Twitter, Facebook, and Email all sending me alerts.

Mantas Masalskis

It should have tabbed browsing. It’s using some kind of Mobile Safari. And Mobile Safari in iPhone does have tabs. So I assume it should have tabs in iPad as well :)

They didn’t show screen turning off when it’s idle in the demo as well, but it doesn’t mean that it will be on all the time :)

Simon Mackie

@Mantas I don’t consider Mobile Safari on the iPhone to be a tabbed browsing experience — it’s more like what having a bunch of IE windows open on Windows used to feel like (urgh). From what I’ve seen of the iPad so far (admittedly I haven’t seen one in the flesh), it’s the same, but with a preview page that lets you see all of the open windows at once — still not what I consider to be true tabbed browsing.


I have an iPad and the stock Safari browser certainly does not have tabbed browsing which is it’s Achille’s heel. You can open multiple pages sort of, but you have to go to the thumbnails page to see them, and then choose one page. This might be okay if it were super fast, but if you load more than two pages and then go back to a third page, it pretty much always has to reload. It’s like there’s only enough memory to cache two pages, which is pathetic. It’s a far cry from a real tabbed browsing experience, and I feel I can browse about 5 times more efficiently on a regular computer browser with tabs. I mean literally, I can check and read 5 websites on a tabbed browser in the time it takes to read one website on the iPad.
That combined with no support for my X-Marks bookmarks (other than visiting my X-Marks online, ugh), and the truly awful stock iPhone keyboard that completely negates typing in a longer comment like this on blog posts – well, iPad browsing is very much an exercise in frustration and, almost unbelievably, leaves me yearning for a netbook.

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