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Apple iPad VS. Android Tablet: At Work and at Home

Mar 14, 2012 9:37 AM, By Jason Bovberg

Tablet computing is the wave of the future. Which one is best for your connected environment?

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Suppose you take your new iPad to work in order to make a presentation. You need to connect your device to a large display for the meeting. Do you have the right device for that task? After all, the iPad is notorious for its lack of traditional connectivity ports. Although it has the typical, proprietary 30-pin Apple dock connector, it lacks Ethernet and USB ports, which are considered near-essential in modern business scenarios. The only way to connect an iPad to an external projector is to buy an optional accessory, the Apple Digital AV Adapter or VGA adapter—not exactly a convenient solution in the workaday world. But it does blast everything that the iPad is displaying, not just digital video but also the iOS interface and whatever apps you’re using.

This adapter is new to iPad 2, suggesting that Apple is open to the notion of expansion capabilities. Only after customers clamored for such options as integrated USB, SD, and HDMI ports did Apple incorporate the proprietary dongle. But one area where the iPad did not evolve from version 1 to 2 was screen size and resolution. Both the iPad and iPad 2 feature an admittedly glossy but non-HD, 1024x768-pixel, non-widescreen 10in. display. The iPad 2 still isn’t compatible with Flash. If your business needs to visit websites that support Flash components, you’re out of luck. As this article goes to press, rumors are floating that the iPad 3 will include a redesigned, smaller dock connector, posing a problem for existing third-party products that use that dock, even though it will still be a 30-pin port. Although the iPad 3 appears to be headed for the same size screen, resolution is said to be improved for the new device, which should boast a 2048x1536 retina display. There are even rumors of 3D display technology coming to the iPad—with no glasses, thanks to the device’s gyroscope sensor and head-tracking camera software. Finally, we’re encouraged by the recent news from OnLive (, which presents an interesting solution to the Flash problem. OnLive Desktop is a third-party thin-client computing solution that can stream a Windows desktop and full Adobe Flash capability to the iPad.

Another important business area in which the iPad suffers is storage expansion, thanks to its paucity of connectivity options; with the iPad, you get only the storage you initially pay (a premium price) for.

The idea, of course, is who needs storage when you have the cloud? In theory, the cloud holds all your data and media wirelessly in offsite storage, and you can access all that stuff from any device, from any location. You never have to synchronize, and you never have to back anything up. Unfortunately, Apple’s cloud solution, called iCloud, remains a work in progress. In its current iteration, it’s needlessly complicated and chaotic. It’s difficult to configure, and users complain about missing or confusing functionality. In short, iCloud is frustrating from a company that prides itself on the aforementioned “It just works” philosophy. The iCloud solution still seems like the wave of the future, but it’s not quite there yet. And when it is there, will it really make sense to let Apple house and serve all your content in a proprietary Apple cloud?

One piece of functionality that the iPad has down to a science is video chat. An evolution from iChat, FaceTime is an excellent video-calling solution (great for work and home) that is a feature-rich yet user-friendly feature of the OS. As you might have guessed, FaceTime’s limiting feature is that it can connect only with other FaceTime devices.

Not surprisingly, the iPad also requires that you buy a separate adapter for importing your photos from a digital camera or SD card. The iPad Camera Connection Kit comes with two connectors that plug into the iPad’s dock connector port: One takes SD cards, and the other is the Camera Connector.

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