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 …


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  1. Alex Walsh

    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 :)

    1. Gulfie


      ... 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...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You don't need an app for the iPlayer, just put a bookmark ( on your home screen. Unless you want a way to download and store shows for viewing later (a la the desktop iPlayer app).

  2. James Foreman

    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...

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    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?

    1. Trygve

      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?

    2. John I'm only dancing
      Thumb Down

      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  4. VespertineStar

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm, wrong.

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

  5. Gareth Gouldstone

    Douglas Adams would have loved this!

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

    1. Cliff

      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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

  6. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    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.

    1. Cameron Colley

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Halo

        @It's what Apple do best...


  7. Scott 19

    "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.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    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....

  9. Andrew James

    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.

    1. Mark Serlin

      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?

      1. Andrew James
        Thumb Up


        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).

  10. nobby
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      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!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Totally underwhelmed.

  12. DrunkenMessiah


    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.

    1. Rolf Howarth
      Thumb Up


      "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.

  13. Jango


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

  14. Saint Sound
    Jobs Horns

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

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

    1. Rolf Howarth


      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 :-)

    2. Doc Spock

      @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...

  15. william 10
    Thumb Down

    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).

  16. Scott 19

    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.

    1. Andrew James

      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.

  17. Denarius Silver badge

    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.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Doc Spock


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

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. Doc Spock


      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.

  20. Bilgepipe
    Jobs Halo

    At last

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

  21. Mage

    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.

  22. richard 69
    Thumb Up

    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.

    1. Rolf Howarth
      Thumb Up


      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!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    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.

  24. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (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.

    1. David Webb

      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.

    2. VespertineStar

      @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.

  25. Tony Horrocks 1

    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.

  26. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (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...

    1. fatchap

      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.

    2. Phil Bennett
      Thumb Down

      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.

    3. dave 154
      Thumb Down

      Try again

      If you're referring to a tv licence, I think you'll find it does require one of those.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      As per the hoo-har when the BBC started streaming live tennis a couple of years ago, if you're streaming live TV that's available via broadcast, then you need a licence to be legal. That's why BBC streaming video is usually blocked (or attempted to be blocked) outside the UK - because of the licencing issues.

    5. Piezor


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

      Actually that depends on how you're using iplayer.

      If you are streaming a live broadcast you do technically need a tv license.

      If it's on demand viewing or downloading after the show has been broadcast, however, you do not need a license.

      Granted I'm not sure how they go about policing this or how effective policing is but TV Licensing do claim they have detected and taken action against people viewing live streams without a license.

      I'm not sold on the ipad, but then again i have no use for one. However, I'm sure it will do well. it does have an apple logo on it afterall.

    6. David Cherry 1

      @tony Smith

      Oh yes you do need a licence

      The law says that anyone who uses a TV, or any other device, to receive TV signals, must buy a licence.

      This includes video recorders, set-top boxes and DVD recorders.

      You will also need a licence if you use your computer to watch live broadcasts.

      You only need a licence if you use your computer to watch programmes at the same time as they are being shown on TV.

      Before now, this has not been a major problem as very few programmes are available simultaneously on air and online.

      Computer users only needed a TV licence if they had a special video card that could receive TV signals. Now the TV Licensing Authority says you need a licence to watch any TV station broadcasting within the UK on your computer.

      However, you are free to watch archived programmes or downloadable clips without a licence.

  27. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Hmmm

    I don't want one either, for the same reasons.

    But I *can* see lots of other people wanting one. Bigger than a phone, less faff to pick up and use than a laptop.

    1. DrunkenMessiah

      Re: Re: Hmmm

      Yeah, I agree, there will be loads of people who want one. But those people are the types of people who buy one just to show it off. I can't justify that price for something I already have. It has it's place, but only if you don't have a smartphone/touch like you say.

      However, that all said, I have a smartphone which can read ebooks but I still bought an ebook reader because it was easier on the eyes. I suppose if you were constantly browsing/watching video on your phone you might want something bigger. If you want an iPad for reading though you'd definitely be better off with a dedicated reader. Extra money for a 3G model doesn't sit well either... and can this thing be tethered to a phone you already have Internet on?

      Still a fail in my eyes. It has a market but it's so small it's almost pointless.

    2. Adam T
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hmmm

      Indeed. I don't want one, which has surprised me since I thought I would, but my dad (decidedly stuck in the Victorian era) keeps talking about it.

      Thing is, he can use a computer for email and the web, and does a lot of writing in Word - I gave him my old Dell XPS for it. But he's terrified of the desktop. He's afraid of touching things, keeps deleting shortcuts (and accidentally creating new ones) and misplacing files. He has to ask me for advice when he wants to install stuff ("What's DirectX? Don't I already have it?? What's .NET? Why do I need it?" etc etc etc...).

      He's a very smart guy, he just has this fear of desktops and folders and menus and system messages and everything that we take for granted.

      I gave him an iPod Touch for Xmas a year ago, and he knows what it is - big buttons all on one screen. He gets that. Now he's seen there's a bigger version, there's no stopping him.

      And there's your market. People who don't care about the stuff we do, be it flexibility, open-ness, or just user interface. And we'd be pretty outnumbered by them if we all met in a dark alley...

      1. DrunkenMessiah
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hmmm

        Yeah, good point. It's an appliance for non-techies really and it will suit them well. I can imagine my mum using one and she's scared to even sit at the computer desk. Techies will be disapointed though... I am.

        Hopefully HP's slate will have better functionality and a similar price... too much to hope for?

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      There's a simpler answer

      You press a button and it's on. No booting, no hour long slowdown because of the half daily virus updates, no gazillion plug-ins and apps that mention they can be updated, AND MUST OR DOOM WILL BEFALL YOU - which slows you down because you need AGAIN a reboot.

      No. Lift, click, swipe, you're in business.

      That's what's missing from most Netbooks as well.

      It's bloody 2010 and I STILL have to wait for a computer to start, and even wait during ordinary word processing because it's soo busy picking up updates and updating Microsoft that I may have a competing app on my system and animating cursors it doesn't get round to handle my %&ç* keystrokes.

      That is what the iPad appears to fix..

      1. DrunkenMessiah
        Thumb Down

        Re: There's a simpler answer

        No, that's what smartphones fixed... it's just this has a bigger screen.

  28. Mark Serlin
    Gates Horns

    Re: Where does it fit though?

    Yes! I've got a Dell XPS and it's absolutely shit at playing HD video.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Field working?

    I see it replacing a hard-cover paper notebook at school (or feet-up handwriting laying on a couch). Does it recognize handwriting, should you use it just as a paper-notebook?

    Can it withstand your regular wooden-plank-real-life clipboard binder? I see people walking around storage areas taking notes on inventory (or reading barcode tags), or (battle) field engineers, that need a laptop's power, but not their weight, using that, or architects walking about woking on to-do checklists. If all you are carrying is this and a stylus, you may not even need the clipboard after all.

    This is where your regular Tablet PC fails; they are not handheld, and are quite heavy.

    Make it rugged and waterproof and we have a go.

    It almost fits the UPS delivery guy handheld's duty. Almost.

    1. Adam T


      The case looks to be rubberised, which would be nice. Be more reassuring if it was reinforced, but then it probably wouldn't fit with Steve Ives "beautiful" plans.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not really HD though.

    Whilst I'm sure the iPad will play HD, it's not actually an HD device. 1024x768 isn't it? 720p is 1280x720. So the iPad will have to downscale. Sure, on such a tiny screen it probably won't be noticable, but still. Not HD.

  31. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    Very good point.

    This article raises a very good point. To everyone whining 'but it doesn't actually receive TV...' - would you really want an aerial sticking up from it? It's got WiFi, and that's all you need. And out of the house, you could have 3G. will provide you with most of the live Freeview channels. and others (4OD etc) will provide you with catchup services.

    I use to stream live TV on my iPhone - as long as there's a relatively uncluttered 3G signal, it's as smooth as glass.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would have one

    The missus has been looking for something to show cookery books on in the kitchen. This device (ok too expensive) would be good for that if you drop it down from under a cupboard.

    1. DrunkenMessiah
      Paris Hilton


      But then any e-reader will do that just as well and you'll get models out there for half the price if not less...

    2. Semihere

      Not wanting to be obvious...

      ...but something already exists to perform this function perfectly. Has she tried, erm, cookery books!?!? ;p

  33. lozb

    it could be used as a tv - but it should be so much more

    It could be used as a tv just by going to this address

    Which is already optimised for the iPhone. So it should work straight out the box (as long as you're on wifi - 3G sucks).

    It's hard to think that three since the release of the iPhone this is all they could muster in a bigger format. Everyone knew it would look pretty, that's a given with Apple. But they didn't really innovate much here. Just stretched everything - seriously look at the apps, they're just stretched (yes of course until developers tweak the UI).

  34. Tom Chiverton 1

    Ya see

    Ya see, if it was a portable internet connected TV, it would have to support Flash. Apple won't let it. Game over for something like 75% of online video. Including the BBC iPlayer you cited.

    Oh well.

    1. chr0m4t1c


      That the iPlayer works on the iPhone, which also doesn't do flash, it just dishes up different format content when accessed through one.

      MP4 for video, mp3 for audio, IIRC.

      That's how the various downloaders get your unrestricted content for you - they pretend to be an iPhone.

      I expect that it'll be supported by the "new" HTML5 YouTube too, which should cover a good percentage of that online video quite soon.

  35. R 4

    The thing I like about my telly...

    ... is that its screen is not covered with fingerprints and gravy stains.

  36. Elsie
    Thumb Down


    I find it rather strange that El Reg is trying to justify the existance of the iPad as something not even Jesus Jobs thought of. Portable TV ... My 4rse!

    3 years ago I bought an Archos AV500 and watched downloaded TV shows / movies and took this everywhere I went. Last year I bought an Archos 5g and carried on watching downlaoded shows AND I have a touch screen and access to the 'net.

    So what is so special about a BIG iPod touch? This product from Apple is a monumental c0ck up but it didn't need to be. If they bring out a version than can multitask, that can use 'All of the 'net" (i.e. play Flash) and has a webcam for Skype use, then I'll gladly pay for one.

  37. Andus McCoatover

    TV in your home..

    "In short, the TV in your living room is no longer a television - it's a general-purpose display system."

    Absolutely, and what an eye-opener. OK, we're a bit old-fashioned in the McCoatover household, we were using a 12-year old 14" telly. As we watch TV about 2x/week, didn't seem worth changing.

    However, local department store here has 'Mad Days' where they reduce - dramatically - some things. So I bought a Philips 32" LCD thingy for €400.

    I still haven't exhaused its capabilities. Today's task - will it display my netbook display? Can it display my Finnish language learning videos stored on a memory stick? Quite probably.

    But I don't think, at twice the price of the telly, I'll be rushing out for an iPad. Don't think many others will, either.

  38. Stef 2

    The iTampon

    Like all Apple products, it has strings attached.

    No USB.

    No Flash.

    No SD card slot.

    No multi-tasking.

    Overpriced and U.G.L.Y.

  39. Carl Williams

    Remember the old saying

    About a fool and his money. Never has it been anymore appropriate than to anyone who buys this.

  40. IR


    So it has flash, since that is what most tv streaming is based on? If not then it is useless as a tv.

  41. Piloti
    Jobs Horns

    Tony, are you 'avin' a larf.... ?

    "" It's also arguably the first true information appliance. "" .....

    I'm sorry Tony but, this time you are barking mad.

    Utterly. The Ipad is a me too product treading the evolutionary path laid out before it and is, arguably, a colour Kindle with some bloatware......

    If I dd not know better, I would sware you are on the fuity payroll with comments like this.....

    I am huge fan of El Reg [and HW Reg] but there is a huge amout of tripe comign from Reg towers about Apple / iphone /ipod blah blah blah.....

    If yo really love the ver hyped paper weights so much, give them a microsite of their own, and stop filling Reg's otherwise fine pages with this turgid drivel.....


  42. Ivan Headache

    @ Tony

    It's not very often you have to make so many posts in the comments section!

    For me the only downside is that lack of a tuner. Until Apple/Adobe sort out there differences I won't be able to watch Formula 1 on it live.

    The promo video on Apple's site gives the impression that this thing is no slouch so I'm sure you're right about it not being underpowered.

    However, We'll have to wait to see what it's like when we can get our hands on one. - I think they'll sell truck-loads.

  43. Robert Hill

    Nice analysis, wrong analogy

    I think what this REALLY is was shown in Kubrick's "2001" movie. There is a scene where Bowman is sitting and eating alone on the ship while almost everyone else is in stasis, and he takes a recorded video message from his parents wishing him Happy Birthday. He watches it on a notepad sized device that has an edge to edge screen with video playback, no thicker than a pad, that also displays text.

    THAT is what this is - Kubrick's notepad from 2001.

    Hey Steve, Stanley's lawyers would like a word...

  44. ian 22

    Re: Hmmm

    I had been expecting a true jesu-pad, like the iPhone, only more. That it isn't is a disappointment. Steve seems to expect that we'll be lugging an iPhone AND an iPad. I'll wait before calling FAIL, at least until the 3G-enabled version. Seems only fair.

  45. JonGMH

    BBC iPlayer

    Didn't I read that it doesn't have a flash capability? Therefore you wont even get BBC iPlayer on it.

    I really cannot see the point of this thing. A glorified iPod Touch for the mindless generation.

  46. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    TV ?

    A reasonable analogy but perhaps computer monitor with an embedded PC bolted on its back ( albeit tidied up and nicely packaged ) is a better one.

    And there's not really much difference to this and what a digital picture frame is. The original Elonex One seemed to be precisely that, picture frame with a detachable keyboard.

    The question then is how this iFad [sic] is any different to or better than those ? Application, connectivity, packaging, marketing and Fanboi appeal really.

    What I want to know is why, if they can make digital picture frames for around a tenner, do these devices cost hundreds of pounds ?

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Apple's hype goes like this...

    Let me guess a couple things that are about to happen about the IPad:

    - Battery not serviceable / replaceable. Yet someone finds a way to hack it out and replace it anyways.

    - It is supposed to play TV, yet no P2 audio connector, proprietary connector only. (OK, this one may fail...)

    - Should the firmware go bonkers (handhelds are dropped you know), no way to reboot / reset / reinstall the thing. Only Apple themselves can repair it, because there is no SSD, flash, hard drive in it to boot from. It boots straight from a proprietary IC.

    - Should any form of online chat be created for it, you will be typing straight at the console, so words like quit, reset, reboot will cause the thing to shutdown out of the frikkin' blue.

    - You can only buy it bundled with an AT&T contract in the 3G version (phone line), even if you live in a country where most people don´t even know what AT&T means.

    - There are no means whatsoever to plug it on previous generations IPods and watch all the MP4 movies that got ripped into them. Not without some hacking, anyways...

    - All the docking stations made by 3rd party companies for Ipods are immediately incompatible, yet it the iPad uses the same IPod pinout.

    - You can't plug an IPod in it, neither you can plug it in a 42" TV, and use it as a set-top box HD tuner.

    - Someone will find a way to plug a GSM sim card and a webcam into it, and use it on a "I enlarged my iPhone" practical joke, (picture someone holding it beside head) but it turns out that it can actually make phone calls and video conferencing better than any Nokia's.

    - It will star on a "Will it Blend" show, but you can't watch it on the device itself, since the site runs on Flash.

    - Some hacker on-call will dissassemble it online, just to find out what makes it tick. With plenty pictures and ripping "void warranty" tags off involved. He will find out that only a couple plastic screws keep the whole thing together.

    - Some other hacker will find a way to make it run Linux, using some sort of memory stack overflow. It will run faster than the original firmware. An associate to this guy finds out that the CPU can be replaced by an Intel Atom and extend battery life to a fortnight. It is revealed later by a former Apple employee that the original processor is in fact an Atom processor rebadged and overclocked to 2GHz, otherwise HD video would not be possible.

    - Life goes on

    - Someone calls it "Jesus TV" should it ever catches fame.

  48. CC
    Thumb Down

    Too big and too small

    So, how are you supposed to keep it with you and how do you keep from scratching the screen up?

    I also wonder how hot it will get and when it will burst into flames, other than that it just makes no sense.

  49. markp 1
    Jobs Horns


    My 3+ year old tablet already does all that stuff just fine, including streamed 720p material (and though I haven't tested it, probably playing 1080i off its 120gb disc or a wifi-linked NAS - though it's only XGA itself it does have SVideo and VGA/component out), AND I can edit word documents whilst playing iPlayer radio catchup in the background. Pretty sure some old 10" slates my workplace threw away recently could at least manage the SD stuff, which would be just fine on their old SVGA-rez screens (still better than an iPhone).

    Can even hide away the keyboard and just have it as a battery powered, portable 12" LCD TV (or write with onscreen keyboard and handwriting recognition). Whether the TV feed is powered through the iPlayer ---- or over analogue or DVB with the plug-in receiver card I have (and even if it didn't have the card slot I could use a USB 2.0 one).

    Oh yeah, and my battery is replacable, and I can get pretty cheap 3G coverage with a USB dongle.

    Stitch that, Jobs.

    1. Robert Hill

      My 4 year Toshiba M200 tablet does all that too too...

      but it gets nowhere near 10 hours of battery life - about 90 to 120 minutes tops. And that is QUITE limiting in terms of using it untethered...

      And it's a fair guess that the resistive screen of your tablet is about as compromised as the one on my Toshiba - a very high resolution, but dulled by the resistive coating in a way that makes photos and video at best 6 out of 10. If the screen on the iPad is like the Touch, it's miles better for media.

      Finally, our old tablets need the most dreaded of all devices - a STYLUS!!! And that just doesn't do it...multitouch is a real bitch with a single stylus for example, as are gestures. In short, our UI will never be all that hot - a limitation of the hardware of the time.

  50. markp 1

    By the way........

    .... if the XGA screen is anything like the WXGA one in the Macbook, it'll look like arse for showing video content. It's like some kind of STN from the late 90s. Horrible viewing angle range, contrast and reaction time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's an IPS screen, same as the current iMacs

      which everyone seems to agree are way ahead of Macbook panels

  51. Ivan Headache


    works beautifully on my iPod. What doesn't work is LIVE telly!

    Similarly, YouTube works beautifully on the iPod.

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