What exactly does Apple have to hide about the iPad? Ten days after CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad with words like "magical" and "revolutionary," any questions regarding key capabilities remain unanswered. If history is any guide, Apple's ongoing silence may mean the first-generation iPad will not be as compelling or as useful as many of us had hoped.
I've asked Apple a set of questions about what Jobs and Apple have not revealed about the iPad, and more than a week later, Apple PR has yet to get me the answers or receive permission to relay those answers publicly. Others in the press and analyst community are also getting the silent treatment regarding the iPad capabilities that matter to many prospective users.
[ Stay up on tech news and reviews from your smartphone at infoworldmobile.com. | Get the best iPhone apps for pros with our business iPhone apps finder. | See which smartphone is right for you in our mobile "deathmatch" calculator. ]
Famously tight-lipped, Apple often views the press as an extension of its marketing effort, treating all but a favored few to a sadistic game of hard-to-get. When Apple extends this silence beyond a product's razzmatazz unveiling, it's usually meant that the product in question could not deliver the functionality journalists have asked about. With that in mind, unanswered queries about the iPad may imply that the iPad is less "magical" and "revolutionary" than Jobs suggests.
Here are the questions Apple has not yet answered, and why the "silence = no" implications diminish the iPad's value:
iPad question No. 1: Can you save and transfer documents to the iPad?
Anyone who uses an iPhone or iPod Touch with an office productivity app such as Quickoffice knows how frustrating it is to access Office documents. You have to set up a wireless connection over a local Wi-Fi network, enter the IP address, and transfer the files, or you send the document via email on an Exchange account so that it can be opened as an attachment.
Apple says its "no save" restriction is meant to prevent malware from being placed on the iPhone or iPod Touch. I've never bought that argument, as the iPhone and iPod Touch allow you to save images to what is essentially a folder and sync those images via iTunes -- so why not other file types? Of course, that may be a loophole Apple is closing: The iPad's Photos app (a photo gallery), like the iWork for iPad app, appears to do away with saved photo files altogether, instead embedding them into the app itself.