What iPad’s guided tours don’t tell you

Apple’s online videos work hard to sell its new tablet computer — too hard

For those who haven’t put their hands on an iPad, the 11 guided tours Apple (AAPL) posted on its website Monday may be the next best thing to using one.

The videos, which range from a minute 20 seconds to just over four minutes, are as slick and colorful as any Apple television ad, and they do a great job of selling the device.

But they are also peppered with the kind of hype and hyperbole that sets critics’ teeth on edge. In some cases, their claims step dangerously close to the line.

The one that bothered us the most is the description of the onscreen keyboard in the Mail app tour:

“It’s nearly the same size as a notebook keyboard, so it’s effortless to type on … With this keyboard at your fingertips, typing is easy and incredibly fast.”

We’ve tried the iPad’s onscreen keyboard. Using it is neither easy, effortless nor incredibly fast.

Below: Some of the other sins of commission or omission that struck us. You can add your own.


“With YouTube on iPad, all of your favorite videos are just a touch away.” Unless your favorite video is in Flash, in which case it’s on another device.

UPDATE: As a few dozen readers have informed me, the iPhone’s YouTube problem was solved some time ago. Apparently I didn’t get the memo. Hulu, however, is still a problem.


“And with the long-lasting iPad battery, you can watch video for up to 10 hours.” Oh yeah? Then why, as the onscreen clock hits 10, does this caveat appear in small gray print: “Battery life depends on settings, usage and configuration.”

UPDATE: The early reviewers have been getting better than 11 hours of video playback. I stand happily corrected.


For attachments like PDFs or Microsoft Office documents, just tap on them. They open up so you can view them full screen.” Sure, you can view the documents. But can you edit them?


“Keynote on iPad is the most powerful presentation application ever made … for a mobile device.” (Ellipses added.) Without those last four words, you would think Apple had never heard of Microsoft (MSFT) PowerPoint.


“And since the keyboard is nearly as big as a notebook keyboard, typing is fast and comfortable.” Compared with what, an iPhone?

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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