Biolans harbor mixed feelings about iPad

iPad craze is still buzzing around the country, but at Biola’s Apple computer store, only 12 have been sold since it was released last month.

FILE - In this Jan. 27 file photo, the iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)


FILE – In this Jan. 27 file photo, the iPad is shown after it was unveiled at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Andrew Entzminger, Writer

More than one million iPads have been sold since it was released on April 3, but Biola students don’t seem to be buying them.

The bookstore has only sold about 12 to students, faculty and staff since re-opening after spring break.

The pricing currently ranges between $499 and $829, depending on the model and features, which is a hefty price tag for most students, but with over 180,000 applications available and the potential for even more useful applications coming out in the future make it a valuable tool for students.

“I use it in class to take notes,” said senior Ryan Hoog, an early adopter of the iPad who bought it just a few days after release. “It’s fast and easy to type on so I don’t feel like I’m falling behind. Also, it’s nice that I can replicate any illustrations the professor draws with one of the sketch [applications] — something that’s a lot more difficult to do with a traditional laptop.”

Hoog may have been quick to adopt it, but its steep price has shied away many students who contemplated purchasing it. Freshman Ben Coulton is waiting for the next generation to come out and for the price to drop.

“It is too expensive for something I don’t need,” Coulton said. “I already have a laptop.”

The iPad’s price point may make it a hard purchase to justify, especially considering many Windows laptops cost less than the lowest priced iPad. But the iPad isn’t meant to be a replacement for a laptop; it’s meant to compliment a laptop and a smart phone.

Apple is placing the device in a third category of devices, somewhere between the smart phone and the laptop. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, said during an announcement event on Jan. 27 that the device is not meant to compete with popular netbooks.

“[Netbooks] aren’t better than a laptop at anything,” Jobs said. “They’re just cheaper.”

One feature students might find enticing is the iBooks application. This free application allows owners to read books on the iPad, and to buy books from its built-in bookstore. Because of this application, many students may decide that the iPad is worth their while. So far, five major publishers have signed deals with Apple to release books on the service, with more contracts in the works.

The possibility of being able to read textbooks on the sleek iPad display makes the device seem like more of a bargain, but the iPad is still $240 more than its main eReader competitor, the Amazon Kindle, although the added features that the iPad offers seem give it an advantage.

The device isn’t quite ready to replace a computer for a student. It doesn’t yet feature support for printers, and the built in browser doesn’t support Adobe Flash, which is the default for most online video streaming.

It also doesn’t yet support multitasking; so only one application can run at a time, which makes its functionality limited. Plans are in the works to add this feature to the device, and when they come to fruition, it might just have enough features to justify a purchase.

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