Despite that, we have been exposed to a lot of buzz about the iPad being nothing more than an oversized iPod touch. And although the hardware is, essentially, just that -- a bigger version of the touch, running the same apps from the same App Store -- there's more to it than that simplified explanation.
Yesterday, TUAW explored eight use cases wherein the iPhone provides a better solution than the iPad, examining the iPhone-specific niche and situations where the iPhone took first place in usability. Today, we're turning that comparison on its head. Of course, there are situations for which the iPad is better suited than the iPhone. Here is our incomplete list of how the iPad outshines its sibling.
Read on for the list...
- Superior browsing. If you're over the age of 40, chances are good that the iPad's better screen size transforms your Internet browsing experience. Reading from the iPhone screen can be painful, especially for users with less than perfect vision. You needn't be old, however, to recognize how the iPad brings browsing to the next level. Even with 20-20 sight, the crisp, large display enhances the Web, letting you see more of a page at once, and at a resolution that's more human. The iPad display is nearly the size of real magazine page and that difference means a better browsing experience.
- Better book reading. We originally had this point combined with the superior browsing, but decided to break it out into its own idea. That's because iBooks on the iPad is, of its own, a winning point for the iPad over the iPhone. Yes, we know that books are coming to the iPhone, but that experience will always be a compromise because the iPad's form factor is book-like and the iPhone's is not. Pages that look like real pages, that read like real pages, that turn like real pages are a huge factor in making the iPad a perfect match to reading books. The iPad provides a superior experience not just for browsing live feeds on the Internet (our first point), but also for sitting and reading a book in a way that doesn't demand compromise.
- Superior video experience. Hello! The iPad the perfect solution for letting your kids watch video on-the-road (they call it "Funner." You'll call it peace and quiet). If you're watching any kind of movies or TV shows, the iPad simply offers a better viewing experience. And it does this in ways that the iPhone cannot unless you use the iPhone's video-out capabilities with an external monitor. If you have a long car trip and a kid or two, the answer is clear. The iPad wins. Speaking of which, do you want to place a wee little iPhone onto the magazine stand of your treadmill for work-out entertainment or do you want the full iPad display? Yeah, we do too. Whether you're watching last night's Fringe or just catching up with your Netflix must-watch list, the iPad provides the perfect treadmill, stepper, or exerbike companion. You bring the exercise equipment and the magazine rack; the iPad will provide the entertainment.
- The lightweight home desktop. The iPad is the ultimate transformer. You can use it straight without any accessories whatsoever, or you can attach a few hardware items and transform the iPad into a lightweight desktop system that the iPhone can't replicate. Whether you're looking for an Internet solution in the kitchen, the living room, or the guest room, the iPad delivers a workable touch-based display that can easily be integrated with accessories like speakers, stands, keyboards, and more.
- Working on the go. Need to get a little extra work done while out on the road? Connect the iPad to an external Bluetooth keyboard and you're golden. A simple stand ensures that you'll be able to see what you're typing, even from a foot or more away. Although the 4.0 OS reportedly supports iPhone keyboard access, the iPhone just doesn't provide the same convenience, mostly due to its diminutive size. All-in-one cases like the iPad ClamCase make it easier and easier to take work-ready features on the go. Need to write an emergency letter at Starbucks with just a phone? You can do that now. Want to work on a few presentations, update a spreadsheet, and maybe edit a term paper? The accessorized iPad does it better. Best of all, with or without an external keyboard, the iPad doesn't require the finger size of a newborn to get your work done.
- Embedding. It's not impossible to embed an iPhone into a cabinet. But why would you want to? The iPad offers a much better solution for embedded displays. Like the iPhone, it delivers built-in Internet access and easily-configured power and sync options but it does so with a compelling screen size that integrates beautifully with cabinetry, museum displays, and information kiosks. It offers this at an excellent price point and with a touch-screen size that better matches real-world situations of people standing a foot or two away from the device.
- Two-player, one-device games. Although the original iPhone form factor continues to provide an excellent gaming device, the iPad has allowed games to grow in novel and exciting ways. Two-player gaming on the same device is something that the iPad provides naturally, where two hands or even two sets of hands can manipulate the same game at once. My kids and I often play games such as Plants vs Zombies together, with the iPad sitting face up on the floor. It's not something that we could have done in the iPhone game space. Although multitouch games debuted in the iPhone world, it's only in the iPad realm that so many fingers on so many hands can really make best use of the technology. We're still waiting for a totally killer Air Hockey game -- let us know if you've found one that you love.
- Better batteries. Admittedly, the iPhone is on its way to an exciting 3rd generation refresh. (For those keeping track, the original iPhone and 3G were 1st generation units, i.e. models 1,1 and 1,2. The 3GS was a 2nd generation unit, with a model number of 2,1. Just thought we'd be clear on that point.) Surely that refresh will include the kind of innovative battery solutions we've seen Apple employ with Mac Books and the new iPad. For now though, it's sad to compare the iPhone battery with the iPad one. The iPad battery rules, often giving people the flexibility to recharge every day or two rather than every single night, and sometimes several times per day. Here at TUAW we're big battery booster users for our iPhones. Our iPads simply don't need that.