April 08 2011
The tablet onslaught continues. Sales have been rising exponentially, with 17.6m shipped worldwide last year, and indications of some 48m this year, according to JP Morgan forecasts. But more specifically, it is an iPad onslaught, as it’s Apple that’s still hogging the sector with at least three-quarters of tablet sales – and that was before last month’s launch of the iPad2. Rivals, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the imminent BlackBerry PlayBook, keep coming, but are failing to impact iPad mania.
January’s CES technology show in Las Vegas was more accurately an iPad show. Though Apple wasn’t an exhibitor, hall after hall was dominated by things to use with your iPad. This terrific British iPad case with a detachable Bluetooth UK keyboard (a proper one including £, # and €) wasn’t out in time for Vegas but is perfect if you are a new laptop refusenik intent on making iPad, whether 1 or 2, your business-trip computer. (I’ve noticed a new thing on this score, by the way: people in meetings using an iPad for presentations rather than the tired old projector-and-PowerPoint.)
The Accuratus iMage for iPad ticks every traditional box for British consumer technology back to Psion and beyond. Idea: brilliant. Design: superb. Practicality: outstanding. Technical quality: great. Aesthetic quality: not so great. Branding, marketing and other fluffy stuff: appalling because it’s an entirely engineer-led product. Overall sexiness as a result: sub-zero. Hence chance of international success: not much.
The Accuratus iMage should be a worldbeater, however. It turns your iPad into a laptop that’s perfect for use on plane or train. As a carrying case, it does its job well (though the plastic leather displeases me). But the keyboard, which will last about 50 hours on one charge, is one of the most satisfying pieces of kit I’ve come across for ages.
One awkward question: can you use a Bluetooth device on an aircraft? I always thought not, but the British Airways website specifically says it’s OK. In my experience, though, once in a while you will have a problem.