iPad Spectrum Comparison Review

11th August 2010 · Last updated: 5th October 2016

iPad equals Spectrum?

The iPad is surely the modern equivalent of the Sinclair Spectrum home computer from the Eighties. Similar in size and shape, both can only run one program or task at a time. Both are limited in memory and capability compared to larger computing devices. Both machines challenge the user to do more with less.

Although sound and graphics were poor on the Spectrum, it didn't matter. It rocked. This tiny machine revolutionised the UK home computer market, leading to a wave of add-ons and dedicated magazines. It was seminal, a landmark in the history of personal computing.

While the cheapest Spectrum came initially with just 16K of memory, today the cheapest iPad comes with a 16Gb flash drive. Of course the Spectrum had to be connected to a television to see anything, while the iPad has a built-in touchscreen.

Both have keyboards. The Spectrum's was rubber, with painted lettering on the keys that wore off after time. The iPad has an on-screen keyboard, or you can hook it up to a dock for heavy typing. Later versions of the Spectrum had plastic keys instead of rubber.

The iPad is sure to become as equally groundbreaking as the Spectrum. Hopefully it will be continuously improved over many years, following the evolutionary pattern of the much-loved iPod. Future improvements are anyone's guess, but it's an easy bet that, beside the likely addition of multitasking, there'll be more memory added, a faster processor and maybe a higher resolution or larger screen. Should be good.

One last thing. There's already a Spectrum emulator app for the iPad called ZedX. History repeating itself?