Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My 2 Cents on the iPad

I know many of you are sick of hearing about all the iPad stuff, but I felt I needed to add my two cents here, because today's official announcement left me extremely disappointed and even a little pissed off.

I don't consider myself an Apple junkie, but I'm not an Apple hater either. I just prefer PCs over Macs for the control I have - it's got to be the programmer side of me coming out. And I could go into more details, but the fact of the matter is that I used Macs at school and PCs at home, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. And I have loved my iPhone, since the moment Andrew gave into my begging and got one for me for my birthday this summer. But I have no illusions that it's perfect.

Most apps are great for being on a phone, but I'd be disappointed with them if they were on my computer. And we won't even get into the battery "life", iTunes, lack of Flash support, and AT&T coverage woes (which some people are now saying has as much to do with iPhone antenna weakness as the actual coverage).

With all that said, I still am very happy with my iPhone for the most part. But why would I want all that in a supersized version? Because that's what it feels like the new iPad is going to be. Well, more like an oversized iPod Touch with some Kindle capabilities, but how is that helping me? When I heard tablet, I thought of something like HP's tablet computer (as featured on this season's Project Runway) or Wacom's Cintique, but Apple-style. So this announcement just feels like disappointment upon disappointment. Apple's successes with the iPod and iPhone were because they had the best product to fill a niche - one that they were pushing boundaries with. This feels like it's major steps backward. Let's go over a few things here.

The Kindle's strength is that it is amazingly easy to read the screen for long periods of time, even though it's not backlit. It does not refresh, and thus does not deplete battery life once the new page has been rendered (this is with the wi-fi connection turned off, which only makes sense because, unless you're downloading a book, there's no need to have the wi-fi on). This is also why the Kindle app on the iPhone makes no sense, because it doesn't show off its amazing screen. So why does Apple think their feminine product (OK, sorry, but "iPad" - how can you not think of feminine products and say that with a straight face?) is going to do a better job than that?

Battery life of the iPad = 10 hrs. Wow, not impressive. But we shouldn't have expected much with their history.

No Flash support. Just like the iPhone. Fabulous. Because, really, when you're surfing the web, when do you ever encounter Flash?! Seriously Flash should just come embedded in browsers these days, along with Java support. And if the appeal of this larger version is to see things better and surf the web easier, then what's the point if you can't see half of what's out there? Also, is it going to be showing mobile web versions of the sites or the regular? Because for the most part, the mobile versions are shite unless I have a specific plan of action on the site. For browsing purposes, I usually wait until I have access on a computer or brave the hopefully Flash-less full version of the site through Safari.

Exclusive contract - again - with AT&T? Because they've done so well by you in the past and everyone loves them? Right. Who's brilliant decision was that?

And no stylus? It's going to be how big and you have to smoosh your fingers all over it? I have a 3GS, and as much as it shows fewer fingerprints, I still have to clean it constantly or else I can't view what's on the screen. Plus, I have issues with carpel tunnel, and I hate to say it, but some apps I can't use on the iPhone because they only make the carpel tunnel worse. So some type of alternative really does seem necessary. And the keyboard is built into the screen, so it takes up half the screen? And, I have to admit, I have a really hard time with the typepad on the iPhone. And half the time auto-correct is my friend, and half the time it's a huge PITA.

Anyway, I think I've beaten this down enough. Yes, I'll be curious to see what it looks like, but I have no desire to own one of these. It just feels like it's trying to take on too many things when it doesn't do them well (hmm, a little like Microsoft, Adobe, and so many others who like to add new features to its programs and not fix the problems with their old versions?). Maybe they'll make big strides with future versions, but in the meantime, Apple, I'm disappointed in you. I've come to expect more. And it doesn't seem fair to have your QA done by the public who have to pay $500+ to do it. The Netbook is looking better and better.

To leave on a happier note, thanks to the joys of Twitter, I discovered this hilarious clip from MAD TV - from 3 years ago! Obviously the marketing people at Apple did not see this episode:

1 comment:

Laidlaw said...

I think you're really unfairly blaming apple for your disappointment. The reality is that apple wasn't responsible for getting your hopes up; tech journalists and the media were. When the day started yesterday, I had been convinced there would be (amongst other ridiculous speculation) built-in video conferencing, and a solar panel on the back of the device to charge it when you leave it face down. Apple didn't create those rumors, nor did they ever state that this was the greatest thing they've ever done.

You're right- it is basically a giant iPod Touch, with 3G access. As best as I can tell, they want this thing to be a Kindle-killer, not a revolutionary device, and it's priced accordingly. The only thing that surprised me yesterday was how easily I, and it seems like an entire industry, could fall for the media hype.

Either way, I'll be buying one anyway. All I wanted was an ebook reader that I could get online (in color) with. The fact that this also has a photo app and music app included are bonuses to me.

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