On Wednesday the mysterious Apple iPad has been announced. Phase 2. And because a lot of people know that I’m an Apple fanboy and feel the urge to discuss “what does not work on the iPad and why it is crap” with me I’d like to finally outline a few thoughts about this device….
What the iPad is and what it is not
- The iPad is not a computer replacement. It is not meant to be your only computer in a household. Yes, it might work out for some special cases (my mum, my dad) but the average geek will still need a separate computer for development, hacking etc.
- The iPad does support multi-tasking. You can listen to music while browsing the Web. All well-coded applications will remember the application state, so going to a link while reading a mail will open up the very same mail once you open up the mail application again. IM has proven to work very well using Push notifications and I bet there will be better support for Push in the next release of the iPad OS (list all notifications etc.).
- The iPad cannot make phone calls and therefore is also no cell phone replacement. Well, you can make calls using i.e. Skype and a Bluetooth headset. Who wants such a large cell phone anyway? I never really understood that kind of comment…. it’s no phone at all! The iPad is a iPod Touch on steroids and targets unusable, slow Netbooks with Windows on it. So it is also no cell phone replacement.
- The iPad has three (3!) different keyboards. You can use the onscreen keyboard, which (according to my experience with the iPhone) will work very well in most cases. As alternatives you can use a Bluetooth keyboard or use the keyboard-dock. Plenty of options for faster typing.
- The pricing is quite ok – yes, you can get laptops for the same price, but take into account the quality of these low-end devices. Apple stuff is always a bit more expensive (no need to complain!), but on the other hand you get a device that just works. No fiddling with Firewalls, no RegEdit, all stuff that you don’t really need.
What I miss on the iPad
These features would make the iPad of real use to me and I think they are missing in the current version of the device:
- Wireless sync. I don’t see any reason for plugging the iPad to my computer to sync music and videos. Why can’t it sync over the air (when it is plugged to a power source)?
- Multi-User support. No need for two iPads in our household, but two separated user accounts would be great.
- Airtunes support to stream music directly to the speakers, instead of just remote-controlling the MacBook.
- A front-mounted camera would be great for Skype or iChat video conferencing. Eventually also to detect who is using the iPad (see multi-user support above).
- Cheaper e-Books. I don’t understand why I should pay the same price for an e-Book as for a paper book. The publisher saves money on printing, I have to buy a reader… so get cheaper!
- Tethering through an iPhone. I have an iPhone, so why do I need an additional 3G contract? Let me tether through the iPhone, because contract in Austria allow me to use my 3GB monthly volume how I want to use it. Could also use the iPhone GPS location…
Will I buy it?
Let me quote someone here:
To hell with it! It’s not something I need. It doesn’t solve any problems I have. I can resist. I am strong. I may be “Mr. Mac,” but I am also “Mr. Practical.”
Which is exactly what I said when the iPhone came out. 3 days later I was in the Apple Store eagerly holding out my credit card to anyone who would take it. (source)
So: I don’t know yet. Most probably I’ll skip the first generation and wait for an upgrade. It is also depending on the iPhone 4 which is to be released this summer (yes, my contract is finally over!) and what features it offers. And of course what features Apple will add to the iPad over time…