I’m a gadget freak. i was [at least one of] the first on my block to have a DVD player, a Tivo, a smart phone (before they were called that), a mobile broadband device (Mi-Fi card), a bluetooth headset, a Drobo, and a Netgear Digital Media Receiver. Every one of those devices has significantly changed the way I do things, although the first one (DVD player) was replaced by the last one (Netgear EVA 2000). Non-ripped DVDs are SOOOO last year.
But the iPad let me wondering “Why?” But after a while I decided to try one out. What the heck, I figured. I can always return it.
Return it I did. Want to know why?
Here are my somewhat disjointed thoughts about why my experience can be summed up with the following:
- There’s nothing I can do with this (that’s important) that I can’t do with my laptop
- I can’t use it as my laptop
So it’s an extra device that I have to carry that doesn’t add anything to my experience.
- Holding it is weird
- Viewing it completely flat is strange, so you have to prop it up to use it. This means holding it up in your lap somehow, and I never found a comfortable way to do this that felt natural. It’s not like it’s an iPhone or Blackberry that I can hold in one hand and use, so the whole “hold in one hand/arm while using with the other arm” thing never worked for me — especially if I wanted to do two-handed typing, which I never mastered on that thing.
- It’s too heavy as an e-book reader
- At 1.5 lbs, it’s more than twice as heavy as the Kindle. While holding 10.5 ounces in your hand for hours might seem OK, 24 ounces is a whole other story.
- The touch screen will be continually smudged
- I have a hard enough time keeping the screen on my laptop clean. I can’t imagine how smudged and scratched and unreadable this thing would be over time. Yuck.
- The Wi-fi was slow
- I connected it to the same Wi-Fi that all my other devices in the house use. They use it fine, but it was slow on the iPad. It took a ridiculously long time, for example, to cache a five minute youtube video. Browsing other pages seemed slow as well. I’ve heard similar problems from other people.
- The virtual keyboard isn’t laid out like a real keyboard
- There is no row of numbers, arrow keys, and other important keys. You have to flip back and forth between numbers mode and letters mode. I could not use this keyboard on any regular basis. I’d have to add a real bluetooth keyboard. Now I’ve got a bluetooth keyboard in my lap that I have to hold, plus this other screen that I have to prop up… What a pain!
- You need a PC/Mac to use one
- I think it’s hilarious that so many people herald this as a device that will replace the PC or Mac. Hello! The first thing you have to do is plug it into a PC or Mac to do anything. And, as you will read later, it’s also the only way to back it up.
- You can only back it up to a PC/Mac
- The only way to back it up is to use the iTunes sync feature to sync the files on it to your PC/Mac/laptop. This is different than a Macbook (which I have), where I only need to bring a tiny portable USB hard drive. I plug it in, Time Machine comes on, and voila! It’s backed up. An iPad, on the other hand, would require me to bring my laptop with me if I wanted to get a regular back up.
- What? No Farmville?
- My wife took one look at it and said “No thanks.” She’s a Farmville fan. There are millions of other people that are addicted to Flash sites, and Apple’s insistence on not supporting Flash leaves them out in the cold. It’s bad enough that Apple dictates what I can manage my iPod with (I must use iTunes; they sued others out of the job), and what browser I can use. Telling me what applications I can and cannot run pushes things too far for me. Sorry, Steve. I’ll stick with just my Macbook for now, where I run what I want to run.
- Browsers aren’t ready for HTML5
- According to this blog post, Safari is not fully HTML5 compliant. In fact, it shows that none of the browsers are fully HTML5 compliant, and Safari is the least compliant. I’m actually all behind HTML5 vs Flash. But how about waiting until your browser (or anyone’s browser) fully supports it — and how about you wait until most sites on the Internet support it as well — to shove a device on us that requires us to use it?
- No Microsoft Office either
- The only have iLife. I may have converted from Windows to Mac, but I have not converted from MS Office. Not being able to edit and display MS Office files on this device is another reason why I’d have to carry my laptop with me.
- The hard drive is not big enough
- Apple, you’ve got me addicted to my media. I constantly carry about wel over 100 GB of Music and Video. This means that I wouldn’t be able to just sync my laptop to it; I’d have to do a selective sync, which is another pain — and another reason why I’d have to bring my laptop with me.
So it’s an extra device that would add another two pounds to my laptop bag (no thanks) that doesn’t do anything I can’t already do with my laptop. Why do I need it again?
If only I had a device that came with a real keyboard and would automatically hold the screen up for me. It would also be nice if the screen was larger than the iPad, and had a bigger (and real) keyboard, and came with a touchpad so I didn’t have to touch and smudge up the screen to use it. It would probably be able to use a real hard drive that would be a whole lot bigger than 32 or 64 GB one in the iPad. I could install all the applications that I wanted to install, including Flash and Microsoft Office (and anything else I can think of), and it could sit on top of my lap. Maybe the can call it an iLap. It would be nice if it cost close to $1000, which is just slightly more than a fully configured iPad.
Now that’s something I would buy. Too bad I’m just dreaming. Or maybe not.
BTW, the one I own also comes in with a built-in lap and foot heater for those warm nights. 😉
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Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technologist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.