I hate to crap in the punchbowl but I’m somewhat of a techie dude and an Apple fanboy and, so far, I’m a bit disappointed in what I’ve seen from Apple’s brand new iPad. I own a laptop and it’s great for helping me work. I own an iPhone and it’s the best mobile device around. I own a Kindle and it has truly reignited my love of reading. So, what the heck am I going to do with an iPad? Maybe I’m not the target market. Maybe, if you own all three of these devices, you’d be foolish to dole out $700+ for an iPad. And yes, I know that the device starts at $499 but, seriously, if this is truly going to change the way you listen to music, do work, watch TV shows and movies, etc. you’re going to need at least 64GB. Heck, I have 32GB+ of music alone! So, again, maybe Apple isn’t going after me and my money. But, even if you only have two of the three devices, would you seriously consider buying an iPad? Let’s assume that everyone who gives a flying fig about the iPad in the first place owns a laptop that they consider serviceable. I think that’s fair. That leaves three scenarios: a laptop owner who also owns an iPhone (but no Kindle), a laptop owner who also owns a Kindle (but no iPhone) and a laptop owner with neither an iPhone nor a Kindle. Scenario 1: Laptop + iPhone. My guess is that if you own a laptop and an iPhone, you aren’t going to spring for a device that ads the functionality of an eBook reader and little else. Anyone who has ever used a Kindle knows that the advantage of the device isn’t the capacity to hold thousands of books or the ability to download books and articles on demand; the advantage is the opaque screen/e-ink system that makes reading just as easy on your eyes as reading actual ink on paper. It might even be easier! Couple that with the fact that Amazon eBooks are cheaper than all other books (“e” or not) and the Kindle will pay itself off in a year for an avid reader; Apple plans to charge around $15/book for a smaller selection of books. I hate reading off of my monitor, I hate reading off of my laptop and I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that I’d hate reading off of yet another backlit device like the iPad. Here’s an idea, Apple: either make a device that can somehow transition from a backlit screen to an opaque screen seamlessly or stop calling the device “magical.” Yes, I know that that would be a tall order but a tall order is what you expect when your spokespeople refer to a single device as “magical” more than three times in a single presentation! Scenario 2: Laptop + Kindle. Now, let’s say you own a laptop and a Kindle (or similar device) but no iPhone. Well, perhaps the iPad is for you, right? Umm… wrong. Considering the size of the iPad, it’s not going into your pocket. Considering the price of the iPad, you’re not just going to tuck it under your arm; you’re going to need a messenger bag. So, if I need a messenger bag and I’ve already got my laptop and Kindle in my messenger bag, there’s no reason add an iPad to the mix.
To be honest, it would just make more sense to purchase a cheaper, 85% as functional iPhone at this point or just be satisfied with whatever functionality my current phone/smart phone brings to the table. Keep in mind, the iPad cannot make calls. If you are a real genius and know how to jailbreak your iPad and use a sweet combination of Google Voice and Skype, you could probably fix that but, for most normal folks, the iPad is just a big iPod touch, not a big iPhone.Scenario 3: Laptop only. Even given a $599 price point for the non-3G, 32GB model of the iPad, I could literally go buy a $299 32GB iPhone 3GS and a $259 Kindle and have $41 left over to take my girlfriend to go see Avatar in 3D. To boot, I’d have a better, truly mobile device and a better, e-ink-based eBook reader. Assuming I own pockets and a bag for my laptop. I’ve sacrificed nothing in terms of convenience. The only thing I’ve ignored so far is gaming, which, apparently, some crazy people would plan on doing with their iPad. Most gamers would probably agree that this is a joke. Also, if I saw a guy holding his iPad at “ten and two” with his arms outstretched, twisting at the shoulders as if he were driving a Formula 1 car through a series of chicanes, I would walk up and slap the device onto the ground out of principle. Really? You’re going to use a $700+ piece of equipment as a virtual steering wheel in public? That’s just unacceptable. Wait until you get home and play Xbox like an adult! I love Apple. It’s up there with my favorite brands: Google, Pixar, Alberton’s Generic Oatmeal, etc. I’m loyal to them because they almost always get it right. I still hope that I’m proven wrong about the iPad, however, unless I’m missing something big, it looks like it’s poised to be the biggest flop since the last Apple tablet: the Newton. The only way I could imagine someone justifying purchasing this thing is because it’s worth the price to them as a status symbol alone. If that happens and the iPad succeeds, the good news will be that the recession is officially over and Americans are ready to start irresponsibly burning cash again! [See a review of Apple’s presentation at Engadget]
[Edit: Additional, damning review from Gizmodo]