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A game changer, but for which game?

I have seen an iPad and it is indeed a thing of beauty— so long as it's turned on. When it's turned off, an iPad goes from a butterfly to a cocoon; the fingerprint smudges show on the glass so much, it just looks awful. A friend/co-worker let me play with his iPad for just a minute or two. He hasn't had as many problems as some folks with his WiFi connection but he did say it was faster to read downloaded content than to read on the web.

One thing he showed me was a comic book he had downloaded, as well as some newspapers. Both things look great on the iPad. The iBook function is interesting. You can chose to make an iBook display in two open pages, like looking at a book. And of course, the touch screen— the reason for all those smudges— works beautifully when you "stroke" the corner of the page to "flip" it over. The Kindle for iPad app is okay but needs some work. I really think Amazon should put some effort into upgrading that ASAP. Right now Amazon has a real edge in books available in their store versus the iBooks store, but if they want iPad owners to buy books, they need to get cracking. These folks like glitz or they wouldn't have bought an iPad.

From what I have read on the web, I don't feel any compulsion to go out and buy an iPad. Sure it's the ultimate in shiny, but it's a lot of money for a tablet version of a netbook, especially a netbook that can't be hooked up to a printer or have a flash drive plugged in without buying an extra piece of hardware. I also don't like the fact that the iPad can't be your only "computer." Apparently, you need to connect it to your Mac or PC and snyc it with your iTunes account to even begin to use it.

Which is not to say I think the iPad won't be popular. I think it will. But as a "game changer" I see it having the most impact on netbook sales. That, to me, is its closest competition. The iPad has a better screen and is easier to use than most netbooks, but it won't multi-task and it has the above-mentioned hardware connectivity limitations. Also, the touchscreen keyboard is very good for a touchscreen keyboard, but I doubt most good typists will want to use it for any length of time. Typing an email on an iPad? No problem! Typing War and Peace? No so much. The only games I saw was a driving simulator; it looked like fun because the iPad functions like a combination steering wheel and throttle. I have no clue about other games.

The iPad is sized like a netbook; it's enough bigger than a Kindle 2 that carrying one in a purse will require a satchel-sized purse. On the other hand, the iPad will take less room in a backpack than a a true netbook because it's so much thinner. And unlike the WiFi, the battery actually weeks better than advertised, 12 hours or so, instead of ten. Still nowhere as good as the two weeks I get with my Kindle but then you can't watch movies on a Kindle. I still prefer an e-ink screen for reading hours at a stretch, but I don't think most iPad owners are going to read for hours.

I think Steve Jobs was really smart about one thing. He offered a stripped down model for $500. Now when people who want an iPad compare prices, they think they will get the $500 model because it sounds so reasonable. But when they look at what it has, they will decide they need more memory or the 3G connection, and then before they know it, they've spent over $800!

So, what about you? I have a brief poll about the iPad, if you wouldn't mind letting me know what you think about this new thing that isn't quite anything else.

Poll #1548569 Is there an iPad in your future?

Do you think you will buy an iPad in the next year?

Already got one!
Yes, as soon as I get around to it
Yes, but I want to wait a few months to let things shake out
Not this year, but maybe next year when the iPad 2 comes out
No way! I have no need for an iPad
No way! I hate Apple
What's an iPad?

If you answered yes, in any variation, what do you think you would use an iPad for? Please check all that apply.

surfing the web
reading magazines
reading books
reading newspapers
watching movies
getting maps and directions
playing games
other apps that I will mention in a comment

Where do you anticipate using the iPad most?

at home
at work
while travelling
while commuting
I plan to take it with me everywhere!

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
I'm somewhere between "I hate Apple" and "I have no need for an iPad". The last time I bought something electronic that cost $500 or more and was an "I want" purchase was a receiver I bought back in 2002. While it technically was a "yay, I love cool stuff" purchase, the 14 year old receiver it replaced was starting have significant repair issues.

I just don't see spending $500 for a gee whiz device that will be obsolete in three years. A desktop computer can at least be upgraded in hardware to keep functional over a longer period of time, and even a laptop can benefit from the minimal hardware improvements. But a tablet that I really don't need for stuff I don't use? At least when I spent $500 for a shortwave receiver in 2000, I knew I was going to keep it for over a decade and it wasn't going to be obsolete before then.

The big killer for me is the inability to read in bright sunlight. If you spend $500 for an eReader Plus, you ought to be able to take it out to the park, spread out a blanket, and read in the sun.
Apr. 8th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
The bright sunlight thing is important if you are thinking of it for traveling. The last time we were in Mexico, I had a netbook and my kindle. The only place wifi worked in our hotel was the pool area. I could read the netbook only by draping a jacket over my head and shoulders but the Kindle screen was great.

Apr. 8th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
I have a feeling there's going to be other iPad created by other companies, so I'll just wait until all the dust settles.
Apr. 8th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
I think you are right! Some of them look pretty interesting, too, like this one:


Edited at 2010-04-08 06:47 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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