If you’re like me, you’re as intrigued as the next person by the iPad. We’ve gone from desktops to laptops to small laptops to even smaller laptops (aka “netbooks”) and now, the iPad. The device looks great and if you love your iPod Touch as much as I do, it seems like playing your favorite games and using your favorite apps on a ginormous screen would be awesome. But is it $499 worth of awesome? Sadly, not for me. To determine if the iPad is for you, put the price aside for a second and ask yourself the following 3 questions:

 

1 – Do you read books/ebooks? One of the major selling points of the iPad is the convenience and beauty of reading books/comics/etc. but alas, I personally don’t read books. I like the idea of reading books! Unfortunately, I just don’t have the attention span to sit down and read a book. So, if you’re like me, this selling point is absolutely useless.

 

2 – Do you need a portable media player (movies, music, et al) the size of a magazine? Well, it would be cool to have a video player the size of the iPad screen, but apparently, they didn’t implement that capability. Also, my portable music bases are covered and the iPad just doesn’t quite fit the bill of portable even if my bases weren’t covered. I suppose there are some neighborhoods in this country where you could find people jogging down the street with their iPads, but not mine. Lastly, take into consideration the iPad’s form factor. If you’re going to watch a 2-hour-long movie, you won’t be doing it laying in bed. Not comfortably, at least. It would be like holding a magazine that whole time with nothing to prop it on except yourself or whatever you can creatively cook up.

 

3 – Going even broader here, where/how do you plan to utilize it if not the 2 ways above? See, I don’t even know for this one. I see myself starting off on my couch or maybe laying in bed, but even at that, I can’t see myself using $499-worth of this device. Browsing the internet? Okay, but my netbook does that perfectly and port-ably here at home. Games? Yes, definitely. Other apps? Nah.

 

I know people who say the iPad really is a game-changer. One of my friends is a former Microsoft-fan-gone-Apple-dev who said he has no idea how Windows users do it now that he’s got his iPad with him everywhere he goes. I guess if it’s *that* good, then the worst-case scenario for us burdened Windows users is having to wait for the HP Slate, huh? ;)

 

In all honesty, though, I really would love to mess with an iPad, but even if I love the thing, I can’t justify the price tag based on my answers to the three questions above. Wanting one just to have one doesn’t quite compute here. If you want a really, really comprehensive review of the iPad noting both it’s shining qualities and biggest failures, check out Paul Thurrott’s iPad review here.

 

-Stephen Chapman

http://www.msftkitchen.com

14 Comments

  1. At this point, my HD2 is a great portable internet/media device. If I get a slate style device, it will be one that runs Windows. I’ve been waiting for a good slate for years, and I’d like to have the full flexibility of a full operating system. Oh, and a stylus so that I can take notes, is a must have.

  2. I think at this point the iPad is a great way for enterprises to impress their clients or suppliers by showing coverage or presentations on a iPad. It would be more personal and futuristic if you watch your newly designed website on an iPad instead of projected on a white wall. As with ebooks, I think ebooks are taking away the magic of reading real books. I’m a reader, and nothing beats a good old book that you bought at the tiniest oldest bookstore in town.

  3. No matter how I read this it sounds like I hate Apple BS.

    It is not about reading “books”. It is about reading content which books are a part, but so are magazines, blogs, and general websites. If you don’t read any of those then feature 1 is not very valuable. As for 2, what about portable media playing did they not implement? The netflix, and ABC apps are amazing and streaming from CBS is also very cool as is YouTube. There is no Hulu app yet but it can’t be far off and iTunes keeps expanding their library to the point that it is fairly impressive. The only real limitation is that it supports Mpeg 4 and H.264 but it looks like that’s the way all of the majors are heading. So for consuming video media it also rocks! Beyond those two, Web surfing is amazing on the device and email is very good too. Third party applications mean that it will do just about anything you can imagine you want it to do and the gaming experience is very good.

    Which leaves you out on price but then you say that if it is really that great you will just wait for the HP slate but early indication are that the entry level slate will be priced around $550 which is actually more than the iPad. Sounds like a bit of Apple envy.

  4. Oh, I just read Paul’s full review and except for his random commentary trying to bash the product for no reason he levels some amazing praise on it. Reading his posting:

    Web surfing on the device is amazing, always fast and snappy!
    The mail App is actually quite excellent.
    It is beautifully engineered.
    Has amazing battery life.
    The iTunes App is actually better than the Windows iTunes Desktop app
    He gets a bit hung up on the weight (but a solid device with a color glass touch screen that large will have to weigh similar so this is more a knock on the category than the ipad it’s self)
    He also doesn’t like the page animation, thinking it is distracting (but compared to the refresh on a Kindle? come on) but then he points out that the kindle application doesn’t use that and is actually very nice.
    He then spends a bit of time bashing on the 3.2 OS limitations, but I wonder if knowing that 4.0 is coming would have removed those concerns.
    He then states the Calendar Application is very good but is hung up on the page turning thing again (but it is still very good).
    He seems to miss a number of the throw in Apps from the iPhone and acts as if that actually limits the device instead of mentioning how many better free alternatives are already available.
    Speaking of which he seem concerned about the number of iPad specific applications at launch (although that number was in the thousands the first weekend) I wonder if a followup would allow him to remove that concern as 10′s of thousands of applications have now been made available in only a couple weeks.
    Finally he gets into accessaries and talks about how much you will spend but at the same time talks about the iPad as if nobody will have access to any of these things.
    He mentions the ability to use a bluetooth keyboard but acts like it is hopeless because you would want the screen standing up all the time ignoring that virtually every case for the iPad has the ability to prop it up (as would a thousand household objects).

    I just hope he reviews the iPad 3G in 4 days, because in less than a month it appears that the device went from Very good to Great, even by his standards.

  5. @Doug Petrosky: I’ll address your first comment bit-by-bit.

    “No matter how I read this it sounds like I hate Apple BS.”

    I don’t hate Apple, but you’re clearly jaded by how many Windows users do and it’s clouding your judgment here. I’ve always contended that if you use what you like, then you’re using what’s best for you and I have no problems with that. I have an iPod Touch and love the thing (as noted in my article) and I really do want to get my hands on an iPad to try it out (as I also noted in my article). The points noted in my article are the main interests I *personally* have and/or do not have with the device. They are what I would use it most for (sans reading ebooks) if I were to use it at all and I clearly elaborated on my opinion of those points.

    “It is not about reading “books”. It is about reading content which books are a part, but so are magazines, blogs, and general websites. If you don’t read any of those then feature 1 is not very valuable.”

    I beg to differ. http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/ibooks.html If that’s not about books, I don’t know what is. Sure, browsing content is obviously an all-encompassing part of the iPad, but how could you make such a statement and so easily forget about the plethora of Kindle vs. iPad debates? Yes, the iPad is about all of those things you mentioned, but it’s also very much about reading books.

    As for 2, what about portable media playing did they not implement? The netflix, and ABC apps are amazing and streaming from CBS is also very cool as is YouTube. There is no Hulu app yet but it can’t be far off and iTunes keeps expanding their library to the point that it is fairly impressive. The only real limitation is that it supports Mpeg 4 and H.264 but it looks like that’s the way all of the majors are heading. So for consuming video media it also rocks! Beyond those two, Web surfing is amazing on the device and email is very good too. Third party applications mean that it will do just about anything you can imagine you want it to do and the gaming experience is very good.

    That all sounds well and great, but between work and home, where I watch TV is on my TV. Where I listen to music is via my stereo system, car sound system, or iPod Touch. For surfing and email, I have a desktop, a laptop, and a netbook for that — two of which are consistently on and readily accessible. Sorry, but I can surf the web and check email exponentially faster with my keyboard and mouse. Like I said, it makes no sense for me to buy a device that doesn’t fill a void. If I felt any of those components were missing, perhaps I would consider an iPad. My gripe isn’t that the device serves pointless purposes, because there are people like you who will use the hell out of the thing and I think that’s just great. Not me, though. Not to mention, the whole lack of flash support thing is kind of a big deal. I understand Apple’s decision with that whole thing, though.

    Which leaves you out on price but then you say that if it is really that great you will just wait for the HP slate but early indication are that the entry level slate will be priced around $550 which is actually more than the iPad. Sounds like a bit of Apple envy.

    I’m sure it does sound like Apple envy to you when you interpret my article the way you did! lol. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I didn’t say I would wait for the Slate, personally. I was merely being sarcastic in response to what my friend said about the iPad and Windows users. But if you want to open that can of worms, there’s more going into the Slate for its price point than the iPad provides. Surely you know this. But even with everything else it brings into the equation, I *still* won’t personally have a use for one. iPad or Slate alike, they serve me no purpose. Now, *COULD* I enjoy having one and put it to some use? Of course! But that’s not the point here. The point is, do I want to pay for the thing because it’s going to make my life more enjoyable and productive, or do I want to pay for the thing simply because it’s another cool gadget I want to own and *maybe* I’ll use it half as much as I should for what it costs? Therein lies the difference.

    -Stephen

  6. I’m confused, first you state:

    “1 – Do you read books/ebooks? …. but alas, I personally don’t read books.”

    Then you state:

    “The points noted in my article are the main interests I *personally* have with the device.”

    So, your main interest is reading books, but you don’t personally read books. Interesting.

  7. Hey, Alex.

    I’ve edited that portion of my previous comment accordingly.

    -Stephen

  8. I agree with your post—for personal use, the iPad would be totally useless for me (I love to read books, but reading books for me isn’t holding up a screen). What I would like to add is that the iPad can be a perfect addition to a presentation in the office. Suppose you have to meet with a prospective customer? Showing your product on an iPad would make it a lot more impressive.

  9. I’m not even sure the HP Slate will run Windows apps.

    http://gizmodo.com/5546173/hp-.....palm-webos

  10. What the release of the iPad has done for me is to open the possiblities up to me of finding a device that has the best of both worlds – netbooks and eBook readers (Nook, Kindle, etc.) I would love to have an eReader that allows me to markup my books the way I do hard-copy books, read eBooks with ease (RE: screen technology), as well as read RSS feeds, emails, surf the ‘Net, view my Office docs through Office online, view videos including Flash videos, and all of the other things people have mentioned that you can do. I don’t yet own a personal multimedia player (like iPod Touch), a netbook, Kindle/Nook, or even a multi-purpose phone device “a la” iPhone. My phone doesn’t have a keyboard on it, and while I *could* use if for the Internet, it would be painful. It’s a very basic phone that I use for – phone calls! So for me, a touch-based tablet WOULD fill a gap I have in my collection of devices and would elminate the need for me to buy separate devices for all of those purposes.

    However, I am personally waiting to see what the rest of this year brings to the market. There are some great new technologies coming out and a flood of competition so I will not be buying an iPad. I am specifically keeping watch on Innoversal for their Lattice device using the Pixel Qi screen (awesome technology there!) and the Notion Ink Adam device as the competitor offering the same screen. I will go with an Android device before an Apple device, and will only go for a Windows 7 touch device if I can be comfortable with the touch-based user interface and the idea that Windows 7 can be an efficient OS for these small mobile devices.

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