For the next few months we will have to put up with the age old argument of Mac vs. Windows. The argument is the same, only the name has changed. Will iPad succeed or fail?
All The Reasons Why Not
The problem here is that common sense is lacking among many technology pundits. Comparisons are made of one product vs. another product based on features and supposed benefits, not actual usage.
Hundreds of articles, blogs, news reports have both praised and castigated Apple’s iPad. It’s either the best thing since sanitary napkins, or the worst thing since having sex during a period.
May I suggest that there’s a little pleasure and comfort in both?
Regardless, here’s a quick and unsanitary review of all the basic reasons why the iPad is no game-changer, and not all that, but with a simple, common sense rebuttal.
Many pundits, including Davey Winder on DaniWeb point out that the iPad doesn’t do multi-tasking, therefore, it’s not a game-changer. Let me pick on Dave for awhile, since he’s representative of the thinkless pundits. Davey says:
Apple has done it again. Whipped the technology and consumer media up into a feeding frenzy that is.
Regarding the iPad, what exactly did Apple do up to the presentation announcing the iPad? Nothing. No media whipping. No frenzy. Nothing. Apple presented the iPad. What did they do afterwards? They let attendees actually use the iPad for awhile. They put details and specifications on the Apple web site. After a few interviews here and there, it seems as if Apple returned to the Bat Cave to work on the next great thing.
So, where did all the whipping and feeding and frenzying come from? Could it be, oh, I don’t know—iPad users? So, Davey, why won’t users who are all so frenzied not want an iPad?
Users obviously won’t want to have a Twitter app running on that large screen while they surf the web or check their email.
The problem with this limited, lack of common sense perspective, is that it flies in the face of reality. Most of us only do one thing at a time on our Macs, Windows PCs, netbooks, iPhones, or whatever.
On my Mac I can have multiple apps and utilities all open at one time, but not used by me at one time. To tweet, I have to click to get to Tweetie. To read, check, or compose email, I have to click to get to Mail.
Thus it will be on the iPad. One touch, and you’re there. The capability to have a bunch of apps open is not multi-tasking (which is a myth anyway). It’s multi-waiting. I still have to click. I still have to wait. One thing at a time. That’s how it works for the 75-million iPhone and iPod touch users.
Amazingly, the iPhone still does not have support for Adobe’s Flash. Why not? Apple doesn’t think Flash is a good idea. No Flash video does not seem to have hindered iPhone sales, and does not seem to be a boon for other smart phone sales.
Still no Adobe Flash support, which makes the iPad about as much use as a chocolate teapot when it comes to web browsing.
Really? Pundits care about such things. Users, for the most part, do not. Flash does two things for the web experience. Video and advertising. No one except advertisers are complaining about the lack of Flash ads on the iPhone or iPod touch browsing experience.
Video? Maybe Apple is on to something. Sure, Flash is ubiquitous, but there are better options. YouTube has moved to H.264 (videos which run on the iPhone and iPad), and now HTML 5 video. Goodbye, Flash. It will be a long, slow, and hopefully, lingering death.
The iPad Is Not A Kindle Killer
Please. Don’t get me started. How many Kindles has Amazon sold. That’s funny. They don’t say. Ever.
Despite the notion of an Apple iBookstore, the iPad is not a Kindle Killer for one very good reason: no e-ink. Yes, there’s no doubting that Apple will position itself up towards the top of the eBook tree, but will consumers be happy to pay more for an iPad than a Kindle only to get a less pleasing reading experience?
Kindle is a niche product, relegated to obscurity by the presence of the iPad. One year from now Apple will have sold millions more iPads than Kindles, and millions more eBooks than Kindle.
What’s In A Name?
My preference for the iPad name was touchPad, but iPad fits (no pun intended) with Apple’s legacy of iEverything. Apparently, some men think the iPad name too close to what they don’t like to talk about. Feminine hygiene products.
The name is all wrong. It’s too close to iPod, and it sounds too much like a sanitary protection product. Ask any woman what they think of the name iPad and they will either go bright red or start laughing. The name iPad is just wrong, period.
So, by that logic, the iPad is not a game-changer because it’s named pad, and pad means Kotex or Always. Do lawyers chuckle and snicker every time they whip out their legal pads? How much snickering took place with ThinkPad owners? Gimme a break.
What about the Fujitsu iPad? Pundit Davey needs a lesson on trademarks. Remember Cisco’s iPhone? Their trademark description was so vague you could drive a truck through it. Apple is anything but a stupid company. They know what they’re doing. iPad as a tablet computing device made by Apple is a name that Apple will keep.
You Can’t Write On An iPad
That’s a common complaint on every computing device without a big, wide keyboard. Somehow uncomfortable thumb typing is acceptable on BlackBerry, but not on the iPhone. Yet, typing speed on either is roughly the same (for those who have done both; like me).
So, who’s going to compose the next War and Peace on an iPhone keyboard? Nobody. What about the iPad?
You don’t actually want to write on this thing do you? Everyone I have spoken to who got hands on at the launch event agrees that you really wouldn’t want to type for any great length of time, or try to work on a lengthy document, using the virtual on-screen keyboard.
Actually, the only kind of writing that will be done on the iPad is the same kind that’s done on the iPhone. Only better. I’m impressed that Apple included a Bluetooth keyboard option for the iPad. So, yes, you can write War and Peace on an iPad.
Who Will Buy The iPad?
Apple says the target market is that sweet spot between the iPhone and notebook, now occupied by cheap netbooks. The argument the iPad is that a netbook is better than an iPad—cheaper, faster, and, somehow, better.
Apple will insist it sits in that huge gap between those for whom a smartphone is too small and a laptop is too big. Oh bugger, we’re back to the netbook space aren’t we, and that’s pretty well populated already by devices with lids and proper keyboards. Jobs is wrong about netbooks by the way, people buy them because they are small and cheap and fully functional. The iPad fails on all those counts.
Indeed, that gap is huge. Sales of cheap netbooks have leveled off. Why? The early adopters realize they’re a crappy computing experience. That’s not what Apple provides. If cheap is your need, a netbook is a bargain. Fully functional? Sure, Windows XP or Vista or Linux on a terrible screen, with a terrible keyboard, running terrible software is a wonderful experience?
No Killer App
The days of a killer app are long gone, but Davey didn’t get the memo.
Seriously, amongst all those thousands of applications that exist within the App Store there is not a single one that I can think of which could claim the iPad Killer App crown.
Walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins, Davey. There are no new killer apps. What most of us do on our mobile devices these days is common to us all. We read. We read email. We read web pages. We read reports. Reading is the killer function for mobile devices. Looks like the iPad is a good reading device; better than a smart phone, more convenient and handy than a notebook or desktop computer.
It’s Just A Big iPhone
Apple has a sense of design and style which permeates their products. Look at the fit and finish of the MacBook line, the iMac, the Mac mini, the iPods and iPhones. I don’t know who it was who called the iPad merely a big iPhone, but it wasn’t not Apple. If anything, it’s a big iPod touch that does more.
I’ve already got an iPhone and it does more than the iPad can, plus it fits in my pocket. The iPad should not be compared to the iPhone when it cannot make phone calls.
Looks like the iPad may do VoIP now that Apple has lifted the restrictions. Skype, here we come.
One of the problems with technology pundits is that the terrible ones skate to where the puck was, the bad ones skate to where the puck is (forgetting all the while that the puck is moving), and seldom skate to where the puck is going to be. Next year’s iPad could have a built-in iSight camera. Suddenly, the colorful Kindle Killer e-reader has become an easy-to-use telecommunications device. Think ahead, dear pundits. Think ahead.
Where’s The GPS?
Where’s the beef, Davey? iPhone and iPod users have GPS already, in varying degrees, of course. Ditto for the iPad.
Where’s the GPS? WTF, this thing has maps but it doesn’t even have GPS. What were Apple thinking?
Did you even read the iPad’s specifications before you began your cursing, thoughtless, hit-whoring rant? Shame on you.
Where’s The Camera?
Hello? Davey? This is Apple. Does not having a built-in camera mean the iPad is doomed to failure? Where’s the camera in the 30-million iPod touch models?
Where’s the camera? WTF, this thing would be perfect for video chat but unlike almost every cheap netbook or smartphone out there it forgot to include a camera of any sort.
Yes, and there are so many people using their netbooks and smart phones for video chat, right? Or, not. Video chat is an infant. It’s not much of a killer app, now is it? I would expect next year’s model iPod touch and iPad to have a camera. In the meantime, it’s not a big deal to those who actually buy and use such devices.
Oh, do you think AT&T’s network, or O2’s, or anyone else’s network would have survived 75-million iPhones (and iPod touch) with video chat? It will come when it’s ready—that includes network and device and user—not just when misguided pundits think it should be here.
Snarky Is As Snarky Does
The rest of the complaints about the iPad are mostly snarky. Davey, who has yet to hold an iPad, complains about the wide bezel. I thought it looked wide, too, until my common sense prevailed and I realized that a little extra room was necessary so you could hold the iPad securely, without smudging the screen with your thumb.
Davey also complains about no HDMI connectivity to view videos from the iPad to your TV. Please, technology pundits. Take a deep breath. Repeat after me: Common sense, common sense, common sense…
So, I’m expected to sit on my sofa with a 10 foot HDMI cable stringing from my iPad so I can watch on my TV the video that’s already on my iPad? What is wrong with that silly assed picture, Davey? Two words: AppleTV. OK, that’s one word.
It is oh so easy to sit at a keyboard and pontificate all the reasons why something will fail, and then be oh so totally wrong. Remember, these are the same kind of reasons why the original iPod was doomed to failure; why the iTunes Store was doomed to failure, why the iPhone was doomed to failure.
Apple considered each to be a game changer. Apparently, so did customers. Their purchases, numbering in the tens to hundreds of millions, defined what was a game-changer—not the pundits. The technology pundits, represented well by Davey Winder, could list reason after reason after reason why each product was doomed to failure. Since the obvious success of the iPod, the iTunes Store, and the iPhone, their tune has changed somewhat. No longer is the iPad doomed. It’s merely not a game-changer.
We’ll see you in the line at the Apple Store, Davey.