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The New Apple iPad: Yea or Meh?

As I am sure you are all aware of by now, Apple announced it’s new device called the iPad yesterday.  I want to give my perspective on this.

Like many other people I was eagerly trying to find out the details from the announcement as live as possible. I could not go to the event, so I kept tabs on things via the web and reading what people who were at the announcement event had to say about what was going on. I found that even after everything was said, I kept refreshing the web pages thinking “Is that it?” Later I watched a recording of the keynote and confirmed that there really was not more to it than what I read earlier.

Basically the iPad is an iPod Touch about the size of a piece of paper.  There are some enhancements to take advantage of the larger screen, and the option to have 3G and not just Wifi. So I think about this… It is too big to use easily as I am walking around, hmm…

There is GPS and a compass in the iPad but will that be useful? It is too big to use in a car as a driving aid, unless you have someone with you to run the device. I don’t see it as something I will likely be carrying around in my hand as I am walking out-side and trying to actively use. Where would it get the most use? I see it being used Indoors probably where there is not the best connection to GPS satellites. How would it be used in these situations? Looking for places in your area. For some time now there have been effective “search around here” from the IPaddress alone.

What do I think the iPad should have been? Basically a multi-touch MAC; a device more open and extensible than it is. Like the iPod touch, you can only get programs for it from the AppStore, after apple reviews and approves the programs. I think it needs a camera and microphone for conferencing. I am not sure it needs a USB port, but a memory card slot would be a useful addition. To be fair there is something you can buy to read memory cards with the iPad.

I would love to use the multi-touch/portable device to manage my media library. Listen to and organize my music, organize and modify my photographs, etc. However even at the largest capacity there is not enough memory to hold my music, let alone my photos. (That won’t be the case for everyone, but even I am not as hard core as many people are.) At the higher capacity the price starts getting close to a cheap PC or laptop that at least has a hope of handling what I want it to.

Without being able to have multiple programs running at the same time, I don’t see this as a device that you can be productive with. It really is more of an entertainment device. I am not sure it is even that compelling as a gaming platform, except for perhaps casual games. Multi touch is nice, but your hands get in the way of the action. The accelerometer is nice, but moving the whole device to me would lose some of the immersion and interfere with line of site. With the games I have tried on the iPhone, the accelerometer requires a whole new set of skills that I think would frustrate the casual gamer. Where I see this as the most compelling is as a portable video player and even more compelling as an ebook reader. Even as an ebook reader Apple has some stiff competition already.

I see this as going the way of the Apple TV. I don’t think it will go away, but I also don’t think it will perform as well as apples other devices. Without some significant changes I don’t see this gaining wide spread popularity. With as much time as Apple had to come out with this device, it still seems to me a bit rushed. I believe a LOT of engineering, testing, and effort went into this but it does not match my expectations.

I can think of many reasons why Apple may have wanted to go in the direction they did with the iPad, but not many of them really benefit the consumer. Almost all are more of a benefit to Apple. One area that could be a benefit to the consumer is that the iPad will have a very smooth and care free experience. But that is because Apple is locking out anything that could potentially be allowed to cause problems, and in doing so also limits the usefulness of the device.

I would be happy to be proved wrong in this. I think with some changes apple could really make this work and make the iPad a more compelling device for a larger set of users. Even drawing new people to Apple products, but for now, I am not that impressed.

What do you think? Will you be getting one? Waiting to see what the next iteration of the iPad brings? Is it perfect the way it is? How do you see the iPad being used? Let us know in the comments.

3 comments to The New Apple iPad: Yea or Meh?

  • Hey Aaron, That’s a great review. My husband is excited, but that’s only because he doesn’t have any other devices (besides a MAC and an iPod Shuffle) and feels this one would be the one to get.

  • Although I am an owner of an AppleTV (and I love it, by the way), you’re going to have to think outside the box to understand why Apple will likely sale millions of the iPad. By all accounts, I am an alpha geek (see: http://www.gavinshearer.com/weblog/archives/2005/05/the_richard_huf.html). That said, my interaction with electronic devices changed entirely when I got an iPhone. Ubiquitous access to the web, e-mail, and mapping has meant that a large portion of my use of the Internet has actually occured on an iPhone rather than my laptop or workstation. The iPad will extend that capability. I’ll no longer haul around my laptop.

    As for the issues of multitasking and a “closed” architecture: these facts will not impact demand for the device in any meaningful way. They are simply technicalities that will mean little to the Freshman college student who can buy a $499 iPad instead of a $1000 laptop. Or, the salesperson who meets their clients in a coffee shop and wants to walk through a quick slide show or multimedia presentation.

  • […] eyePad You may remember my earlier post on one of Apple’s latest darlings the iPad (see: The New Apple iPad: Yea or Meh? ) My opinions have not changed much, but I kind of want one now… Still I can’t afford it so I […]

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