Why I Won’t Buy An iPad (Yet)…

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I definitely enjoy writing my blogs and I named it “Blogs In The Key of Life” to celebrate my various opinions, interests, etc. Many people don’t know that I have a Masters of Science degree from DePaul University in Computer Science-Information Systems. I’m a “tech guy” at heart and I can remember getting my first Technics portable CD player in 1988, my first floppy-disc Sony digital camera in 1999, my first iPod in 2001 (20MB for $500 and 20MB was HUGE in 2001), etc. I could go on and on about the things I’ve bought as an “early adopter” of new technology. So naturally it would seem that I would be one of the first people in line for this Spring’s sexiest new device – the Apple iPad arriving in stores this Saturday (April 3, 2010) at 9am. Well, I’m not and here’s why…

First off, for those who don’t know the iPad is a touch-only device dedicated to portable applications (i.e. email, Facebook, internet, e-book, iTunes, etc.) used as a convenient tool to compute “on the go.” Let me admittedly say that although I do use an Apple MacBook Pro, I do not use or own an iPhone which may be important to note. The following quick bullets will illustrate a few of the reasons that I am not getting this version of the iPad.

  • The iPad does not have a dedicated USB port – Although the iPad does have a connection that will allow you to transfer music from your computer’s iTunes to the iPad and an adapter that will allow many cameras to transfer pictures directly to the device, who wants MORE connectors? The purpose of portable computing is so that you don’t need another computer to access files. Many people today use portable USB drives to transfer files and to prepare email attachments. Waiting until you get back to your computer to attach the iPad to transfer songs or get back to a computer in order to send an email with an attachment defeats the purpose of being portable.Also, if you wanted to import tracks from a CD to your iTunes or watch a DVD on the unit there is no connection for an external drive.  You are limited to only watching content that you can squeeze into 16GB, 32GB or 64GB worth of storage.
    • Solution: The iPad needs a dedicated USB port.
  • The iPad does not multi-task – can you imagine checking your email on a $500 device and not being able to listen to your iTunes or Pandora (music program) while in your email? Can you imagine getting an email with a Facebook notification and you have to exit email to open Facebook in order to respond because you can’t open both applications simultaneously? These are common tasks that we can do on a blackberry (which I have owned 3) and many cell phones, yet this will not be possible on this edition of the iPad. In fact, it is my understanding that you can only open one internet browser at a time. In this day of “tabbed-web browsers” it’s very common to open several sites at one time while referring back to an email. Who wants to pay more for less functionality?
    • Solution: The iPad needs multi-tasking capabilities.
  • The iPad does not support “Flash” video – let me state that it is expected that Flash will not be needed as the html standard moves to HTML5. HOWEVER, today approximately 75% of the web’s video content is Flash-based. Can you imagine having your sexy $500 device that doesn’t show tv shows from Hulu.com or not being able to view basic video on many of the internets most common/popular websites? If I spend $500 for a device, I at least want it to do what I could do on an Android phone.
    • Solution – Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) won’t adopt Flash, so it’s a dead issue.
  • The iBook/ebook feature of the iPad is color – many people may feel that color is a good thing for an ebook, but actually backlit/color devices are more harmful to your eyes than the e-ink technology found in e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader. Not only is the battery life much shorter while in use with the iPad than these devices, prolonged reading on a backlit screen can cause eye strain, reading in sunny areas will be difficult due to “screen glare” and other difficulties that are not nearly as prevalent on the e-ink devices.  Having read tens of books and owning 2 Amazon Kindles, I don’t think that Amazon has anything to worry about and neither do they (check the article below.)
    • Solution – it’s a personal choice, but I’ll take safe (Kindle) over sexy (iPad) in this case.
  • You have to pay MORE money to be totally wireless – the standard 16GB iPad is $499 and it is wifi only. You have to pay an additional $130 ($629 total) for the “capability” of being totally wireless.  I say capability because you will still have to pay AT&T an additional $29 a month to get a 3G data plan for the iPad. So, forget any ideas of taking your iPad to the park on a summer afternoon to check email unless you are willing to pay extra for full wireless functionality. In contrast, the Amazon Kindle offers wireless connectivity for FREE. With this knowledge, it could be done, but Apple decided not to.
    • Solution – $29 is steep for a monthly charge for only one device (as opposed to Sprint and Verizon broadband plans which can be used on multiple devices.) Again, it’s a personal choice.
  • For $500 you only get 16GB of storage space – it’s safe to say that the target market for this device has more than 10GB of music, video and photos. It doesn’t seem logical for a user to pay more money for a device that holds less memory, but supposedly does more than a standard 32GB iTouch mp3 player.
    • Solution – either the price needs to come down or Apple needs to allow for external storage (i.e. flash memory like digital cameras/cell phones, external hard drive attachment, etc.)

There are some people (actually there will be millions) that don’t care about the limitations of the iPad and that’s great, the device will perform singular tasks in a stylish and unique way. I could go on about its shortcomings (i.e. no camera/video on-board, movies don’t display in 16:9/widescreen, etc.), but the above 6 points illustrate why I’ll be waiting for Apple to “work the kinks out” before I grab one of these.

Although I’m a gadget guy, in order for me to justify spending that type of money, the gadget has to take me new places and functionally perform better than what I’m currently using.  For $350 a person can buy a netbook that has an 11” screen, 250GB of storage, allows them to multi-task, attach a usb drive/external CD/DVD/hard drive and provides the capability to get a data plan without paying more money (outside of their broadband payment.)  As I stated several times earlier, it’s a personal choice, but I thought it would be beneficial for some people to see the capabilities of the iPad (or lack thereof) in plain English and to be armed to make an informed decision.

The device is sexy, but sexy like a car that gets 9mpg. If you’ve got $500-$640 to blow for the entry-level iPad (as high as $829 for the 64GB model with 3G), knock yourself out. Of course it is expected that there will be many “Apple-vangelists” in line Saturday and that’s cool too.

If you’re a little more discretionary about your spending, I’m sure that the competing devices due later this year from other manufactures will make the iPad “2.0” the device more worth your hard earned money.

Hope this helps and much love, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…

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10 Responses to “Why I Won’t Buy An iPad (Yet)…”

  1. Thanks VA. As a fellow techie, I was initially anxious but decided to hold off cause no camera & no usb port. Didnt realize other things noted n ur blog.

  2. This was very helpful. Folks are caught up in what’s new and haven’t really detailed what’s missing like you have. Great post!

  3. Milo Edwards Says:

    Vince, I believe in allowing them to work the bugs out and I allow the tech junkies like you, to pick it apart. Then I buy the upgraded version at a later date. I love my electronics I have the new iMac 27 inch desktop, Mac Book Pro Laptop, iphone and 3 ipods. I wont even get into my camera equipment, yes being a photographer is one of my many jobs.

    I love technology and need it in my work but I’m not the brightest technical guy. I rely on information like you just shared to help me make decisions.

    Thanks for the info Bruh!

  4. good article thank you for your tips

  5. Good insight Vince. Thanks for the info.

  6. As an admitted Apple fanboy, I feel it is my duty to represent “the other side of the coin” on the iPad discussion. Let me say for the record that I understand your points and many of them are more than understandable and valid. My response is based on three things that most people realize when purchasing an Apple product. #1, the user experience is the most important factor in the way apple products are designed. By that I mean Apple is all about getting from A to B in the easier way possible. #2, Apple designs products to fit their software both present and future and #3, Apple designs all of their products to complement each other.

    With those thoughts in mind lets look at your reasons not to purchase an iPad one at a time.

    -LACK OF A DEDICATED USB PORT. As iPhone owners can attest, the apps on the iPhone really make the device the the best phone on the market (not just my opinion, the opinion of every phone comparison with an iPhone i have read over the last 2 years). 3rd party photo apps like Flickr and Kodak Gallery really make it easy to load pics taken and store them for later viewing very easy. Apple specific apps such as Gallery and iDisk also make carrying pics shot from cameras, your iPhone or email attachments easy to view when ever needed. Music apps such as last.fm, pandora, Musiic, etc. allow streaming from servers and of course you can load your personal music library from your own iTunes collection . The point is that the world of video and audio is always a few seconds away for the iPhone user and the same will be true on the iPad. I think the main reason that the lack of a USB port is raised is because people view the iPad as a traditional replacement for a laptop, which it is clearly not. What the iPad will be is the easiest and best way to use apps to present audio, video, eboks and surf the web. If you want a true laptop experience then I would suggest a Macbook (which by the way is the best laptop). Again, the difference is the apps that will run on the iPad that make the need for a dedicated USB very situational at best. The best way I can describe it to someone that doesn’t have an iPhone is that there is a totally new user experience when you have over 100,000 apps available that do anything you could want over 3G or wifi. USB isn’t as important for 90% of the day.

    IPAD DOESN’T MULTITASK-This is actually not totally true. You can multitask just not all the time. Other phones don’t allow you to talk and multi task on the internet or search contacts or write notes. the iPhone does and the iPad will offer something similar at the launch. The thing to remember is point #1, the iPhone was designed to be the best phone, which it is. The iPod was designed to be the best music player, which it is. The iPad was not designed to be the best phone, music player or laptop. It was designed to be the best device to showcase apps, and it will be. I also believe that this point will be moot soon after the launch when the iPhone 4.0 comes out. It wouldn’t make much sense to upgrade the iPad OS before millions of iPhone users. The multitasking will be based on Apple Expose’ and will be the best solution to move between apps when offered.

    THE IPAD WILL NOT SUPPORT FLASH- This argument is correct but in defense of Apple it was more of a long term business decision than anything. Flash was basically developed as a short sighted answer on how to make the Windows OS a more modern multimedia experience and is designed as a small OS than runs within an OS. That raises many problems for Apple. 1) it slows down most operations running on slower, lower RAM supplied hardware. 2) It would make it fairly easy to right programs that turn the iPhone /iPad into a non Apple approved or designed experience (Flash games, movie and audio players, etc) and 3) It would hurt sales of iTunes which is an important cash cow. Obviously, unless you own Apple stock you probably could care less about #2 & 3, but I think that the growing use of HTML5 will allow Apple to be happy as well as the iPad owners. I also know that many of the more popular sites are converting or creating new HTML5 sites for the iPad launch so hopefully in 6 months the issue will be smaller and in 12 months there will be none at all. Remember that iPad sales are projected at 10 million between now and Jan 1 2011 along with another 10 million of iPhone sales. 2011 projects 20 million in iPad sales alone, there is plenty of incentive for web designers to move to HTML5 as fast as possible.

    YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE FOR 3G & YOU ONLY GET 16GB FOR $500-Another valid point but i think that most people will buy the Wifi version and not just for the lower price. The typical iPad owner will also be and iPhone owner which means that many of the daily things they do with their phone won’t change (internet, email, music, etc) most people will use the iPad at home or in public areas that have Wifi (schools, starbucks, home, etc). Secondly, mobile hotspots/phones that share 3G or 4G connections over wifi networks will be the norm soon (Android phones can do it now) and i suspect this will be a common feature in the new phones (windows 7, iPhone 4.0, HTC, etc) coming out between now and Christmas. To have your phone in your pocket and use it’s connection on your iPad or laptop is in the near future. The 16GB limitation is actually not a big deal when you consider the many many apps that allow you to use virtual storage. I personally have 20GB of virtual storage from apps on my iPhone that i don’t use at all.

    The bottom line is the iPad was created to use apps in the best way possible and if you don’t have an iPhone and have not experienced life when there is “an app for everything” then it will be hard to understand the value they bring. It’s not a laptop and its not a phone, it’s it own category. But it will be the best at what it was designed to do without a doubt.

  7. great post.
    Thank you
    From best amazon ebook.

  8. Dina Powell-Ward Says:

    Thanks VA for the informatiion. I decided to hold off as well and I am an avid Kindle reader so I think I’m going to stick with it and hold off on the Ipad for now. Great blog….full of information.

  9. Adrienne Says:

    Great information! Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

  10. angela grays Says:

    Great blog

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