While the last thing the world needs is another blog entry about a recently purchased iPad, I wanted to practice typing. My initial reaction to the keyboard was that I would never use my iPad for typing, but that has certainly changed. Now I am able to type reasonably fast without even looking at the keyboard. In fact it it is faster if I just trust my fingers and the autocorrect than it is to either hunt and peck or to look at the keyboard. Don’t get me wrong, I still look at the screen (and as a result i see that although autocorrect and auto caps are enabled, it does not capitalize the letter I when it should).
I have enjoyed having the WSJ to read on the commute into work, the scrabble game (iPhone version) to play, as well as various other games. Surprisingly, I have even been creating on my iPad, using dropbox and iAnnotate to put PDF files on my iPad so that i can annotate them and have them with me wherever I have my iPad with me, which means i need to get a better case to carry it around with me.
I am also using it to read books while commuting. However, I do not get as much book reading in as I did when I was using my Kindle. This is due to the fact that i do not have a good case for it and am not comfortable whipping out my iPad either on the subway platform or while standing in the train. That will probably not change, but one never knows.
I will be shocked if the iPad is not a staple electronic item for students. Having text books in pdf format, and being able to carry around all of one’s books on a small tablet will save the backs of many a poor student. Unfortunately, as with all technology, it is not affordable for everybody and it will separate the haves from the have nots even more. Some kids will have their books and the internet wherever they go, and others will not. Assuming the iPad kids use their devices for good and do not get distracted with the games, text messaging, etc., they will no doubt be learning more than their iPadless brethren.
I also can see the iPad generation being babysat by the device, with parents giving their children an electronic book like Toy Story, which can read aloud and turn pages automatically. It is better than the television for sure, but no doubt it is better to read in person than have a professional narrator do it for you.
Well, a lot of people are blogging about the “magical” iPad, many seeming to have a deep-seated hate toward the product, possibly over-reacting to other people’s “irrational” love of something they’ve yet to experience. So, I thought I would throw my two cents in, to help balance things out a bit.
Many people are critical of the device because it is “nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch.” Well, that is not quite true, since it sports a speedier processor, for one thing. And don’t we all pay for larger screen real estate, either in the size of our monitors or the size of our televisions? It would seem to me that a “handheld” device that is somewhat larger than an iPod Touch would certainly seem to be worth a little extra money to some people, without labeling those poor souls as “zombies” or “fanboyz”
Indeed, many people who have experienced an iPod Touch think the device is magical. It responds to the touch unlike any other device they have held, and it lets them so so many things they never thought of doing before, like playing games or watching a television program while waiting for an appointment at the DMV or the Doctor. So, again, it seems perfectly logical to want a “bigger version” in order to improve the web-browsing experience, the game playing experience, and the e-book reading experience.
Could the device be improved? Absolutely. Is it “evil” because it forces you to use a free “App” to play YouTube videos and may otherwise make “flash content” inaccessible? I suppose if there was flash content I wanted to see, and Apple was “censoring” it for no other reason than they do not want the iPad used to view porn, I might be upset. But, then again, I would more likely simply not buy the product rather than crusade against it as so many people are apt to do.
I prefer to happily believe that the iPad will “deliver” and by that, I mean it will be an elegant way to get the news, read a book, surf the web and view and respond to e-mail, all from the comfort of my couch. By elegant, I mean, an intuitive touch-screen interface that is pleasing to use, because it was designed to be used by fingers so the icons are not tiny, the keyboard usable, and the weight not too much to bear.
Is it “too much” to spend on such a device? Clearly, that depends upon one’s disposable income. Presumably, if the price were $19.99, people would not be complaining nearly so much. But, starting at $499, well, gosh, that is a lot more money than someone may be willing to spend on an “accessory device” or “MCD” (mobile computing device), and if they are going to spend that much they want to get more. The beauty of it is, they don’t have to buy — the strangeness of it is, they feel the need to criticize. I cannot help but wonder if there is a bit if i-Envy going on.
Sure, we all like to feel superior and more intelligent than the rest of the world, and it is easy to criticize people who have enough money to spend $499 more on a product they have not seen, and which nobody they know has seen. But, if it were $19.99 you can bet whatever you like that these same people would be lining up to buy the product. So, really, what we are talking about here are a bunch of people who are too poor to buy what they really want to own, or people who just wish to be critical of other people and their ideas and find it easier to express negative views than to keep silent.
I appreciate that many of these people are “just trying to be helpful” in explaining all of the shortcomings of the product’s technical feature-set, I really do. I look forward to a product that has a video camera built in, so that it can be used for video-chat and video conference calls. But, whether that is an “option” or a built-in feature, it will cost money, and presumably Apple wanted to create a product at a price point that did not allow such a feature at the prices. Or, perhaps, Apple simply wanted to grab the attention, sell a few million units, and then “upgrade” in version 2, to include the most talked about features that are missing.
The point is, I do not care, nor take it personally, that Apple would choose to do its market research by selling a device that is “missing” features. I’ll either buy an iPad or I won’t, based on whether I believe it will make me happy enough to part with my money. I will not be “angry” at the Company for attempting to sell me something I think is inferior, nor will I feel the need to criticize others who are “happy” that the company is selling a giant iPad at a cost which is unduly high. I am sympathetic to those that want the device but cannot afford it. It is always frustrating to be unable to buy something that you want, and that you see others enjoying. I am not sympathetic to those people who just feel the need to dump on the product or the people buying it, however, because such views are truly mean spirited.
Finally, I respect and appreciate all of the comedy and graphic design work that has gone into making fun of the iPad, and the comparisons between the iPad and a stone tablet. But, that is humor. The reality, as we know, is that a stone tablet does not display photographs beautifully. A stone tablet does not let you listen to music, read a best-seller, order groceries and control your Sonos sound system, all from the comfort of your couch or bed.
This is One Diver’s Perspective.