iPad Anyone?

Since Apple’s iPad will be up for pre-order on March 12 (available April 3), it’s time to ask yourself some important questions to see if the 1st gen iPad is right for you.  Here are some of the most controversial topics to keep in mind.

If you answer yes to any of the following, you may want to reconsider hitting that “add to cart” button.

1.  Do you want to watch Flash video on sites like Hulu, DailyMotion, CrackOChem or any of the network TV websites (nbc.com, abc.com, etc)? –> YOU CAN’T
comment:  Much speculation has occurred over why Apple refuses to allow Flash on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and now the iPad.  The answer Apple would have you believe is that Flash is an unstable, resource hogging, battery exhausting software.  However, we have seen Flash running on Android phones without a significant compromise in battery life and Flash works beautifully on my $200 Hackintosh Netbook.  The more logical reason why Apple wants to block you from using Flash video on its products is because it is in the business of selling TV shows and movies.  Without flash video, you can no longer go to nbc.com to watch full episodes of The Office.  Instead, you are forced to buy episodes off of iTunes.  Great for business, terrible for the consumer.

2.  Do you want to video chat? –> YOU CAN’T
comment:  Another source of controversy.  The iPad is in some ways supposed to be Apple’s response to netbooks.  Steve Jobs was quoted as saying “netbooks aren’t better than anything…they’re just cheap laptops.”  However, one of the great things about netbooks is that they all come standard with webcams, making them great video chatting devices.  The iPad on the other hand has no webcam!  Why would Apple leave out such a basic feature?  Again, the answer is business.  Apple needs incentives for people to buy the next generation iPad, which you can almost guarantee will have a webcam…unless they decide to leave it as an incentive for the 3rd gen iPad.  (I’m hoping Apple does the right thing and decides to ship the 1st gen iPad with a camera, but it’s more likely that Apple will continue on this disturbing trend of placing business over its customers.)

3.  Do you want to run multiple applications at the same time?  A common example of when you’d want to do this would be:  playing music through pandora while you write an email. –> YOU CAN’T
comment:  This is the essence of the iPhone operating system.  No multi-tasking.  Doing one thing at a time keeps applications running fast, but limits what you can do simultaneously.  Hopefully the iPad will have some kind of workaround for this, because it just seems silly for a sophisticated internet device to not be able to use a music streaming app and work on something else at the same time.  However, as of now, there is no good solution for situations like this.

Wrapup

The iPad is an amazing device, and it will undoubtedly get more amazing with time as applications push the iPad to be used in ways even Apple never imagined.  But right now, I can only imagine getting the iPad if you fall under a couple categories.

1.  If you are looking for an E-book reader that happens to do other cool stuff.
2.  If you want to get a computer-phobic mom a device that is dead simple for emailing, websurfing, looking up weather reports with a widget, etc.
3.  You are in a field of work (ex. wedding photographer) where you can take advantage of the iPad’s dazzling photo management application.  I can imagine clients would love using the iPad to browse through a collection of photos and pick the ones they want to use/purchase.

However, if you were hoping that the iPad was going to be a netbook type solution, you will most likely be disappointed, and you’d have been better off buying a Dell Mini 10v and making it into a Hackintosh.  With the iPad, you won’t have a fully functional web browser, you can’t video chat, and you can’t run multiple applications at the same time.

*note: It is not the intent of this post to criticize the iPad or discourage you from buying it.  Many like myself were disappointed with the iPad because we were hoping for a highly portable, fully functional computer.  However, Apple isn’t building the iPad with the desires of tech savvy pomeranians like myself in mind.  It wants to bring computing to the masses in a friendly package; and as more applications are developed specifically for the iPad, people will begin to find incredible uses for Apple’s new device (Virtual tour gide anyone?).  But until these awesome applications are released, internet video can be viewed without Flash support, and the iPad has a webcam, I’d probably hold out for the next model.

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