Somewhere below the rare rave reviews and above the contemptuous putdowns is a fine point that is truly revolutionary about the iPad: Here is a computer that brings its own 3G connection, and you pay a monthly fee on it. WLANs and Hotspots welcome but not required! This is truly the merging point of computer and phone.
While I will most certainly not buy the iPad due to 3 reasons, but I would like to put this on record that by 2012 most of the computers will be sold with inbuilt 3G/4G connections and monthly connection cost, the way cellphones are sold today.
Here are the 3 reasons iPad doesn’t do it for me (despite the very attractive inbuilt 3G modem)
- You can’t install your own applications on it – can only install something from Apple Store. It is shocking to me that this even passes the FTC’s tie-in test. In effect this makes the iPad secure, partially because nothing really runs on it.
- No physical keyboard (or alternatively if I do get the iPad, will buy it with a flexible roll-up keyboard). I have yet to buy into the touchscreen – can the user type as fast as on the physical keyboard? The question remains why would someone buy the iPad and the roll on mat when a netbook has an inbuilt keyboard?
- Is this a computer for me to create something, or is it for me to consume something? Apple has long been the darling of the young generation, but old guards like me wonder – what problem do I solve with this thing? Can I create a document using my favorite flowchart designer? Can I create a software by running my IDE and its bells and whistles? io9.com is spot-on when it says: “Apple is marketing the iPad as a computer, when really it’s nothing more than a media-consumption device“. Did I just say that it is one thing for users to create something worthwhile and entirely another thing for the iPod/iPad/iPhone using masses to consume it? Perhaps not, but if I did say that, there is nothing inherently true in that, except that is the pervasive use and the perception of these devices.