Apple iPad Reviews: A Differing Opinion

It’s Monday, April 5th. Those of us in North America that braved the lines or used our Saturday waiting for the courier have had our patience rewarded with a day and a half (or more for the devoted and sleep deprived) of playing with our new iPad. Generally speaking, the reviews and views of the iPad have been generally positive. Snappy response times, beautiful glossy screen, lots of apps from Day 1 that look incredible thanks to the powerful innards. And don’t forget most people getting more than the advertised 10 hours of battery life.

Yet, that’s not to say there aren’t opposing points of view out there. Author, tech pundit, and cultural chronicler Cory Doctrow has come out against the iPad. You can read Cory’s piece from BoingBoing here. Windows author and expert Paul Thurriott and LifeHacker founder, blogger, and open source expert Gina Trapani have similarly come out discouraging immediate adoption of Apple’s new device. It’s unfortunate the criticism of the iPad has split down some traditional lines, Thurriott specializes in Windows and Trapani is a notable Google/Android booster, because what they have to say is interesting, well-reasoned, and worth entering into the discussion. The arguments against immediate adoption of the iPad can be broken down into the following general categories:

  • You’ll get burned buying a first generation Apple product
  • The iPad is another closed system
  • The iPad doesn’t have an obvious niche
  • The iPad is all hype and no substance

As you review these points, you see that while there is a bit of emotion infused in them, there is also some reason. The iPhone was released to much fanfare in 2007 at a premium price between $500 and $600 USD. The next year the iPhone 3G came out at $300 USD less for a faster, more robust system. That could lead anyone to believe Apple is playing the same game this time. In fact, evidence has already been found for the next generation iPad buried deep in Apple code.

It is true the iPad is another closed system. If you don’t like closed systems you certainly shouldn’t buy an iPad. End of story. Apple isn’t in the business of building a hackable, changable device in the iPhone and iPad platforms. They are intended as consumer electronics, not computers. Consumer electronics disguised as a computer but consumer electronics none the less. Do you want to hack your television? Do you rip apart your DVD player to overclock it? Of course not. This device isn’t made for those types of people. Apple is aiming the iPad squarely at my mother and father, grandmother and grandfather. The closed system protects them from fault and broken devices the same way the closed TV insures they can watch JAG without the need to solder circuits just to get the thing to operate.

Obvious niche? Well that’s where the iPad is like a computer. It’s not a single use device like a Kindle but instead encapsulates the functionality of many different devices into one package. It will fill the voids people leave for it much like the iPhone before it. Many people have said its just a big iPod Touch with a sneer in their voice. I say that’s precisely what it is and think that it’s an immense positive. I would love my iPod Touch to be that big.

I can’t argue with the last point. I’d say 70% of the people standing in line on Saturday where there thanks to Steve Jobs and the technology media machine. Apple knows how to move product. Whether you find that a positive or a negative is entirely up to you.

In the end, I think you need to make your own choices about whether you should or shouldn’t get an iPad. I’ll be honest with you, if I had $600 USD of disposable income I’d be first in line to get one. At this point it’s merely a financial decision for me. I’m saving my pennies and perhaps around Christmas I’ll buy one. But at least at that point I’ll be buying from a position of strength and not one of weakness. If anything, the most obvious reason against buying one is letting someone else be the guinea pig for your money.

Did you buy an iPad this weekend or did you abstain? Are you happy with your decision? Are you just saving your money and waiting for iPad 2G? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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4 Comments on “Apple iPad Reviews: A Differing Opinion”

  1. forsyth

    “Apple is aiming the iPad squarely at my mother and father, grandmother and grandfather. The closed system protects them from fault and broken devices the same way the closed TV insures they can watch JAG without the need to solder circuits just to get the thing to operate.”

    This isn't an accurate analogy: a software system is flexible and malleable, whereas a televison, DVD player and many other consumer devices are not (even allowing for the internal computers controlling the devices). You might also want to hack your DVD player, and many non-specialists do, to make it ignore the stupid Region restrictions. You might not have noticed that if you're in Region 1, unless you bought a DVD at a European airport.

    Worse, the Apple iPod Touch and now iPad are closed devices even as consumer devices: you can't ordinarily put new content – those music tracks – on the iPods or iPad without using Apple's own cruddy and inflexible iTunes software, despite Aunt Jane being able to do that with other MP3 players (or mobile phones), and succeeding. iTunes, by the way, has been a way to crash my Windows machine, and it certainly loads it up with extra crud.

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  4. fb8943

    there will be better tablet in 6 month, with open system (win7 or linux) where you could install whatever you want. For limited people iPad is Ok. There is programs that I can't run on Ipad only on win7 or linux. Apple lost the war with Microsoft in 1992 when Microsoft build an open system, they will loose again in 2-3 years!

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