Why I Haven’t Bought an iPad Yet

Over on Twitter Alberto Lopez asked me why I’ve been quiet about the iPad so far. Of course, everyone and their mother has been yammering about nothing but the iPad for the past few months so I’m sure my thoughts on the thing haven’t been missed.

But I thought I’d add yet another voice to the millions that are talking about the device thus far. I can’t really review the unit of course. I don’t have one. I can’t gloat about it like Walt Mossberg or David Pogue as I’ve never even touched one, but these are my initial thoughts from someone who *hasn’t* bought one yet.

1. I take my MacBook Pro with me everywhere I go 24/7 and best I can tell it can do anything that an iPad can do and more. Why carry around yet another device when my MacBook Pro already does everything for me that the iPad can?

2. One of the reasons that I bring my MacBook Pro with me everywhere is that I can process photos during downtime. I process photos every day on BART for example. I’m not sure that I can use Lightroom on the iPad or that it would be as easy as my MacBook Pro. Also the limited storage on the iPad would not make it a good tool for editing super large 21 megapixel RAW files that I use my MacBook Pro for.

3. AT&T’s 3G network is crappy in the San Francisco Bay Area, plus I’m not eager to shell out another $30 a month when I’ve already got 3G on my iPhone.

4. My experience with Apple products is that the initial release is usually followed by better releases and it may be worth waiting to see what comes out next. I’ve also heard lots of reports that the initial product has a lot of bugs.

5. Even though I’ve literally spent the night in front of an Apple store before for a product launch and have waited in lines at their stores many times before, recently I’ve been pissed off at how Apple treats their customers in their stores.

While I used to view going to an Apple store as a positive experience, lately it has felt like a very negative experience for me. I blogged about this a few weeks back. I thought about going to the Apple store to look at one, but worried that I’d probably need to have an appointment to be allowed to even set foot in the store to look at the box of one and then chided and insulted by a snippy Apple store clerk about not having an appointment to grace their presence.

6. I’ve also been rethinking my overall view of Apple in the past few months. My iPhone’s contract is up in July and I’m thinking about switching to a Google phone product. Google feels more open to me than Apple. It also feels to me that Google authentically cares more about their customers and users than Apple does as well.

7. It doesn’t have USB ports. I also carry a 1TB Seagate FreeAgent Go (which ROCKS!) and could be a perfect solution to the storage problem with the iPad for me, but since the iPad has no USB ports, there would be no way of connecting this drive to it. This drive is actually not that much bigger than my iphone or a pack of cards and is USB powered. Shame not to be able to use an ideal storage device like this with the iPad.

Also I frequently use my FireWire 800 high speed card reader (another product with totally rocks) to transfer my photos from my CF cards to my MacBook Pro. This reader would be worthless on an iPad and I can see no easy way of getting my photos off my CF cards and onto the iPad while out shooting in the field (Not that I could fit many of my RAW photos on the device anyways given it’s tiny storage).

I’ve thought about buying an iPad for the house just to have around for others in my family to use. The cost is relatively inexpensive for a computing device and it’s largest appeal to me so far is probably that you can watch Netflix “Watch Now” programming on it.

But then I think that if I got one for the house the kids would end up fighting over it. The kids would probably drop it and break it (my son sent my old laptop off the top of his bunk bed and broke the display). And we already have a Wii, XBox 360, Mac Mini and Dell Media Center PC connected to monitors that can do Netflix “Watch Now” right now. Do we really need a portable device too?

So I may not be Apple’s ideal customer, and despite the hype and how sexy and cool the thing appears to be, it just doesn’t feel practical to buy one right now. Plus I can’t get the image of it as one of those calculators with super large buttons that old people use out of my head. Don’t get me wrong. I’m tempted. And if I actually tried one I might break down and buy one anyways, but thus far I’ve yet to jump on the iPad bandwagon with the rest of the cool kids. Not that they need my money anyways though as it seems that these things are doing a pretty good job of selling themselves. :)

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10 Comments

  1. Lindsay says:

    Your points make sense, and, you’re right, as an avid photographer/photo editor you are not the market that the iPad was targeted toward. It would make a great photo frame for you to show off your work, but as far as editing it just isn’t powerful enough to do what you need to do (though there are a lot of nice, quick, fun photo editing toys you can get for it, none of them compare to Photoshop or Lightroom). I got one because I can use it for note taking, entertainment and (when I get the 3G version) constant web access, but if you don’t spend your days in the middle of that kind of thing, then no wonder it doesn’t have as much appeal. That doesn’t mean the next version, or even a competing Windows based version like the HP pad coming out wouldn’t eventually suit you, though.

  2. JeffPHenderson says:

    Thomas, Apple sells a USB adapter for the iPad. Not as convenient as a built in port, but it does provide USB support. http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A Apple’s web site also says the iPad can import RAW files, but it doesn’t give any details about which cameras are supported or what you can do with the RAW images once they are imported.

  3. sofarsoShawn says:

    I’m on pretty nuch the exact same page with you. My MacBook & iPhone already get the job done the iPad would just be a novelty fun item for me/waste of time & end up collecting dust. So waiting on waht the 2nd gen will be like.

  4. I am looking at it potentially as a Netflix device + photo-culling appliance for travel. The idea of bringing something that weighs a fourth of my MacBook, has double the batter life, and is cheaper to replace in the event disaster strikes – not to mention way, way easier to use on a plane – is pretty attractive. I confess, I’d like it even better if I could use it in disk mode, too, instead of only getting stuff off it via Sync.

  5. But everyone else is either getting one or talking about getting one. Don’t you want to be another sheep in the flock? Don’t you want to fit in? Be cool like everyone else? Or is it that stubborn independent streak in you that constantly makes you think that you can be different and be just fine as an individual? Man, you just don’t get it, do you?!?!

  6. Steve J says:

    I thought you were into freedom for photographers, but the more you buy into the Apple stuff the more freedoms you loose.

    I can understand if you’re not a techie kind of guy you might like MacBooks as they do do what they do well, but being so dedicated to Apple stuff you feel you have to justify why you haven’t got an iPad yet is a bit sick.

  7. Griffon says:

    Yep, ipad is NOT a photographer’s frend. It’s a dam shame it could be too. But for that to happen it would need to embrace the idea that people would want to attach CF and other cards to it (with out some suck as POS aftermarket dongle mind you) and that id might need a real file system to boot.

  8. Hub says:

    Honestly I don’t see a tablet device like the iPad (but not only, and netbooks probably fall the same) as practical tools for image processing. Even the amount of RAM found in the iPad is low compared to the size of a picture coming out a 5DMkII. That itself should have the chilling effect. You’ll note that Steve Jobs didn’t try to sell it as a replacement for the MacBook.

    And yes the lack of CF card reader can be found as an issue for us shooting with high-end cameras.

  9. […] yet to actually touch an iPad and last night was my first time. I wrote a post a few months back on why I wasn’t so hot on the device, but actually got to hold one last night for the first time there at the […]

  10. […] yet to actually touch an iPad and last night was my first time. I wrote a post a few months back on why I wasn’t so hot on the device, but actually got to hold one last night for the first time there at the […]