So I Still Haven’t Purchased an iPad

iPad Mania

Last night after dinner with the kids in Emeryville, we stopped by the Apple store to look at the iPads. I’ve been sort of bitter with the Apple store after a bad experience at one in Walnut Creek and hadn’t been back to one since, so I’d 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 store.

I only got to play with one for about five minutes because the store was closing and we were ushered out by Apple employees (the “good news” is that they are opening back up tomorrow, they told us). All of the kids and my wife got to play with one as well though, albeit briefly.

Touching one didn’t actually do much for me. I found typing on the onscreen keyboard crowded. It seemed like it would be lot more difficult for me to type on the device. I’d say after holding one I’m probably even less likely to buy one than I was before. My main reasons for not buying one would be:

1. I dont’ want to pay for another 3G account with AT&T whose super slow 3G network I’ve grown to detest. Who would win in a race between a turtle and AT&T’s 3G network? Well at least the turtle would show up to the race.

2. As a photographer, the device seems ill equipped for my photography needs. I like that I can transfer photos off my 64GB Sandisk CF card using a firewire 800 reader super fast like to my Mac Book Pro. Without a firewire 800 connection this is problematic. Also the unit doesn’t have very much storage or a powerful enough processor to run something like Adobe Lightroom. (Yes, I know that this is not what these devices are for, but photography’s a big part of my life personally speaking so it’s how I personally think, and I think a bit different than others sometimes).

3. I don’t like that I can’t get flash internet pages on the thing. I feel like I should be able to get the *entire* internet on any device I own and not be a causality in a personal pissing match between Apple and Adobe.

4. I read an article over the weekend that alleged Apple had rejected an app request for a political candidate. While I might be able to sort of look the other way as Apple censors porn on the device (not really, but just saying), reading that they’d actually censored an app over what felt like politics to me felt especially wrong. Yesterday’s TWIT episode was a good one. Cory Doctorow and Robert Scoble were on with Leo Laporte and censorship of the Apple app store was brought up on the show. Talking about the need to have apps approved by Apple individually, Cory made the statement that “”human evaluation of ‘stuff’ doesn’t scale very well.”

5. When I played with the iPad it sort of kept doing that back and forth thing between vertical and horizontal rotating of my screen that my iPhone does. It’s not that I don’t want that functionality, it’s just that I don’t want that to happen as much when I don’t mean it to happen. Not sure that makes any sense or that there is any way that Apple could design a device to do this less, but that’s just a feeling.

6. I didn’t like that it didn’t have a DVD player in it. Especially since I wouldn’t likely buy 3G service with one, I’d want to be able to watch my Netflix movies on it when I wasn’t connected to the internet and lot of my Netflix content still comes on DVD.

7. With entry level units priced at $499, I could get a full fledged MacBook for only $500 more. Seems like a better value to me and that I’d get a lot more than I do with the iPad.

8. If I bought one the kids would probably fight over it. My son Jack might also drop it from his bunk bed and break it (he dropped a laptop from his top bunk once). As it stands now they use computers mostly that are desktop units that can’t be taken into the bunk bed to drop, either that or they use our iPhones.

9. This is just a feeling, but it feels to me like Apple is innovating less. I haven’t been very impressed with the things I’ve read about the new upcoming version of the iPhone (and will probably be moving over to Android when my AT&T contract is up in July, and oh, AT&T, raising your early termination fees on your phones over the weekend doesn’t help people want to buy a new iPhone).

10. A better version of this will come out later (maybe by Apple, maybe by somebody else).

11. I don’t like seeing charges for apps show up in my emailbox that the kids buy. I don’t really think that they *need* them and the charges feel like they add up. Here was the first email that I woke up to this morning: iTunes receipt: “Item Number Description Unit Price 1 150 Awesome Sound Effects with Timer, v1.9, Seller: george hubka (4+) Write a Review Report a Problem $0.99″ If we had an iPad I’m sure I’d only get more of these sorts of emails. Last night my daughter Holly asked me if she could download apps on my iPhone as long as they were free. I told her sure.

12. The little company (well not really) that used to tell people to “think differently” doesn’t quite feel like the same company these days. I remember the first time I saw the Apple “Rip, Mix, Burn” billboard back in the olden days. That somehow felt good. Apple telling me to sort of bypass Hollywood and make my own CDs. These days it feels like Steve Jobs has become “the man.” I was turned off by his “freedom from porn” comment (even if I felt it was bogus for the journalist who quoted that statement of his in a private email to do so).

Now that said, I’m just one member of my family, and the rest of the family had a completely different opinion than I did.

My nine year old son Jackson was especially *thrilled* with it. It’s like a *huge* iPad dad, he said. I “sooooooooo want one.” He spent the entire car ride home trying to get me to buy him one. Then he started strategizing about whether it was too much or not to ask his grandmother for it for Christmas (I told him it was) when he realized that I wasn’t going to cave in and buy one.

Playing (some game that he said that I don’t remember) on an iPad would be “awesome” apparently. I told Jack that it seemed a bit expensive for a device that couldn’t even play DVDs and that you for only $500 more you could get a full fledged MacBook that was a full computer, and he said, yeah, but dad, $500 more is a *lot* of money, my wife chimed in that $1,000 was way too much to pay for a laptop.

I mentioned that I didn’t like the keyboard and my wife said that she definitely did and then proceeded to complain about the sound that my typing makes in bed on my MacBook Pro at night. It’s so grating she said, it’s even worse than when you chew ice. The keyboard on the iPad would be so much quieter, she added.

So there you have it, an updated post on why I still haven’t purchased an iPad. I don’t plan on buying one anytime soon… but, the natives are definitely getting restless and my wife seeing her friend reading a book on one at my son’s baseball game on Saturday certainly doesn’t make things any easier for me.

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42 comments on “So I Still Haven’t Purchased an iPad
  1. Hi Thomas.

    For almost all the same reasons, I haven’t bought an iPad as well. The price point is too high for all the things it lacks, and I as well, would rather spend a few extra hundred dollars on another laptop before having a ‘beautiful tablet’ that isn’t a full OS. Like you, my iPhone AND Macbook Pro are with me 90% of the time, and one of them is with me about 99.99% of the time. Yes, a larger-than-iPhone screen is great to show of your portfolio but $500 is an expensive portfolio viewer. Larger storage, Leopard OS X, Lightroom, Firewire and an iSight camera would make me consider it a bit more but as of right now I’m not even tempted.

    Always enjoy hearing your thoughts,
    S.

  2. Thomas, as for your point 5: There is a physical switch on the right side of the iPad that lets you lock the rotation to the current state.

    PS: You are so screwed: Your kids love it and your wife wants you to stop typing in bed -> we should start a counter on how long it takes until you get one, or two, or three….

  3. SteelToad says:

    In point 3 you say “I feel like I should be able to get the *entire* internet on any device I own”.

    If Apple decided what apps you have access to, they’re the only one supplying an operating system, you have to go back to them to change the battery or any other maintenance, you’re not “allowed” to modify it, you can only get internet through their approved carrier: Call it what you will, but you don’t own it, you’re licensing it.

  4. William Beem says:

    I can understand your reasons for not buying one. I decided to get one and it’s worked out well for me. However, the key is to understand your expectations in order to determine value.

    My use of the iPad is heavily dependent upon the ATT 3G network, which is pretty good here in the Orlando area. I work for a defense contractor that has very restricted web access, but I like to keep connected online. I can do that with my iPad 3G without violating the network rules here.

    On a recent trip to Bethesda, I took my iPad instead of my laptop. The battery life was awesome. I loaded up a dozen movies and they looked great. Reading books on it works very well, particularly when dining at a restaurant with poor lighting (for ambience, I’m sure). Web, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook…everything worked well (except Flash, of course). It was light enough to carry easily and the 3G access was half the cost of my AT&T USB AirCard (which I’ve now cancelled). It even worked very well as a GPS while driving between Bethesda & D.C.

    I don’t have the Camera Connector, so I couldn’t upload my photos to it as a backup. However, I’m fairly confident in my Hoodman RAW cards for safety. I didn’t have time to edit anything on this trip, anyway.

    The screen is beautiful, though easily smudged with fingerprints. I also bought a Keyboard Dock. It’s just like typing on my MacBook Pro, though I’m finding that I use it less and less.

    Basically, I don’t expect it to be a laptop. I use it for the things it does well. I don’t expect to get rid of my laptop, but I use it far less now than I did in the past.

  5. Rob-L says:

    My main concern is the 3G via AT&T. Everyone knows the horror stories. Plus, I’ve had many problems with AT&T over the years and I’ll be damned if they get another cent out of me. If I could use another carrier, I’d consider an iPad, but for now – no.

    I’ll wait to see what HP comes up with. Hopefully, it won’t be a long wait.

  6. David F. says:

    To be fair to Apple, this is mainly a media consumption device. I bought the wireless, no 3G, 64gb iPad. My laptop usage has plummeted to a small fraction of it’s former duration. I am using office2pro for minor spreadsheet work. I use Goodreader for my tech service manuals. Have I missed flash? I may have missed flash about 10% of the time. I have concerns about censoring apps on content vs function. I most fervently desire that all apps be able to share documents and data. I need this more than flash or multitasking. In terms of computing prowess, this kicks an older pc’s butt, so content creation is possible. To put it in perspective, the iPad has more capability than the server used to run one of the tv shopping place’s shipping systems back about 1999 or 2000. that machine processed and organized millions of parcels a year. The server used to operate the automated parcel sorter was even weaker in relation to the iPad. So no, the iPad isn’t a core i7 laptop. As for a convenient tool, it is most certainly that. I like, press a button, it is on…..no waiting for bootup and initialization of services and apps. I like that the user interface is damn near flawless. It isn’t a thin touch veneer over a mouse GUI. The thing sells because it works without putting it’s user through a bunch of crap. I am a tech and I resolve software issues on a daily basis. I don’t want to have to do so when I sit down to browse. When I see another tablet that works as well as this one with the user interface polish that this has – that allows me to bypass a walled store – that allows me to freely share data between apps without jumping through hoops – then I will consider making a purchase of one. For now, IPad is king tablet. If you don’t like it, develop a real alternative.

  7. Brad says:

    Interesting… I’ve been using a 3G model for about three weeks now and it’s becoming an integral part of my photography and blogging.

    First, for 3G access there is no contract. You pay for access by the month. You can stop/start whenever you like with two different data plans. Sure beats the $60/month plus 2 year contract options (with ETF) that would be needed keeping connected with my MacBookPro or other laptop/netbook. Also, whenever you’re in range of a WiFi hotspot, such as at Starbux, then that is the preferred method of connection, and it’s free.

    Being just a pound and a half and thin, it’s an easy carry in my camera bag. A huge portion of my photography is about engaging strangers on the street for portraits, and it’s a great ice-breaker showing people previous work. Also, as the iPad employs an S-IPS LCD panel, as opposed to much inferior TN-based panels in all laptops, the image quality is stunning with photos having loads of snap, and covering a huge viewing angle range. It’s great watching people touching/swiping and commenting on photos in my portfolios directly on the screen – it’s a very personal experience so unlike a laptop engagement.

    A true 10 hour battery life means I’m connected for the whole day and can write and manage my urban photoblog whenever it suits me. As soon as I get the backordered camera interface kit I’ll be using several of the great image processing apps to process my photos in the field. I wouldn’t be to shocked to find several major image software developers having robust iPad-focused products in the works.

    I already have one long-term on-the-road photo project planned where the iPad will be integral to the project and it’s success. Everything I’m doing now is kind of a shakedown cruise for that – even accessing/controlling my home machine via a slick VPN app remotely. So far, I’ve really stoked by how it’s working out and the possibilities it affords. With a strong technical background, I approach potentially game-changing technology and products not with respect to what they don’t do compared to old and entrenched solutions, but how they can simplify my life/projects through better ideas and methods, and how they can efficiently/cheaply open doors and opportunities that would otherwise be closed.

    It really is about thinking outside the laptop box. My laptop and desktop machines are good for some things, the iPad I’m finding out is much better for others…

  8. I bought a Wifi only iPad for my mom, she’s 70 and doesnt have a computer to tether it to. She loves it because she can surf with web, look at the 3 people she follows on Twitter, look stuff up on Wikipedia, look at Youtube videos, watch Netflix instant and read her books, newspapers, and blogs. Thats all she wants to do and for her the device is super simple, all she has to do is plug it in to charge every few days.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You really don’t have to justify a non-purchase, even if it is an Apple product and you are a fanboi.

  10. Kevin says:

    I also will not be purchasing an ipad or any other Apple device in the near (or even distant) future for many of the same reasons listed above; among other reasons as well.

    It all sounds like fun until you get it home and immediate buyers remorse sets in. I just went through that process with a netbook that I just “had to have”, which by the way now sits quietly in it’s little netbook case. The thing never gets used, I think we might have a total of 20 hours of use on it andwe got the thing back in early December of 2009!

    I think we will just stick with our good old reliable laptops and a desktop for the kids here…until something better comes along that is. *grin*

  11. RickK says:

    You had already decided you didn’t want one but you went into that awful Apple store and fondled one anyway. Why don’t you just put it out of your mind?

  12. Sean Kelly says:

    My money is on you having 3 in your household by December.

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