Figured what the heck, I'd share my two cents. I know someone is prolly interested in yet another view of the new device by Apple. I've read tons of views and being the lemming I am (as my boss calls me for owning an iPhone and using Ubuntu alongside my MS products), I figured a post was in order. After all, why not?
For the record, I am a “fanboi” of no one's technology. I both love and hate their technology equally and often for the same reasons. The only thing I fanboi about is The Batman, as many who know me can attest....and maybe Left 4 Dead 2 for the Xbox (it rocks...keep meaning to blog that). I did watch the live blog/twitter feeds on the announcement day, but more out of an overall interest in technology rather than to cheer Jobs and Apple.
Anyway, here are some thoughts we've discussed at work, many of which were mine or refined through discussion. They are in no particular order.
Jobs was wrong when he said the netbook wasn't great anything. I disagree. I am sitting here in a Starbucks at a table the size of postage stamp, running a Twitter client, OpenOffice, and a couple of other “hotel” services on my netbook. I can switch between the apps fast and efficiently. I have a real keyboard, complete with number key row and full-size keys (one of the main reasons I selected my netbook). It has capability to connect to USB devices, I can add temporary storage (I have 2GB SD card in the slot as I type this), and I don't need another machine to get at media (via some service like iTunes) . I can save files directly to my drive; the file system is completely open. And so on.... The point here is this: iPad does NOT replace a netbook and a netbook does not suck, no matter what Jobs says.
Why, oh why would they couple the iPad, a device intended to replace the netbook, to a phone operating system? Especially one that doesn't multi-task! All that screen real estate, and I can't have more than one app open on the “desktop” at the same time?? I understand they get the instant market of iPhone apps, (which is why I think Apple is selling the iPad so cheaply, btw) but this makes no sense if really want to market this thing as a productivity device. My co-worker and I think the iPhone OS 4 will be announced just before shipping and will be available for iPad only initially. This will give the independent developers time to test their iPhone OS 3 apps against it and make any necessary changes w/o breaking their revenue streams.
There is no camera. WTF? This thing has what appear to be great photo editing tools, yet it doesn't have a camera? There aren't external ports other than the connection for the USB cable, so we can prolly assume there won't be an external camera. My cheap netbook has a camera. I can livechat with no problem. Interestingly, the iPad SDK emulator seems to think there is a camera (if you add a pic to a contact, it prompts you to either use an existing picture or take a new one) although the hardware doesn't support one.
It priced to try and defeat the Kindle (and its ilk) and it just might do it....except the Kindle has one seriously superior feature: free 3G for getting books. I don't know how big a deal this is, given that I don't own an e-reader, but it does seem like it would be handy. In order to complete with the Kindle in this respect, the device price goes up $130...and suddenly the price isn't so good. This all said, however, I know several people personally who will likely wait on the iPad for their reader rather than get the Kindle or the Nook.
Jobs made a big deal about how the keyboard works well on-screen, yet one of the periperals already shown is a cradle/keyboard arrangement. I am thinking this suggests that if you really want to do any real work on it, the on-screen keyboard will not do it for you. Again, the price doesn't now seem so reasonable.
I am excited about the games it might support. We might seem some pretty cool stuff on it. Sounds as if Gameloft is on-board already to do iPad specific game development (I personally love Gameloft products for the iPhone...Dungeon Hunter rocks!!). The iPad device could be a siginificant player in the gaming space.
The battery life sounds great. Ye gods, 10 hrs?? My netbook only lasts for a couple of hours.
So, I hear you asking: Are you, Theo, getting one? My answer is I dunno. I really can't see a place for it in my arsenal of devices. I tend to like to get the right device for me in any particular sphere, regardless of who makes it. I have an iPhone cause I like it better than WinMobile these days, yet I use PC for most of my work and play, etc. For me, my netbook does everything the iPad doesn't that I would want it to do.
Now, I confess I am a hardware junkie, a gadget guy. So, there's some possibility I might get one, but I can't see it replacing anything.
Of course, one can't discount the effectiveness of Apple's marketing. When the original iPod came out, I was using an MP3 player made by iRiver. It was superior in every way to the iPod, yet the iPod became the dominant player in the space. As such, it is entirely possible that the iPad will replace the netbook simply because Apple made it. Sometimes, the inferior device wins 'cause it's flashly, trendy, and well-marketed.
Update: Was reading around and remembered the other thing that sort of annoys me about the iPad: lack of Flash support. Given that Flash is almost everywhere, it seems to me that claiming that iPad is the "ultimate browsing experience" might be a little bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps "pretty darn good browing experience" might be more appropriate.