Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad
Newtonian affair grows cold
My fading relationship with my iPad reminds me of a long-ago college fling with a young lovely. High anticipation, fervent consummation, growing familiarization, decreasing fascination, and the inevitable: "No, hon, it's not you. It's me."
Which is the line you use even when you're pretty damn sure that it is indeed her.
Full disclosure: I write this as a fervent fanboi who has used Macs since literally the first day that the original Macintosh 128k became available in 1984. I've partnered with and enjoyed PowerBooks, Quadras, Performas, iMacs, Power Macs, MacBooks, Mac Pros, and iPhones — even a Newton.
But of all of those Apple products, it's my whirlwind affair with the Newton that most reminds me of my first 56 days with my iPad.
With the Newton, as with the iPad, I eagerly anticipated its release, and bagged one as soon as I could. I took it on business trips for note-taking and email, had no problems with its much-maligned handwriting recognition, and even played the occasional game on it.
But after the first blush of novelty wore off, the Newton's flaws asserted themselves: small display, unpocketable bulk, non-standard file system, and so on. I found myself spending less and less time with it, and soon returned to my previous partner, my trusty PowerBook 170.
So it has been with the iPad. I've taken it on business trips for note-taking and email, have had no problems with its much-maligned keyboard, and even play the occasional game. But I'm spending less and less time with it. As a fanboi, I'd like to say that the jury is still out, but I'm afraid that the most important evidence — that I'm less frequently using the li'l guy for either business or pleasure — is in. My iPad is clearly moving into Newtonian territory.
Not that the iPad is a steaming turd, as many rabid Apple-bashers like to fulminate. Nor is it a useless toy. For example, it's been a helpful business partner in meetings and interviews due to its abilities as an unobtrusive, silent note-taker with no display to get between me and my interview subject. What's more, Apple's well-engineered $39 iPad Case holds the iPad at the perfect typing angle.
The iPad's instant-on capability makes it more of an impulse-satisfier than a laptop could ever be. I can, for example, quickly check MLB.com's At Bat 2010 for iPad at any time to find out how badly the San Francisco Giants are losing.
Apple may have left out a good deal of functionality in iPad 1.0, but there are apps available to provide some of its missing capabilities. Air Sharing HD ($9.99), for example, provides a usable file system and enables printing by way of wireless printer-sharing (Mac OS X or Linux only).
The iPad's battery life is truly impressive, although charging it is a bit of a pain. Since it requires more power than an iPhone or iPod, not all Macs, PCs, and USB hubs can charge it when it's awake. However, nearly all can charge it — slowly — when it's asleep. When it's hooked up to a low-power port you'll see a Not Charging notification when it's awake, but you obviously can't see any notification when it's asleep — a mild annoyance that Macworld refers to as the modern-day equivalent of "Does the refrigerator light stay on when I close the door?"
Then there's the matter of web access, supposedly way up the list in the iPad's raisons d'être. Surfing with your iPad while comfortably ensconced on your couch is all well and good, but the lack of tabs in the iPad's Safari browser makes doing so a less-useful experience than it could be. And although the iPad's 9.7-inch display is a vast improvement over the iPhone's minuscule window on the web, browsing on a full-fledged Mac or PC display is still a better experience.
Maybe I'm just spoiled — I have a 20-inch display hooked up to both of my Macs, one at home, one at work. Or maybe computer-based browsing is simply better.
Next page: Flash may suck — but I miss it anyway
Balanced & objective too, thanks.
Mind you, as you've come out and said "No" to the holiest of holy Apple devices, I'm looking forward to the descent of the iTards on this forum. :-)
Yes, nice piece. But lets face it, despite the brilliant hardware and the luscious interface, the Jobsian lock-down on developers and users is really starting to make him look like more the evil step-father than the hip uncle, and the products acquire that taint I now associate with chinese hairbands (http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/hairband.asp). When is apple going to realise it's reached the fork in the road, and for it's own good it is going to have to open up these devices?
"That said, no one is forcing you, dear Reg reader, to buy an iPad/Pod/Phone —"
Quite right which is why I don't own any of them. Apple's devices are too proprietary for me.
A well balanced article. I have one additional comment though:
For all that you say that you don't like the device, Apple still has your money. They don't care anymore. The same problem continues with Hollywood films. A lot of people believe they are turning our few good films but as long as people keep paying to see the rubbish films (often "because there's nothing else") then they will not be motivated to improve their products.
Re: What I'd like to say is...
"The ego inflation this site provides for all those people who decry the idea that someone may derive joy in a way they do not imagine is just sad."
What's sad is that someone derives pleasure from the valuation of a corporation, presumably not as a shareholder who is looking to liquidate their holding (or receive a dividend). That they then start to bring in all sorts of distasteful sexual references to attempt to discredit detractors of their favourite corporation (where a detractor is someone who cannot be 100% positive about that corporation's products) really does demonstrate a level of insecurity that no amount of devotion to a corporation will ever appease. That lesson will be learned some time down the road, I'm sure.
A lot of people believe that some gadget or other will improve their life.
I've just seen in a gadget catalog a dog ramp so that your fat and or elderly dog can get into your car. It's a plank! Just go and buy a plank!!!
As for pad devices, when they cost $100 and run linux I'll buy one.
mines the one with the Bonios