Flash may suck — but I miss it anyway
Also, say what you will about Flash being a battery hog and all, but using Flash-based navigation on the iPad is clunky, and surfing to, say, Hulu, only to be told that you're a second-class netizen, is dispiriting.
But Flash aside, the couch scenario is hailed as one of the iPad's selling points. Browsing, watching videos, fiddling about with photos, playing games — the iPad is designed to allow you to consume and enjoy while kicking back. Too bad it's uncomfortable to do so.
If only the iPad's edges were more rounded to make it more comfortable to hold. If only its glossy display didn't so distractingly reflect overhead lights, windows, and the like. If only it weighed less. Yes, 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) may not sound like much, but — and you simply have to take my word for this, or you stud-muffins may simply disagree — holding the iPad for any amount of time gets uncomfortable.
And don't try to prop it up on your thigh, since its back surface is too slippery — another argument for that nifty Apple iPad Case.
Then there's reading — the activity for which I've used my iPad more than anything else. Personally, I prefer using Amazon's Kindle app on my iPad because it's less distractingly tricked-out than Apple's own pseudo book-like iBooks app (but do download the handy 280-page iPad User Guide from the iBook Store).
Due to the iPad's less-than-comfortable couch usage, I've used it mostly to read during my daily commute, as has Michael Miller over at PC Mag, who found the iPad to be a great commuting partner. Miller, however, apparently gets to sit down during his trip to his New York office, while I'm jammed in a San Francisco subway, jostling for space with other vertical wage slaves.
Those of you who commute by Ryanair, well, knock yourselves out.
After a few weeks of using my iPad as an e-reader on crowded trains, I went back to using my iPhone, which is lighter, smaller, and far easier to use with one hand — and it fits in my pocket. Although some of my acquaintances think I'm crazy to use an iPhone as an e-reader, it's wonderfully convenient and perfectly legible.
So much so that I read all of War and Peace on my iPhone during my daily commute. Seriously. No joke.
Games? I'm not the guy to ask. I've dabbled with Fieldrunners for iPad, Labyrinth 2 HD, and Real Racing HD, and, yes, more pixels do make for a more-involving gaming experience than with equivalent games on the iPhone or iPod touch. Duh. Personally, though, I prefer to waste my time and brain cells reading some pointless Stieg Larsson silliness or another magnum Russian opus, thankyouverymuch.
Finally, digital morality enters the evaluative picture: the entire convoluted matter of how the iPad/Pod/Phone's application ecosystem is a walled garden and whether we, as consumers, should acquiesce to it or rebel against it.
Seasoned Reg readers will know that I've weighed in on this matter ad nauseam, and that I'm of the belief that Apple's control-freakiness is good for neither the company, its developers, nor its users. That said, no one is forcing you, dear Reg reader, to buy an iPad/Pod/Phone — you know what you're getting into when you ship your dinero a Cupertino.
You pays your money and you makes your choice. The red pill or the blue pill — you're a grown-up. It's your call.
It's not the draconian App Store police who are causing me to use my iPad less and less since the day I bought it. It's not Steve Jobs' arrogance that keeps me from leisurely surfin' and readin' and watchin' from the comfort of my couch. It's not the unfairness of Apple's developers agreement that has stopped me from taking my iPad with me on my daily commute.
The reason that I rarely pick up my iPad after that first blush of fanboi fascination is that I have little use for it.
The iPad is a replacement for neither a netbook nor a notebook. It's a different category of device entirely. However, in its current incarnation — although I do get some utility and entertainment out of it in specific usage scenarios — it's in a category that is yet of little value to me. Perhaps not to you, either.
To turn that collegiate break-up line on its head, "No, iPad, it's not me. It's you." ®
Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad
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