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Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad

Newtonian affair grows cold

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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." ®

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