Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hasty Thoughts On The New iPad From Apple

So, another year another item added to Apple's burgeoning collection of "iCrack" gadgets. These are items of technological wonderment which Apple feels everyone must absolutely own, and which millions of loyal acolytes happily shuffle forward en masse on supplicating knees to purchase.

I'm not bashing the company, though, because I was once a happy Mac owner and am currently in love with my iPhone. But this new gizmo just announced a couple of hours ago--the iPad? Hmmm, I'm not so sure about this one.

First off, who the hell named this thing? It's such a hideous sounding thing, let alone the unfortunate association with a certain feminine hygiene product of ubiquitous monthly use. But why not something like, oh I don't know:  the iTab? Or the iNote? There, I just pulled those two names straight out of the air and they're both infinitely better sounding than the iPad. WTF?

Anyway, this iPad has some pretty nifty wazoos up its who-hab. It's basically a much larger iPhone or iPod touch, allowing you to do the same exact things on either form, but with a better ease-of-use interface since the iPad has a larger screen real estate of 9.7-inches. It's only 1.5 pounds heavy and a half-inch thick, and comes in three flash memory offerings: 16-, 32-, or 64-GB.

So far, the iPad is being touted as the evolutionary superior of the netbook, since you can do everything with it that you can on the latter . . . but MOAR! Surfing the web on Apple's Safari seems to be faster--whether via WiFi or Apple's 3G network--and you also have the ability to create and store documents, slide presentations, videos and so forth. But of course, more importantly: you can have all the same Apple apps on your iPad as those that are currently on the iPhone/iTouch. As everybody knows, Apple apps have quickly become the company's bread and butter, only behind iTunes song downloads in terms of profitability. What's more, you can play all the existing iFormat games as well as new games being designed right this minute specifically with the iPad's higher resolution and screen size in mind.

And lastly, as if that wasn't enough, the iPad seeks to compete with Amazon's Kindle for the e-book market as well. Yup, that's right: the iPad is an e-book reader, too! And a decent looking one at that, I might add. So far 5 of the top publishers in the country have committed to providing book content via a proprietary shingle off the iTunes store. You can purchase and store books exactly the same way you do music, with full color and photo covers, and a neat bookshelf interface to display and browse through your collection.

I mean, WOW!

So why is it that I'm not too sold on this pretty nifty technological bauble? Here's my thing: I have no idea what I would do with this.

As it now stands, the iPad is too big for me to lug around outdoors through the mean streets and subways of NYC without a man-purse or messenger bag. And if I wanted to do that, I would buy a slim laptop. But, on the flip side, it's not functional enough for me to keep at home and use as another home computer. Moreover, I already have an iPhone. If 60% of the iPad's capabilities revolve around upscaled iPhone applications, what exactly is the draw for me beyond the larger screen? Yes, the e-book reader aspect is nice--but the 10-hour battery life is not. I would have to recharge it every other day based on my daily reading habits, and that can quickly wear the battery's overall charge life down to nothing.

The other big obstacle is the price. Apple has announced a pricing structure of $499 for the 16GB memory version, to $699 for the 64GB one. This is far less that the $1,000 price tag industry people had predicted for the new device, but that doesn't comfort me any. It's still a huge hurdle for someone still paying off the contract of his 3G iPhone. And so far no word has come as to whether or not existing iPhone owners can use their AT&T data plan to also cover the iPad. Conventional wisdom says: no. And I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for TWO AT&T unlimited data plans at once. Who are we kidding here?

So there, those are just my quick thoughts after seeing the Steve Jobs press conference live. I get the feeling I didn't quite get all the details of just what exactly makes this new gadget so wonderful. I'll wait for the big news outlets to do a more detailed write-up and make an informed decision then.

But as for now, the verdict is a very hesitant: eh?

What do you think?


Kim Kasch said...

I like the Ipad - it's not just a luxury - it's a necessity, at least for women. ;)

David Batista said...

I hear it will also offer MAXImum coverage. Coverage of what, I wonder? :)

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