Is the iPad Worth it? My Initial Thoughts

We can all breath a sigh of relief that nearly a decade worth of rumors can now be laid to rest in the face of an actual product announcement: the iPad. With the iPad Apple says it is trying to create a new product category, but I think of it more as a merging of a netbook and tablet. Here is a sampling of my thoughts on this new product.

What I like

  • It’s a giant iPhone with all of its touchscreen goodness
  • It’s more than just an eBook reader
  • It’s more elegant than a tablet

What I dislike

I dislike that Apple has locked down this device like the iPhone. I see this device as a computer and as such I expect to be able to do what I want with it. That is, I expect to be able to write my own programs and run those programs on the device with little hassle. I also expect to be able to distribute these programs to other interested people without paying licensing fees. Of course, I see the iPhone the same way, but that’s a discussion for another time. In the end, it creates a barrier that hinders innovation by others.

As a device with an emphasis on great experience, I’m very disappointed that it does not have multitasking. If I’m surfing the web or reading a book, Pandora, Lala, or some other web-based music service is running in the background. The inability to do this on the iPad is a big let down.

The use of the term “multitasking” around the net is a misnomer. The iPhone OS is indeed a multitasking operating system. What is meant is that multiple 3rd party user applications can not be simultaneously running.

My final [initial] opinion

I have some serious reservations about this device, but it does make sense for the target market. If you look at it as a competitor to the current eBook readers on the market such as the Amazon Kindle then the iPad blows it out of the water. The iPad provides magnitudes more functionality and ease of use, but of course at a monetary price hike. This device has a lot of potential just like the first iPhone. However, I consider this device to be a computer and as such I expect to be able to have full control over its operation.

I’m curious about how this device will develop in the coming months, but at this time I’m not inclined to buy one.

Will the iPad be a hit?

My particular concerns are likely not major issues for most consumers, and I think this device will certainly sell well. When compared to eBooks and tablets on the market I think the iPad is an incremental step up. However, I think it’s a misstep to lock it down the same way as the iPhone, and I hope that it is opened up in the near future.

6 comments… add one
  • Jewel Mooney Dec 23, 2010

    No Handwriting recognition is a deal killer for me. I wont be buying this

  • Marty May 29, 2010

    I too am a Kindle 2 owner and although I liked the idea of the larger “ipod” and am eagerly awaiting the upgrade for the Kindle (the screen is better to read from), but as usual, they’re dragging their heels at the moment so I’m giving the ipad a second look. What I have to say, is that this machine is so over hyped it’s getting to be a farce.
    The main reason behind this, is the fact there’s 6 versions of this gadget when there only should have been 2, wifi & 3G-wifi the fact that the SD card slot has been left out proves money was behind this, if it wasn’t, the slot would have been included.
    Another good point was the lack of a USB slot, you can’t possibly use this for business or study unless you can print from it, and the only way to do that at the moment is to send an Email from this directly to a computer to print, which means you have to have another computer and given the cost of running this device that’s a bit rich?

  • Jon Stacey Jan 31, 2010

    Here’s a related blog post by Alex Payne that I ran across today and makes for an easy read:

  • Liz Jan 29, 2010

    As a Kindle user, I must say that the thought of reading on any type of LCD screen makes my retinas burn. I would consider using the iPad if to highlight and annotate PDFs, but the fact that I can’t multitask bothers me. I often listen to Pandora, rather than using iTunes, and the iPad will not let you (to my knowledge) run Pandora and do other things.

    There are some serious limitation to the iPad, but then again, I’m not its ideal market.

  • Anonymous Jan 28, 2010

    i think the iPad is just a iPhone with a bigger screen…
    After whatching videos on the iPad, it includes nothing more than an iPhone apart from:
    Slightly ajusted built in apps
    Larger screen
    better technology e.g. its faster

    But, even after what i’ve mentioned above i think it is worth the money.

  • Dan Jan 28, 2010

    No Handwriting recognition is a deal killer for me. I wont be buying this

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