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Why I Won’t Be Buying the iPad

January 27, 2010

Engadget has excellent coverage of the new Apple tablet.

There are some appealing aspect to this device:

  • It is thin and light (0.5” and 1.5 pounds).
  • It is relatively inexpensive at $500 with 16GB of flash memory.
  • It appears to have apps and an interface that are well designed for the tablet form factor in that they make excellent use of touch.
  • It’s claimed battery life is 10 hours.

But the downsides are such that I can’t see it replacing the HP TouchSmart TX2 (unlike some Windows 7 netbooks I saw at CES), I purchased last month despite being less than half the price:

  • No access to media on our home network (at least none I have seen mentioned). Almost all of our home media resides on server shares that are either streamed to devices via a DLNA server (J River Media Center) or accessed directly from the shares (which is what I can do with Windows Media Center running on our TX2). This device appears to require that media be transferred to the device by syncing with a PC running iTunes. This is a big hassle for a device I would want to use mainly within our home. Despite 3G availability I can’t see this device being used that much outside the home. (But then I don’t carry a Kindle either.) For use outside the home I would use my iPhone.
  • No provision for different users (at least none I have seen mentioned). Any device like this in our house would be in a common area have multiple users. Each user has their own email and calendar, their own favorite apps, their own RSS feeds, their own internet favorites etc. Even basic user customization doesn’t seem possible with this device.
  • The usefulness of web browsing is limited by its lack of support for Adobe Flash. Flash is integral to almost all of the sites our kids visit.
  • There is no multitasking. This is a little annoying on my iPhone; I think it would be very annoying on a laptop device that I would reflexively want to use like a laptop.
  • The device will not run Windows apps that I would currently access from the TX2 sitting on the couch in front of the TV. This is obvious, but it really limits the utility of the device. Among the activities I could not do on this device:
    • Updating finances on Quicken.
    • Using our household payroll software.
    • Using Outlook. The Apple apps are nice, but sometimes I want access to Outlook.
    • Using Windows Live Writer (like now).
    • Using ListPro.
    • Excel and Word.

Of course there are many iPhone apps that it could use like NetNewsWire for viewing sync’d RSS feeds, in lieu of my Windows RSS app FeedDemon, viewing PDFs etc., but I’d rather have access to Windows apps even without the nice touch interface.

Now my hope is that more of the nice touch interface elements from this device and its apps make their way into Windows and Windows apps for Tablet PCs, but I’m not holding my breath.


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