It’s here. Well, for America at least. Today, Saturday, April 3, the iPad will be available to buy from Apple Retail Stores across the United States. For many months, Apple’s new tablet computer was speculated – many experts conspired about its features, some went to the lengths of claiming that they knew everything about it – even if they were completely wrong. The tech-obsessed Apple community even went hunting for its name, searching WhoIs records, finding domain registrars and tracking the name iSlate directly to Apple. I suppose it came as a slight shock when it turned out it was the iPad, and not the iSlate.
The iPad has been subjected to very mixed reviews. Personally, at the start, I said I was quite unhappy of the likeness that the iPad shared with the iPhone and iPod touch and wanted some Macintosh software capabilities to be included. When it was announced by Steve Jobs in January that the iPad would run iWork, I was delighted to have some Mac capability and said that I would probably buy the product. I did, however, note how difficult I thought it would be to control the on-screen keyboard, with a doubt in the back of my mind that this Mac software would be difficult to use with a touch screen. Not just that, but I think that the ergonomic situation with the iPad means that, although it’s a great idea to embed this software, it’s never going to work if you’re wanting to type out long messages (for example, I’d never want to type out this post on an iPad).
Now, I am in two minds. I love how convenient the product would actually be: how thin, how easy, how appealing it is. There have been times where I have wished that my iPhone screen was bigger for a few minutes while I try to do something online, without the use of a computer, of which a larger screen would make it much easier. Additionally, I love the look of the iPad Case and, although to me it seems as if Apple are somewhat saying “you’ll need this, too”, the option to add the keyboard when charging it on the dock. In another sense, I could always whip out another device, my MacBook, and use its keyboard – it’s a little heavier, but I can handle that. I couldn’t just dump my MacBook for the iPad, meaning I’d have to carry both, adding even more weight and not lessening the weight I carry as an aim of the product. Again, lack of Flash makes me doubt how effective this device actually will be for the web, after being christened by Apple as virtually the best web experience you’ll ever have. “You’re holding the internet in your hands”, Jobs said – the internet, sure, but an internet perhaps too bare for the liking of many people.
Over the last few days, there’s been some rather negative publicity, something no company wants at any point, not to mention just before the release of a product. Mike Melason of ReadWriteWeb says that “the iPad just isn’t for [him]” because he “moves around too much”. I do agree with him when he notes that it isn’t for those who “blog or code” – as I said earlier on, I think along the same lines as him in this regard. The keyboard of the iPad, I believe, just will not allow for this, and I would assume would cause me some wrist pain after a long usage time. I do, however, find it interesting and ironic that Mealson states “[he’s] already found [his] true trusty devices – [his] 12″ netbook and [his] iPhone”. I tried netbooks, I couldn’t get along with them, and I could assume that the iPad falls somewhere in this region when taking into consideration the typing capabilities. They’re far too small for me, and even Jobs himself claimed at his keynote: “Netbooks aren’t good for anything”. Mealson does, however, add that his netbook has “nearly a full-sized” keyboard, something that mine clearly doesn’t.
Cory Doctorow of boingboing also claims that the iPad will “end innovation” and is very detailed why he won’t be buying an iPad, and why he’d discourage you buy one, also. He also connects with another list of writers who share his opinion. From the average user, the real problem would be having to plug in another device at night. Things as simple as this can be the reason why the mainstream consumer, the one who’s lives do not surround technology but are made slightly easier by it, are one of the main reasons so many people are turning away from the iPad. Even a nine year old child said that their family already owned an iPod touch, “so it’s not like we need one.” These are just some of the every day comments coming from devout Apple consumers, who don’t want another device. This article in the New York Times is very useful when discussing the mainstream consumer opinion.
I’ve dove into the news websites over the last couple of days, and I’m afraid that I can’t find any articles in praise of the iPad. All I know, is that people have been standing in queues over night to be one of the first to get their hands on the new device. With today being the big day for the iPad, and with a huge pre-order list for Apple to get through, what are your final thoughts? As I’m writing this, it’s about three hours to go before the first iPad will be sold, at 9am, New York Time. Are you going out to buy one today, have you stood in a queue all night and, by the time you read this, already have one, have you played with one yet, or are you standing your ground, like many technologists today, and saying the iPad just isn’t for you. Let everybody know what you think in, in a comment.
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