So the iPad has been revealed. I wrote earlier that I am underwhelmed by the iPad because it lacks multi-tasking, Flash, has an almost identical interface to the iPod touch, can cost $30/mo., has a supposedly mediocre on-screen keyboard, and makes me think of menstrual cycles. But it is very interesting in the ebook department.
That last part is the key for me personally. I already read books and comics on my iPhone and would probably be happy to pay $500 for a giant iPod Touch – which is all this really is. And that’s the disappointment: they didn’t create a new and specialized user interface like I was really expecting. I mean the home screen icons are still tiny and now just spread apart awkwardly, much like the honeycomb arrangement on phones using Windows Mobile 6.5. I think that’s ugly and not really adjusted correctly for a larger screen tablet.
BUT if they want to kill Netbooks, at least for nerds, they NEED Flash. How stupid is it to visit sites like Hulu and see big empty spaces where video should be? This is the worst part probably, and stings so much because they want this device to be a media powerhouse, especially in the video department. But my dreams of not having to boot up my Macbook to look at websites in my free time are killed. The iPad internet browser is crippled like the iPhone and iTouch, which makes since for those devices (I hate to imagine how awful browsing on the iPhond would be if Adobe had their way), but makes zero sense on an iPad. It’s an internet tablet for Crom’s sake.
And don’t get me started on the $30/month fee for wireless data. I actually wouldn’t mind paying that if my iPhone data went down in price by $20/month – but it doesn’t. So with an iPad I could be paying $60/month JUST for wireless internet. I already pay that much for internet in my home. If Chelsea wanted one of these too, with 3G (in addition to her iPhone), we’d be paying as almost as much as a car loan for all of our internet access – about $170 EVERY MONTH. I’m a nerd but that’s absurd!
I’m not alone in my mixed feelings, either. Most of the Engadget crew have conflicted opinions, and one person at Gizmodo concludes that the different negatives all add up to a deal-breaker. Another makes the point that despite its failings, we’ll all want these anyways. Even Walt Mossberg thinks that it’s going to be up to the application developers to make or break this device, not Apple. Lastly, David Pogue, my favorite mainstream tech columnist, thinks we’re all being too negative and that we’ll love the device once it’s released.
[Note: For the record, yes there is no such thing as an iTouch, but if they're willing to use the name iPad, iTouch would've been a better option, and one that doesn't remind you of lady things.]