In April of last year, I wrote about whether I should buy an iPad. After a few musing paragraphs, I came to the begrudging conclusion that the iPad was likely part of my technological future. Well, it's nearly a year later and still no iPad for me. With the release of the iPad 3 tomorrow (and a probable price drop for the iPad 2), I will be one of the rare Apple buyers who don't get whipped into a frenzy over the latest tablet release and here's why.
4. Price This is probably the most obvious, but also the most reasonable. For years, Windows users have cried about the cost of the Mac compared to every other computing brand on the planet. Apple has largely ignored those complaints and they were wise to do so. The folks in Cupertino realized long ago that fewer computers sold at a higher price with mega attention to detail (looks, ease of use, even packaging) can net the same kinds of success as selling millions of more lower-priced units can. They also realized that by setting themselves apart so distinctively with the iPhone, iPad and even Mac computers, they created an exclusive club that appeals to their demographic, of which I am firmly in the middle.
Still, a tablet for me is a niche product, not something I'd use all the time. As a result, it makes little sense to drop $500 on an iPad for doing things I can already do with other products. The "cool" factor of it is entirely lost on me at that price. I got a Kindle for Christmas and it's ideal for reading. Beyond that, I have other tools that cover what an iPad does, so why should I spend the extra money again?
3. Storage I know, I know. Tablets aren't meant for storing large amounts of information and, eventually, we'll have the all-powerful cloud to hold everything. Maybe one day all our data will be stored in the ether but, with deference to Aragon from Lord of the Rings, "It is not this day."
One of the main reasons I could see having a tablet would be the ability to quickly look through -- or show -- photos I had taken. That would make for a handy tool -- essentially a blown-up version of my camera's LCD screen. But, the storage limitations are substantial. Shooting a wedding, for example, I might run through 10, 12, even 16 GB of photos. Very quickly, I'm out of storage and getting that much data to the cloud, even if I had wi-fi, is a slow proposition.
The other reason the iPad might make sense for me would be for travel. If I could easily drop my business info onto the iPad and carry the conveniently sized tablet with me, that would be great. But, alas, the lack of memory thwarts me again and I'm stuck back at square one.
2. There's not always an app for that. In my business, I spend a huge amount of time working with Adobe products like Dreamweaver and Photoshop, neither of which has a reasonable substitute app available. There are some things that might work in a pinch, but if I wanted those things, why wouldn't I just bring my laptop?
Again, the limitations, at least for me, put the iPad in the realm of toy more than usable computing product.
1. Middle Ground This is the most important argument against for me: The iPad falls in that middle ground between the power of my laptop and the simple convenience of my iPhone. It has more power than the phone but substantially less than the laptop. The end result is a product that leaves me wanting.
I'm going on vacation this summer and I thought about how convenient an iPad might be. Then I realized that, in the car, it wasn't substantially better than my phone and in a hotel or on a plane, I'd rather just have my laptop with all its stored memory and computing power. There isn't anything about the iPad that sets itself apart enough to make me want to add it to the arsenal of computing products at my disposal.
The bottom line is that the iPad is tremendously cool -- much like Siri. But, I'm not ditching the iPhone 4 I got less than a year ago for the 4S so I can have a preprogrammed computer talk to me and I'm not going to drop $500 on a tablet that doesn't do anything my current technology doesn't already do...and better.
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