By Alok Saboo on May 17th, 2010
Since the launch of the iPad, I have been deliberating on whether I should buy the iPad or not. Being an iPhone user (and a reasonably satisfied one, despite my complaints against Apple), I was well aware of what is in store for me. I even tried the iPad at my neighboring Best Buy store and was highly impressed with the device. Without a doubt, the iPad is a “gorgeous” device. It has some great features, and all the good things that come with Apple, including an App store with thousands of Apps.
Despite all the good things, I am NOT buying the iPad.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a segment of users (and probably a big one) for whom the iPad is a perfect device. Fortunately or unfortunately, I do not belong to that segment. Here are the 5 reasons for me to not buy an iPad.
- Apple’s Ideology – My biggest issue against buying the iPad is Apple’s excessive control over it’s devices. Since the iPhone was (at least in theory) subsidized, Apple could justify its absurd control over the iPhone. However, that is not the case with the iPad. An iPad with a decent specification will put me back by at least $600. This is a lot to pay for a device which I cannot use as per my needs. I could buy two netbooks for a little over that price.
A survey conducted by Morgan Stanley/ Alphawise before the launch of iPad indicated that iPad may grow at the cost of Notebooks, Netbooks, eReaders, and other computing devices.
The above chart clearly suggests that consumers are looking at the iPad as a computing device. With the current restrictions placed by Apple, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to use the iPad as anything other than a magnified iPhone. It is beyond comprehension how Apple could be so restrictive and still be so successful with it.
- Modest features – Other than the ideological issue, the iPad is very skimpy on features. It is clearly not the most powerful device that you would expect for this price. Unlike a traditional computer, you cannot run a lot of application or browse all the websites – thanks to the ban on Adobe Flash on the iPad. You can run only one application at a time. It does not have camera, USB, or advanced video features (e.g., HDMI). Although some of this may change with the new OS, but most hardware related issues would continue to exist.
It is even more frustrating since it is not as if these are technologically not feasible. Other device manufacturers already provide most of these features and even more at a comparable (or even better) price.
- Not optimized for reading – As a PhD student, I have to read a lot and I was hoping that the iPad would help me in this regards. To my surprise (or frustration) the iPad is a horrible reading device. It does not have native support for PDFs, forget commenting or annotating on them. Further, the iPad has a LED-backlit display and not the OLED or AMOLED display. The LED display is not optimized for reading, especially outside (where you would prefer the Pixel Qi).
- Experimental device – The current iPad clearly appears to be an experimental device. It seems Apple just put the iPod Touch under the magnifying lens to develop the iPad. Other than the screen size, the iPad is almost the same as the iPhone. I would have expected Apple to give the iPad a little more thought. Further, given the number of features that are expected of the new iPhone, I am fairly confident that the next generation iPad will be a much more robust product. It would give Apple enough time and opportunity to iron out all the issues before the next version. I would love to see Apple put a little more thought into the iPad rather than just treat it is a bigger iPhone.
- Better alternatives – As I mentioned earlier, I could easily get a high end (and I really mean a high end) netbook for less than the price I would pay for the iPad. But assuming I was really looking for a tablet, I would be better off holding my purchase for a while as there are several other manufacturers The competition is developing much better devices.
Also, for better or worse, vast majority of the web still uses Flash. Tablets running Android/ChromeOS promise to support Flash, providing a much better online experience. Further, Android is maturing (or already matured) as a mobile OS and is giving some serious competition to Apple. I am confident that the next crop of tablets will be much better option.
The iPad in its current form is great cosmetically, but not in terms of functionality. Lot of early adopters will jump (and have already jumped) on the iPad bandwagon, but a more pragmatic user like me would rather hold on.
For all the reasons mentioned above, I have started to believe that Android may be a better option for a tablet device than the iPhone.
Again, these are my personal thoughts and I would love to hear your thoughts. If you have an iPad let us know what you think about some of the points that I mentioned about. If you haven’t bought the iPad yet, let us know why…