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5 reasons why I am not buying the iPad [Opinion]

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.

Why I am not buying the iPad?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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). 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
    Multiple Options
    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.

Final Thoughts

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…

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  • VoIP Randulo Zeeek


    Although I agree with you all the way on the disadvantages, I may still buy one. These devices are appliances. How I'd love to change the way my microwave works. But I can't, it's got firmware in it that can't easily be modified. My TV is the same, I hate that menu structure that makes go through a bunch of areas I will never use. These are appliances, someone makes them and we use them.

    However, the comparison between iPad and netbooks will not fly, IMO. A netbook is a limited-power computer. It has a screen, I/O and input devices, but it also has an operating system. If this happens to be Windows, sorry there may never be a user-proof Windows OS experience, and there certainly has never been on up to now. Apple has designed this user-proof experience in all of its OS and they work beautifully. Anyone can operate them. The closed nature makes it much harder to infect with viruses, the closed nature also makes driver problems *mostly* nonexistent. Installation and updates are relatively painless. I own both platforms, and I've played plenty with many linux distros. None of this comes close to the seamless integration of Apple.

    Now it is true that if Android is capable of making an OS this painless and effective and pleasant to use as are OS X and the iPhone OS andif they can make it run as well on diverse hardware they don't control, it's a dream come true. Ubuntu and its ilk are great, but they are far from achieving this same goal. Linux requires huge amounts of time to install and get working. Has anyone ever done a linux unboxing? It's take a week!

    So there it is. While I agree with all of your premises,, even though I know that eating certain foods isn't good for my health, I still eat them for the pleasure. My wife and I refer to our iPod Touches as “your toy”, as in “Did you charge your toy for the trip?” We used our toys in Shanghai to read and answer business emails. How? Because the OS has a single toggle switch to enable VPN! Do Android phones (or tablets) have this? One tap and we were on the air for extended sites.

    Bottom line, maybe a lot of people (including me) are over-intellectualizing the issue. Maybe choosing a tablet device is like choosing a wife, it isn't all reason and rhyme, it's also about feelings.

  • Alok Saboo

    Thanks Randy for your comment!!

    I think you make a great observation (something which I did not flesh out in the post). There is a segment of users who are not price conscious and may be willing to buy another “toy”. Given the past history, this is the segment that Apple has historically targeted – Apple fans, non price conscious, etc. Not surprisingly, this is the most profitable segment and it is reflecting in Apple's stock prices. It only helps that the Apple platform is such an excellent experience.

    However, the comparison between iPad and netbooks (or computers in general) are inevitable. Yesterday, I was reading this post on Gizmodo about how the author was replacing his laptop with iPad. The underlying assumption is that there is a good bit of overlap between the two devices.

    But the Android platform is maturing fast. In fact, we have already seen Android being ported to Nokia, iPhone, etc. As these MobileOSs mature, we will witness a standardization (and we are already seeing a lot of it) across different OS. Software features are easy to develop (unless of course there are patent issues) and those may not be the key differentiators. I am confident that as more handset manufacturers hop onto Android bandwagon, it is destined to catch up (if not beat) Apple. In fact in terms of features, Android already beats iPhone OS.

    Also to clarify, I am not against a tablet device – quite the contrary. I definitely see great value in a tablet device. All I am saying is that the iPad is not meant for everyone.

    In fact, your final statement that you can choose to buy an iPad out of “feelings” supports my contention. A more “pragmatic” user may not buy the iPad. Such users would rather choose a device which is more functional without compromising the aesthetics. There are several such devices on the horizon and which is why I am willing to wait.

    As a (poor) PhD student, I am one of such pragmatic users :-)

  • VoIP Randulo Zeeek

    (extending our Twitter chat)
    Yes, Apple has a “wow” factor that makes all manufacturers jealous, yet no one has been able to replicate this yet. It's why I use the toy idea, but these devices are not toys, they are very practical. This said, I want to wait and see what develops. If there is an Android that does it all and works as well, I'll certainly compare it and make a decision. Maybe if HP doesn't manage to sabotage WebOS, there'll be an option there, too.

    I'd like to clarify one argument I keep seeing: “Would you buy a car if the hood was welded shut?” I believe that if cars didn't need service, 95% of the population would indeed buy one with no hood.

    “Do you want some company to decide what apps you can use?” If the apps I need are there, I don't care. The definitive argument to end all arguments is “If you don't want it, don't buy it!”

    Finally, if Google gets into the markey, maybe they'll give some of their toys away like they did the Nexus One… to poor PhD students :-)

  • Alok Saboo

    Randy, while I see your point, I am still not entirely convinced.

    The hood analogy may not be appropriate. The correct analogy would be something like this: “Would you buy a car if the manufacturer told you that you could never drive over 40mph (knowing fully well that the car is capable of going around 100mph) and you could not change the car interiors?” If that was the case, 95% of the population would probably not buy the car.

    I am not complaining about Apple not allowing us to “open the hood”, but rather allow us to use the device to use its capabilities (especially since Apple is not subsidizing iPad).

    While “If you don't want it, don't buy it!!” argument is completely valid and is what is happening gradually. Consumers are slowly shifting towards Android. As celebrated economist Adam Smith would argue, the “invisible hand” of the market would ensure that in the long run the efficient solution will prevail. We are already seeing some of that happening – Android is slowly catching up and I am confident that in the near future could dethrone Apple's supremacy.

    In the end, I am going by your argument “Don't buy it, if you don't want it!!” and hoping that Google does something for poor PhD students :-)

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    Este u site extaodia imi place oate mult.Este oate umos beos si jmeke.Am sa mai tec pe aici daca mka platiti. L a eeeee si toaste cele bue.


    Este u site extaodia imi place oate mult.Este oate umos beos si jmeke.Am sa mai tec pe aici daca mka platiti. L a eeeee si toaste cele bue.

  • Nisheet Singh

    There are a quite many reasons for not to buy ipad.
    1.Its touch screen is not big enough.
    2.Ipad does not support multitasking does not have a standard Usb port.(We will have to pay extra for that)
    4.It does not have a kicksatnd that is it cannot stand on the table directly
    5.micro-SIM ,instead of regular SIM for 3G model.

  • Alok Saboo

    True…and possibly a few more :)

  • jean

    well, I agree some of your ponits, but I still buy one, and bot a fanboy – that said, I just might be one now…. the iPad has already changed the way I do my work – the iPad is here to stay!
    For ipad what I want is a reading experience, a gaming experience, a browsing experience and most of all a relaxing experience, this or brings to me!
    I am sticking with my iPad.
    share some of my collections:
    make the cool device more fun.

  • JoeTaxpayer

    Amazing. I've never seen so much thought, here and from others about why a device wasn't for them. I don't know who said “you pays your money and takes your choice” but that's how it is in the US. Last I checked, people are free to buy or not buy.
    If it is missing a vital feature to you, then is there a price point that still makes it a good product? If the current feature set isn't worth $500, is it worth $250? $300?

    The connectivity offered by my phone (a Blackberry) is limited, even java enabled actions don't work. Viewing a PDF? Forget it.

    The iPad unlimited data is $30, compared to $60 for a 3G stick or MiFi type device for only 5GB/mo. So for me, the savings from the alternatives is $30/mo or $360/yr. My iPad will pay for itself in just over 2 years. The app Evernote lets me sync up text, images, docs, and oh, PDFs seamlessly. It will sync to my desktops (Macs or PCs). The PDFs in Evernote are OCR'd so I can search among hundreds for a key word or phrase, in case I don't remember the PDF title.

    I'll admit – with no apps, the iPad is a big iPod touch. But add just a few select apps, and I have instant access to nearly anything.

    Next time you boot the netbook, please time it. The boot time for the iPad can't be measured, not by me, anyway. As soon as i hit power it's up, as soon as I type my password, it's running. When I am old and on my deathbed, I will want two things – every minute I spent in useless meetings, and every minute I waited for windows to boot.

  • Alok Saboo

    Thanks Joe for your insightful comment. The iPad is certainly a great device. I am myself very impressed with it. However, it is not for everyone and now does it satisfy every user that it CAN. If I had more money to splurge, I would have definitely bought one. However, given some of its limitations, I am happy to postpone my purchase of a tablet device.

    It indeed is an individual's choice – they are free to buy or not buy. Apple is not forcing it on us :)

  • Alok Saboo

    Jean, I completely agree with you. Despite the fact that the iPad is not a perfect device, it would serve the requirements of several consumers. It clearly has the momentum. All I wanted to say that there are several important reasons for not buying the iPad :)

  • Khandakarshikhon

    ya u said quite right. but u have some mistakes.i found this site quite good.

  • Khandakarshikhon

    ya i saw one of my frnds now.really it is a gr8 device.i am wiiling and determined ti buy one soon. i am trying hard to arreange money.though i told her to gift me

  • Khandakarshikhon

    ya u said quite right. but u have some mistakes.i found this site quite good.

  • Khandakarshikhon

    ya i saw one of my frnds now.really it is a gr8 device.i am wiiling and determined ti buy one soon. i am trying hard to arreange money.though i told her to gift me

  • Frances Carter54 got it right because it is very popular with the young and old.
    2.because it holds a lot of info.
    3.most people use it for a lot of things if i had one i would use it to catch up on my reading
    4.with control they may get it right with the iphone.
    5.i want to thank you to

  • kristy

    i like the ipod its good if your going on a trip

  • Alok Saboo

    Yes, my wife does it as well. But I find it very inconvenient to carry several gadgets – iPad, phone, laptop, etc. There should be some convergence :)

  • Alok Saboo

    Those are great points..but it would be fair to say that the iPad was not the best device even from Apple's standpoint. Other than the screen size, the iPad is inferior even to iPhone 4 in almost all respects.

    Apple took advantage of the fact that there was no other tablet device and people would buy a tablet from Apple and hence very strategically released the iPad “few months” before the iPhone 4. The real test would be to see how it does when other tablets are available…

  • Leah Vierling

    I really would like to try the new Ipad and give my honest opinion on it before i would possibly buy one. Or at the very least be apart of the testing and the opinions on them.
    Thank you,
    Leah Vierling

  • Alok Saboo

    You could easily find one on demo at most retailers. I guess that is the closest you can get without buying one (unless your friends is willing to loan their iPads to you). Further, you can try the iPad for 30 days after buying and if you are not happy with it, you can give it back…

  • natasha

    i think apple products are good durable and reliable. The iPad is a product of the future and a good investment for my child.

  • Alok Saboo

    Well much as we would like to think of these products as long lasting, they seldom last beyond few years. In fact the technology is evolving so rapidly, by the time your child is of the age to use a tablet, iPad would be an obsolete gadget. In fact, for most electronic products, the life time is around 3 years…

  • Anonymous

    I’m from Romania and Ipads are expensive here, despite salaries.

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  • Tax Credits Online

    There are many things that Apple just does right and controlling their products is very much at the core of doing that. However, this control as you mentioned in point one is also one of the main reasons that super techy folk like myself are not pleased with some of their products. My biggest concern with the ipad/iphone is lack of flash. While I realize that Apple must regulate this to protect and promote their own products (via iTunes, etc.) it sure does have its annoyances. All in all, I will continue to use Apple products here and there as I see fit. But I cannot sell out completely!

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