I don’t care if you believe this or not, but it’s the absolute truth.
I was in a car with a friend, and I said the following:
“Now that you can store songs on your cellphone, it’s only a matter of time before they have an iPod that can make phone calls. They’ll probably call it the iPhone.”
My friend, who is a very tech-savvy guy, said that people already have cell phones and music players. Not many of them would want both in the same device.
Now, look at what we have.
The iPhone works on the “tricorder principal,” a term I may or may not have just made up:
If a single device can do three or more functions of single-use devices of the same size, it is pretty awesome.
The version of the iPhone I have is a phone, camera, web browser, music player, and map system with a great interface.
So, when the iPad first came out, I saw a lot of what I thought of as crap from “iPad Apologists” who say the following:
“That feature that you wanted in the iPad is already fulfilled by [DEVICE X] so you don’t need it in the iPad.”
“Why would anyone want a lesser version of [DESIRED COMPONENT] when there are already professional versions of the same component available?”
I got that question when I bemoaned the fact that there was no camcorder on my my iPhone. “There are already camcorders out there. Why would you want another one of lesser quality on your phone?”
The answer is simple. You want to take the devices you carry on a daily basis or *would LIKE* to carry on a daily basis, and consolidate them to save space.
The thing that I was hoping the iPad was going to tackle was something I used to use of a comparable size: Laptops and portable DVD players.
Lack of inputs made this a problem. If you have a library full of DVDs like I do, you’d like to still watch them once and a while. The iPad is the “ultimate movie experience” if you’re looking for movies to buy, not for movies you already own.
Also, the lack of 16:9 aspect ratio made this a problem. Here’s what I heard from folks about this:
“If you watch the videos, you’re supposed to use this portrait mode, which means 16:9 would make it too tall and skinny.”
For me, if they had made it 16:9, I would have used it in landscape mode. The orientation of the device (for me) isn’t as important as the aspect ratio.
Think this would have messed up the book aspect of it? I imagine that two pages side-by-side would have been the model had they gone with this orientation.
Which brings us to the book aspect of it.
Here’s what the real deal is, in my opinion.
A lot of us wanted a laptop replacement. That’s not what the iPad is. It’s a Kindle killer, and it’s exactly why it’s not geared to me.
The people with the income to drop $399 on a first-gen Kindle probably won’t mind dropping an extra $100 bucks for a shinier color version of it coupled with the iPod Touch. They most CERTAINLY would pay $10 more for it over the Kindle 2.
This is a product for CONSUMERS. Not for producers of things, or people who want to reuse a lot of their old things.
If you bought a Kindle and can afford to throw it out, I think the iPad will be awesome for you. If you were going to buy a Kindle but waited to see what Apple had up their sleeve, I think the iPad will be awesome for you. If you can afford to re-buy your DVD library from iTunes, and buy books electronically so you can get them instantly rather than going to the library, I think the iPad is going to be awesome for you.
All this heartache I’ve been feeling about this device is the realization that a really nice piece of technology has come out, and I’m not the target audience.
I’m not too worried though.
Eventually, someone is going to come up with a stand-alone tablet for artists/producers. I envision something that combines a Wacom tablet, a word processor, a music studio, and a camcorder for under $500. Maybe someone already has, and some helpful soul will point me in the right direction.
I suspect that as the iPad goes into successive generations, Apple may include some of the features I desire, enough to make me give up some of the others, like they did with the iPhone.
As always, I wouldn’t say no to an iPad if someone gave me one. I’m sure I’d use it. It’s just not something I can justify buying.