My Thing about the iPad

It’s really very simple.

I love my iPhone. I use it to watch video clips on YouTube, read Kindle books, update twitter, update Facebook, take pictures, and make phone calls.

Still, I need a computer to do some things:

1) Create home-movie type video clips. (My iPhone didn’t come with a video camera, and I really miss being able to do that.)

2) Draw comics using my Wacom tablet.

3) Write books.

4) Access a lot of old content I have stored on disk.

5) Make music. Again, my iPhone has a lot of apps that sort of work as one-offs, but I *love* GarageBand.

6) Watch Hulu/Netflix movies. I can’t do it on my iPhone because it doesn’t support Flash.

Right now, I can do most of the above with Jennifer’s PC, but it’s Jennifer’s. She’s basically letting me squat.

I was hoping that the iPad would do at least some of the things I wanted, so I was a little disappointed:

1) Not only is there no video camera, but there’s no camera in general. Now, first of all, for anyone chomping at the bit to point out that iPhones now have video cameras now, you’re right. The fact that a later generation of a product I already own has a feature I want is *not* a persuasive argument for me buying a separate product without this feature.

So far, the arguments I’ve heard for this is that it could cause problems for schools, or the 3G capabilities may not be enough to handle video. As a paranoid by nature, however, you’ll have a hard time convincing me that they simply aren’t withholding it for the next version. That’s how it felt with the iPhone, as some folks proved pretty quickly that the camera in the version I have is capable of shooting video if you go through the trouble of jailbreaking it.

I didn’t buy the new iPhone when it came out because I figured the new tablet would have a video camera in it and because I didn’t have the money to spend on it. Looks like I’m waiting a bit longer.

2) You can’t hook a tablet up to this. I guess it’s a larger surface, and I’m already drawing on my iPhone, but I really like using a pen. If there were a way for me to hook a scanner into it, so much the better. Unfortunately, none of these options are available. Still, out of all the features I want, I think I’d be able to make comics work on this. I’m adaptable.

3) Hooray for Pages on the iPad. If Safari allows me to upload a .pdf from my iPad to CreateSpace, I’m pretty much all set, unless their cover creator requires Flash. Let me check…

Well crap.

4) I don’t see any way that I can get my old stuff onto the iPad without an actual PC/Mac.

5) I’m sure there will be great music apps. I can dream of a GarageBand app. We’ll see.

6) No Flash was a big disappointment. I was hoping this issue would be solved. Maybe it will be in the future.

Someone’s blog, which you’ll be able to find if you look hard enough, had a commenter write in with a laundry list of issues, just like I have, and asked why they’d buy one if it didn’t meet their needs.

The response was:

“let me give you an example you might understand.

Here are my specific needs for a car: drives via autopilot so I can sleep, has 50 Mb/s internet access, gets 100 MPG, and can fly through the air.

No car exists that meets my specific needs.

So, I won’t buy a car. I’ll wait till a car comes along that meets all my specific needs and until then, I’ll drive a horse drawn carriage in protest.

See how stupid that sounds?”

I really liked this analogy, but wanted to adapt it to my experience.

“I have an electric scooter, but sometimes I need to use my wife’s Volkswagen Rabbit with a manual transmission because I need something with a car seat for when I pick my daughter up from preschool. When my wife is using her car for work, I need to walk an hour there and back to pick her up.

I hear that the company that makes my scooter is coming out with an electric car that’s actually within my price range.

Here are my specific needs for a car: has an automatic transmission, runs on electric power, and seats four.

The car is announced, and it’s actually a gas/electric hybrid, has a manual transmission, and seats two.

So, I won’t buy THAT car. I’ll wait till a car comes along that meets all my specific needs and until then, I’ll keep using my wife’s car.”

To me, that doesn’t sound stupid at all.

I anticipate the response to this will be:

“This isn’t the right product for you. Steve Jobs said so. You should just buy laptop or a desktop.”

Indeed, and I would if I could. I was hoping against hope that this would be just enough of a computer to keep me from having to buy a new one. Telling me I can’t be disappointed that it’s not is like telling someone not to have emotions. You can do it all you want, but it don’t make it so.

And finally, for me:

The ultimate web surfing tool would have Flash support.

The ultimate movie watching tool would have 16:9 resolution and a way to interface with my TV.

I’ve read a lot from people explaining away why Apple didn’t do this or that, but then MANY of them turn an odd corner and explain why you don’t actually want a 16:9 inch screen for movies, or why a video camera would be “too much of a hassle” for users.

Explaining to me why I don’t really want a feature isn’t going to work. Apple decided not to put it in this version, so I won’t be buying this version.

It doesn’t mean I think early adopters or bad. It doesn’t mean I think they’re dumb. I think that they can afford this and I can’t, for the reasons listed above.

Still, keep your arguments in mind when the 16:9 version with camera comes out in the future.

(As I say time and time again, the iPad looks nice and shiny and while I can’t justify the expense, if one were to GIVE me one, I’d use it every day and love it. Also, if all you’re looking for is something to replace actual books, I think this device will probably serve you very very well.)


About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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