My take on the iPad – Might as well join in

Despite what my more fervent fanboi friends think, I don’t hate the iPad.

As the organizer of a conference for iPhone developers, I can’t wait to see what they do with the iPad. I can’t wait for panels on the differences, etc.

This post isn’t about that. This post is about me as a techy, power user consumer. The exact person the iPad isn’t for.

Alex Payne captures my thoughts on this really well. From a Flex Developer standpoint (Yeah that’s right hater, Flash!) I think Doug sums it up well.

I’m not gonna lie I let the rumor mill wind my expectations up more than I should have.

I was expecting

  • iPhone OS – Got it
  • Cellular plan of some sort – Got it
  • affordable – sorta got it. based on features it’s murky but it’s not $2000, so that’s something.
  • Ability to run more than one iApp at it’s native size in a window – Nope didn’t get that
  • A USB Port or two – Nope
  • Some type of awesome MobileMe integration that would allow me to download files on my iSlate straight to mobileme where I could consume them on my real computer. – Nope, not even close, and MobileMe still sucks, not even an upgrade to it.
  • Flash – nope. Though I wasn’t surprised. Apple controls the playground, and in true bully fashion has no reason to stop.

That’s it. The camera everyone wants might be fun, but i don’t use the one on my Macbook, so…

I can survive without the USB ports, since clearly apple doesn’t like us to have access to the guts, that’s livable.

No multitasking is a deal breaker. Let’s be clear, I have an iPhone, I have a Macbook. If I want the “Real web” I can look at it on my macbook which is nice and light. If I want the Apple version of the web, I can use my iPhone.

Assuming I got the device I wanted, I never in a million years Imagined I’d leave my Macbook at home. Clearly I wouldn’t leave my iPhone at home either. I’d cary the tablet for when I walk around, or just need to do some lightweight work. I’d carry with me at conferences for note taking and controlling the mac mini’s on site if they need it. etc. it’d be a utility device. I could stream music, and work on my keynote for Wednesday, I could fire up IM and not be away from it, ditto for twitter. I’d basically be free to roam and not be tied to my laptop at the registration desk.

When I was going out and didn’t need my laptop, i figured my iSlate would be with me. Heck I could toss it in Nicole’s purse, or just hold it.

It’s not (yet) the device I want.

I admit, my hopes were pie in the sky. From the vitriol flowing out of twitter the last few days, I’m not alone. It’s almost like the Jets vs. sharks scene in West Side Story. The die hard fanbois are rushing to the defense of Apple and the iPad and those dissappointed and even angry are rushing to call it names, and shout how Apple has failed them. I say them because while I’m sad it’s not the device I want, I have no doubt it will sell like mad and people will love it. Fanbois will love it because it’s in their contract. Normal consumers will love it because it’s simple, doesn’t do anything but surf the web and send email, etc. My mom truly is the perfect candidate for this device.

I agree with Alex that it seems that Apple is turning down a path, where hackers and power users aren’t welcome, and aren’t their core business. They’re truly turning consumer. This is good, great, but also bad.

Good because I want Apple to succeed, I truly love their products and industrial design (though I hope they ditch shiny backs on ipods. Clearly Steve jobs has had his finger prints burnt off to not see the smudges the rest of us see, or he has a Eunuch to operate his iPod and iPhone for him). Bad because as Alex says, they’re turning their attention away from what (I think) they’re all about. Apple was founded by hackers, Apple survived a long time on hackers, and tinkerers and power users.

Lately all their devices are less and less hacker, tinkerer, power user friendly. I’m sure plenty of self proclaimed power users will say otherwise, running Photoshop all day, with other apps open, does not a power user make in my mind. Open Terminal, hack your shit! Change settings via bash, etc. That to me is a power user.

That’s not possible on the iPad.

Hope in the Jailbreakers

I think the iPad has huge, huge potential. I think those folks that are angry have forgotten one key thing, the first version of most Apple gear is just meh. the first iPod, not so hot, awesome by the standards of the day of course, but compared to what iPods can do now. no.

The iPhone 2g when it was released had no apps but those Apple provided. Had no MMS, had no (long list of things, some still on it)

the OS wasn’t that great, the features weren’t that great, etc. the iPhone 3GS is quite a different machine. More powerful, more feature rich. I bought my 2G iPhone when the 3G was released, on Ebay. i didn’t fully jump on the bandwagon of iPhone until the 3GS. That was when it was a device I could use and like, outside of my fanboiism.

The Macbook Air had issues with it’s CPU cores, etc. Macbook pros mooo’d. There’s plenty of history of first gen issues. nothing major and Apple fixes them, but it’s common that the first run is to get the bugs out. Apple will make the iPad better. Perfect? no, but I hope it is eventually something I’ll want as a consumer.

P.S. Fanbois, please refrain from commenting on why I’m dumb for expecting something other than what I got. I’m sure you got exactly what you expected, you’re buying 4 of them the moment the site allows it, and you and Steve are on the same wavelength and this device is 100% the most awesome revolution in computing. I’ve heard it all before and it doesn’t add to the discussion. You have a blog, use it.

I would like to know what everyone thinks about the iPad in the least fanboish ways possible, what will you use it for, what do you think it’s strength is, other than, of course being Magical

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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