Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Beef with the iPad

Now I've written a couple of pieces about the iPad thus far and if you read through them you will see that the device has failed to impress me thus far. Now despite the fact that I think there are better alternatives out there iPad, all in all I don't think it is a bad device per-say (mostly just over priced). With the idea in mind that a computer is simply a means to an end: if the iPad works to get your job done and you want to purchase it, great!

My real problem with iPad is when people start calling it an "innovative" or "world changing" device. So when I come across Newsweek magazines with covers like this:
You might understand why they grind my gears. Is the iPad a nifty gizzmo? Sure it is. It is by no means "innovative" though. Innovative implies that something is ahead of it's time. We have had tablet computers for years and the operating system that runs on the iPad is a variation of the operating that was released on the iTouch some three years ago.

Is the iPad a neat gadget? Sure. Would the iPad have gotten even half as much press if it didn't have a fruit stamped on the back of it? Nope. Is the iPad going to revolutionize anything the iPhone or another tablet hasn't already? I doubt it.

If there is one thing I have always respected Apple for it is their powerful and persuasive marketing techniques and the iPad is no exception to this. Hopefully though you can see through all the marketing haze surrounding the iPad and see that it is just another computer. Companies release new computers every week, the iPad is no different (other than the fact that it has a fruit stamped on the back of it).

Agree or disagree with something I said? Then drop a comment below and let me know.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. I concur, the iPad is not innovative and anyone who says otherwise either has specs/information I don't know about or is being swayed by a marketing campaign.

  2. I'm going to make an analogy that's probably going to be misinterpreted, but is still pretty useful. Steve Job's iPad is kinda like Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. There was nothing particularly "new" about Rosa Parks. Her perspective on Civil Rights was one that African Americans had had for quite a while at that point, and historical evidence now suggests that there were numerous incidents before hers in which African Americans took a stand against segregation and inequality.

    But what IS important about Rosa Parks is that, although there was nothing new about her ideas or methods, that event served as the catalyst for the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott and eventually the Civil Rights movement. Montgomery, Alabama, at the time that she refused to give up her seat, in her proximity to MLK was the right environment, time period, and catalyst to spur these events.

    So what does this have to do with the iPad?

    Well, while the iPad is not itself an innovative device, the reason for all of the hype is because the fact that the iPad represents a change in the way that people look at the personal computer. Over the next few years I believe we're going to see a migration from laptops to tablets, just as we've seen a migration from desktops to laptops, just as we saw a migration from typewriters to word processors and so on. The iPad's arrival just happens to occur at the right time in this transition, with the right company (ever since Apple's success with the iPhone), and with the right person-- Steve Jobs, perhaps the second most recognizable name in computers, to get people excited about this change.

  3. I agree completely. It's mostly media who hype up things like this; the moment I saw it, I thought to myself - that looks like something we've seen before, and it runs on something we've seen before.

    Overall; not too impressed, however I do agree it's nifty and there have been occasions where I'd rather whip out an iPad then a traditional laptop.

  4. Migrating from traditional laptops/notebooks to tablets is fine, although I prefer something like the T101MT where I can choose on-the-fly. I also don't have a problem with Apple getting others to realize that people like devices that are thin, small, slick-looking, etc.
    What I have a problem with is their attitude towards the person using the device. It used to be "Hey, it just works" but you could still get at the guts underneath. Now it's "Hey, you don't have to think about anything because I designed it for stupid people!"
    I hear people raving about how the iphone interface is the easiest that exists: well sure, it's just a bunch of application icons spread over four screens. It is easy to flip through the screens, but it becomes a disorganized mess.

    I'll be the first to admit that the iphone was genius, even though I despise the thing. Glass screen? Runs a customized OSX kernel? Oh yeah, full screen touch interface? It revolutionized the phone business and I'm glad. Apple is losing relevance now, however, and Jobs has managed to become the thing he decried in the past (DRM cocktail on everything, anyone?). He can tone down the Holy Roller attitude any time, too.

  5. I fail to see any major why tablets would be better than a laptop or netbook. Fingering a screen may be alright for a iphone, but I need a keyboard and mouse for best productivity. I don't even like touch pads. Tablets are all hype generated by Apple. Apple has to feed the hope for profit increases.