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Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Dave!Reading reactions to Apple's iPad announcement yesterday has been the best entertainment I've had in ages... and I've seen Avatar in IMAX 3-D.

The thing that as become crystal clear to me as I wade through the massive amount of hatred and disappointment is this: People. Just. Don't. Get. It. Most of the computer trade and the geek culture is at a boiling point because the iPad isn't a "real computer" and they can't play Flash content, multitask apps, make a phone call, or any number of other things. But that's like complaining that your new DVD player can't make toast... it's simply not designed for that. The iPad is a digital lifestyle device that is internet-enabled. And, even though it can do many of the things people use computers for, it was never meant to be a computer.

And that's perfectly okay. As I said yesterday, the iPad isn't for me either. I've got my MacBook Pro and my iPhone which are made specifically to meet my needs.

As I also said yesterday, the things I have a problem with have to do with what the iPad IS not what it ISN'T. It IS supposed to be a communication and connectivity device. Therefore it SHOULD have an iChat front-facing camera to compete in this arena. It IS supposed to be an e-book/media reader. Therefore it SHOULD have better layout abilities in its iBook file format to accommodate magazines, comics, picture books and the like.

And maybe that's coming in iPad 2.0, I don't know. But they're glaring omissions in an otherwise beautiful device... for its intended audience. And that would be people who just want a simple, functional, easy-to-use device for handling their media and doing occasional web surfing and email. The apps, games, and extras are just a bonus to make it an even more useful a tool for its intended audience.

And beyond.

And that could potentially be many, many individuals once that "target audience" is understood to be people who aren't looking for a computer in tablet form, but something else.

I can think of lots of people who don't really want or need a computer, but would love to have a compact device just to store their photos and share them with people. And iPad makes one heck of an amazing photo album, easily able to organize thousands of photos and display them beautifully with ease...

iPad as a Photo Album

I can think of lots of people who don't really want or need a computer, but would love to be able to rent an occasional movie for an airplane trip. And iPad makes one heck of a media player... with a video rental store built right in! It's a better-looking movie viewer than any portable DVD player I've seen (and far less hassle for renting DVDs), that's for sure...

iPad as a Media Player

I can think of lots of people who don't really want or need a computer, but would love to have an easy way to look up things on the internet from time to time. And iPad makes one heck of a web browser, bringing intuitive access to the internet in a way that is natural and understandable...

iPad as a Web Browser

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The fact that iPad can do so much more above and beyond these things... all so elegantly, intuitively, and easily... is a very big deal. It's a multifunctional device which can be expanded to do amazing things with the thousands of apps that are going to run on it. So dismissing iPad as nothing more than a "giant iPod Touch" is hardly a negative. iPod Touch is too small to be truly practical for many of these things anyway. Even in cases where the portability is more desired than practicality, there are still some instances where the larger screen of the iPad would be sweet indeed... such as running the amazing Ask Dave! app SUPER-SIZED...

iPad as an Ask Dave! app

The only question is whether or not all those people for which this device would be perfect will be willing to buy one. That's a very good question, and I just don't know. Something tells me a decent number of them will.

And once the apps start coming down the pipe which expand the iPad into areas people aren't expecting? I'm guessing it's going to be perfect for a lot more people than what most everybody who is predicting failure might think.

Apple is undoubtedly counting on it.

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2010Click To It: Permalink


  1. Dan says:

    Spot on.

    I have no want or need for one, but i really wish i’d known about it before advising my mum which netbook to buy just before christmas.

    if you have a laptop and a iphone, you really don’t need it. If not, then it’s perfect (and relatively inexpensive)

    • Dave2 says:

      The only thing that’s a disappointment… even the crappiest netbooks seem to have video conferencing cameras! Such a puzzling omission. The iPad needs iChat AV!!

  2. Sybil Law says:

    Looks cool to me! But I’m not going to go run out and buy one – mostly because I am the LAST person to get anything. I just don’t care. 🙂

  3. Avitable says:

    I am happy with my iPhone, my Kindle and my laptop (and my newly installed AppleTV!) so I won’t be getting one, but I can see the appeal for that specific audience.

    • Dave2 says:

      I’m in the same boat. The iPad doesn’t really replace anything I have or do anything better. It’s just a third device. But for people who aren’t looking to replace all these things… and just wants an easy-to-use device for digital media and internet… it’s ace.

  4. Finn says:

    I’m on the fence about the iPad, but I do agree with you that it is meant for a certain audience. It’s too pricey for me right now, but I’ve been thinking of getting a Kindle at some point and this, when the price comes down, might be an excellent alternative to that.

    The name, however, has got to go.

  5. A. Lewis says:

    What in the world would I do with one of these?

  6. Lisa says:

    The Apple junkie in me wants one really bad, but I really don’t need it. It looks very cool but I just can’t justify it right now.

  7. bluepaintred says:

    I want one. Simply becuase I like to take my itouch in the tub and watch movies, or GLEE!! and watching them on a bigger screen would be nice :o)

    Im sure there are other “nice” things about the iPad, but I don’t really care about those.

    What I haven’t been able to find out is if it has external sound. My husband has the newer generation of iTouch, and I have the older. to hear anything on mine you need earphones, but his..well. lets not get into my jealousy right now..

  8. B.E. Earl says:

    I’m not sure if I agree with you about “its intended audience”. I agree that the demographic you speak of should be the intended audience, but I got the feeling from following along with the presentation yesterday that Apple thinks its intended audience is…you. Well, not you, but “you”.

    Someone who is already enamored with their products and is looking to bridge the gap (that probably doesn’t exist) between their iPhone and their laptop. Someone who is looking to expand or enhance their technological lives in ways that the other two can’t. As Jobs stated in his presentation a number of times, they believe the iPad can do some things “far better” than either an iPhone or a laptop. A claim that is certainly debatable.

    I think they are going to find out that “you” aren’t its intended audience, for all the reasons you mention. And maybe it will succeed with its found audience, intended or otherwise. But I think they did miss the boat if indeed they wanted “you”.

    • Dave2 says:

      If that’s true, then this product will fail miserably.

      But I cant imagine that it is true that Apple is thinking that.

      iPad can’t run computer programs like Photoshop, so how can it replace my MacBook? It can’t make a phone call OR fit in my pocket, so how can it replace my iPhone?

      I thought that the presentation made it perfectly clear that this device was created specifically for people who need something in-between an iPhone and a MacBook. The key words are “can do SOME things far better.” For example, I’m sure that surfing the web on the iPad will be MUCH nicer than surfing on either the iPhone or the MacBook… especially for people that aren’t familiar with a computer.

      And while you may find it debatable that iPad could be superior to anything else for certain tasks, I don’t. Watching Steve play with the “Photos” app made it perfectly clear that it was a superior way to manage and share photos than iPhoto on a MacBook. I could never picture my grandmother using iPhoto. I can very easily picture her using “Photos” on iPad. She’s a perfect candidate for iPad. I think a lot of people are.

      • B.E. Earl says:

        Oh, I don’t doubt that it will be superior for certain media applications. But they specifically mentioned web browsing and email when they talked about things that it is going to be “far better” at. And from what I’ve seen/read…I don’t see it being better in those regards.

        • Dave2 says:

          Well… you wouldn’t. You’re comfortable using a computer. You’re accustomed to using a mouse and dealing with the abstract disconnect that comes from using a computer. There are a great many people who aren’t so savvy. For those people, I can easily see the multi-touch interface on an iPad being a far superior experience for web browsing and email. The iPad is a device for those people.

  9. Sarcastica says:

    Well, at least I finally know what iPad is…lol with all the tweets yesterday I was halfway to convinced it really was an iPeriod thing that helped with iCramps etc 😀

  10. cherios says:

    I already have an ipod touch and a laptop so I certainly don’t need an ipad… yet I kind of want one. I think if I had more money I would buy it just as a toy. I could see it being excellent for travel where you don’t want to be bothered dragging your laptop around. Wish it played flash though.

    • Dave2 says:

      The Flash dilemma is a quandary for me. On one hand, I think that the web is far better off without Flash. It only seems to run well on Windows, and Adobe screws everybody else with buggy, crappy Flash players. I am hopeful that HTML 5 features will elevate web standards to a point where Flash is used less on the internet.

      That being said… there are some fun games and things developed for Flash which I think would be awesome on an iPhone or iPad. The good news is that Adobe has said there will be a Flash compiler which will turn Flash objects into iPhone/iPad apps! This is really the best of both worlds, as people on computers can enjoy Flash in their browsers… and people on the iPad can download the app! Sweet!

  11. looks like it is cool, yet i still don’t see me paying that kind of money for one.

    i love your reviews, dave. honest and heartfelt.

  12. Sarah says:

    I’m still waiting for my stupid contract to be up with Verizon so I can buy an iPhone.

  13. Zuke says:

    This will probably replace my Windows Tablet I carry around for work. You hit the nail on the head; it’s not supposed to replace your computer, it’s what you use when you’re away from your computer.

    Use the iPad when I’m out and about for everything, use my desktop when I’m back. Now, we just need Live Mesh and Homegroups to work on it to make it complete!

    • Dave2 says:

      I’m not sure how practical Live Mesh would be for a device where the file structure is inaccessible (like iPad). Apple purposely hides it so that less savvy computer uses don’t have to worry about file management. However… maybe Apple could make it accessible to a third party service? I dunno. I like the idea, because not even Apple’s Mobile Me seems to handle iPad syncage.

      • Zuke says:

        Ahhh, then you should try iExplorer! I have it here on my iPhone and it’s great; Live Mesh, iDisk, network folders, the works! $4.99 in the app store.

  14. NYCWD says:

    As you know, I am no member of the iCult with my only two Apple products being iPods.

    But I’m getting an iPad simply because I need the connectivity over processing power and the screen real estate at that level of portability is impressive for just that.

    Plus, I want to use the Ask Dave App at McDonald’s. Undoubtedly, all his answers will be super-sized.

  15. Ren says:

    This evening, I told my wife that I’m probably buying one of these.

    I find the pricing to be particularly interesting because the $500 starting price is low enough to keep me from dismissing it as too expensive. But then I think about how little free memory my 16 GB iPhone has, and how much more content I’m likely to have on the iPad, and I quickly jump to the 32 and probably 64 GB version. And, of course, I think about how frustrating it would be to have the device somewhere and not have Internet when I wanted it. Just like that, I’ve moved to the $829 version with a $15/month plan (I think). Plus accessories.

    I may be putting off that camera lens purchase. Again. Sigh.

  16. josh says:

    All I know is that I’m anal enough about my touch screen cell phone getting all smudged up, that if I was to own an iPad, I would literally go insane trying to keep it clean and spotless all the time.

  17. I totally agree with the camera issue. iChat would be a no brainer for this device.

    And everyone complaining about Flash on it is cRaZy. I don’t think Flash will show up on it any sooner than on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

    I gotta say though, $30 a month for unlimited data on this size of a device (with no contract) is a pretty good deal. Someone who wants minimal computing for their home will love this. They just won’t buy internet for home and pay for it here; especially if they live in one of the towns with even faster AT&T 3G.

    But (to me) it’s pretty much just a big iPod Touch with a faster processor (and optional 3G). It’s got a few pieces of extra software like (photos, ebooks and iwork) but that’s just because that would be a hassle to use with such a small screen of an iPhone or Touch.

    If you’ve got an iPhone and a laptop this is much for you unless you just want something larger to sit on the couch with but not as large as your laptop (which might need a charge).

    I just want to be able to use that keyboard (or any BT keyboard) with my iPhone!!!

    (And regardless of twhat I said above, I do want one….)

  18. Kevin says:

    I agree with your comments, however as one of the last remaining people on Earth to NOT have an iPhone, I often find myself wishing I had Internet access so I could Tweet, check personal e-mail, etc. I love my iPod Touch but wished it had 3G – now it does: with the iPad. I have no need to make calls with it – I have a Blackberry; I have no need to video chat – I prefer conference calls. The iPad is a device that can give me access to the world wide web at a very affordable price.

    For those people looking for this functionality AND have laptop-like functionality (like Flash) then perhaps they should check out this device from Lenovo.

    • Sarcastica says:

      I also don’t have an iPhone, I love my blackberry…but I do get frustrated with the facebook and twitter applications and the way the web is set up…maybe *I* should look into getting an iPad?

  19. patrick says:

    Was no one paying attention to CES?

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