Last night, after seeing a terse review of the iPad on a news program, my wife asked me if I would be getting one.
I said, Yes, probably.
This morning I saw a report that said that the iPad could end up being the best-selling computer in history. I also saw an article where the reporter said metaphorically that "I'll give up my iPad when they can pry my cold, dead fingers off of it".
My reservations are:
- The frustrations of the iPhone Apps Store will be writ really large with the iPad. There will be great ideas and enhancements that just won't make it to the iPad because of Apple's boneheaded and blatantly anticompetitive restrictions on what Apps are approved. For example, I would want seamless interoperability with Google Apps - Google Voice, docs, calendar, email, contacts, even bookmarks, but given the enmity between Apple and Google, that won't happen.
- I hate the idea of draconian Digital Rights Management (DRM) applying to books whose paper version I have nearly unlimited usage, transport, and "giveaway" rights.
- I don't know if it will be possible to cache onboard the documents that I compose and want reference to - lots and lots and lots of PDFs that I would like to cache and read.
But I suspect all that will pale in comparison to the satisfying experience one will have with the iPad.
One of the amazing things about the iPhone is that it pretty much "just works the way you'd expect it to". In other words, the designers and engineers did a marvelous job of making the iPhone experience "intuitive". I can't imagine that the iPad won't be that same intuitive experience... better, in fact, for having more resources - screen real estate, processor, memory, etc.
In fact, I think that will be the overwhelming reason for the iPad's overwhelming success - it will just work, pretty much just like you'd expect it to.
It will work as a book reader - better than current ones because it is backlit and color. There will be a new generation of books with gorgeous illustrations. The graphic novel will certainly find new life with the iPad. Pretty much just like you'd expect it to.
It will work as a movie viewer - better than current ones because there's no DVD involved. You'll probably be able to zoom in (intuitively), pause, go back (archaic term - rewind), skip ahead, etc. Pretty much just like you'd expect it to.
It will work as a communications device. Apple didn't get it quite right with the lack of a user-facing camera which would make it the ultimate videocall device. I'm certain that such a camera will be in the next iPad, just as the camera is a standard feature on all iMacs and Apple laptops. Pretty much just like you'd expect it to.
I think that it will do these, and many more things, so well, that the irritations will just fade away.
One of the smarter things that Apple did with the iPad is that they removed the frustration factor with the communications. There's no "iPod Touch" version of the iPad. I allude to the iPod Touch being less than an iPhone without the cellular network chips - the iPod Touch lacks a few key features of the iPhone, like a microphone. Apple didn't take that approach with the iPad - you can get it with Wi-Fi only, or Wi-Fi + cellular. If you choose the latter, you don't have to activate the cellular and begin paying for it right away. You can activate it later, or never, but it's there if you ever do need it. And if you do decide you want it, Apple negotiated a prepaid plan, so you don't have to enter into a long term contract with AT&T - a very good thing.
I'm looking forward to my iPad, eventually. I'm not enough of a fanboy to stand in the lines and buy one ASAP, but I'll probably make my way to an Apple store this weekend to fondle one and really incite my technolust.
By Steve Stroh