Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The iPad Debate

An inquiring reader sent me a question today, and just in case others were wondering the same thing, I thought I'd ruminate publicly.  The reader (let's just call him "my dad" for the sake of convenience) asked me, "Do you have any opinions about the Ipad? I was reading a review of it and it appears that it has to be recharged with a wall outlet, not by plugging it into a usb outlet. Other than that it looks like a winner! Your opinion?"

Do I have an opinion?  Does Milli Vanilli lip-sync?  I think the more accurate question is, "Is there anything I don't have an opinion about?"

First of all, yeah, it looks so cool.  I totally want one.  I love my ipod touch.  I wish it was an iphone, mostly because I want to be able to look stuff up while I'm in the car and I can't without wi-fi.  But I'm too cheap to spend money on a cell phone contract just to be able to update my FB status:  "OMGosh!  Can you believe the traffic on I-15?!"  So the question for me is, what can I not do with my ipod touch that the ipad can do?

Well, I'd want it to have a full size keyboard.  I want to be able to seriously type stuff anywhere I go, not this crazy hunt-and-peck routine I do now.  God gave us ten fingers for a reason.  But then I heard that they're going to sell a bluetooth keyboard - that would be good enough for me!  Also, I wish I could read books on my ipod.  I could I suppose, if I was seriously into scrolling, which I'm not.  But $600 is way too much for an e-book reader, even one that plays videos and stuff.

What exactly is the ipad supposed to be replacing?  It's too big to replace my ipod, and not functional enough to replace my laptop.  It would replace my theoretical e-book reader, if I had one, but since I don't, I guess it might replace some actual books.  What it'd really be is a third Apple product that I'd feel obligated to take with me on vacation.

Here's my opinion on the ipad - the next two years are going to be really interesting.  I think the ipad is probably going to be great.  Right now it's only great for the early adopters, the rest of us regular people will wait for ipad 2.0 or whatever, when all the kinks are worked out and it costs 1/2 as much with 2x as much cool stuff on it.  My real struggle is that I think I want a kindle or a nook or some other e-reader type device with a made-up sounding name, but now is NOT the time to buy something like this.  The ipad (in my opinion, at least) is going to spur some serious creativity and price-slashing in the whole e-book arena.  By 2012, I think the whole issue will have been decided. (Although, since the world is supposed to be ending that year, it might be a moot point.  In which case, spend the $600!  You won't need to leave it to your kids, right?)

So this is what I'd tell "my dad."  I have a feeling you're the type of guy that has plenty of discretionary income to be spent on random electronic gadgets.  Plus, I think you've already decided you want to buy an iPad, but are looking for confirmation that it is not just a whim that you have to defend to your wife (a.k.a. "my mom") but is in actuality a life-changing device on the order of a pace maker or the Apollo program and how could you not invest in that?  My advice?  Buy an iPad and a Nook.  See which one you like better.  Then send the loser to some deserving family member, we'll call her "your only daughter," who has an equal love of electronic gadgets but who is sadly lacking in the discretionary income department.  And who named one of her children after you.

Readers, got any questions?  Want to hear an opinion about, well, just about anything?  I'm happy to oblige, just drop me a line.


Rachel said...

I love the not-so-subtle hint at the end :) I don't know enough about the ipad to want one yet. I figure I will wait a few years until it is so cool AND so cheap, and then look into it.

Helen Knowles said...

I love your family and the collective sense of humor you all possess.

Dad said...

I love this discussion of the Ipad. Needless to say you have me totally found out that I'd love to own one of these dudes. That is kind of unusual as I had no affection for the first Ipod, or the Iphone. This one seems to have the kind of promise of good solutions in the making... However in the making is not quite the same as now. When the Iphone came out, other than the whining about the contract with ATT I heard how handy it was but didn't see the utility. I really spend 99% of my time on the Itouch listening to books which I could do with a nothing $50.00 mp3 player. However when a woman that I work with showed me the things a Iphone could do, I was sold! That 1%? Rocked! For instance, I was running on the treadmill, which I hate at a level that doesn't even make sense, and I'd run 1.62 Km, and wanted to know if I'd actually ran a mile so I brought up the Itouch app Conversion and it converted the number. That's the reason I have no problem wanting the Ipad, but it seems expensive, kind of freakishly big, and kind of unwieldy as it has to be charged from basically house current. All these things could have been said about the Iphone, or if you actually are such a geek the Next, or even further back the Lisa. So am I seeing the future or a technological cul-de-sac? Thats what I was actually asking. Also I thought you might have seen people who have one.

Emily said...

Dad, that's a good question. I'd bet it's the future. And speaking of which, did you see this article:
It shows how much money you would have now if you had bought Apple stock instead of, say, an ipod. Ouch!