Why I must not buy an iPad

I’ve been guilty of the moniker “tech fanboy” for most of my adult life and a greater part of my childhood. In the last decade I could even have proudly worn the title of “Mac fanboy”. However, there comes a time when, in spite of my own desire for technology, I have to draw a line.

Not my pad!

The iPad is a truly remarkable device – thank you to Paul Watson for letting me have a quick experience of his – I could see it replacing about 90% of my home online requirements and bizarrely, I could see it encouraging me to read more books (don’t ask). It would consume less power than my iMac, I could wander freely with it on WiFi, it’s form factor is amazing. So why doesn’t my phone have a text message with a code similar to W83xxxxxx giving me a warm fuzzy feeling? By all accounts I should be considerably out of pocket yet strutting about like a turkey on December 26th.

The reasons are many:

  1. It costs a whopping €499 for the basic model with WiFi only and a miserly 16GB of storage.
  2. An update to the 64GB model would cost me €699 and if I wanted 3G on top of that it would be €799.
  3. For the love of <insert your deity here> can somebody explain why it doesn’t have a USB port or SD card slot?
  4. Mobile data is still backward. I already have home broadband and a data plan for my smart phone, I don’t want yet another contract for data on the move. It’s not Apple’s fault that this is the case but we need operators to start issuing SIM-1 SIM-2, SIM-x cards under the one download limit plan rather than 2/3 contracts for different SIMs before this becomes a feasible option in my book.
  5. Apple are just getting tighter than a duck’s arse under water by not shipping this premium product with a dock and that annoys me. Apple always cost that little bit more but you could always appreciate where the extra money went, that seems to be slipping now.
  6. The website quotes operating temperatures of 0ºC to 35ºC and non-operating temperatures of -20ºC to 45ºC. So, when exactly does it work? Okay that’s just a semantic issue with the blurb but it annoys me – Apple isn’t supposed to annoy me, it’s supposed to be perfect and enrich my life, giving me a toothy smile.
  7. It’ll cost me 2¢ should I wish Apple to ship me a free micro-SIM from an operator of my choice. WTF?
  8. The Steve will invariably announce a brand new one in 3/4 months with built-in camera (and everything else that’s on the iPhone 4) at a slightly increased price and a wave of depression would sweep over me if I had an original device.
  9. I’ll show you 9!!
  10. Aaaarrrgggghhhhhh!

So, there you have it. The iPad; I lust for its pleasing design and function but there are just too many things about it that cause me inner turmoil and anger. I’ve never had an Apple product do that before – even the iPhone, if I’m honest, reserves a certain space in my techie heart despite the fact that I will never buy one. The way I feel about the iPad right now, I couldn’t even accept one as a gift because there are too many fundamental things wrong to ignore by allowing the exchange a very large quantity of hard earned cash for penny pinching production and an unsuitable market environment.

Perhaps if the price point dropped to a sensible €349 and operators got their game together and offered a multi-SIM plan with one limit but several devices then, maybe then, I could see myself dropping some more cash in Apple’s direction.

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  1. Seeing as I’m the iPad owner mentioned in the post…

    1. What do you want more than 16gb of storage for? I haven’t filled even half of my iPad 16gb (same with my iPhone 16gb.) Sure, I can’t sync my entire iTunes collection over but then I don’t use the iPad to listen to music and when I do listen to music it’s streamed.

    Movies? Rent em, watch em, they disappear. Buy em, save them to a proper home-network storage system and stream what you need. eBooks are tiny, you’d get lost navigating more than a gig of photos and I have 10 pages of apps and that’s only a couple of gigs.

    The 32gb+ Apple products are cash-cows, so few people ever *need* the full capacity (sure, many people do full them because “I have the space so why not.” I find the whole 32gb syncing thing a right royal pain. Turns me off transfering more than a gig or so through iTunes)

    2 + 4. Get the 3G model if you are rich and don’t care about money. For the rest of you get the WiFi model and use your phone as a hotspot. One data plan too. Same reason I don’t use my work Vodafone dongle. I just use my iPhone as a hotspot. Even easier for Android users who don’t have to jailbrake.

    3. Ultimately yes I’d want SD on the iPad but there are more important things AND I haven’t missed it mainly because the iPad is not a good photo editor tool (underpowered) and the photos I take that don’t need editing go straight from camera-to-web. If I need to edit I stick the SD card in my MackBook Pro and use Photoshop. Not the iPad. I’ve also seen how Android devices get horribly complicated with SD cards; can’t install apps to them, referenced differently (“yes mom, your photos are on your SD storage not your Samsung storage.. yes I know it’s complicated and like Windows, sorry.”), noticeably slower/faster than onboard storage and so on. And what else are SD cards used for apart from photos for most people? Technically you can get the SD Camera Connector for the iPad but that’s one more thing to carry around and loose/break.

    As for USB… what would USB do on the iPad? Can’t think of a compelling case to install a bulging USB port (remember that god-ugly USB/ethernet bulge on MacBook Airs?)

    BTW I’m happy to lend you the iPad for a full week. Or would that be a drug-dealer thing to do to a friend? 🙂

    5. Dock? *scratches head* Live simply, say no to docks. They look nice on your desk but you can’t use the iPad all that easily when you tap it hard and the thing falls over in the dock. Meant to be held or on your lap. If you need to prop it up the case will do it and so will a paper book or some velcro.

    6. Fair point. Apple, WTF?

    7. You just know this is EU bureaucracy at work. Just like accounting issues force Apple to charge for iPod Touch iOS updates.

    8. 3/4 months? Make it a year. And yes, there will be a better one next year. That’s how gadget companies make money.

    9. I’ll show you 9 great iPad apps!

    10. Talk loik a pirate day already aaarrrggghh?

    And just so you don’t think I think the iPad is perfect…

    11. Rubberised back or some rubber feet or something. It’s too slippery on any surface, and the curved back wobbles. Also, the aluminium is shiny but cold on bare legs.

    12. Wireless syncing. Preferably directly to the cloud so I don’t need another Apple Mac OS product at all. Leah broke the dock on my iPad so I can’t sync to my Mac anymore. I haven’t missed it that much but if I need to update my contacts I… err… can’t.

    13. Die iTunes die. Why such a slick product as the iPad or iPhone needs a glorified MP3 player application on another computer is beyond me. Die!

    14. iOS 4 with “multi-tasking” for the iPad please, soon. Scrabble is hard when I have to exit it all the time to look up words in Mobile Safari.

    15. Quickly accessible brightness slider, preferably physical. Just as it has volume controls it needs brightness controls. Blinds me at night sometimes as I fumble for the Settings app.

    16. Longer battery life. 2 days is pretty good but I want 5 so I don’t have to bother during the week.

    17. Front-facing camera so I can do Skype.

    18. HDMI out. A big wish and not something they’ll do… ever.

    19. More internal RAM. Safari pages refresh too often, can only have a handful open at once. Cramps web-browsing.

    20. Slide-out QWERTY keyboard… just kidding.

  2. Seeing as I’m the iPad owner mentioned in the post…

    1. What do you want more than 16gb of storage for? I haven’t filled even half of my iPad 16gb (same with my iPhone 16gb.) Sure, I can’t sync my entire iTunes collection over but then I don’t use the iPad to listen to music and when I do listen to music it’s streamed.

    Movies? Rent em, watch em, they disappear. Buy em, save them to a proper home-network storage system and stream what you need. eBooks are tiny, you’d get lost navigating more than a gig of photos and I have 10 pages of apps and that’s only a couple of gigs.

    The 32gb+ Apple products are cash-cows, so few people ever *need* the full capacity (sure, many people do full them because “I have the space so why not.” I find the whole 32gb syncing thing a right royal pain. Turns me off transfering more than a gig or so through iTunes)

    2 + 4. Get the 3G model if you are rich and don’t care about money. For the rest of you get the WiFi model and use your phone as a hotspot. One data plan too. Same reason I don’t use my work Vodafone dongle. I just use my iPhone as a hotspot. Even easier for Android users who don’t have to jailbrake.

    3. Ultimately yes I’d want SD on the iPad but there are more important things AND I haven’t missed it mainly because the iPad is not a good photo editor tool (underpowered) and the photos I take that don’t need editing go straight from camera-to-web. If I need to edit I stick the SD card in my MackBook Pro and use Photoshop. Not the iPad. I’ve also seen how Android devices get horribly complicated with SD cards; can’t install apps to them, referenced differently (“yes mom, your photos are on your SD storage not your Samsung storage.. yes I know it’s complicated and like Windows, sorry.”), noticeably slower/faster than onboard storage and so on. And what else are SD cards used for apart from photos for most people? Technically you can get the SD Camera Connector for the iPad but that’s one more thing to carry around and loose/break.

    As for USB… what would USB do on the iPad? Can’t think of a compelling case to install a bulging USB port (remember that god-ugly USB/ethernet bulge on MacBook Airs?)

    BTW I’m happy to lend you the iPad for a full week. Or would that be a drug-dealer thing to do to a friend? 🙂

    5. Dock? *scratches head* Live simply, say no to docks. They look nice on your desk but you can’t use the iPad all that easily when you tap it hard and the thing falls over in the dock. Meant to be held or on your lap. If you need to prop it up the case will do it and so will a paper book or some velcro.

    6. Fair point. Apple, WTF?

    7. You just know this is EU bureaucracy at work. Just like accounting issues force Apple to charge for iPod Touch iOS updates.

    8. 3/4 months? Make it a year. And yes, there will be a better one next year. That’s how gadget companies make money.

    9. I’ll show you 9 great iPad apps!

    10. Talk loik a pirate day already aaarrrggghh?

    And just so you don’t think I think the iPad is perfect…

    11. Rubberised back or some rubber feet or something. It’s too slippery on any surface, and the curved back wobbles. Also, the aluminium is shiny but cold on bare legs.

    12. Wireless syncing. Preferably directly to the cloud so I don’t need another Apple Mac OS product at all. Leah broke the dock on my iPad so I can’t sync to my Mac anymore. I haven’t missed it that much but if I need to update my contacts I… err… can’t.

    13. Die iTunes die. Why such a slick product as the iPad or iPhone needs a glorified MP3 player application on another computer is beyond me. Die!

    14. iOS 4 with “multi-tasking” for the iPad please, soon. Scrabble is hard when I have to exit it all the time to look up words in Mobile Safari.

    15. Quickly accessible brightness slider, preferably physical. Just as it has volume controls it needs brightness controls. Blinds me at night sometimes as I fumble for the Settings app.

    16. Longer battery life. 2 days is pretty good but I want 5 so I don’t have to bother during the week.

    17. Front-facing camera so I can do Skype.

    18. HDMI out. A big wish and not something they’ll do… ever.

    19. More internal RAM. Safari pages refresh too often, can only have a handful open at once. Cramps web-browsing.

    20. Slide-out QWERTY keyboard… just kidding.

  3. Damn it Paul! Stop correcting my misguided fountain of rage (AKA the Cerberus of my wallet) 😉

    A very kind thank you for the offer of a week long loan but no, no, no. The few minutes I spent playing with it were enough to confirm my fears, that given any further exposure I’d be furiously scrambling for the nearest computer to offer up my credit card digits to the Steve.

    I’m standing at the precipice on this one and the only way I can save myself some cash is by actively thinking of reasons not to buy. However, I’m not sure that my defences will be so strong when v2 comes about, especially if they include front and back camera a la iPhone 4.

    Regarding the dock, I guess I made that in the context of thinking about the device as a simple word processor that I wouldn’t have to angle my head over and could hook up a keyboard to rather than buying the all-in-one keyboard dock unit. In general I’d agree that docks are way overrated but just for that purpose alone I’d like to see the 20¢ item being shipped inclusive.

    Disappointing to hear about the Safari issue, I would have thought that would be the first stress test for such a device. Again perhaps something v2 will bring with it.

    Never kid about a slide out QWERTY keyboard. 😉

  4. Damn it Paul! Stop correcting my misguided fountain of rage (AKA the Cerberus of my wallet) 😉

    A very kind thank you for the offer of a week long loan but no, no, no. The few minutes I spent playing with it were enough to confirm my fears, that given any further exposure I’d be furiously scrambling for the nearest computer to offer up my credit card digits to the Steve.

    I’m standing at the precipice on this one and the only way I can save myself some cash is by actively thinking of reasons not to buy. However, I’m not sure that my defences will be so strong when v2 comes about, especially if they include front and back camera a la iPhone 4.

    Regarding the dock, I guess I made that in the context of thinking about the device as a simple word processor that I wouldn’t have to angle my head over and could hook up a keyboard to rather than buying the all-in-one keyboard dock unit. In general I’d agree that docks are way overrated but just for that purpose alone I’d like to see the 20¢ item being shipped inclusive.

    Disappointing to hear about the Safari issue, I would have thought that would be the first stress test for such a device. Again perhaps something v2 will bring with it.

    Never kid about a slide out QWERTY keyboard. 😉

  5. Fair enough. Hopefully HTC or HP or someone decent brings out a good iPad competitor. I’d prefer not to choose the closed-market Apple product but it is hands down the best in its class (I shudder to think Balmer thinks Windows 7 will make a good slate, touch-UI OS.) Really all I want in a slate is; eBooks and a good web-browser. That’s pretty much what I use my iPad for.

    I reckon Apple intentionally cripple Mobile Safari to prevent it being an alternative to native apps. They’ve made it good enough for most web-browsing but not good enough to be an HTML5 web-app platform.

  6. Fair enough. Hopefully HTC or HP or someone decent brings out a good iPad competitor. I’d prefer not to choose the closed-market Apple product but it is hands down the best in its class (I shudder to think Balmer thinks Windows 7 will make a good slate, touch-UI OS.) Really all I want in a slate is; eBooks and a good web-browser. That’s pretty much what I use my iPad for.

    I reckon Apple intentionally cripple Mobile Safari to prevent it being an alternative to native apps. They’ve made it good enough for most web-browsing but not good enough to be an HTML5 web-app platform.

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