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  1. #1
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
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    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    I like the iPad. The iPhone is a ground breaking work of art and science. The iPad obviously builds on that and I welcome it wholeheartedly.

    However, when it gets down to the serious nuts and bolts and people starting asking me if they should buy one for their particular requirements, I keep finding myself saying no.

    Why am I posting this? So I can hear peoplesí considered opinions if they think there are reasons why I should start saying yes. I am open minded and what to understand. I actively seek out contrary opinions in the hope of learning more. Of course I am not interested in fanboy rants about why everything from Apple is great (no body is apart from the fanboys), I am looking for real answers to the needs of real people.

    My questions are not theoretical. My day job is running an IT help company focused on the home user market, which means my engineers and I get asked this sort of question an awful lot. To illustrate the problem I will give you three real life examples (we have many others) of people who have asked if they should get an iPad after hearing the announcement. I will give you the reasons we said no and invite you to comment. I think it will make for an interesting debate. Here we go:

    iPhone boy
    The first person to ask me if he should get an iPad got an iPhone about a year ago, plugged it into his PC to activate it and download the music, then never used the PC again. He was mobile, the phone had everything he needed and there was no need for anything else. He is now getting to the point of needing to update the firmware on the phone, load more music, take the 3,000 photos he has taken in the last year off etc. The PC is ready for the dump, being a venerable 9 years old. Watching him use a normal laptop is painful, he keeps prodding the screen and wondering why nothing happens, he has to be coached to use the mouse. Surly he is a perfect match for an iPad?

    Except I cannot find any reference to the iPad running iTunes and being able to activate an iPhone or act as its central repository for music, photos, firmware etc. He has to get a Mac or PC and once he has done that he has spent his budget. Nothing left for an iPad. There are other touch screen machines around, but nothing else that would match his budget.

    The Technical Household
    My own wife saw the iPad announcement and asked if we could have one. At first I thought it was a great idea. Reading from a laptop whilst someone else is watching TV seems nerdy and anti-social, reading a magazine much less so. Looking at the iPad is more like a magazine, I would be more comfortable with that. Also, I particularly like the look of an email client that is designed with a touch screen in mind, rather than a mouse based client being used with touch, which will not work as well.

    The problem comes in the unit lack of flexibility with media formats. We use Windows Media Centre to record TV, which it does very well. We can grab any TV or computer in the house and access any media we like. They give us huge leeway in terms of formats and codecs. The iPhone and the Apple TV and I am sure the iPad are the most fussy of devices when it comes to such things. Which illustrates an important point: the iPad is a closed world, technology is moving at an enormous speed our requirements change. More open platforms can keep up with that. Is it important that the iPad cannot play Windows Media Center files? Not a bit, completely irrelevant. But what it illustrates is a problem with flexibility. This device will soon be competing with devices like the HP Slate. Both devices will have their pros and cons, but the Slate will have flexibility. If we recommend the Slate it is much less likely that people will come back to is in the future asking how to do some new thing and we will have to reply that the facility is not available in some form. Producing a device that is a full general purpose computer greatly increases what it can do. The problem the PC makers will have is getting to the same price level as the iPad, if they can, it will be an interesting fight.

    The Cruiser
    A little old lady sees the video of the iPad and likes the look of how easy it is to use. Her hobby is going on ocean cruises and she has heard from her friend that there are lots of bargains to be had on the web. Would this be the device for her?

    Probably not, Adobe Flash is used extensively on travel sites. Sure mostly it is used to make things look pretty, but can we guarantee that its absence on the iPad will not stop her booking that killer deal? No we canít.

    If she is buying a device to surf the web it needs to access most of the web and most of the web uses Flash. I heard Steve Jobís reported comments about the stability of Flash and the world moving to HTML 5, all of which I agree with. The problem is that today, huge parts of the web are written in Flash and that is not going to change any time soon.

    Three examples. We are getting more all the time. Each one we consider carefully with the users particular needs in mind, each time the iPad draws a blank.

    I want to be able to recommend this device. I am sold on all of the positive points in the material put out by Apple and in this forum. The devil is in the detail, when people start describing what they need, it just does not quite match what this machine will do.

    I am not suggesting the product will fail to sell. Lots of folks with iPhones and iPod will buy it because of the positive experience they have had with their existing product. What I am saying is that if you try and match what they actually want to do with the devices capabilities before hand, things do not add up.

    So go on, convince me that there is another way of looking at this. Do not start your endeavours by telling me all of the good points of the device. I already understand and accept those. Tell me how I can go the last half mile to address the needs of a normal person who like the look of this device. Perhaps if you have real life examples (not theoretical) of people you have given an unqualified recommendation to, that would be very interesting to share.

  2. #2
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    cwa107's Avatar
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    Perhaps it would be more prudent to wait until the device is actually released to start up such a discussion.
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

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  3. #3
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
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    A fair point, but end users are asking us now (and I suspect many members of this forum). We are being asked to judge on the published information if people should wait for the iPad or purchase currently available technology.

    Therefore, the debate has some value to us before the devices start to ship.

  4. #4
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratbat View Post
    So go on, convince me that there is another way of looking at this.
    The iPad is a "gizmo" or a "gadget"...it's not a "must have" device...and it's not necessarily meant to be a replacement for electronics or computers we already own.

    Sometimes we just buy things because they are cool, neat, cute, or just downright fun!

    Occasionally logic takes a backseat!

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  5. #5
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    bobtomay's Avatar
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    I can weigh in later. It is a device I've been looking for. I am quite excited about it and it fills a specific niche for me. However, it is not replacing any of the computers and/or other devices I have currently (except perhaps my wife's Kindle).

    It would be extremely rare (right now, I'm not sure if at all) that I could recommend this device to someone that does not own a computer they can sync to.

    At this stage of the game, frankly, I don't see this as the lone computing device in anyone's near future. A year or two from now... maybe. We'll see.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  6. #6
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
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    I see it as something very appealing in relation to my university degree course. I'm taking History and the amount of reading I have to do is epic. It's quite hard to sit down in front of my MBP and read continuously but something tells me that being able to do it on a larger version of my iPhone would be easier.

    I already like the touch thing which makes it feel more like you're holding the book / paper and hopefully, the ability to make notes connected to a document would be a big plus.

    I also like the idea that I can pull out a flat device and watch movies, listen to music, surf the web etc. with a nice sized screen. Don't get me wrong, my MBP is *lovely* but having the ability to do all the stuff without a machine that has two separate angled parts appeals to me.

    Apart from those two situation, there isn't much more I would use it for. I suppose it would sit in my bag wherever I go if I wanted to search the net etc and if I buy the 3G version, means I can have the internet everywhere with a decent screen.

  7. #7
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    ZorroAMG's Avatar
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    I truly do not understand the point of passing such long winded heavy judgment on a device that none of us have even held in our hands, let alone used!

    Negativity is such a lovely human trait.

  8. #8
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
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    Future iPad owner
    People would rather complain about something than praise it, makes them feel more like a martyr.

  9. #9
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    tiger roach's Avatar
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    The e-reader

    How about the person that has been considering a Kindle or one of its bretheren? The base iPad will be that and much more, for just a little more coin than the Kindle DX. You don't get the electronic ink, which is admittedly cool for pure text documents, but you are also free from the limitations of e-ink for all of the other functions.

    I also think the iPad would be fine for your Cruiser example. "Most of the web uses Flash" is quite an overstatement.

  10. #10
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2010
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    >It's quite hard to sit down in front of my MBP and read continuously

    I wonder if that is the nature of computer screens. For all its limitations I would guess a Kiddle would be easier on the eye, in the same way that plain old paper is. I read an interesting study that showed people had 30% less information retention when reading from a screen compared to paper.

    >It is a device I've been looking for.

    Are you expecting to suffer at the hands of web pages with flash? There is so much of it out there it makes me very interested to know how much a Slate will ship for.

    >At this stage of the game, frankly, I don't see this as the lone computing device in anyone's near future.

    I think that is true, but it is also a shame. I would like to see a day when grandma can call her ISP and get a machine like this and a wireless router delivered all preconfigured to just switch on and go with email and the web. As an industry we place too many barriers in the way of normal humans.

    >Sometimes we just buy things because they are cool, neat, cute, or just downright fun!

    I like your style sir and I think you might that the essence of the answer!

  11. #11
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    MYmacROX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiger roach View Post
    The e-reader

    How about the person that has been considering a Kindle or one of its bretheren? The base iPad will be that and much more, for just a little more coin than the Kindle DX. You don't get the electronic ink, which is admittedly cool for pure text documents, but you are also free from the limitations of e-ink for all of the other functions.
    This is the only reason I would even consider the iPad. I have a MBP and don't need anything that the iPad has to offer. That's not negativity, it's just a fact. If I or my wife decide one of us really wants an e-reader then I would purchase the iPad over any other e-reader device out there.

    This screenshot is from the keynote address. Clearly, the iPad is an additional device not meant to replace an iPhone or a notebook.

  12. #12
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2010
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    >The base iPad will be that and much more, for just a little more coin than the Kindle DX.

    How comfortable the screen is for long period will be important in this. Also how well they do at getting the content. Dead tree publishers are harder to work with than even record companies. The publishing deals tend to be on a country by country basis, which has hampered Amazon in taking the Kiddle international. There is huge amounts of content that is simply not there outside of the USA (which of course is the largest market). I wish Apple the very best of luck in bagging some dead tree heads together on that one.

    >I also think the iPad would be fine for your Cruiser example. "Most of the web uses Flash" is quite an overstatement.

    It will be interesting to see how the whole Flash thing plays out. I have seen figures that suggest 80% of mainstream websites use it. I have no way of knowing if that is true or not. What is the case is that a lot of that use is for advertising, which would not detract from the usefulness of the site if it was missing. The hard thing to know is would the sites that the crusier might want to use not be able sell her a ticket without Flash. I just don’t know, which makes it hard to recommend.

    I agree, the crusier is the example that is most tempting to make a positive recommendation. It’s just a little different when you are spending other people’s money. Buying things for myself I do not mind if I am only 80% right, providing it looks like fun (and this product certainly does). When the recommendation is being paid for by grandma’s pension, you have to be so much more careful.

    >Clearly, the iPad is an additional device not meant to replace an iPhone or a notebook.

    Yes you are right, that is the key. We can only recommend it as an add-on to a main computer. I would like to see Apple go beyond that with a future version, it looks like a practical proportion, even with the current hardware.

  13. #13
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    tiger roach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratbat View Post
    Yes you are right, that is the key. We can only recommend it as an add-on to a main computer. I would like to see Apple go beyond that with a future version, it looks like a practical proportion, even with the current hardware.
    It is interesting to think about where this may lead as far as future devices. I have read some speculation that the iPhone was just the first trial for Apple to test the waters with the touch-screen interface, and that obviously has gone well, so here's the next step. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see touch-screen, ultra-portable machines with full Macbook abilities somewhere in the not-too-distant future.

  14. #14
    Why I canít recommend the iPad

    Member Since
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    This screenshot is from the keynote address. Clearly, the iPad is an additional device not meant to replace an iPhone or a notebook.
    I agree. But as the pic says it's filling the market in the gap between ipod touch/iphone and apple notebook. And in my opinion in that gap is other such tablets, netbooks (of which Apple sells none), and other such products. And the ipad does a good job in covering that gap market well.

  15. #15
    Why I canít recommend the iPad
    Kash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratbat View Post
    Probably not, Adobe Flash is used extensively on travel sites. Sure mostly it is used to make things look pretty, but can we guarantee that its absence on the iPad will not stop her booking that killer deal? No we can’t.

    If she is buying a device to surf the web it needs to access most of the web and most of the web uses Flash. I heard Steve Job’s reported comments about the stability of Flash and the world moving to HTML 5, all of which I agree with. The problem is that today, huge parts of the web are written in Flash and that is not going to change any time soon.
    I disagree with the notion that Flash is ubiquitous across the Internet and not having it will seriously hinder the browsing experience. I visited many travel sites, airlines, trains, cruises, etc and out of all of them, I found only one site that required you to have Flash in order to view specials, and even then, there was a way around it through the non-Flash menu. For the rest of them the content was nothing more than a few pretty pictures. Flash was not essential to the functionality of any of the sites. Now there are certain sites that require Flash for basic functionality, but those are few and far between compared to the vast majority of sites that don't. And as you stated, a good chunk of Flash on websites comes in the form of advertisements.

    I've been using iPhones for over two years now and there have only been a handful of times where I have needed Flash to view a website but they were always something like a restaurant's website or a graphic design site. As Steve mentioned, HTML 5 is the future and soon we'll see even these sites moving forward, especially if they wish to appeal to the huge user base of iPhone/iPod touch/iPad users along with all the other smartphones that don't support Flash. I'm sure netbooks will also benefit, because let's face it, Flash is a huge resource hog and netbooks aren't exactly screaming performance. Unless Adobe gets its act together and seriously streamlines Flash to the point where it's feasible to add Flash functionality to mobile devices without being a huge resource drain, it's very likely that Flash will soon be left behind, especially if enough consumers complain to websites that they can't view content on their mobile devices.

    The primary area where Flash is pervasive is video streaming sites. However, even in that area it's not that big of a problem since you have the Youtube app and certain sites like Break.com provide a means for you to watch videos on the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad. The biggest one, which everybody uses as an example, is Hulu. Granted, we all know that not being able to access Hulu from an Apple device is very much due to the fact that Apple prefers for you to get your content from the iTunes Store. By only rebuttal to that is that if Hulu is such a big deal for you, then either don't get an iPad or just use your desktop/laptop for Hulu viewing and your iPad for everything else it was intended for.

    Do I think it was a bad decision on Apple's part not to include Flash? Certainly not. I would much rather have a fast device with high battery life that displays 99% of all websites rather than bog down the device for the remaining 1%, which I can easily view from one of my other computers. Speaking of which, almost everyone should have a primary computer since the iPad is not meant to be a primary machine but rather just a complement to your existing full fledged computer. The iPad is not designed to be a full blown computer in and of itself, so there's no reason to lament so-called missing features because simply put, they do not belong in such a device. Think of it more as an oversized iPod touch than an actual tablet computer. This is how you explain it to your customers. Dispel any notions that this is a notebook/desktop replacement and it will become clearer as to what it's intended use is.

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