Thoughts on the iPad

This entry was published at least two years ago (originally posted on January 28, 2010). Since that time the information may have become outdated or my beliefs may have changed (in general, assume a more open and liberal current viewpoint). A fuller disclaimer is available.

I’ll admit it (not that it’ll be much of a surprise, as some have pointed out, I do occasionally bear some resemblance to this fine gentleman), I’ve got some serious Apple lust going on right now.

No, I’m not going to be lining up to be one of the first to get an iPad, for two primary reasons: one, experience has taught me that sometimes, it’s best to wait for the second generation of a new Apple device; two, I have a perfectly functional laptop (even if it is heavy, clunky, and Windows based). However, once that laptop goes away, I’ll likely be snapping up whatever the current generation of the iPad is at that point.

These concerns, originally posted on Facebook, about the iPad’s physical feature set…

bah…it’s not that impressive. With no ports, USB, HDMI, or a kick-stand; it’s just a gigantic iPod touch with an AT&T option.

I’ll wait for the next version. 1/2 the thickness, 1/3 more of everything, delivered by unicorns and doubles as a USB3 hub with a port every 2 mm around the shell.

…prompted the following response (though I’ll admit I would love to have my tech goodies delivered by unicorns).

See, for me, it looks to be about the perfect on-the-go machine.

For my main machine, I’ve always preferred a desktop. Laptops make acceptable secondary machines, but for me, they’ve always been overkill: too big, too heavy, too bulky and awkward, especially as their main purpose (for me) is simply to supplement my “real” computer. I’ve never needed a laptop that would do everything.

Up ’til now, netbooks have looked promising, but are only (officially) Windows-based (and I’m at a point where I’m less interested in jumping through the hoops to make a Hackintosh); Apple’s MacBook Air looked promising, but is too expensive; for carrying around and having access to information, my iPod Touch is nearly perfect, but is still more of an information viewer than something I can do things with. If I want to quickly check in with the world, look something up, or glance over notes for school, the iPod’s great, if I want to do much of anything more intensive than that, I have to lug around a big, clunky laptop.

The iPad looks to sit right in the sweet spot. A very focused device, doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary crap bulking it up, small and light enough that I’d be comfortable carrying it around in my bag, and with the combination of compatibility with existing iPhone apps and the new iPad versions of the iWork suite (I use the desktop version of iWork for all my work at home), I’d be able to take notes, work on schoolwork, and do everything I’d want to do while out and about.

Ports and a kickstand? The kickstand would likely be aesthetically questionable (especially from Jobs’ viewpoint), and take away a certain amount of space o the case that currently is being used for, oh, the guts of the thing. Obviously, as they’re introducing two docks and a case designed to support the iPad at introduction, they’re aware of the want and need to be able to prop it up, but (unsurprisingly for Apple), weren’t willing to sacrifice on the pretty. Besides, a flip-out/snap-in kickstand would be a potential point of physical failure.

Ports: really, how often do you use the ports on a mobile machine? And which ones? I’d bet the majority of laptops only ever use the USB port and/or the video-out port when connecting to projectors, both of which are accounted for in some way on the iPad. The rest just serve as receptors for things you could do, and might do, but don’t do, and hey, there’s a way for dirt, dust, grit, and liquid to get into your computer.

USB: I honestly don’t know what I’d want a dedicated USB port for. USB key for transferring documents? The iPad syncs with your computer and syncs its document folder that way, or use Dropbox and stop worrying about carrying around USB keys at all (my personal choice, Dropbox is incredibly handy). Keyboard input? Either use Apple’s keyboard stand, which also supports the iPad in a monitor-style configuration, or use any Bluetooth wireless keyboard with the iPad. Camera connection? I’m not going to be using the iPad for photo work, but for those who are, yeah, you’re going to have to spring for Apple’s dock connector-to-USB dongle, sorry…but adding a standard USB port would have made the iPad thicker than it is.

Video out/HDMI: It’s already been confirmed that the iPad will support 720p videos from iTunes, and that there will be video out (for projectors) through the dock connector. I’d assume that eventually, there will be an iPad-to-HDMI option. Once again, building in an HDMI port would have made the iPad thicker than it is.

If I didn’t already have a perfectly-functional-even-if-I-don’t-like-it-all-that-much Windows based laptop, I’d be preordering an iPad the first day they’re in the Apple Store. As it is, I’ll likely be grabbing whatever the current version is the day our laptop dies.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on the iPad”

  1. I bought a MBP 13″ last October and am starting to regret it a bit.
    I didn’t get a MBP 15″ because it was too bulky, and I didn’t update my iMac because I had started attending impromptu LAN Parties and the iMac was too bulky to lug around…
    The iPad doesn’t suit my current lifestyle, but I have dozens of friends for which it would be perfect.

    DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort output may be a pipe-dream though. The iPad (will) only support analogue Video Outputs (VGA, Component and Composite) through the Dock Connector and I doubt Digital outputs will be available via a Dock dongle. Hopefully, as Networked Projectors become more ubiquitous Apple will add software support for Video Streaming.

  2. The only thing I have against it is re the USB ports thing. Data here is expensive. Not as expensive as some places (africa, etc) but still expensive.
    Forget about mobile data ($70 for 3gig of 3G mobile data) too. Syncing everything to your ipad via 3g/wifi while on the road is going to be expensive and even with the 3g option, no one here is going to shell out another $50-$80 for 3g JUST for their ipad.

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