11 Reasons why the iPad sucks.

1. No Multitasking
This is a backbreaker. If this is supposed to be a replacement for netbooks, how can it possibly not have multitasking? Are you saying I can’t listen music while writing a document? I can’t have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser? I can’t have AIM open at the same time as my email? Are you kidding me? This alone guarantees that I will not buy this product.

2. No Cameras
No front facing camera is one thing. But no back facing camera either? Why the hell not? I can’t imagine what the downside was for including at least one camera. Could this thing not handle video iChat?

3. Touch Keyboard
So much for Apple revolutionizing tablet inputs; this is the same big, ugly touchscreen keyboard we’ve seen on other tablets, and unless you’re lying on the couch with your knees propping it up, it’ll be awkward to use.

4. No HDMI Out
Want to watch those nice HD videos you downloaded from iTunes on your TV? Too damned bad! If you were truly loyal, you’d just buy an AppleTV already.

5. The Name iPad
Get ready for Maxi pad jokes, and lots of ‘em!

6. No Flash
No Flash is annoying but not a dealbreaker on the iPhone and iPod Touch. On something that’s supposed to be closer to a netbook or laptop? It will leave huge, gaping holes in websites. I hope you don’t care about streaming video! God knows not many casual internet users do. Oh wait, nevermind, they all do.

7. No USB but Adapters, Adapters, Adapters
So much for those smooth lines. If you want to plug anything into this, such as a digital camera, you need all sorts of ugly adapters. You need an adapter for USB for god’s sake.

9. It’s Not Widescreen
Widescreen movies look lousy on this thing thanks to its 4:3 screen, according to Blam, who checked out some of Star Trek on one. It’s like owning a 4:3 TV all over again!

10. Doesn’t Support T-Mobile 3G
Sure, it’s “unlocked.” But it won’t work on T-Mobile, and it uses microSIMs that literally no one else uses.

11. A Closed App Ecosystem
The iPad only runs apps from the App Store. The same App Store that is notorious for banning apps for no real reason, such as Google Voice. Sure, netbooks might not have touchscreens, but you can install whatever software you’d like on them. Want to run a different browser on your iPad? Too bad!

Sooooo. What else can I say? Well, let´s have a deeper look:

What is it uniquely good/cool at doing?
It’ll have a super easy interface. It’ll have constantly live internet connection via 3G or WiFi. 3G data is rumored to be $40/month. Lame to spend more each month on streaming bit plans -some poeple have a land line phone bill, a cable bill, a cable modem bill, an iPhone bill, and now a tablet bill? Sheesh.

But now, lets say you can get one tomorrow for 1000 Euros. Or, with a 2 year data plan, for 500 Euros. Whatevah. What matters is this – do you want it? If yes, wait a week and see if still true (gotta wait for the Reality Distortion Field to disperse, the field is strongest Day Zero). Do you need it? Probably not, based on what I’m hearing. Unless a lot of content we’ve already been able to get for free online is going behind a paywall, I don’t think so.

It SOUNDS like Apple is going for the next big move in Internet evolution – that content needs to be paid for, and they are going to have the infrastructure to do it – to bring magazine and newspaper type publications back to an advertising and subscriber based income structure. This NEEDS to happen – so far, it has become VERY clear that advertising alone is not sufficient to support a full sized professional publishing effort, with professional writers, etc. (PVC notwithstanding). OK, that’s GREAT, all for it. EVEN IF that is what they are doing and they are successful at it….why does it need to ONLY be on the tablet? Possible answers:

What can this do that I can’t elsewhere?
ONE FILE ENTERS, NONE MAY LEAVE (chant in crowd ritualistically) – because that one door IN (Apple controlled), no doors OUT (no externally accessible file system), was required to get the bootleg averse content providers to sign on. While technically the same content COULD be distributed to laptops, desktops, iPhones, and (heaven forbid) AppleTV and other set top devices, perhaps it WON’T be because of licensing issues. On that basis, maybe content is EXCLUSIVE to the tablet (at least for now…until faith is built and content distributors trust the Apple ecology, and/or until a decent number of tablets have been sold).

(on that note, maybe AppleTV might get a shot in the arm – especially if the tablet has a 1280×720-ish sized display, as it is a “closed” piece of hardware with a more-trusted level of security – for instance, you can rent HD movies on a AppleTV, but not on a laptop/desktop via iTunes)

OK, IF this guess is true, it is good for tablet, but bad for the overall Apple sales ecology if iPhones, AppleTV, and iTunes equipped Macs/PCs can’t access this content (or a limited portion of it) – Apple likes simple, easy, consistent, unconfusing options. Tablet only content? Suxors on this basis.

Maybe iPhones get some of the content, at smaller size obviously, maybe cheaper video this size, but it’d kinda such on that small screen. Maybe that is part of the drive, that you can try on iPhone, but not see all the benefit therefore want the bigger device?

The exclusivity factor is only of benefit for Apple and the assurance of content distrbutors worried about device security and bootlegging. For the consumer, it is a total downside – there are no technical reasons why – at least the CONTENT, but not the OS/UI, shouldn’t be available on Macs/PCs, and maybe AppleTVs as well (Hey, I have one, and want more use out of it!). Content producers desperately want to find a way to monetize, and consumers have been trained that The Web Is Free. OK, so this new device with a new model means….paying for content.
I don’t think the market is going ot go for it at this point in time – “Hey! It is formatted a little better, I get to spend 500-1000 Euros to get it, and then pay as much as the print copy – WOOHOO! Let me get some!” Nope. The CONCEPT of a reader is great – but the tech isn’t ready yet, and here’s why I think so:

a.) Printing on paper is still dirt cheap. Publishing technology has come a long way, but I’m still AMAZED at magazine lead times, and not in a good way – come on, industry, 2-3 months for trade pubs? Really?

b.) you want a reader? Great, it needs to be better than the alternative from an overall price/functionality perspective. The functionality? I think it’ll be there. But technology is only as valid as its price point. The cost of a screen, CPU, storage, etc. – it is still too high. From what I can tell, the screen itself is a big chunk of the cost. For what this device needs to do – 10 inch multi-touch screen, CPU/GPU capable of full screen video and timely web performance, storage, etc. – for a reader to be viable, and I mean MASS MARKET viable, the price would have to be what – 200-300 bucks to make ANY sense?
It can’t be priced anywhere close to that level – not without a bundled data plan, which pushes the overall cost into the thousands over a couple of years – THIS is a better solution than mailing a magazine, and/or logging onto a website? Maybe this is just a demo of how screwed up the publishing/distro world is right now – so worried about their failing model, that a 500 Euros targeted delivery platform is seen as their most acceptable alternative.

Do we really need a new device and new data formats? Or can HTML5 suffice? With a dosh of PDF?

As for always connected?
We are this close to having that capability already, what with WiFi hotspots and with MiFi and other 3G based data offerings available for the laptops everyone already has, always-on connected just isn’t a big enough advantage, unless it were wicked faster than what we’re used to. And as AT&T’s recently well publicized woes have showed us, providing ubiquitous, CONSISTENT data access to a large user base is a non-trivial understanding. The 4G/LTE rollouts aren’t there, either, to support a few million of these floating around suckin’ down full screen content, either.

But it is likely to be expensive.
MacBooks start at a grand. Lets be generous and say Apple cuts 100 off that price, and puts the tablet 200 below that – that’s a minimum price of 700 Euros for this gadget.
If rumors of data network subsidies are true, lets say you get a data connection for a ballpark of 50/month for a 2 year contract, and the price goes down to 400 Euros now, but 1700 bucks for gadget and connection over two years. Yowza! That’s pricey. And in this economy?

I don’t see myself wanting one of these, nor wanting to use my non-abundant disposable cash to get one. Lets say I did – this is such an inbetween sized gadget. And that’s the terrible thing about it. For now, it seems to be pitched as a consumer/biz casual type device – you won’t use it in meetings, you won’t do all day kinds of work on it, it is your magazine, your Sunday paper, your movie watching gadget, etc. iPhone is GREAT because it fits in our pocket, AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT does all kinds of useful stuff.

When you think back across the history of Things We Carry Around, there’s Everyday stuff – at one point pocketwatches, cellphones, a buncha keys, etc. Things that are book sized? That is a subset of stuff most folks carry around, and even then, only some of the time. How often are you toting your laptop with you?

Biz folks maybe to/from work, but not to every meeting, not to every lunch date, etc. This form factor just doesn’t strike me as one which lends itself to being toted around all over the place – which the proposed functionality/content of the device would need to justify its existence – ya know what I mean? If it is bigger than pocketsized, it enters a class of “it doesn’t matter how much bigger than pocketsized, it might as well be WAY bigger since I have to carry it in a bag or under my arm.”

As an aside, notice that things get sturdier over the decades, as the tech matures. First it has to work, then it should be portable, then it should be conveniently small, then it gets ruggeder as the tech/size/price allow so that it can survive a pocket drop. Everything goes through this – would you imagine dropping the first small cellphones from 5 feet onto concrete and having them survive? Hell no. Car keys can be flung 50 Meters across a parking lot of concrete and survive, that is my metric of sufficiently evolved tech.

Until more tech comes in, in the form of electronic key fobs, then the durability gets set back. I digress here, but I foresee the tablet being a dainty thing – and something you’re supposed to schlep around at that size, with a presumably light weight, from Apple….I don’t see it surviving a hip height fall like a book would. Something you can pitch into your day bag/backpack/purse/briefcase. And I don’t think it is going to be that, based on current status of screen technology.

To sum up this point, it is going to be somewhat pricey, and somewhat delicate/frail is my guess unless they pleasantly surprise me. Think I’m wrong? Look at iPod/iPhone design from the get-go – what is the first thing you do with a fresh-born iThing? Put it in a &$*^#^$$ case so it doesn’t get mutilated by the environment. The delicate, almost sensual raw-ness, vulnerability of it, is part of the design draw I think – on purpose. Another aside.

OVERALL – unless Steve surprises me (and go for it Steve!), I think this thing is going to be Segway 2010.

**(For the record, I like and use mine everyday, but also read about the other devices that do So Much More, and I know why Apple will never add live TV, other format support, DVR capabilities, etc. to it – eats at their iTunes Economy.)


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