Jan 27, 2010

The Obligatory iPad Post

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

Yeah, it’s cool and it’d be fun to have one.

Sort of the way it’d be fun to have a Lamborghini or some other essentially useless Italian sportscar.

For most of the trumpeted uses of the iPad, it all comes down to one basic question: why would I want to do that on a really great small(ish) screen (that doesn't fit into my pocket the way my iPhone can) when I can do it on a really great big screen?

Seriously.

Keynote is trying enough on my 13-inch MacBook screen (compared to the usual 24 inch monitor I use) why would I want to work with it on a smaller screen?

Video? Have you ever tried to watch anything longer than a YouTube clip on a hand-held device? Can you say “neck pain” or “hand cramp”?

Photos. If I’m serious about them, I’ll want a big screen to do graphics. And if I’m showing someone my vacation photos, the iPhone is just fine.

Newspapers and magazines will look better on the iPad, but I’m not sure that usage alone will convince most of us to part with $500-800.

Ditto iBooks. I have been reading books on my iPhone for the past 6 months and I’m very happy with the experience (though I didn’t initially think I would be.) What’s more, I actually find I’m reading a whole lot more. Mostly because the iPhone is always with me. Whereas the iPad is just one more device to schlep around.

There’s nothing wrong with the iPad - I’m sure each and every experience on there is well-designed and delightful to use. It’s just that it doesn’t fulfill a need the way the iPod and iPhone did. Both those devices did things that were instantly recognizable as “Yes! I’ve been wishing I could do that for the longest time!” moments.

The iPad is cool, but Jobs did not offer up that “ah-hah” moment today, the one that lets people say “of course I need this.”

Maybe they will in time, but not yet. Which is not to say I won’t be keeping my eye on how iPad usage develops as people actually begin to play with it, but for right now, I’m choosing to be a not-so-early adopter.

PS: Am I the only one who thought it was weird that Jobs' spreadsheet example involved someone obsessively keeping stats on an 8 year old soccer team? I coach youth sports teams enough to know that's sort of creepy.

PPS: Don't forget to enter the Hive Awards for the Unsung Heroes of the Internet

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