Will you buy Apple’s iPad?

Dave Zatz —  January 27, 2010

Right on schedule, all was revealed. Yet I’m not convinced the 10″ iPad is a “magical and revolutionary” new device.

Of the three likely naming candidates (iPad, iSlate, iTablet), Apple went with my least favorite. Actually, I was hoping we’d witness a resurrection of the iBook moniker (for hardware). But iPad does make sense as this is the evolution (both in size and function) of the iPod experience. Which is actually my biggest concern. The upgraded iPhone OS (3.2) looks improved, with various overlays/windows and obviously more screen real estate to work with, but true multi-tasking and Abode Flash are still MIA. Additionally, Apple seems to be positioning the iPad as a computer accessory, rather than a computer… given the sync cable. On the other hand, the new, demo-ed apps (like the reimagined iWork or calendar) look powerful and should be able to function independently. Assuming we’ll have cloud or Time Machine backup capabilities available to us.

On the hardware side, there’s not a whole lot to say. Apple knows how to make attractive and powerful mobile devices. The iPad is no exception… slim, sexy, bright, multi-touch, with exceptional battery life. And Steve Jobs kindly answered my early morning request for a keyboard accessory. Use Apple’s existing Bluetooth keyboard or go with the charging dock/keyboard combo pictured above. But I’m not so sure my other request was addressed…

Unsurprisingly, Apple also announced an iBooks Store and reader to “go a little further” than Amazon’s monochromatic Kindle. But there was no mention of the monthly periodicals that I’d hoped for. However, there’s nothing stopping various publishers, or a third party, from producing magazine applications – the subscription model already exists within the App Store. And I imagine Apple has contemplated building this functionality right into iBooks.

Last, but surely not least, is iPad pricing. When you consider the original iPhone launched at $600, the $500 iPad entrance fee seems like a reasonable value. Sure, you could buy two Wintel netbooks for the money. And you’d probably want to upgrade to an iPad model with more capacity for more cash. But within Apple’s premium ecosystem, pricing looks good. Also reasonable is the $30 monthly fee for AT&T (?!) 3G service, should you opt for integrated wireless GSM capabilities ($130).

Given what we know, and I’m not convinced we know everything (other than no webcam or solar cells), and not having actually touched a unit (shipping in 60 days), are you in? I’m undecided at this point. The iPad 1.0 looks promising, but I don’t see it replacing my 13″ laptop and/or my 3.5″ iPhone. Which means one more device to charge and carry… with very little new functionality. Yet when I watch the iPad video, I feel strangely compelled to pull out my wallet. Hm.

50 responses to Will you buy Apple’s iPad?

  1. “Are you in?”

    hells no.

    Doesn’t do 1080p, no camera, no phone, no multitasking. this thing is simply a 10 inch iPod Touch.

  2. Buy an iPad? In short, no. There is absolutely nothing magical or revolutionary about it. I laughed when I saw that comment from Apple. It is severely lacking in too many areas:

    No Flash
    No pen input for writing or drawing
    No multitasking
    No 3G carriers with good networks (Verizon)
    No major software advancements
    No hardware advancements
    Specs below netbooks of the same price
    $130 for 3G option… really Apple? $130 for a 3G radio?
    Steep price for top end model w/ 3G
    No expansion ports, memory slots
    No camera
    Pay extra for a usable keyboard?

    $500-$700 for some pretty apps, that I can run one at a time? No thanks.

  3. I thought that I was going to be able to resist this one, but I’ll probably end up buying it.

  4. Oh, also, no SMS or VOIP apps (unless I missed ‘em)

  5. Not interested at all. Perhaps they’ll have something compelling with the 2gen or 3gen device, but I just don’t see the use case for a MID in my life – even one by Apple.

    I see this one as a fail by Apple – along the lines of the AppleTV.

  6. Brent, I totally agree. I just don’t see a place for this currently in the market. People like the iPhone and iPod because they travel easily. This really won’t travel easy. You can’t stash it in a pocket if needed.

  7. “I don’t see it replacing my 13″ laptop and/or my 3.5″ iPhone”

    Exactly. Steve Jobs insulted netbooks but the iPad does a lot less than my Win7 netbook does (Skype w/ video, multi-tasking, built-in physical keyboard, billions of apps, etc)

  8. I personally will not buy an iPad. I already own an iPhone 3GS and an iPod Touch (Gen1). Why would I need an larger version of the two?

    However, I initially thought the iPad would be great for those people that don’t have a computer, but would like an easy way to get on the internet, send emails, etc. (Like my parents.) But unfortunately, Apple has designed the product to have to sync via a USB cable to a computer running iTunes. It would have been nice if this could have been a truly stand-alone product. I guess you could use it without a computer to sync with, but then you’d be screwed when it comes time to update the OS / firmware.

  9. I am somewhat disappointed in the lack of a camera, etc., but believe these additions will come in future generations of the device. What many pundits do not realize is that with over 140,000 iPhone apps, with more to come tailored to the iPad, there are some real cool possibilities with this device.

    For example, an app like Jaadu allows me to control my computer remotely on my iPhone, with screen sharing. Therefore I do not need to purchase duplicate applications. It will take time, but I think this device will get traction.

    I’m in.

  10. “Yet when I watch the iPad video, I feel strangely compelled to pull out my wallet. Hm.”

    This pretty much sums up how I feel. The iPad wouldn’t replace any of my devices. But, part of me does think it would be a nice thing to have as I’m watching TV to casually browse the net on. And I do have a lot of faith in Apple and the iPhone/iTouch/iPad developer community to come up with some cool apps.

    But, I really don’t think I’ll ever be able to justify spending $500 on this thing. My iPod Touch is pretty conveniently sized for watching videos on the subway or plane, and my Lenovo X200 notebook works well if I want a bigger screen or to do so something else. It’s not that much more convenient to carry around something iPad-sized than my X200, and my X200 can do a lot more.

    There’s been talk about some sort of Apple tablet for awhile, including suggestions that it would be a netbook killer. I don’t think this will eat into the netbook market very much. I think a lot of people use netbooks more as cheap, portable laptops rather than Internet browsing appliance. The lack of multitasking and an integrated keyboard means it won’t make a good netbook substitute. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the Kindle though.

  11. No way. No multitasking?! Are you kidding me?

    My almost three year old HTC Touch which lets me listen to Pandora, run an IM client and surf the web at the same time is pointing and laughing…..

  12. not a chance. Too expensive and I have yet to use a touchscreen device I like including the Iphone.

  13. @ Geoff “For example, an app like Jaadu allows me to control my computer remotely on my iPhone, with screen sharing. Therefore I do not need to purchase duplicate applications.”

    Remote Desktop lets me do that on a much cheaper netbook, with far more than 140,000 available applications to run on it, with Flash, with choice of browsers, multitasking, etc.

  14. Marc Novakowski January 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I was more disappointed that there was no announcement of a new MacBook Pro model with the Intel i5 chipset. Come on Apple – hurry up!

  15. Some people were dissappointed with no camera. Am I the only one that thinks people would look absolutely silly using this thing as a camera???

  16. I will have to say no I’ll pass on this one. I’ll stick with my iPhone.

  17. Frankly, I just can’t seem to envision what the use case for me would be. I have an iPhone, Kindle, and MacBook. I don’t see this device replacing any of those three. Obviously, the most likely would be the Kindle, but my Kindle mostly sits by my bed. I think if I could travel with it instead of a laptop it might work for me, but as you said Dave, it seems envisioned as a computer accessory not as a primary working computer.

    I’ll wait and see. I’m always up for something cool!!! I just can’t see how I’d use the thing right now.

    One thing that really baffles me about the device, and my iPhone for that matter, is WHY WHY WHY is a stupid cable necessary for syncing to my computer? It is a fully wireless device (except for power charging), so why do I have to do something to sync. Can’t it just sync when I get near my computer? Obviously they still haven’t created this feature, but I am really baffled why this is true. (I know..major OS updates maybe shouldn’t be done this way…but everyday syncing?)

  18. Apple should have at least made an app for the iphone to turn it into a modem for the ipad. If cars can now use my phone as a modem, why cant a computer tablet? I find it crazy that people would be willing to pay for data on both an iPad and an iPhone.

  19. It is very pathetic how many people buy electronics based on specs instead of the experience. The best example is LCD vs Plasma, or maybe PC vs Mac.

    Now I’m not trying to say I’m going to run out and buy the iPad, but not because of the specs. No, I’m waiting to try it out for myself. If it is a good couch companion then I’m in. I define that as a good web experience for Fantasy Football, IMDB, Wikipedia and Google’s RSS reader. But I also think it’d make a great HT remote control as well as a great Home Automation controller, two things that Laptops are terrible at and the iPhone is adequate but who want’s to leave their family member controller less when they take their phone with them.

    The bottom line is that I use my laptop on the couch all the time and my first impression is that the iPad will be more enjoyable on the couch — or lounging anywhere — then a laptop.

    As for flash, do you really think Hulu wouldn’t block access from the iPad? No, if Hulu wanted to be on the iPhone/iPad they’d release an app just like YouTube.

  20. I’ll probably buy it, but I’m not happy.

    No cameras, this could have been a real REVOLUTIONARY product if it had a Front Facing camera. but, no. part of me thinks this is a processor, price or network issue.

    The iphone OS, at least in the current form offers no multi-tasking which is crazy. This product would get somewhat annoying as a daily driver if I had to move around between apps all the time, opening, closing, saving, opening, closing, saving. Hopefully, OS 4.0 will change that and with the 1ghz processor it should handle it.

    I don’t like the limited IO, in that I can’t just DRAG files over to it, or copy with a memory stick. Files is one thing, but for a portable media device, I can’t just move MY movies over or DVD rips that I have for other platforms, uses. If I want content on my apple iphone or ipad I’m going to have to continue to CONVERT formats to an ipod compatible one. Bummer.

    I didn’t see the part about Bluetooth keyboard usage, but that would be nicer than having to buy and use this one. I think the dock interface is going to be a weak link.

    Battery life is an issue, IMHO. 10 hours, usually means 8 hours, but for mobile media and reader (replace kindle, I think not) I would expect better battery life. I know, screen, backlight, etc, burns power – I’m just looking at it from a usability standpoint.

    It really is a THIRD PRODUCT, it could have been so much more

  21. DamianP:

    People want a back facing camera, not a front facing camera. We want it for video conferencing, not taking pictures.

    No video camera, lack of multi-tasking, the need for ANOTHER data plan, no tabbed browsing, probably no ability to use something like Xmarks to sync bookmarks with my other browsers, are its biggest impediment to my purchase.

    But, I can see myself picking up version 2 next year.

    …Dale

  22. Another point I think Apple is missing is the environmental resistance issue. I didn’t have my iPhone for more than a week before the moisture indicator turned black – It rains a lot in the PNW. The phone still works fine.

    What I am getting at is the role of this device in outdoor construction, law enforcement, hiking, etc., all of which will expose this device to the elements.

    Maybe a future generation will be water resistant.

  23. We, the readers of this blog, and the other members of geekdom are not the primary target market for this device. Apple knows what they are doing. This is for their core market seg, and will sell well. It will win over a few more folks to the Apple ecco-system as well. It’s not the uber-geek Swiss Army Gadget, but rather a well executed consumer media device that will bring “normal” people into Apple’s proprietary walled garden of happiness. Most of the people who will buy this device will probably don’t read tech blogs, won’t care about lack of camera, no USB, blah, blah, blah. I will probably get one because it will be nice to have media device for around the house.

  24. Ditto to much of what Geoff and Ben said.

    I want one for our living room, but I’m thinking about the cheapest model because the second or third gen product is probably where it’s at.

    I agree this is not a replacement device for anything, but on the other hand, my laptop/netbook costs a third of what it did a few years ago. Makes it possible to afford one more home device. Would love it if that device did video conferencing, however…

    RE: syncing via USB – think Wi-Fi Direct a few months down the road.

  25. I want an uber-geek Swiss Army knife! That would be cool. In general, it’s almost there. Good post, Tim!

  26. Apple did start the keynote explaining that it was supposed to be a 3rd device. Now while Netbooks have proven some people want a 3rd device, I wonder how many really do.

    Bottom line. It all come down to the software.

  27. I’ll probably get one, the 64GB 3G version.

    I was considering a few things, most notably how heavy the bag is that I carry to work every day. So I weighed the bag, it was almost 60 lbs. I’d love to trim that down to a messenger style with the iPad. The device would have to be able to send documents/emails/etc to a network printer. I would love to be able to turn on/turn off the no-contract 3G service (Steve implied that was possible). I loved the MLB.TV demo and for what I do, sports tv production, it could be what I’m looking for to replace my 6 lb MBP as an everyday work device. The MBP will still be handy for AE or FCS as needed, but I won’t carry it all the time.

    Thanks to Steve, I have 90 days to figure it all out.

  28. Dave – I am glad you brought up the sync requirement an I want to take it one step further – I find it a gross oversight that it doesn’t seem that we’d be able to sync an iPhone or iPod with this. So now if I own this and an iPhone and buy a new album on my iPhone via iTunes, I would first need to sync the iPhone to my main pc / laptop, then sync the iPad to the computer – this is cumbersome and seems very user-unfriendly and inefficient. If this is supposed to be a “revolutionary” media device then it should be the center of my media collection – which also points to how lowly 64GB of max storage is for a device that is “magical” for HD video, music, iTunes LP, books, apps, 3D games…

  29. @patrick

    I think some form of cloud based sync for itunes libraries is coming for itunes, which would eliminate this problem you bring up

  30. @Tivoboy

    Yes that would surely eliminate the issue. Let’s hope that the rumors are true. I wonder why this wasn’t mentioned today – to me, it would be a great sales pitch for portability and comparability wihin the ecosystem.

  31. Won’t buy it, but I’ll put it on my amazon wishlist.

  32. It’s a very interesting device. I want it but don’t NEED it. Not sure about this one. I think if the O/S was more along the lines of full blown Snow Leopard, or at least a multitouch optimized version of it – rather than IPhone O/S… we would have a winner.

    The lack of a camera doesn’t really bother me, but heck, I’ve even seen $250 netbooks have one that works great for Skype. A 3MP Camera for video conferencing would of been a good addition.

    The lack of expansion ports urks me. Why not a single USB port for a flash drive? Why not an SD slot? How do I get files off and onto the device? Only the sync cable? Can I play my music or video library off of my desktop PC’s shared folders?

    I think I’ll wait and see what the Jail-braking community can do with the device.

  33. it has some cool uses in an ebook reader, games, media, casual web browsing in the form of social networking – but then it hits a log jam due to the specs already gone over.

    My AT&T Tilt phone can do more than this can, just not with the easy user interface and of course screen size.

    If it was 200$ then I might consider it as a nice media and game player but would still need the PC when real work comes up thus no sale at the high dollar margin and no thank you to another 30$ a month data plan

  34. i wont buy it on the sole fact that you can’t run multiple apps at once. what if your in Pages and need to look up something on wikipedia? you have to save your work, go to wikipedia, then go back into Pages… like Dave said, if i am going to lug something around, i’ll take my macbook

    that being said…if you could use the keyboard/dock on an ipod touch or iphone, that could be pretty cool

  35. I am in! I am going to leave my 3-hr 4-lbs laptop at home and use a 10-hr, 1.5 lbs iPad for meetings and a BT keyboard on the road.

  36. @Big John: I can’t even imagine using this device for work, given that it doesn’t have multitasking and will have fairly limited office/productivity software support.

  37. Yup, I’m probably in. I agree with Mari that the next gen product is probably the one I want, so I’ll try and force myself to get a lower-end version so I can afford to flip in a year if need be.

    I browse the web a lot either on the couch or in bed, and a laptop is lousy in either place. This would work much better. Combine that with its functions as an eBook reader, movie player, SlingPlayer, LogMeIn access to my desktop, game player (Scrabble!), and hopefully access to full color magazines, photo frame, etc and I’m in.

    It’ll probably never leave my house. I don’t need the 3G version.

    And yes, I want that awesome A/V remote control app too. Use bluetooth to talk to the dock that sits next to you with an IR blaster in it…

    Have to wait a bit for the reality distortion field to wear off though.

    I also want multi-person calendaring, stickies, etc for use as that Kitchen Computer I’ve thought about for a while now…

  38. @ Ben,

    How would Hulu block access, I would assume you would just access Hulu from the web browser on the iPAD just like any other web browser?

  39. no. I want a Macbook /pro with i5 … So I’ll wait for the next Apple event!

  40. Long Answer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsjU0K8QPhs

    Short Answer: I already have a cell phone that is over 500% smaller and can do everything the iPad can, so obviously no

  41. Sadly, I’m in the same camp. I want to like the iPad; I like the sexiness factor and I’ve been happy enough with all of my other recent Apple purchases to look past their shortcomings. If HTML 5 does away with the need for Flash on many of the sites I visit, I’ll be sold. Otherwise, I’ll likely hold out until v2.0 comes out.

  42. The real problem here is they’re trying to pass off the iPhone OS on this device. Sure, backward compatibility is, nice. But, at what cost man!? If I want to experience the “Full” internet, I should be able to:

    1) work with every conceivable streaming media format used on any popular website.

    2) Play online games, I don’t give a sh*t if you want to drive sales to your store. This means Java and Flash.

    3) Install Mac OS X apps within reason.

    4) Multitasking… for the love of god… multitasking, what in the name of ignorance are you people thinking? The bloody freaking DROID cell phone has a 1GZ processor and multitasking; you idiots managed to bumf*ck yourself into matching your cellular device’s competitors specs with less features and then call it revolutionary?

    5) use Finder, explorer, some sort of freaking file management. This damned thing reminds me of the onion ‘click wheel mouse’ gag… but, its no joke…

    Additional issues:

    How exactly does it cost 130 dollars more to add 3G to this device? This must be the magical part of the thing.

    SSD is all fine and good, but, why not offer a large capacity magnetic storage option? Crap, pull the hdd from a 160GB iPod and include its tiny battery just to spin the hdd…

    Simplicity is great, on the iPhone and iPod touch, the minimal approach is fantastic to achieve the goals of the device. The goals of this device, however, are different. It seems they’re pushing Games, games on the iPod and iPhone suck because multi-touch is ball sacks for games, hand to eye is a big part of gaming, tactile feedback simply won’t be replaced. I would gladly “suffer” some added buttons to add to the functionality that this device so desperately needs, and if you ask me that might keep people from complaining about the giant picture frame border.

    Alas, I must say, I suspect I know exactly what happened here, no one had the balls to tell the ‘king’ he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Mr. Jobs, you’ve done some great things, groundbreaking things. But, this, sir, is not one of them.

  43. Let’s look at the ipod nano…
    No FM
    No voice Recording
    It could have a larger screen
    It could have had a camera the day it was first released
    It could have wi-fi
    It could support a native drag and drop feature
    It could accept an sd card

    You get the point. Oh yeah, and many people will tell you it’s perfect. The ipad does not toast pop tarts. It’s not supposed to. It’s the ultimate living room computer. You sit back, kick your feet up and hop on IMDB to find out who that actor was you just saw talking to Jack Bauer. I don’t need an alienware powerhouse to read a book or display pictures of my kids. I don’t even need a camera built in.
    I love the idea of a “casual” device.
    And I will be buying one.
    PS. Yes, I own a netbook and will be using both.

  44. Yes, I will buy one for those nights when my wife and I want to use the laptop at the same time. We have a bunch of Macs and two iphones, but the newest laptop is something we fight over. At home it is just a media device for us, I read kindle books on my iPhone, surf, and watch videos. I don’t want to buy another laptop and I sure will only use the wi-fi version. I don’t need the big memory versions either. For $500 its a perfect answer for us. We have all the computers we need, this is a cheap, useful alternative.

  45. I think I would want the ipad because it could be used as a relatively cheaper laptop. (I heard that you will be able to get iWork/microsoft office for it)

    If you look at it as a huge itouch/iphone though, it pretty much only seems to have a down side.

    I do think that people would look hilarious using it as a camera.

    I’m also upset that ilife will not be on it. Because if it was, I would definitly buy it, because to me that just makes it a downsized, but more portable & better looking macbook.

  46. I’m excited to try it, given the very rabid disappointment/hatred of it from those that watched Jobs on stage (or looked at a spec sheet after the introduction) and the pretty universal acclaim from those that actually got a hands-on.

    I’ll get the 16GB with no 3G to play around with. Why?:

    1. Slingplayer
    2. MLB
    3. Couch surfing device and casual game player that is bigger than my phone and better mouse control than my netbook when I lose control of the tv remote.
    4. Portable entertainment for the 3 and 5 year old – waiting for the first holder that I can strap into the car – no more DVD’s and I get my phone back.

    Bonuses: Acts as another Sonos remote, i.tv that hopefully isn’t painfully slow, dvr remote app allows me to regain control of the remote when someone else controls the harmony, a nice and easy portable evernote and sugar sync appliance and when docked a nice photo frame – the kids love to look at pictures of themselves.

    Other misc comments:
    1. Hoping it has Exchange support – odd that it hasn’t been mentioned which scares me – work is on Exchange.
    2. Not so worried about webcam missing – if I really need to videoconference with someone, I’ll use a desktop in a controlled environment.
    3. Hoping it’s not too heavy/big as a replacement for my Kindle. Yeah I know you can’t read a book on an LCD because your eyes will fall out of your head or something tragic like that, but I usually get about 30-45 minutes at a time to read and I have more problems getting my flex light to not reflect off my kindle screen. I may end up hating it, but it doesn’t really bother me to read on my phone, it’s just the page is too small and I am always turning pages.
    4. I don’t really care about Flash except for Hulu – here’s hoping Hulu comes out with an app or goes HTML5 soon.
    5. Multitasking – yeah I hear the complaints and I would like it, assume it will come out at some point and I’ll get it, or I’ll but the 2nd gen version — just not a deal breaker for me.
    6. Hoping for drag and drop file system over Wi-fi or some kind of Wi-fi sync mode that allows me to control itunes on the desktop of the computer I am syncing with from the iPad – but not a deal breaker.

    I don’t *need* it, but then again, what do I really *need*.

    If I use it enough I’ll invest in the 64GB with 3G and turn the first one over to my family members.

  47. I WILL def be getting the iPad despite everyones complaints etc ! I currently don’t have an iPhone or iPod touch . My hubby and I have a Mac Book and I have an iPod shuffle. I hate netbooks! my friend has one and is always complaining. Anyways , Our Macbook now I use to browse the same websites which has no flash. I love wat I will be able to do with the iPad watch movies and my fav tv show episodes. I will be able to browse the same websites I do now lol… and I will download the iwork app for 9.99 and will be able to do work for my fashion consulting business. I will also be able to show clients and my interns alot without have to drag my macbook around. Multitasking I dont need multitasking , I have my mac book for that . With the tons of apps I will be more than happy. With the iPhone VOIP calling is allowed pretty sure it will be with the iPad and also skype will work u just wont b able to see the person. If it doesnt i will use my Macbook as usual. Anyways Apple will prob improve the iPad when the 2 gen comes out which I will likely buy and sell my 1 gen one. I was going to buy a kindle or Nook but will def go with this instead and download the kindle app if it has it!.

  48. well personally, i really want the ipad, and i dont think the ipad should have a camera, sure it would be better with a camera but i already have a camera so i can take my camera out and come home and (using the camera connection kit) i could just upload them quickly onto my ipad! as for multi tasking i cannot defend apple, it probably should have multi tasking. i have one question can you use skype on ipad? i mean i know you cant use webcam obviously but can you call people using skype on the ipad?

    so far im in! :)

  49. Steve jobs has not disappointed yet im sure it will rock

  50. I really want one but i think i’m going to wait until there is a camera.