The iPad sure is sexy. I’ll spare everyone from making any inappropriate jokes about tampons in this space and focus on the tablet gadget that Apple came out with back in April of this year.
Some folks take the Microsoft vs Apple thing way too far much like some folks take the republican/democrat things way too far and let the principles that each faction stand for blind them to any good there may be in the opposing camp.
Before Windows 7 came out I had crazy lust for a macbook because I couldn’t edit HD movies on my windows based computer like I could on a mac. Walking past the Apple store at the mall without popping in was and is not very likely for me.
When the Mrs’ laptop shit the bed this winter I priced out mac laptops for her as a replacement and as much mac lust I was having at the time, a $1000 laptop was/is overkill for her very simple web browsing and Facebooking needs. So I went out and bought her a Windows 7, 17 inch laptop with 500 GB of storage space and 4GB of RAM for $550.
It wasn’t long after messing around with her windows 7 laptop that my mac lust had up and left the building. It baffles me that Microsoft is not crowing more about the success of it’s new operating system. They made the file system so incredibly easy to use, they added a slew of useful tools that to steal the Apple phrase “just work”. I can easily bang out content for the blog twice as quickly on a Windows 7 machine than I can on an old Vista machine. Every single Microsoft operating system up until Windows 7 truly sucked ass but Microsoft really hit a home run with Windows 7.
The iPad still intrigued me as a pretty neat tool but once I dug into the specs and what it can and can’t do I similarly can’t justify the expense. Sure it is visually stunning, sure it is light weight and portable but consider the price for the base model-
$499 for a wifi version with only 16GB of capacity. $599 for a wifi version with 32GB of capacity and $699 for 64GB of capacity. The screen’s display is 9.7-inch (diagonal) and is really a thing of beauty to look at but if you were going to carry the thing around in a bag you would need to get some sort of case for it to prevent it from getting scratched up.
All this begs me to ask the question- Why would someone spend $499 to get a machine that can only do a fraction of what you could do with a windows based laptop that demolishes the iPad on just about every single statistic?
Here’s where I answer my own question-
The reason people are buying these things is because for 90% of the users out there they don’t need all the specs that a power user or someone that actually creates content needs. My guess is that 90% of home based computing is for browsing the internet and consuming content and for those people the iPad is pretty damn good. The interface IMO trumps anything that is out there for a internet content consumer.
My needs as a heavy content creator cannot be met by a $499 16GB of storage iPad that does not (as of this writing) allow you to edit video. It also does not have a usb port which means you can’t even use a portable external drive. That is a huge failure for MY needs but for most of the computing public it’s of no concern at all. Apple to their credit is smart. They aren’t trying to capture every single person in the universe. they don’t care about the power user in this space or else they would at the very least up the RAM and provide a USB post. They are producing quality products for the masses that are slick and extremely easy to operate and for the vast majority of users, my guess is that they never take a bit of video off their video cameras and edit into a movie on their computer.
You can’t argue with the recent study by Morgan Stanley Research which showed how much US Retail Notebook sales have decreased since the announcement of the iPad. Those numbers are staggering. I guess that will be good news for those of us power users who will probably be able to get incredibly powerful machines for very little scratch due to an abundance of supply while all the consumers of digital content add the sexy iPad to their Christmas wish lists.
So to sum it up-
If your computer usage only consists of browsing the internet and you never edit pictures or save pictures to your computer but want a slick viewing experience (and money to burn) the iPad is pretty sweet.
If you plan to do any serious content producing and/or can only own one device buy yourself a laptop. They are pretty damn cheap and you can do a whole lot more.
Now if in future generations of the iPad they choose to up the RAM, give us a usb port, and a movie editing app similar to iMovie I might reconsider my stance.
You never know, it could happen.