I've been reading reviews and keeping up on the iPad info from various places because it is something that I am very interested in. In reading this review here, it doesn't surprise me that people are bashing it. It seems that the tech savvy folks are attacking the iPad for a whole pile of reasons because it doesn't do what they want it to do. Then we get reviews like this one that go at it because of the lack of Flash and a pile of other things that seriously sound like nitpicking. But, everyone has an opinion and here is mine.
I have yet to put my hands on an iPad but I already know exactly what I would use it for and why it would work so well. I work for a large IT company and have been a tech savvy geek for more than 20 years so I know all about what is good and what is crap, but I also have seen plenty of folks on sites like this bitch about products like the iPad for a pile of reasons that ultimately don't add up to much down the road.
I absolutely can see this type of device being used for CASUAL computing. Not sitting at your desk typing out reports, or spending hours upon hours doing work stuff. But for simple uses like basic web surfing, watching tv and movies, and providing other types of content in an interface that is simple and easy to use. I give you my own experience.
I have a small laptop which could almost pass as a netbook and I have it because it's portable and I can take it places. A lot of times it (or my wife's laptop) sit on the kitchen table and if we want to look something up, we open it up, and check our bank account or other various online activities. I've used it to stream music in our kitchen, but mostly we read the news, check Twitter or Facebook, read our email, or do quick little look ups of stuff. We don't use it heavily in the kitchen but it is there.
I got an iPhone through work and have been using it for almost two years. Around the same time, I was also trying to come up with some sort of multimedia/internet solution for my kitchen. I wanted to be able to stream my MP3 collection and Shoutcast radio to my kitchen amp. I also thought it would be nice if I had a touchscreen interface to access the stations and music I wanted, along with basic internet surfing if I wanted to check my bank balance, or update my Twitter & Facebook. I never got a good solution but I did buy a dock for my iPhone which lets me play music through my amp. I ended up with my or my wife's laptop on the kitchen table to do the other stuff. I always thought that if I had an iPhone that was a lot bigger, it would likely be able to do what I want.
Well wouldn't you know it, the iPad arrives. This gives me exactly what I want.
I'll be the first to admit that my situation is unique, but I would like to point out that Apple is going after a market for people that want an EASY solution for CASUAL internet and multimedia. I'll tell you, nothing irritates me more than when Iopen my laptop and it takes 10-20 seconds for me to get the web browser open because it was asleep and I have to wait for it to come out of hibernation, and then it acquires a wifi signal and blah blah blah. Regardless of what laptop I use, it still takes me anywhere from 15-60 seconds to go from opening the lid of my laptop, to having a webpage loaded. When I do it with my iPhone, I have pages loaded before the browser on my laptop has even opened. My laptops are decent machines with good RAM and are solid, but coming out of sleep mode, they suck.
The idea that I can just grab a tablet, tap the screen a few times, and I have my bank account open is EXTREMELY appealing. Apple is king when it comes to ease and interface. This has been shown again and again. People can argue all they want about being locked in to their app world, and the lack of open source and all of that stuff, but at the end of the day, they create products and interfaces that JUST WORK! I don't have to spend countless hours trying to put something together to give me what I want. I can just buy a product that has it. I could have built my multimedia internet solution with a pile of old hardware and maybe Windows or Linux installed and done a pile of tweaking, but I'm at the point now in my life where I JUST WANT THINGS TO WORK and I don't want to have to spend countless hours of fiddling to make it work. Apple is going to give me that.
I do not see the iPad as ever replacing a full blown laptop, at least not at this stage of the game. But is something that I thought of right away for my mother-in-law who can't stand using her husbands computer because it is so slow. She doesn't type long emails and just wants to look at her Facebook, do her banking, and not have to worry about anything too complicated. To me, the iPad is perfect for her and it is perfect for simple solutions. It's never going to be a Macbook Pro or a Toshiba Satellite. It's a simple device used for multimedia, internet, and e-reading. Anyone who thinks that it is supposed to be MORE than that is totally missing the point.
Personally, I don't get why he didn't try BeeJive on the iPad because it will connect to pretty much anything as I far as I know. But regardless, the device has only officially been out for a couple days and already people are bitching about the lack of app support? Come on. Seriously? In six months, it will be a whole different ball game.
I will say that I do think a webcam would have been nice but I don't think it's a deal breaker.
So to folks who are bitching about the iPad's complete lack of use, well only time will tell. If a year from now, the product has failed, I'm more than willing to say I was wrong. But if a year from now the product is doing quite well, you folks will still be bitching about what it doesn't do while the rest of us are enjoying the new technology.
Oh ya, and as for Flash. Seriously? It's entirely subjective to the types of sites you visit. I do a lot of surfing on my iPhone and I rarely have issues going to sites because of Flash. Bitch all you want about the lack of support but it's specific to what sites you go to, and I go to plenty.