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Apple iPad – Revolutionary or an iFad?

Published April 4, 2010 - 0 Comments

Well Apple’s much anticipated iPad tablet has finally shipped, and it’s about the only thing that people are talking about on tech blogs and podcasts.  I’ve never been an early adopter of hardware, much preferring to sit back and wait for someone else to buy it first, and then make my mind up.  And usually within that time, the price generally starts to come down a little.  So it’s a win-win.

But when it comes to the iPad, I’m not even close to being sold on the concept.  What the hell would I use it for?  It’s not a phone.  It’s not a music player.  It’s not a computer.  Although it does perform all of those functions, at least in one way or another.  Then what IS it?

I had this conversation with a good friend of mine.  He thinks that it will revolutionize the niche left under-served by existing tablets.  OK, fine.  I honestly can’t imagine it being any worse than Windows-powered tablet PCs.  I still never really saw the need for those, except in some highly-specific situations.  Apple seems to know how to create a perfect user experience (Apple TV may be the exception to the rule) but the idea of just having an iPad sitting on the coffee table to pick up and do some casual reading, web surfing, or whatever… I just don’t get it.  I can see Apple fan boys (and girls) going gaga for this, but not the average Joe.  I see it as a novelty item at best… a flop at worst.  Sure, they’ll sell a ton of these things initially, but will they be able to sustain the initial momentum?  I’m curious if anyone reading this has any plans to purchase one, or has had an opportunity to see first-hand what it’s capable of… and where it’s lacking.

Of course.. my track record with Apple hasn’t been good.  I was wrong with both the iPod and iPhone, but at least both of those devices had a clear purpose.  I didn’t argue that.  I simply wondered if they lived up to the myth created around their iNames.  And yes… I am fully prepared to admit that (in my opinion) they do.  But the iPad is a different beast altogether.  It aims to fill a void that honestly… I don’t think that most people feel they even possess.

It’ll be an interesting toy, and certainly a great conversation piece for those willing to shell out the money for one.  But for the rest of us?  I think we’ll survive just fine without one.