Surprise, It’s an iPad Review

No, I didn’t buy one, so my review is limited to five minutes of fiddling with a display model at Best Buy.

Here’s a protip. If you want to touch/feel an iPad and don’t have any friends who’ll let you mess with theirs, avoid the crowds at your local Best Buy.

I swung by in the evening yesterday, launch day, and they had four demo units and no frothing mass of people, like the Apple Stores did. They also had stock available to sell, although only the 32 and 64 GB models.

Based on what was reported as a tiny amount of stock to sell and the late hour, around 6 PM, it’s obvious Best Buy didn’t see the demand that the Apple Stores did, which makes sense.

The juxtaposition of pictures from Apple Stores around the country with what I saw at Best Buy provides a pretty stark contrast and a heady reality check for those people who are trumpeting the iPad as the future of computing.

Maybe it is, but the vast majority of people either don’t know or don’t care that the future has arrived.

I can generally tell if I want to buy a gadget after spending about that amount of time with it. If I don’t immediately plunk down the cash (erm, plastic), but continue to think about said gadget for the next few days, that’s another crystal clear indicator that I must have it.

This is how it went with my wife’s iPhone in 2007.

Looking back at that post, the phrase “The iPhone is as much computer as it is phone” jumps off the page as I review the big-ass-iPhone nearly three years later.

So, my thoughts in no particular order:

  • Wow, this sucker is dense. Not heavy, but dense. It’s hard to imagine how such a small object could feel so solid.
  • It’s smaller than I imagined in person, not a criticism, just an observation. Unlike the iPhone, which was advertised to death with a hand for scale, the iPad didn’t get the same marketing treatment.
  • The OS is fast, really-really-ridiculously fast. I’m excited to see Apple’s processor in devices that I might buy.
  • Much has been made about the lack of Flash on the iPad, but if the YouTube app is any indication, Apple and app developers will find a way to deliver video with a great experience. The YouTube app is fantastic, which leads me to believe that any video (e.g. Netflix) on the iPad will be luscious.
  • Browsing the intertubes was easy, despite the Flash-missing question mark I’d see every so often. You don’t realize how much Flash is out there until it’s gone. Most of the Flash is ads, so miss it, I do not.
  • Like any Apple product, the thing is solid and obviously well-made. Its weight and heft would make me worry about dropping it though.
  • The unit I demoed had iWork on it, i.e. Keynote, Pages and Numbers. This struck me as a killer app.

So, overall, it’s very cool, but I still can’t think of a use case for myself. And after letting it sit for several hours, I don’t really want to, which tells me I’m not buying an iPad.

Of course, there’s tons of coverage floating around the interwebs. I know Floyd bought one, so ideally, he’ll provide a review.

Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing gives some really compelling reasons why you shouldn’t buy an iPad. Well worth the read. His points about the maker manifesto are ones I hadn’t considered, i.e. if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.

So, did you buy an iPad? Do you plan to wait until later versions? Are you with me on the lack of a compelling use case? Are you with Cory and the open advocates?

Find the comments.




  1. As you pointed out, I got mine. Happy I bought it. It fits very well into my workflow between a desktop and a smartphone. Better bang for the buck than a laptop or netbook for simple computing, IMHO. And I do think it's got big potential. I'll have mine at Collaborate if you get there and want to play with it for a bit.

    But it's not for everyone. You won't do complex computing on the iPad…pretty much spreadsheet, presentation, word processing, web surfing, email, etc. No local installation of WebLogic here 🙂 And the lack of a front-facing webcam is a BIG fail. So I don't see the same market saturation that the iPhone has, at least not initially…the use cases are a bit more limited. My use case isn't everyone's use case (if fact, I think my use case is in the vast minority because it has little to do with consumption of the tubes). Still, for those use cases that it does meet, it's a pretty spectacular solution.

    It's the future for simple, mobile computing and web consumption…I'm pretty enthusiastic about that. But it needs a few more iterations to really find a sweet spot with the masses.

  2. Read your review. Are you having the wifi problem that's being reported? Turns out Paul has one too, so maybe he'll share his thoughts. Today, I think he was testing it out as a laptop replacement.

    Surprised to hear the lack of a camera cited as a big fail point.

  3. I'll wait and see what people come up with use case and apps-wise. Not in a rush to buy one, my MBP serves me just fine as it is, but could definitely see using one in the future.

    Amused by the whole evil incarnate / savior angel hoopla.

  4. Yeah, the debate is interesting. If nothing else, the iPad has sparked reflection from people about technology and what it should/needs to do for people.

  5. Yeah, the debate is interesting. If nothing else, the iPad has sparked reflection from people about technology and what it should/needs to do for people.

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