I want an iPhone, a Ferrari, and a castle with moat, but an iPad — at least the first generation — I don’t. Is it because I secretly loathe Apple products? No. Is it because I’d rather buy food instead of an iPad? Well, food can wait. Is it because I think there are some crucial features missing that need to be added before it fulfills all my needs? Yes! Now we’re getting somewhere.
In truth, though, I have to admit that I really want an iPad — I love the concept, just like any other tech geek. I just don’t want this iPad.
So there are a few glaring issues that I have with Apple’s jumbo-sized iPod Touch; five of them, to be exact. Unfortunately, these issues really tick me off (many could have been avoided and few prevent me from purchasing the iPad); therefore, instead of keeping them to myself, which could eventually cause me to have severe brain damage, I’ll share them with you in an overwhelmingly subjective manner for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
1. It’s Too Expensive
Okay, okay. Do I really have room to complain about the price? After all, I have spent $1,400 for a Macbook and $250 for an iPod Touch. What’s another $500?
Well, it’s a lot, especially when considering that my little iPod Touch can do just about everything that an iPad can do — play videos, produce music, render games, and display e-books. If there’s an app for the iPad, there’s an app for the iPod Touch. The only real difference is size; fitting in a pocket, the iPad cannot! And it’s also a few hundred dollars cheaper.
The question then becomes whether or not the iPad offers good value. I’m sure it does for some. But considering the alternatives (iPhone & iPod Touch) and functionality (it offers the same functionality), it really isn’t a clear-cut decision.
Waiting until next year can’t be faulted. The iPad will likely receive some price cuts when the second-gen iPad is announced. A $50 to $100 price reduction across all models of the lineup is not too difficult to envision. Those who are willing to wait will not only receive a bit of a discount, but they will also receive new features that, arguably, should have been included with the original iPad too.
2. Display This (Wait, It Can’t)
A display that is nearly three times as large as the iPhone’s must be pretty awesome, right? Not necessarily. (Okay, so maybe it’s not fair to compare the iPad’s display to its smaller brethren: I’m going to anyways.) The iPad comes with a 9.7-inch (1024 × 768 pixel) display. The iPhone 4 comes with a 3.5-inch (960 x 640 pixel) display. The iPad can’t properly render widescreen video, thus causing the video to be squeezed to accommodate the iPad’s lackluster aspect ratio. The iPhone 4 display, however, can handle widescreen video (16:9 aspect ratio) just fine, thus making all iPhone 4 owners point rejoice. See the difference?
Regardless, if someone is going to purchase an iPad, they are probably going to want to watch some videos it. I know that if I did, I’d want to lay on my bed, sit on my couch, relax on my patio, or do whatever else while watching Hulu, Vimeo, YouTube, or Netflix on the iPad. But I want widescreen video! Why is this so difficult? It can’t be too taxing for that custom-built A4 processor. (Sadly, even my Droid X can render 16:9 widescreen video.)
Yet some might argue that this isn’t a big deal; admittedly, it can still play videos. But for $500, it is a big deal to me. I want an amazing all-around experience.
Still, the next version of the iPad will likely support widescreen video. When it does, I’ll jump for joy and be the first one lining up for it. Until that day, however, I’m going to stick with my other gadgets that can handle this incredibly difficult task. I suggest that others do the same.
3. No Photography or Videography
Why is the iPad missing a camera? Seriously, why has Apple denied consumers the ability to take cute photos of kittens or strange videos of babies laughing? The iPhone 4 has two cameras. Even the new iPod Touch has cameras. But not so for the iPad. The odd thing, though, is that there is already space for a camera inside the iPad. Very odd, indeed.
But it’s not like the world was expecting to turn pro as a photographer or videographer with the iPad. We didn’t need 1080p video recording or 12 megapixel photography; a crappy camera to start would have been satisfactory. That way our ugly mugs could be posted to our Facebook walls. Maybe a Wi-Fi enabled version of that FaceTime could have come to fruition. Regardless, the option would have been nice.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe Apple felt that they had to nix this feature in the first-generation to brandish it in the second-generation.
Maybe next year.
That said, the hardware is only part of the investment. It’s worth considering the software expenses that will be incured before purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of hardware.
4. Overpriced Apps
Seeing as I’m someone who has purchased plenty of App Store and Android apps (more than I’d care to admit), I know what its like to be somewhat app-crazy. Maybe you are too.
Sadly, if we were to invest in an iPad, we would start that cycle all over again. Some genius decided that many of those wonderful iPad applications you hear about should require a special, separate investment (even if you have purchased the same app for the iPhone or iPod Touch). Of course, Apple and third-party developers love it; its another source of revenue. Consumers, on the other hand, probably don’t appreciate having to pay for the same stuff all over again.
More tragic is that the price consumers will pay for iPad apps is pretty significant. Some of these applications are extremely expensive. Not that Apple fans have an issue paying for quality, it’s just that we shouldn’t be required to pay for something twice. What’s going to happen when the iNetbook or iWatch is announced? Will there be exclusive apps for those as well?
(This is all worth mentioning because if you have invested a lot of cash in, say, Android Market applications, you might be better off waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. All of the applications that you purchased from the Android Marketplace will supposedly work fine with future tablets, smart phones, and other devices utilizing the Android OS.)
5. We’re (Almost) Halfway There
The final reason to consider holding off for the next iPad is probably the most obvious of them all: before you know it, the next one will be available for purchase. If you don’t own an iPad already — which is an impressive feat — it makes even less sense to rush out and buy one now; barring the chance you are purchasing one as a holiday gift.
I’m sure that the 2011 WWDC event will have Steve Jobs dropping some hints about the new iPad. Soon after, Ebay will be filled to capacity with people wanting to offload the old one to save up for the new one.
I’ll admit, it isn’t easy waiting for something as cool as the iPad (I almost clicked that “buy” button several times now), but I feel that waiting for a second-generation device is a very wise decision, especially for those who are looking for a better and more affordable experience.
The point, I guess you could say, is that we should forget about the first-generation iPad. If necessary, purchase an iPhone or iPod Touch instead. It’s a very familiar experience that has the added benefit of fitting in a pocket and being with you wherever you go. You can’t really doubt a product that is causing Mac OS X so much pain.
Alternatively, suck it up and wait until next year for the iPad that was supposed to be. That’s my plan. What’s yours?