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iPad: All Sizzle and No Bacon?

January 28, 2010

Call me crazy. Call me an Apple Scrooge. Call it geek blasphemy, but I seem to be one of the few who is unimpressed with Apple's newest creation: the hallowed iPad. But before I go any further, I should explain that I love Apple products. I've got an iMac, an iPhone 3GS, a Mac Mini, and a MacBook Pro. But that is just the problem...where does a device like the iPad fit into my life?

At the media event today, Steve showed a graphic of an iPhone and a MacBook Pro with a gap in between them desperately aching to be filled by some iPad-like device. For me as an iPhone and MacBook Pro owner, I'm unconvinced that such a gap really least for me. And if that gap did exist, at a cost of $500-$830 for an iPad, is the gap between an iPhone and MacBook Pro really worth filling? Sure, there are some who are already foaming at the mouth over the iPad. And there are always some people whom the iPad is perfect for, but I really think that once you get over the coolness quotient, it leaves much to be desired. Here's just a few items to keep in mind: No Cameras Anywhere The long-awaited feature of a front sided camera for video conferencing is still M.I.A. In fact, not only does it not have the ability to video conference, but it doesn't even have the basic ability to take a photo like a first-gen iPhone! No New OS You'd hope that if Apple is going to pimp my iPhone, they'd pimp the OS too. Nope. Not only did we not get a new OS to run the iPad, but we didn't get any of the tasty, long-awaited features that would come with one. It appears you can still only run one app at a time, and gestures appear to be limited to the basic pinch/swipe/tap gestures of the iPhone. Still Chained to AT&T For those of you who were hoping for a Verizon capable device, you're out of luck. For those of you who feel AT&T has not done the best job of handling these data-intensive devices, today wasn't your day, either. If there is any good news here, it is that users can buy an iPad with no contract. This is wonderful news, but that also means the device isn't subsidized for those who can't afford to shell out a minimum of $500 on one. Less Features than the iPhone? Of course, there are the basic questions of whether the device is capable of doing all of the cool things the iPhone can do. Push notifications? Alerts and badges? Jailbreaking? Tethering? Video out? I'm not trying to spit in anyone's hot chocolate here, but after all the hype of a new device and the flash of a new form factor, the sober-minded among us who think critically about parting with $500 must ask ourselves what exactly it is that Apple gave us today. If it was just a hyped up iPhone or a pimped out Kindle, it may be cool, but certainly not revolutionary. Oddly enough, if the iPad had been introduced just a couple of years ago (prior to 2007), it would be the most amazing device ever, but after the iPhone revolution, the iPad simply falls flat for me. But ultimately, whether the iPad finds its niche between the iPhone and MacBook Pro is up to you. So what do you think?

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