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Thoughts on the iPad

January 27, 2010

Watching Apple’s press conference coverage today, I couldn’t help but marvel at Apple’s mastery of product buzz. In the lead-up to today’s event they said barely anything about what they were announcing, and yet the tech world was all atwitter (often literally) about what they might announce.

Apple’s marketing prowess aside, I find the iPad technically intriguing yet functionally a bit of an open question. From what I can see of the industrial and user experience design it looks Apple to the core: very slick, very elegant. And yet I find myself wondering whether I really need one that much.

I’ve already got a laptop. Several of them, in fact. And despite the fact that Steve Jobs likes to disparage netbooks, I suspect that my Lenovo S10 (which I’ve turned into a dual boot Windows 7 / Ubuntu Netbook Remix device) is a better travel computer than an iPad would be because I usually travel for business and my netbook handles most of the business tasks I need to do. The iPad? Not so much (although with the increasing prevalence of web tools for work I suspect it’ll increasingly be more useful for work), in large part because the device runs iPhone OS instead of OS X.

I’ve also got an iPhone, so I’m already able to access the Internet while mobile. And watch / listen to media on airplanes (albeit with a smaller screen than the iPad offers). And the iPhone fits in my pocket. The iPad? Not so much.

I’ve also got a Kindle. The first-generation Kindle, in fact; I bought it after a conference in Italy where despite bringing 3 books with me I almost ran out of things to read. And I like the Kindle’s size, display (very easy on the eyes), and battery lifetime. I can get roughly 2 weeks of use out of my Kindle without charging it. 10 hours of battery for the iPad is nice, but not in the same league. And cell service for the Kindle is included in the price; no monthly fee.

So while the iPad seems like a very nice device, I’m not sure I’ll be getting one for myself once they’re available. Unless, of course, I drop by an Apple store to play with one and they’re just too cool to resist.

At the very least I now have another opportunity to leverage my hard-earned iPhone development skills.

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