Most talked about this week? Not by me, but by the world at large, or the part of it that do their talking on the Net anyway. Lots of excited responses, but also lots of dissenters, and for now I’m in the latter camp. Again Apple have created a beautiful looking product, their masterclass in production design continuing. The question that still needs answering for me has to be “Why would I need one?”- it doesn’t do anything better than devices already available and in common everyday use, and these devices also do other things.
It isn’t as useful as your laptop/netbook because you can’t, for example, connect it to a network and access networked hardware. The non-compatibility with Flash is an issue put forward by many as a disappointment- interfering as it does with the browsing experience. There’s also an interesting discussion of the multi-tasking problem on subdimension, so read it here. (Other examples can be found here)
It doesn’t seem to be as useful as an iPhone since it doesn’t fit in your pocket, doesn’t have a camera and can’t make phone calls, which, apparently, some people do still use as a means of communication. From the very cynical point of view it’s a giant iPhone that doesn’t call anyone or a giant iPod Touch that requires deep pockets, in both senses of the phrase.
Lastly, a pet hate of mine, the reading books/newspapers issue- what is wrong with reading an actual book or an actual newspaper? When designing devices like the iPad or Amazon’s Kindle, I think about the list of desirable features that customers want and the makers are aiming to provide them with- light, not too big, as cheap as possible, easily readable text, damage resistant etc. etc.- and I think “You’re describing a book. Just buy a book!” Perhaps there’s something I’ve missed, perhaps my love of books and pieces of paper (especially with actually hand written words on, now there’s a real treat) is anachronistic, or possibly I’m already an old curmudgeon.
And very lastly, you all know that in a year’s time, Apple will bring out a better, cheaper version that addresses a lot of the gripes people have been voicing. So if you must have a iPad either wait until then or, for those who simply can’t wait, don’t complain next year when it happens. You should know the drill in this sector of industry by now- companies get their products out on the market, wait to see what the customers like/dislike about them, improve them and release newer versions which cater to the demands expressed. Usually by this time, technological progress and simple economies of scale mean production costs are lower so the retail price is lower.
Maybe the more restrained commentators, saying that the iPad is the first, maybe imperfect, step in a totally new direction, will eventually prove to be the wisest judges.