Friday, February 05, 2010

Weighing In: Like Everyone Else, I've Got Something to Say About the iPad

The big news this past week was Steve Jobs' throwing the coverlet off of Apple's long-awaited iPad. Though it has long been rumored that Apple would make a tablet PC, none had materialized. The wait continues. Touted as a 'tablet PC,' the iPad is not that. The fever surrounding the launch of the yet-unnamed-Apple-tablet was incredible. Then once it hit the streets, everyone and her auntie had gushy words for it. On Twitter, #iPad was number one with a bullet all week, even in the face of people still buried under rubble in Haiti and the President giving his first State of the Union address. It's still a Trending Topic today. It's weird. Even my favorite political podcast at Slate, last week, couldn't resist weighing in on the iPad. Why? I really don't get all the fuss as yet. Another favorite podcast of mine, Digital Campus, seemed to think that the iPad would be awesome for archaeology or geology students because those students would have all this internet information at the their fingertips when they're out on their digs. What?! Field researchers need data collection tools (like a tablet PC) when they're out there in the muddy and the dusty and the boggy. Maybe I'm missing the point.

This line from Steve Jobs' announcement demo doesn't help give me any more clarity: "It’s phenomenal to hold the Internet in your hands." Umm, I'm using a netbook /Blackberry/iPhone /tablet PC right now and I'm actually holding the Internet in my hands. Weird.

Look, I want more choice in hand-held devices just as much as the next guy. But what the 1st Gen iPad seems to be is a large iTouch. Maybe before the 2nd Gen iPad comes out, Apple will listen to all the howling cries of ...So What!...*yawn*...Big Deal!...and actually add some functionality to the pretty little thing. Or it could just remain a Kindle alternative. That's fine with me, except for the fact that I don't really read books anymore. I listen to them on my iPOD!
Dear Apple, If you really want to make a killer tablet PC, make it so that I can do Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator using the tablet's pen, I don't want to use a Wacom tablet because I think your new iPad would deem them obsolete. While you're at it, give me some GPS location-based ability. Didn't you hear that everything these days is really GEO-everything? In an ideal world, I could actually make maps on an iPad using a GIS software and make drawings using something like AutoCAD, but I digress. But for goodness sake, I want to make phone calls, make videos, shoot photographs, record a podcast. Awesome price on these little 1.5 lb babies, by the way. Don't change that, alright? Alright.
And all you fans and rushers-out-to-get-the-new-iPad take note. You will be sad for not waiting. Apple does this to all of us and here is my story. Before leaving for Barbados for the Fulbright, I bought my two children an iPod Nano each. I was thinking ahead and purchased them early. Well, these slick Nanos were still in their slick Apple boxes when I happened to see an Apple commercial claiming that the new Nano can take video! If only I had waited my kids could have been the next James Cameron or Kathryn Bigelow.

So, for the Apple iPad, take my advice: wait. And as for the unfortunate name...look at 'Google'?

1 comment:

Andy Anderson said...

Hi, Meg,

The 3G-enabled iPad will also have GPS. I'm not sure why that's required, perhaps it's easy as part of a unified chipset.

Apple is also providing some desktop-type applications such as Keynote, so that's one thing that distinguishes it from an iPhone/iPod Touch; and there's a dock-to-vga connector available for projection. Many profs will love it, I think.

Probably only a matter of time before Illustrator-like apps appear to allow you to draw easily. There are some now for iPh/iPT that will probably be scaled up.

But don't hold your breath if you don't want to. :-)