iPad Shortcomings

This pretty much lists all the reasons I haven’t rushed out to buy an iPad. I can’t really see what I’d do with it. I might end up getting one, after they fix all the bugs and reduce the price, but it’ going to be mostly a toy, just like the Newton I have in my attic somewhere was. In fact, given the iPad’s size, it kind of reminds me of the Newton, which wasn’t a rousing success for Apple. Despite that, I think the iPad will probably be largely successful. Back in the years Apple was run by the sugar water salesman, the cult following wasn’t quite as big as it is today, and back then even the devout fans of Apple understood they produced bombs every once in a while.

22 thoughts on “iPad Shortcomings”

  1. Well, I’ve been using one since saturday (I’m a corporate CIO). And the only ones of those that have bothered me is the multitasking. My iphone VPN profile worked perfectly. I haven’t found it to be heavy, awkward, slippery, or too much glare. It is a little strange to me reading a book, but I think it’s literally just that I’m so used to holding a book one way, that holding it differently is kind of strange.

    The flash thing hasn’t really bothered me much YET, but I suspect it will. Iphone apps are lame, but so far there are already plenty of iPad apps.

    I actually like the virtual keyboard. I can type almost as fast on a regular keyboard, although I ordered a dock and external keyboard.

    Lastly and most importantly I’ve replaced my whole laptop with it. Granted I have an office workstation (Linux with Windows guest). But I was using a big heavy laptop for lightweight productivity and comms. The iPad does that, and some stuff better.

    Price: Well admittedly, that wasn’t an issue for me. I put in on the company.

    1. I guess I got stuck on their reader pitch, and I didn’t really see how it would work for that purpose. There’s the size, and from what people have said, the weight. But actually, the battery life poses an issue for me there. I view it this way – if I can’t make it on a trip to see my grandmother without recharging, then it is no good as a reader. (My grandmother lives in Hawaii. But, I’m also someone who goes through reading phases. When I get hit with the reading bug, I can’t stop. I will rarely put a book down once I pick it up, even for sleep.)

      As for the other factors, the flash thing is really the biggest. And, casual usage risks. I think one of the iPad destruction tests just had them drop from table height onto a plushy carpet (i.e. it slips out of your hand or off your leg) and it was broken after just 3 of those – a huge streak across the screen of pixels that no longer worked.

      I can see it as a more mobile device that’s better than more phone, but less of a pain than my laptop. But, I’m with Sebastian in that the price needs to drop and I need to see future versions before I make that call. However, they still really need to change the name. For now, I’d rather have a netbook. They are cheaper and don’t have some of these issues.

      I do have to ask: how is the wifi reception? I’ve seen some complaints that it can be sitting right next to a phone that picks it up, a laptop with it, and the iPad just barely gets the signal.

  2. The list is vapid.

    It’s Awkward

    So is trying to use a 5-pound 15″ notebook while walking somewhere. iPad isn’t made for desktop use, it’s made for “always around”, a convenient size to have handy. Maybe not real comfortable, but much better in more situations.

    It’s heavy

    Got something lighter with a screen over 9″?

    It’s slippery

    May be a valid complaint. Well, it IS so slick in so many ways…

    The screen has too much glare

    We’ve been hearing that whine since CRTs got flat.

    Forget reading in the sun

    Forget reading your Kindle in the dark. Actually, IIRC the iPad is at least pretty usable in bright sun (a la the iPod Touch/iPhone) – not great, but there if you need it.

    Fingerprints are annoying

    Keep yer paws off it then. Oh, right, it’s a touch-screen … you’re going to get fingerprints on it.

    It does not multitask

    “Multitask” is an awfully broad term. Few whiners really want it, they just want to whine about it and would be content with mere task switching (coming soon!).

    The browser is limited

    It’s a 1.5lb 10″ no-keyboard 1/2″ thick tablet, not a full-blown desktop. Cope.

    The virtual keyboard stinks

    So do real keyboards. Maybe it’s that keyboards are unnatural. If you need one, just bring it near your Bluetooth keyboard and type away.

    There’s no USB port

    It’s a USB device, not a host.

    iPhone-only apps look horrible

    So does VHS on a 55″ plasma HDTV, and for the same reason.

    The price is just too high

    Slightly more than the full-sale no-contract price of upper-end cell phones – and it is a lot bigger and does a lot more than a cell phone. Netbooks are cheaper, but they’re different products built cheaply with problems that are not inexpensive to solve (which the iPad solves, at a price).

    It doesn’t replace anything

    It’s not supposed to. It’s a new genre. It’s not a phone. It’s not a notebook. It’s not a netbook. It’s not a iPod. It’s a slate done right.

  3. Sebastian,
    Do your website statistics show very many people reading your blog from an iPad? Just curious.

  4. I like what ” ctdonath” said. – Here is my take on the list . . .

    **It’s Awkward

    I’ve used one, and its not as awkward as you would think. I also think a decent rubber case makes it very grippy, and much less awkward

    **It’s heavy

    its 1.5 pounds which to me seems pretty light. the keyboard im typing on now is probably 1.5 pounds

    **It’s slippery

    Again, a simple rubber case, or grip pad will fix this issue. IE: look at the 2 million different iphone cases

    **The screen has too much glare

    I used to think that about my iphone until I put a simple 5.00 antiglare film on it. It not only cut the glare, but the finger prints as well. Even when my fingers are oily, prints don’t stick.

    **Forget reading in the sun

    If you crank the contrast, coupled with an anti-glare film, your golden . . . and besides, can you read your laptop in bright sun?

    **Fingerprints are annoying

    Anti-glare film . . . .

    **It does not multitask

    I would be willing to bet multi-tasking will be available by the end of the year.

    **The browser is limited

    I would agree that the lack of flash is rather annoying . . but as it sits now, it is still a very robust browser

    **The virtual keyboard stinks

    I actually disagree. My time with the virtual keyboard was great . . its all in your technique

    **There’s no USB port

    Actually, there is. You can buy a USB adapter to plug into the info port. This will alow the ipad to view and import pictures from cameras, etc . . Its also rumored that further USB support is around the corner.

    **iPhone-only apps look horrible

    B/c those are iphone only apps . .

    **The price is just too high

    I’m not so sure its that pricey. Its cheaper than what a brand new iphone was at its first release. Its also cheaper than most notebooks (not the bargain buys you find on black friday) – Its cheaper than most TV’s. For what your getting, I think its just about right. . .

    **It doesn’t replace anything

    Its funny people say that. – I think it does replace stuff.

    I work in IT, and have almost my whole life. My PC usage has dropped probably 70% since I got an iphone. The 30% I use a PC for, will now be dropped to probably 10-15% (when not at work).

    Some of things I still use a PC for:
    Remote access to work
    Ebay listings
    Fast typing on keyboard
    replying to long emails
    Itunes syncing to iphone
    Media Downloads
    Camera importing
    etc . .

    The things Ipad will do from that list:
    Ebay listing
    replying to long emails
    Fast typing on keyboard
    Camera importing
    Printing (future feature)

    The list of things it CANT do is much much smaller than the list of things it CAN do . . .and that to me is a step in the right direction.

  5. “I would be willing to bet multi-tasking will be available by the end of the year.”

    Indications are it will be available by the end of the week.
    Apple has issued invites to the unveiling of iPhone OS 4.0 on Thursday. (iPad runs iPhone OS.)

  6. I’m reading this from an Iphone . . . both on the web, and via an RSS app, which nicely notifies me of new posts

    So yes I’m sure people can read this from an ipad

  7. “I view it this way – if I can’t make it on a trip to see my grandmother without recharging, then it is no good as a reader. (My grandmother lives in Hawaii. But, I’m also someone who goes through reading phases. When I get hit with the reading bug, I can’t stop. I will rarely put a book down once I pick it up, even for sleep.)”

    I agree with you broadly,but I don’t see where you’re going to get a device with better battery. You’d get at least 10 hours on this device reading, watching movies, etc. Most people reporting over 11. It’s probably one of the things they have done BEST about the device.

    I generally read 2-4 books a week, so that is a hugely important issue to me as well.


  8. ctdonath , I agree. but typically, these events show an OS update that wont be available until summer.

    OS 2.0 and 3.0 were that way. Press events in spring, OS release in summer/late summer

  9. I’ll tell you wha talready drives me nuts though, no friggin caluclator. lame.

  10. I can understand wanting a tablet over a netbook, but for the money I would just get a tablet netbook. It costs around the same, but it has a full keyboard, it has USB plugs so you can plug things in, it has flash support, so you can watch youtube videos, it can multitask, so you can listen to music and browse the internet at the same time, and it runs a common computer OS, so you can get and run almost any kind of program, instead of being forced to buy apps from apple.

  11. I think he was referring to his Iphone and an “Ipad nano”

    I would agree with same, there are some advantages to a netbook, but I also think that there are alot of users that don’t need to plug in a USB device, or care for flash that much. –

    I also believe that multitasking will be available very soon. also I think we will see alot of support for iwork added.

    I think the Ipad right now is more suitable for tech heads that love apple products. Like the iphone, it will take a year or so for it to catch to the general public as more and more functionality is added. – Just my two cents

  12. Actually, I think it’ll do very well in the medical/clinic environment.

    Heck, I’d be developing it for that purpose right now if I only had a Mac.


  13. Medical user are already using tablets with various MS OS on them. They’re not going to switch at this point; they relatively recently just got to use wireless legally.

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