The Apple Ipad .. and the Irobot Apad.Jun 05
I’ve purposely put off writing up any snippet of text on the whole ipad deblacle untill i got my hands on one. I did not want to be yet another blogger that pulled a gasious anomaly out of their rectum just to scratch the itch that they needed to do “what everybody else was doing” and chuck in their five cents. Yesterday a co worker of mine walked into the office with the ipad , and for a second there i thought he had a baby in his cubicle. Everybody was standing round gooing ooh and aah and it was not after I heard that he had an Ipad … i got up and took a peek (i’m not realy into babies as you might know).
After politely asking if i could have a ‘look and feel’ of this “magical device” I played with it for a bit, mostly because i wanted to experience the wieght and sturdyness of the device. And I must say .. its not bad. As i walked away the thought struck me that holding and Ipad is a little like having sex for the first time. You think its gonna be all “magical” and “special” but .. in the end its ” just ok “. Just like with sex I hope that using an ipad gets better as you”re doing it more often .. But the big ” OOH WHAW .. THANK YOU STEVE for this MAGICAL DEVICE” moment .. Just wasn’t there.
Now : Why am i not all smittens about the ipad ? Sure its a great device . Sure i can get my hands on one tomorrow if only i pop across the border to Germany and grab one of the shelf.. But why not ? Of course there is the fact that I don’t really like to buy a first generation product when everybody is still in the height of pre-and post release histeria. I tend to find the interweb-journalism slightly “biased” about the real value of a product, when everybody is still acting like Steve Jobs just came down the mountain with the “original 2 tablets”. So i’ll give the early adopters the chance to become Apple’s beta testing squad and wait for them to bring me the bad news.
But still : Why not go for an Ipad ? Well : For one , there is the price. Yeah sure, its easy to be cheesy , but I’m not like that. I’m more then happy to spend 1500 euro’s or more on a Macbook Pro, because its an awesome device. I’m more then happy to thrown 300 euro’s at an Ipod touch .. because its a great device. I’m am however NOT prepared to pay DOUBLE for an “ipod with a simcard” (iphone) nor am I willing to throw over 600 euro’s at a tablet pc with basically the same operating system / storage but with a larger screen and a faster processor. As “Magical” as Steve says the Ipad it, it IS (for the most part) still a large Ipod Touch. And there is nothing wrong with that. To watch movies , share photos, surf around a bit and stuff , it might be an awesome device, but the pricepoint is just a little to high there.
Its not a computer. This is something we are going to have to explain to noobies over and over again : Its NOT a computer. Its a Tablet. Having owned a (older) Tablet – PC before i’ve seen the value of the concept of a ‘tablet’ as a great “media consumption device”. Something you whip out quickly to “consume media”. If you’re thinking its going to be a computer surrogate ? It’s not. But looking at the Ipad’s pricepoint that is even about 100 euro’s (or more) higher then that of my pretty powerful Acer notebook.. I wonder if its lined with gold on the INSIDE to make it that expensive.
Lets face it people : Tablet pc’s are (when comparing them to computers) no more then enhanced Nintendo DS systems. A completely closed environment with its OWN applications, operating system, SDK’s and interface. There is nothing wrong with that. Most cellphones these days have the exact same setup. A specific, dedicated operating system, with its OWN line of applications and its OWN application store. You want an app ? you don’t “install’ it like you do on a computer (its NOT a computer, remember ?) you download the application from the application store and use it that way.
Now there is my next reason why I don’t care much for the Ipad. Just like with the Ipod touch, ALL apps need to be aquired via the Itunes Store. And Apple decides which apps make it in there, and which do not. Never mind the fact that a lot of the (good) applications cost money (sure there is a lot of stuff for free out there .. but its not as ‘free’ as the open source world of linux). And if Steve Jobs suddenly gets the delusional idea that he somehow needs to start up the next crusade against porn AND flash on the Ipad .. well .. we just have to take that in stride .. Right ? The “walled garden” for the Iphone/ipod/ipad that Apple creates is one with high walls and prickly fences. It is all nice an rosy when you walk on the inside, but don’t you dare to venture towards the walls or even try to peek over the edge. Your Ipad will be a 500 euro ball-and-chain keeping you inside Steve Jobs idea of the garden of Eden.
And if I look at my Ipod touch, there are not a lot of applications installed on there either. Even if drag myself towards the Itunes store and heave over a bunch of free applications, I still catch myself never using them, or going for my Blackberry instead when there is something I want to play with. I’m not a big Iphone-OS fan, so the Ipad is not really going to buzz my bubble all that much. So perhaps i’m a little biased when it comes down to my opinion.. However it IS my opinion.
So how about the alternatives ? I’ve been looking at the Irobot APAD (yeah i know, lame name) A 7-inch tablet PC (with Wifi) that sports a 800 by 480 resolution, and version 1.5 of the Android OS. Plenty of applications out there, not a walled garden at all. And at a pricepoint of about 200 euro’s it is not that bad a deal. But after an initial play-around with it, i’m not conviced either. Is it the same as the “having sex for the first time ?” comment I made before ? I don’t know. The apps feel a little strange to use (i’m not really used to android) but in the end it is not such a bad device. ( Ok its a japanese knock-off .. what do you expect) But some of the facets of the device DO strike my fancy.
Its FREE : as in : the operating system is open source. If you want to write an application that scrolls naked ladies on the beat of the Hamsterdance.. Well you can just do that ! ( Uncle Steve can’t toot his high morals at you.) A LOT of the applications cost you nothing. Because of the nature of the Core operating system there is a LOT of development going on for several phones running android. Its GOOGLE FRIENDLY : YEah .. I know, i’m a sad sad google slut. And finally it supports at least SOME form of Flash. Now i KNOW flash is bad – evil – slow – buggy etc .. but when I need to live a web-based life WITHOUT flash …. well that is just going to suck. No use having a 600 euro Tablet when you can’t use it to watch Ustream Streams…
So i’m going to ponder a little bit about whether or not i’m gonna buy one of those babies .. But i’ll probably end up buying one of those APADS just to try it out .. Now where is that bloody ATM….
Links : The APAD