Apple’s iPad is “not the tablet I’ve been looking for”

There has been so much buzz over the past week month year about Apple’s new tablet PC, dubbed the iPad, so I’m glad last week’s press release finally unveiled the thing before I got sick of all the rumors. Yet, now that the event is over, I find myself very disappointed.

There are already many rants and raves about this device (Hightechdad just posted a good one as did Mashable). Perhaps my favorite so far is on engadget, which uses one poignant word to sum up the new device: unimaginative.

Here are just a few reasons why I don’t like the new device (I’m going to refrain – mostly – from commenting on the awful name, as many are already doing this more justice than I ever could).

No… camera, multi-tasking, Flash, memory expansion, GPS

Basically, all of the same complaints I have about my iPod Touch, which is now, essentially, the older brother to this Baby Huey. While they did add a microphone, why did Apple cripple the capabilities of this device over its more-popular cousin, the iPhone? I guess the augmented reality possibilities slipped by the engineers.

All your iPhone/iPod apps…?

If you’ve ever used an iPhone/iPod app, you know that they are designed to fit the limited screen real estate offered by the small screen. Now Jobs would like me to believe that using those same apps on a much larger screen is going to be seamless?

LCD is so 2008

Where’s the OLED screen that would offer super-low-power? Or even more innovative: a display that could toggle between black & white e-ink for easy reading (and low power consumption) like the Kindle, then to full-color for everything else? While LCD may still be mainstream, I expected something different from Apple.

Productivity?

My main complaint is – and maybe this is for all tablets – how could I work on this thing?

As I outlined in a previous post, I think there continues to be a battle of portability versus productivity. Like it or not, the keyboard is still the primary input method for creating new works (other than art) on the computer.

A tablet PC, like my iPod Touch, will always suffer in this area. You simply cannot type as fast on a touchscreen (or laser keyboard, or roll-up keyboard – remember those?) as you can on a standard “real key” keyboard. And the keyboard dock accessory (shown here) will be a pain to lug around (and it’s portrait orientation of the iPad is a bit strange, too).

My favorite alternatives

I’m convinced all the hype is just a symptom of “Apple-fanboyism” since so many other worthy gadgets are coming to market without nearly as much fanfare. Even Mashable editors think that the hype over the Apple tablet is greater than anything it can deliver.

Take the awesome new netbook/notebook form factor debuted by Lenovo at CES 2010. The “IdeaPad U1” isn’t scheduled to hit the consumer market until this Summer, but when it does, I’ll be closely examining the specs (and price!) to see if I’m ready to upgrade from my Asus EeePC 1000HE (which I still love!).

The U1 combines the innovation and portability of a tablet with the productivity of a notebook by allowing the screen to pop out and be used independently as a tablet PC.

Another Lenovo creation is the IdeaPad S10-3t (available now for $550) which offers a swiveling LCD screen that can fold flat against the keyboard and serve as a touchscreen tablet PC. I may consider this model once the price comes down a bit.

Do I have it all wrong?

When I originally drafted this post, I concluded that the iPad wasn’t really all that big a deal and that I just couldn’t see myself wanting one. But maybe this isn’t designed for me.

I have a smartphone for talking, texting, and mobile surfing/”app”ing, a Kindle for reading ebooks, a netbook for everyday tasks, and a desktop for more heavy computing. Earlier, I complained that I wouldn’t be able to work on this device. Maybe I’m not supposed to work on it. Maybe it’s supposed to be more of a media consumption device than a media creation device. If that’s the case, than I’ll wait for the U1 or a similar machine that will allow me to do more than just listen to music, watch movies, and surf the web. For now, I’m all set with the devices I have.

I’m convinced it’s a symptom of “Apple-fanboyism” since so many other worthy gadgets are coming to market without nearly as much fanfare. Even Mashable editors think that the hype over the Apple tablet is greater than anything it can deliver.
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