Thursday, February 3, 2011

iPad - Marvel or Menace?

This class we talked about the iPad, and went through a number of
"apps" that are available for it. This sort of walkthrough was interesting, but I always find that I learn much more from actually diving into the technology hands-on. It would have been very informative to be able to pass the iPad around the class while we talked about it.

My impression is that the iPad is attempting to replace conventional computing with a series of simple push-button applications and a virtual keyboard. I don't know if this is a reasonable substitute to a full-power computer, because I haven't used one, but I imagine that the proprietary nature of Apple's line of iProducts will prevent it from becoming a widespread and revolutionary tool, able to adapt to its user's needs immediately, and run software designed by anyone.

But the competitors are coming, and there is clearly a demand for the technology, whether it is because of Apple’s well-tuned sense of novelty or because people actually have a need for it. The concept is from smart-phone technology, of course, but the device is larger, and costs much more.

Similar devices that are more specialized, such as the Kindle, are less in demand because of Apple branding and because of the increasing need in computer technology for efficiency and convenience.

The way the iPad has come onto the scene feels very much to me like it is an attempt to produce the big-screen TV effect for a smart phone (sans phone). It is attempting to replace the netbook as an efficient internet surfing device. Unfortunately in learning more about the iPad I discovered that you can’t multitask on it. As a Mac user who is used to running six programs at once, word-processing as I scan emails and check my calendar, I find this flaw to be unacceptable and deal breaking. I no longer am interested in owning one.

1 comment:

  1. I agree Ben - I can't quite figure out what the real benefit of the iPad is at this point. It seems like a larger version of the iPod... and certainly can't replace a full power computer yet. I think there may come a time when this technology DOES replace what we currently know as laptops and portable computers, but I think we're still a few years away from that. When I can have an iPad in lieu of a laptop, that's when I'll be interested. Until then, I think Apple might have spurred on the craze a little bit ahead of schedule.