When Ya’ Getting An Ipad, They Ask?

If anything keeps the iPad from being a success it will be because Apple forgot we are their customers, not apple itself.

ipad-touch.jpgFriends and colleagues know I’m a technogeek, so it didn’t take long after Steve Jobs’ iPad announcement for the queries to begin. To summarize the two top questions are:

  • “Are you getting one?”
  • “Why would anyone want one?”

I probably wont be getting an iPad. It has less to do with what it can do or what it costs than the restrictions placed on it.

Imagine a world where your Chevy could only use gas approved by Chevy (and where Chevy siphoned off a cut of the profits)! In essence that’s what the iPad is all about. You may be buying the iPad, but you don’t fully own it because you are limited by license (and I suppose law) from using it freely as you wish.

Apple has already used this business model in the iPhone. I have one. I am often frustrated by improvements which should, but don’t, exist.

steve jobs with ipad.jpgBelieve me, there are lots of things the iPhone can and should do, things which developers would certainly write software but that Apple restricts. Google’s “Google Voice” app is a perfect example. It exists. People would like it. Apple hasn’t approved it and isn’t all that forthcoming in explaining why not.

IPhones&#185 can be ‘jailbroken’ to allow some of these improvements, but it’s tough to embrace a technology where you have to violate a license or law (or both) to use the equipment. Beyond that Apple has shown a propensity to patching jailbroken phones, sometimes ‘bricking’ them–leaving them with the capability of a brick!

Beyond that the iPad seems crippled by design failures. There’s no camera–and this would be the perfect product for video calling. There’s no ability to multitask–run two apps at once. Though it has a 3G modem there’s no cellphone functionality, even through a Bluetooth device.

To me the iPad seems more proof-of-concept than mature platform.

That brings me to the second question. Why would anyone want one?

A relatively small and light computer seems the logical step beyond a laptop, especially if it’s a laptop, telephone, TV, movie and music, book newspaper and magazine playing device. The screen is small for sharing, but for arm’s length viewing it can and will provide a big screen experience.

A device with the form factor of an iPad can be a unifying device that brings all media to a single place, especially with the ability to connect through both cellular and WiFi data networks. It’s exciting in the abstract.

A few years ago Qwest ran an ad (attached at the bottom of this entry) which left most people scratching their heads. Devices like (but not) the iPad are what is needed to make the commercial finally make sense.

Alas, Apple isn’t as interested in providing this total experience as they are in maintaining a toll road. Make no mistake about it, they want every penny you spend to pass through their outstretched sticky fingers.

If anything keeps the iPad from being a success it will be because Apple forgot we are their customers, not Apple itself.

&#185 – when a proper noun begins with a lower case letter, like iPhone, does it get capitalized if it’s the first word of a sentence? By naming something with a lower case letter you’ve already violated the rules of English so the next step gets iffy at best.