On Friday I played hooky for a couple of hours and went to my local Apple store. I fully expected to walk out of the store with a new iPad. Suffice it to say, I did not buy an iPad. I also never bought an iPhone, but I fell in love instantly with the MacBook and that's what I thought would happen with the iPad. What I did not like about the iPad is the following:
- The user interface for the apps was very unintuitive for me; for example, I could not figure out for five minutes how to bring up a spreadsheet with lined rows and columns. If I have to read a manual or even worse watch a tutorial to understand basic functions in software, I look for another product.
- It was much heavier than I expected. I was expecting a weight closer to the Kindle, but it felt more like my MacBook (although it is actually lighter than my MacBook).
- I am not a visual person and do not need or benefit from pictures (e.g. book covers in the e-book reader app). Maybe this can be re-configured to a traditional text presentation but I could not figure out how to do it. Not everybody wants pictures when text will suffice. I process text much more quickly than pictures.
Many have already disagreed with my conclusions about the iPad. Most notable is perhaps John Doerr, legendary Partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. In a post on Tech Crunch, Mr. Doerr compares the iPad to the Mosaic web browser, the browser that transformed the Internet into a consumer friendly information source. Mr. Doerr may be correct, but I think the folks at Frog Design may be more accurate when they describe the iPad as a service (here) or an IT platform (my words). It is quite possible that the Apple iPad has redefined the computer-user interface, but I am not sure that the iPad itself will survive except for portions of the software or maybe just the logic behind the interface.
Note: I loved the screen on the iPad, as good if not better than the MacBook. At only 8.9 inches, it appeared more than adequate for most purposes. Most of us are probably paying for much larger screens than we need. It appears that it is the resolution and not the size that is important to the user experience.
I found the Tech Crunch post through Google Buzz and John Fleming.
More recent thoughts on the iPad from Frog are here. Love it when they say the hardware is easy and the software is the real challenge. Very true.