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Why, halo thar LJ/DW land. Long time no post ... again. Still reading flist, etc. etc. Lots of wedding prep going on, etc. etc. Might post about that soon!

But anyway, I've been prompted to write an entry about the iPad. I kept tweeting my thoughts about it, but 140 characters is not enough to really say what I think. I also appreciate that many people don't care what I think about the iPad, or might care but are so overloaded with people talking about it that they don't anymore. So I will LJ cut.

I am definitely not going to get an iPad. I will explain why. But first, a disclaimer:

I am trying to do this from the point of view of why I don't want one. I will try to explain why the iPad doesn't do what I would want a device in its space to do. I am not prescribing any opinions for anyone else. I could see many people who do have a use for the iPad. I do think some of the things I'm going to bring up are damn near universal complaints, but they are still my complaints.

My position for wanting an ultraportable device (not necessarily a tablet) is that it would have to replace my laptop for nearly all of my everyday tasks. Surfing, writing, email, IM, everything I use my laptop for now except the really heavy duty stuff. If an ultaportable could do that I'd get one as soon as finances allowed and then get a desktop for anything else I needed one for. I don't want to have an ultraportable *and* a laptop, I don't see the point. I can get an iPhone to do quick surfing, checking of email while walking down the street or looking up a map. I want more out of an ultraportable. I do realise that this, from the get-go, makes the iPad and most, if not all, tablets not the thing for me (yet), but that's my position.

So, with that in mind I'm first going to outline my issues with the iPad as a tablet, and then a few larger issues with tablets in general.

My issues with the iPad

No flash: This isn't a huge thing. Flash is a blight on the internet. It's slow and shit and clunky, even with 10.1 making things a lot better. It should be superseded by HTML5. Sites should stop using it. But until they do? I want to be able to use it. I want to be able to go to Kongregate, or play videos on CNN.com or use any of the other sites that have yet to abandon Flash for something better.

iBooks: This is less an issue with the iPad but is rather something that just has no pull for me. It sounds like a great implementation, but I have no interest in reading on an LCD display. I have my Kindle, I like e-ink and I don't see it as a third device - it simply replaces any book I might have with me.

Lack of multitasking: If I can't have my IM client and web browser and mail client all open at the same time then it certainly can't replace my laptop. It has the hardware to be able to perform fine with all those open. And if I want to open 25 applications and strain it to hell? That's my choice to make. Sure, it may sacrifice battery, but that's what a charger is for. My laptop is plugged in 90% of the time I'm using it.

Lack of a full OS / choice in applications: I get it, Apple wants to make sure you get the signature Apple dependability and experience. This make sense on a phone, which has limited resources. But something with the power of the iPad? It could run at least a trimmed down version of OS X with some touch enhancements and no restrictions on installation of applications. My laptop runs OS X and I still get my slick Apple experience and having my own choice hasn't ruined it - it's made it better. Augmented with Quicksilver, Growl and a number of other things I've made my laptop more efficient and easy to use, not less so. But Apple doesn't seem to want to give me the benefit of the doubt with the iPad.

Tablet: So, this is where it really falls out for me - I am not entirely sure a tablet is what I want as an ultraportable. I fail to see how a touch screen is better than a keyboard and trackpad for a device of tablet size. If I assume that the iPad fixes all my problems above (except for the e-ink one, I can carry an iPad and a Kindle), I can still think of very few occasions where a touch screen would be faster for me than a keyboard and pointing device. With Quicksilver I can do things stupidly fast with only a few key-strokes. I have grown up with keyboards and am very quick with them. I could, potentially, learn to be as quick with a virtual keyboard - but it takes up valuable screen space. This isn't a problem with a phone for me - a phone is small and a tiny physical keyboard is dumb. But for an ultraportable computer? I don't see why I would want to give up a physical keyboard. The best of both worlds might be good - an ultraportable laptop with a touchscreen that can do one of those swivel and fold over on itself deals. A MacBook Air with 3G, multi-touch screen and the ability to turn itself inside-out? Sounds perfect to me. It can be a tablet for when I'm walking down the street and then a Real Boy when I sit down.

Again, I realise that this last issue means I may have shot down the iPad before it got started. But if it actually solved all the other problems? I'd would be extremely tempted, even without a physical keyboard.

So, there are my thoughts on the iPad. Congratulations on getting this far!

Wedding update coming soon!
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January 2010

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