April 05, 2010, 7:52 AM — Leading up to April 3rd, I had examined what we knew of the iPad and found it wanting. My reasons for not buying one were solid, I think. Low screen resolution, no camera, no multi-tasking, no Flash...the usual things people mention when speaking against the device.
Plus this is iPad version 1. I know how these things play out. I have an original iPod; it holds 5 GB of music and cost $400. A few years later I was given a Bose docking station as a gift and needed to update my iPod to have something to put in it. The new one cost me about $300 and held 30 GB of data. Plus it played video and was much thinner and lighter. That was somewhere around 2005; four years after the original launched. Today's low-end "classic" iPod goes for $250 and holds 160 GB of data. The iPad will follow a same pattern of becoming cheaper, lighter and more capable. It won't surprise me if we see an iPad 2.0 as early as this fall, in fact. It just makes sense to wait; let Apple iron out the glitches and add in capability. Let the Apple fanboys be the guinea pigs.
Then Saturday arrived. Every tech site (and a lot of others) were posting iPad stories. First about the lines, then about the product itself. My Inner Geek stirred. There was the smell of new tech on the wind. My lust for gadgets took notice.
I seized on the bad news: apparently the iPad is pretty heavy for its form factor. A tablet should be light and easily held in one hand but (I hear) the iPad works best when you hold it in your lap or on a table (or in a stand). Apparently the single button on the device is in a bad place, too; it's easy to hit it by accident and dump out of the game app you're using. And the headphone jack is in a bad place. All of these are issues that will no doubt be fixed in the next rev.
But the Inner Geek would not be quieted. Gadget lust started to grow.
Now, I'm not a fan of Apple. My phone is a Droid, I spend most of my time at home in Windows 7. My laptop is a MacBook Pro but I don't really like the hardware very much. I am familiar with the Apple ecosystem and I actually do like OS X (as a LAMP developer, OS X provides a local dev environment much closer to what we use for production than Windows does). I don't use iTunes on my Windows machines; it feels bloated to me and I'm not a fan of the "walled garden" that Apple has built. I don't use Safari (I run Chrome backed up by Firefox on all my systems). I detest everything about Apple Retail Stores. So no, no iPad for me; those Nvidia Tegra-based tablets look really sweet, though!
Then, friends started checking in. A few of them had received their iPads and they were enjoying the heck out of them. The flaws, at least at this early stage, weren't a big issue in practice. Tales of comfortably watching Netflix while laying in bed (without balancing a laptop on your belly) and stories of the apps they were enjoying...these people were jazzed about their purchase. And after all, I have wanted a tablet device for a long time; since long before iPad mania began. I read a lot of blogs and websites every day and I get tired of sitting at a computer or laptop screen. I want to sit in an easy chair with my feet up and just read.
Then I started hearing stories saying that stores still had units in stock. This was late Saturday afternoon. My resolve started to waver, my Inner Geek was jumping up and down with excitement. But I held firm; the stores closed. I was safe.
And depressed. Gadget lust is a cruel mistress. My Inner Geek pouted. I felt like I'd missed out on an Event. Then I started justifying why I should have an iPad. After all, I write this blog every day, and the iPad is quite a hot device; shouldn't I have one so I could really know what it's strengths and weaknesses are?
Sunday morning, I rolled out of bed, grabbed a shower and went for a drive. Suddenly, as if by magic, I was at the local Best Buy. Maybe they'd still have units in stock!? Then I remembered it was Easter. Best Buy was closed. Well, it just wasn't meant to be, right? I drove home, trying to be philosophical about the whole situation. I'd definitely get an iPad 2.0 when it came out. I'd get more machine for my money that way. Definitely, that was the wise choice.
I was home for about 10 minutes before I was at http://store.apple.com. My 32 GB iPad ships on April 12th. But really, I'm proud of my willpower. After all I stuck to my guns; I didn't go to an Apple Store! And finally my Inner Geek is at peace.
Yes, I'm more than a little chagrined about being so susceptible to hype; I'm exactly the kind of customer Apple depends on — easily swayed by new shiny things. So there's some embarrassment. But hey, this is who I am. I get stupidly excited over new tech. This is why I write a blog on it. And I can't deny that while I'm eager to get my hands on the iPad, I'm still just as excited about the future Tegra/Android tablet I plan to enjoy 1080P video on. Thank goodness we have eBay. Anyone interested in buying a slightly used iPad in about six months?