Lets admit the iPad is an iLetDown

I wouldn't be true to all the people out there who know me as an Apple super user and always ask me which Apple products to get if I didn't tell it like it is and call Apple out when they iFlop. I'm a big Apple fan, have all kinds of Apple products from the Mac Pro to the iPod shuffle. But I gotta say I feel kinda let down after this mornings announcement. Lets take a look at whats iWanting (in no particular order):

  • no background apps
  • no multitasking
  • no osx
  • no root
  • no camera
  • itsy bitsy baby storage
  • no removable media
  • no GPS
  • 3G from... ATT?
Lets delve into these points one at a time:

No Background Application
One of the biggest drawbacks of the iPhone OS, which powers the iPhone and the iTouch and soon to be released iPad, is that regular non-Apple applications can not run in the background. Basically when you open that nice shiny Facebook app and then you wan to turn to your even shinier weather app, Outside, your iPhone basically closes Facebook and opens Outside. Now this might be all well and good for some apps, but what about others that need to maintain a connection to the mother ship, like say, an instant messaging app? Or an app that does some processing for you? Well, your'e kinda out of luck.

No Multitasking
See above. Want to switch between apps or a number of apps? They all need to save their state on exit and reinitialize when they open up. Slow, slow, slow.

iPhone OS is not OSX. It is a neutered derivative. Want to do all the interesting things you can do on your Macbook or iMac or Mac Pro? You can't. Like finder. Want to share files between applications? No, can't do that. 

No root
Now this is a little technical but on unix based systems (of which all OSX systems are based) "root" is what's known as the master user. This user can control what happens within the operating system, more specifically has privileges other users do not. This concept is not exposed to the iPhone OS. This is all well and good (to a degree) on personal devices like the iPhone or iTouch. But the iPad strikes me as a multiuser device. I haven't seen anything yet that speaks to this fact. How do you share an iPad in a household without letting all the users have access to everything on the device?

No Camera
This is probably one of the biggest blunders. Virtually every consumer electronics device that plays in the computer space comes with a camera nowadays. In fact, I believe the iPad now follows the iTouch, iPod classic and iPod shuffle as the only Apple devices that come sans camera. Interested in new augmented reality applications? Ain't gonna happen. Video conferencing from the couch? Nope. Pictures of your cat sitting on your lap while reading the NYT? Not bloody likely.

Itsy bitsy baby storage
64GB max internal storage? Give me a break. Steve, et al want this device to be your library, your jukebox and your vcr? And they only give you 64GB? Full stop.

No removable media
See above. The newer Macbook Pro's now come with a builtin sd card reader. Those little sd cards are virtually ubiquitous when it comes to removable storage. You can find them in everything from digital cameras and HD video camcorders to portable gps devices which keep a running record of your last 50 mile bike ride. Which segues nicely to:

What's the matter, Apple? No love for Foursquare? No love for location based applications like navigation or search? So the accelerometer and compass are just for games and knowing which way to look for the sunrise after a long night reading ebooks.

3G from... ATT?
What the deuce? This just smacks of "we had no time to line up other providers so we went with the junk that we already know." And an extra $130 for the 3G chipset. Come on. And the $15/month plan for 250MB? Come the #@%^ on. How bout you give me 10GB from your "unlimited" plan for $15 or $20 and call it a day.


My gripes fall along two main areas, software and hardware. I get the argument that background apps and multitasking drain battery life. But this is not a pocket device. This is something that borders a laptop and as such needs more software horsepower at the OS level than just "lite" applications we all call "apps." As for the hardware, the surface area alone of this device is something like 7 times that of the iTouch. Cram some more goodies in there, will you? Have you seen the Ipod Nano? The thing is miniscule and comes with a video camera! Apple could have put two cameras on this thing - front and back. Not to mention an sd card reader, and a gps chipset.

Lets face it, this is a larger iPhone 3Gs or iTouch with no calling plan. And the name is iLame, as a friend of a friend said, "sounds like a feminine hygiene product, ipad maxi for the large model." Will the iPad find a market? Sure. Will Baby boomers appreciate the larger fonts and soft keyboard? I know a few who certainly will. Will the Publishing industry sacrifice their first born children to get their content on this device? Absolutely. Will the ebook experience be "insanely great" as Jobs would have you believe? Probably. Will I recommend it to my friends? Probably not. Get the iTouch or save your shekels for a Macbook. If you just want an ebook reader, get the Kindle. Better yet, just don't buy ebooks that are laden with DRM.

At the end of the day this can only be seen as an evolutionary advance over the iPhone and iTouch, if that, and not the revolutionary device I know I had been hoping for. File this one under iFail. What do you think? Does Apple have another winner or will the iPad be sitting next to AppleTV getting drunk at next years Apple Christmas party?