I recently had an opportunity to play with a friend’s iPad, which I think is really really neat, but upon further examination decided that it is not quite right for me.
The things I really liked about it:
- The form factor. Thin and light, not much to complain about.
- The battery life. 10 hours on a single charge without a weight penalty.
- The UI. Essentially this is an iPod Touch that is bigger, and the UI is simple and intuitive.
- There are a zillion iPhone applications available.
The things that I found to be deficient (when compared to a netbook):
- No USB port. In fact the only port is the iPod docking port. I am currently considering the purchase of a netbook for mobile web surfing, for use as a camera field monitor (which requires a USB port and a Windows application), for controlling my DSLR for time lapse photography (which requires a USB port and a Windows or Mac application), and for backing up camera data in the field (which requires a flash slot or a USB port). So the iPad would only really be suitable for mobile web surfing. Even if it did have a USB port, there would be no applications available.
- No flash support. There’s enough coverage of this food fight on the interweb, I will not elaborate.
- There are a zillion iPhone applications available. Sure there are a lot of iPhone native applications, but few native iPad applications. As such, all the applications are quarter resolution and upscaled, and the low quality really bugs me. This deficiency will diminish over time as apps are written specifically for iPad.
I really don’t miss a real keyboard. The virtual keyboard is not very ergonomic, but unless you intend on doing word processing, computer use is relegated to mostly clicking and dragging anyways. Getting rid of a real keyboard for a smaller form factor is a reasonable trade off.
So if you’re only doing web surfing or ebook reading, the iPad was made for you (albeit a little pricey). If it only had some more capabilities for talking to external devices, it would be worthy of consideration. So it looks like a standard netbook is the answer for me, which is also cheaper.