Why You Should Think Twice About Buying an iPad 2
Let's just be clear: When I look at a tablet, I don't see a "lifestyle" device. I see a gadget, a tool. So in order for me to plunk down my hard-earned dollar on one of these in-betweeners, it's going to have to meet an exacting set of standards and accomplish what I need in a way that is clearly superior to my current system (which relies on a laptop, a smartphone and, occasionally, an e-reader). What's more, my device needs to bend to my will. I don't want to fit in to my gadget's way of doing things, I want the gadget to conform to me. That means flexibility and customization are key -- things in which the iPad 2 falls woefully short. There is no swappable battery or expandable storage. I can't place widgets to get information at a glance, or use shortcuts to turn features like Bluetooth or GPS on or off.
Sure, as a blogger, the iPad would be convenient for things like keeping up on my endless RSS feeds, browsing the Web and updating various social networking accounts. But you know what else I like? Not dragging more than one toy around town and being able to pay my rent.
iOS Was Made For PhonesMy biggest complaint, and one that was made only more obvious with the introduction of Honeycomb, is that iOS is obviously designed for use on a phone. Now, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why Apple would not drastically overhaul iOS for iPad (there is something to be said for a consistent user experience). But Apple's redesigned apps and minor interface tweaks don't change the fact that, to me, the iPad really feels like an oversized iPhone. Sure, there are some drop-down menus and the e-mail app now has separate panes, but why are we still stuck with the same obtrusive notification system? Where are the tabs in Safari? Why am I still staring at a giant grid of launch shortcuts to isolated applications instead of having an interactive experience with an OS that supports true multi-tasking? One app at a time and quick launch buttons makes sense on the cramped screen of an iPhone, but on the 10-inch expanse of an iPad, it just feels limiting.
A Casual Device for a Not-So-Casual Price?
It's an Apple Device, After All
Look, I'm a power user. I want my devices to do what I want, when I want -- and don't mind a bit of fiddling to get my way. But the iPad doesn't offer these things. It does what it does: take it or leave it. It may have the most robust ecosystem of any tablet offering, but that will change as developers get to work on Honeycomb. And, just as it did in the smartphone world, manufacturers of Android devices will flood the market and drive down costs. Maybe Apple will wow me with the iPad 3 by offering a lower cost and an experience engineered for tablets. But, for now, the only way Apple (or any other tablet manufacturer for that matter) is getting money out of me is if it pries it from my cold, dead hands.