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Why I’ll Pass on the Apple Tablet



ipadYou may have read how I believe the upcoming Apple Tablet or CrunchPad would be an excellent tool for K-12 students. While I do believe these tablet devices could have a significant positive impact on the realm of education, I don’t plan on purchasing one for my personal use. Here’s why:

What can it do that I don’t already have?

Even the homebrew, once-a-week blogs are abuzz with rumors and news about the fabled Apple Tablet.  It sounds real cool; many columnists are commenting that the Apple Tablet will have amazing features which make it the centerpiece of your Internet and multimedia experience, but what does it do that’s new? What will it do that a netbook and my iPod cannot?  As it stands now, I cannot see the benefit in yet another device that does much of the same thing as what I already own.

What about the software?

I predict that the software experience of the upcoming tablet will be similar to what we see with most new products: limited.  Although it will likely be based on OS X, the Apple Tablet operating system is rumored to be more like a large iPod than a full-fledged computer.  Over time this will become less of an issue as numerous useful apps will be created and released.  Whether the Apple Tablet becomes a household item depends upon the user experience delivered the the OS.

It has been rumored that Steve Jobs pulled the plug several times on the tablet project because it just wasn’t right.  If the Apple perfectionist has been as involved as the rumors state, it is possible that the iPad will offer an OS of greater polish than other devices that are new to the market.  The success of the iPhone wasn’t in its call quality or data reliability; the success of the iPhone was in its user experience provided by the operating system which improved over time.

What about the higher than netbook price?

I love Apple products.  My MacBook Pro is the centerpiece of my own Internet and multimedia experience, but the biggest reason why I’ll pass on the Apple Tablet other than the fact that it brings nothing new to my computing experience is its rumored $500+ price tag.  Why shell out $500 bucks for a tablet when a $299 or less netbook will do the exact same for much cheaper?  Over time the price of this yet to be released device will hopefully drop, the software will improve, the bugs will be worked out, and then I’ll consider buying one for personal use.

So are you jumping on the iPad bandwagon?



  1. bluespapa

    09/05/2009 at 8:51 am

    Microsoft trained me to think of Tablet PCs as necessarily having handwriting recognition.

    These days “tablet” computers that have touch, but having no handwriting recognition seem pointless to me, even if they are light otherwise full functioned. I frankly miss Graffiti text that I had on my Palm devices for ten years, which at least simulated writing on a pad.

    I’m with you. I don’t see the point.

  2. Matthew Dillon

    09/05/2009 at 8:58 am

    @bluespapa: I agree. It would be wonderful if one of these companies would capitalize on a tablet that focuses on handwriting as the primary input method. My experience with Windows 7 shows great improvement with inking capabilities, but I believe much more could be done. A linux-based OS that focuses on inking input would be killer esp. if it had a full range of inkable apps. Maybe someone will develop “the inkable journal” in the future. Thanks for reading.

  3. GoodThings2Life

    09/05/2009 at 9:03 am

    I agree overall…

    I don’t necessarily feel that a tablet MUST have handwriting support, but certainly it must have a good touch and user experience if it doesn’t do pen/handwriting. As much as I bash Apple as a business and the iPhone/iPod as a product, they DO provide a great end-user experience.

    But while I don’t doubt the experience will be pleasant, I do doubt that it will be significantly different and more importantly better than what I have now.

  4. iPad Why

    09/05/2009 at 9:15 am

    Reasons I might buy an Apple iPad.

    #1 It is flat and people can’t see the screen when I surf the web at work because it will be flat on my desk. There is at least a few million people in this category.

    #2 If it is like a large iPhone, thin, 10 inch screen. I will bring it places that I would not bring a netbook because it is less to haul around and won’t look geek. For example I would not bring my netbook most places. But a small thin tablet in a cool looking case, I would.

    #3 It is a toy like most electronics. If it has the pinch and pull web surfing it would be more fun to use than previous tablets and the netbooks.

    #4 I am sick of web surfing on my phone’s tiny web screen. I want something bigger, in HD color.

    Lastly, does it need to be an Apple, nope.

    Apple’s iPad has projections of 500-800 dollars per unit. Techcunch’s had a projected price of 300 dolars per unit, which is cheap and inline with existing netbooks.

    There are also Chinese manufactures making their own versions that will be cheap. This may end up being the competition too as the release of the crunchpad went into silent mode. I’m thinking they are reconsidering the release of a crunchpad. They can’t compete with the Chinese on the price nor apple on the quality and features level.
    Will see…

    Go Green, with Green Search Engine

  5. Medic

    09/05/2009 at 9:39 am

    I am happy to see that more emphasis is being put forward on the implementation of improved handwriting recognition on tablets. It is this tool that will make the tablet useful. Windows 7 has come far in handwriting recognition compared to its competitors. Still more improvement can be done on the recognition and ink-to-text recognition (also in other languages!).
    Otherwise the tablet pc or apple tablet for that matter wil become just another trendy wannahave one-day-fly gadget.

  6. Phil

    09/05/2009 at 10:44 am

    I am unsure exactly what the Apple product will be. However I am waiting before I purchase a Kindle because if this machine is light enough and has graphics that will make it comfortable enough to read extensive text it will bridge all of the uses I need. Email,Webb, Books. If it does these things and is an apple there are miiiions more like me and this thing will be off the charts. How about Ibooks?

  7. God of Biscuits

    09/05/2009 at 11:39 am

    I was waiting for a punchline that never came.

    You’ve already decided not to buy a thing that doesn’t yet exist?

    What’s up next? Not ordering dessert after having a nice meal tonight at the restaurant that closed down last week?

    Cuz everyone knows Apple only releases projects that do nothing more than cheap pieces of crap that already exist out there (like netbooks), so you clearly must be spot on with your prognosticating on this one.

    Good show.

  8. zman

    09/05/2009 at 4:31 pm

    You’ll want it when you see it.

  9. Lorie Ghamy

    09/05/2009 at 6:41 pm

    Ok for an Apple Tablet OSX but Windows 7 friendly (Bootcamp compatible)…

    and a PixelQi screen (eBook feeling)…

    and a boosted version of InkWell…

    And light as Archos Tablet : 850 grammes !

    So Touch and Inking around 700 $ !

    Go, Apple, go !

  10. GMA

    09/06/2009 at 6:41 am

    If it has handwriting/e-ink…I’m so there.

    If not…I still see some amazing applications for it simply based on the slate form factor, and a touch UI. I have yet to be disappointed with an Apple piece of hardware, and the overall experience. I can’t imagine I could give up my Macbook 13 though.

  11. Regular Reader

    09/06/2009 at 11:58 am

    I would buy one in a heartbeat if and only if:
    1) it an app that provided the functionality of MS OneNote
    2) it is ready to use in the timeframe that my MacBook Air is ready to use when you open the lid instead of the time frame my DellXT with Vista is ready to use when you open the lid

  12. CK

    09/06/2009 at 12:09 pm

    You’re so funny, making a decision about something even before it’s introduced. I’d be interested to hear from you when you get older, when most people become “set in their ways” and not open to new ideas.

    Smells like you writing this because you just want people to visit your website. If so, that’s sad.

  13. everbrave

    09/06/2009 at 1:17 pm

    People buy things, among which are computers, because of a variety of reasons, few of them are irrational, and that is good so! Design, social status, pleasure, etc. are as important for selling a product as its functionality.
    Now, specifically to a computer, it is not which tasks it can accomplish but how it does this. You probably boaught your MacBook Pro for the same reason. Apple is quite skilled in exploiting this issue. The iPhone less “features” than many other phones, but it is obviously a success. This is exactly the reason, or at least on of the reasons, I would buy an Apple tablet; but I will wait and see before I decide.

  14. Fernando

    09/06/2009 at 1:38 pm

    One reason I may consider getting the iPad or whatever the name comes out to be is its form factor. The slate (very thin) form factor reminds me of the old NEC tablet PC which was great in its time.

    If it has that great form factor, good battery life and of course you can ink (with no streaking) and has good touch capabilities, I think it will be a unique product.

    We’ll have to wait and see what the guys in Cupertino come up with….

  15. David McElroy

    09/06/2009 at 3:11 pm

    How in the world can you express an opinion about whether you would or would not buy a product that 1) Isn’t yet KNOWN to exist in ANY form, 2) Isn’t announced, and 3) You don’t have a clue what it WILL do even if it does exist? It’s insane to have ANY opinion about it until you KNOW SOMETHING. Currently, not a one of us knows ANYTHING.

  16. Grace

    09/06/2009 at 10:54 pm

    This commentator may be happy with a laptop and iPhone but there vast numbers of people out there who are not.

    I’ve heard many complaints about difficulty reading and navigating the tiny iPhone screen to the point that many have returned them. Laptops are heavy to lug around, and the keyboard fixed to screen set-up is a real problem for people who aren’t young, nimble and with very good eyesight.

    My guess is that most of Jobs’ contemporaries, the ‘boomers,’ are waiting, as I am, for a portable device that WE can really use.

    If Apple makes something like an Origami that works well, I’ll be FINALLY joining the eager first-day crowd to buy a new Apple product.

  17. CK

    09/07/2009 at 3:13 am

    Holy sh*t, the author of this is a guidance counselor! Well, scratch those kids off as dreamers.

  18. brown

    09/07/2009 at 6:41 am

    Just because someone has an opinion about a computer doesn’t mean he isn’t good at his job. By the way- what’s the point in getting so upset about something small like a dumb computer.

  19. bluespapa

    09/07/2009 at 6:48 am

    Matthiew, apparently by knowing your needs and shrugging off something that doesn’t meet them, you’ve raised the ire of the tech consuming community.

    You’ve also apparently dissed boomers and children by saying that you won’t be lined up for something you don’t need.

    Let’s see, how else can we distort what you’ve written? Surely this proves you hate kittens if you wouldn’t buy this to look at lolcats. What an unfeeling cad you are to hate kittens.

  20. SAM

    09/07/2009 at 12:33 pm

    What is this “Apple Tablet” thing?

    Is it something constructed of old discarded apple cores?
    Is it edible in an emergency?
    Will it be OK to use in the Garden of Eden?

  21. arshad

    09/08/2009 at 6:58 am

    There is no apple tablet or iPad as yet. Assuming that Apple will release a new device with a slate or tablet form factor and not do something revolutionary or game-changing with it misses the modus operandi of the company.

  22. Kurt Holdorf

    09/08/2009 at 7:49 am

    I found your “me only” viewpoint interesting and the fact that you saw no need need to get ONE iPad because TWO things already did what it could do. People aren’t born with an iPod and a Netbook. They must get them at some point. Apple is what it is because it works on problems of the future, not situations that exist now. Sometimes that has hurt them, no doubt, but stop and think how much a PC user owes to the vision of Apple products. PC’s emulate Apple, not the other way around.

    The beauty of the iPad (or whatever is will be called) is it will most likely set the standard for computing devices two or three years from now. Will it be perfect right out of the chute? No. Will it be better for solving computer hardware needs of this moment in time? No. But I bet Apple’s product will be emulated in the future more than any other.

  23. SAM

    09/08/2009 at 8:53 am

    Kurt said: “PC’s emulate Apple…”

    Can you cite your source?

  24. River Valley

    09/09/2009 at 2:12 am

    @Lorie Ghamy
    hooray someone else who knows about PixelQi screens. Anything less is useles.

    Byte magazine themselves said in 2004 “.. for the last 20 years, Microsoft have been playing catchup with Apple..”. Nothings changed since.

    The reason people are in denial about this is they don’t want to admit they paid many times as much $$ in constant upgrades when they could have bought the right stuff. Or they dont want to face that a Mac User is enjoying an business/culture adavantage that is not available to a PC diehard until 5 years time. Keep your loyalty. I’ll take success.

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