20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

Summary:In Part 1, these are the first ten reasons why students should not buy an iPad, which I consider to be nothing more than an 'expensive paperweight'.

I've made my mind up at long last, just as the announcement was made of the iPad pricing to those outside of the US. I will not be getting an iPad, nor do I suggest any essay writing, university studying student to get one either.

Just because I live in the United Kingdom, the same iPad model is nearly £40 ($58) more expensive because of tax. Though, this forms only a tiny reason why I will not be getting one. Sam Gustin wraps up a mutual feeling in one single, simple sentence:

"Beware: Apple also built the world's most infamous paperweight. One word: Newton".

Just because I can, here is the first installment of my twenty more reasons not to get an iPad.

1. You can't type on a flat surface.

The design and ergonomics of the device have either been thought about too little, or thought about so much that they've managed to somehow flip back round again to a stupid way of thinking. You see all these pictures and adverts of users propping up their iPad at an angle an their knees, but what about those who can't just pop their knees up on the same surface?

Of course, you could shell out for an iPad dock and an iPad Bluetooth keyboard, but then that would only transform it into a low grade, slightly upper-class netbook like device. You'd have to carry more stuff around with you and it defeats the object of having an ultra slim and portable device, frankly.

2. It breaks really easily.

I know this video seems a bit Clockwork Orange at first, but stick with it until about 1 minute in or so. With only a few drops from waist height onto a carpeted floor, it scratches and the screen screws up. Even though the glass screen seems to be scratch-proof even to a six-inch nail, the under parts seem fragile at best.

I wouldn't really suggest buying something so likely to break after a couple of drops and a simulated beer, let alone last that long with spendthrift students who dispose of technology like the Mafia do with their enemies.

3. Universities are not full prepared yet.

Students will want to use the device in, on and around campus. But in some universities, their networks are not prepared for the bandwidth costs or usage, and some have outright banned the device until further notice until issues are fixed.

4. Content over 3G is disappointingly poor quality.

Some news reporters have shown clearly the poor quality of video transmitted over the 3G network. Though video calling has never been as popular as the industries had hoped, users of instant messengers who want to add that personal touch to their conversations will be disappointed by the poor video quality.

That would be the case, had Apple included a damn camera with the device. But sure, Wi-Fi has higher bandwidth than 3G at the best of times, but video playback on a screen size of this device just looks horrendous.

5. The glossy screen is awful to look at.

Those who have an Apple MacBook will know how painfully awful the glossy screen can be in a high-light environment, to the point where you could almost pluck your eyebrows or do your make-up in the mirror-esque screen display... or, whatever people do with mirrors, I guess.

The same can be said about the iPad. Forget working outside on a warm, summer's day, because you'll be blinded by the reflection of the sun; burned into your retinas for life.

6. Reading e-books is tiring on the eyes.

There have been quite a few posts about the iPad's capabilities to read e-books in comparison to e-ink technology on rival devices such as the Kindle. It is of two major opinions - both colleagues of mine, Matthew Miller and Jason Perlow - that the iPad is probably not the best device to have for reading.

Perlow's post sums it up nicely, while Miller is supportive still of the iPad's efforts. Both are worth a read, and you can decide for yourself.

7. Flash will never be supported.

In a major tit-for-tat battle, the iPad and other Apple mobile devices will not include or support Flash. The popular web plug-in wasn't included when the device was first released, suggesting it could just be late to the game. But as time prevailed, it turned out that it was an absolute, definitive 'no'.

8. Apple royally screws over developers.

Mobile developers are a key player in keeping the mobile industry ticking over, with no age restrictions on developers allowing even the younger entrepreneurs to make their millions.

But with the Apple lock-in license agreement, it now means you cannot use any product other than Apple's own tools to develop applications for the iPad. Even the federal authorities are investigating this as an antitrust enquiry, which roundly proves that Apple has a too-strict approach when it comes to iPad application development.

9. Digital rights restrictions stifles innovation and application freedom.

Again with the applications, but it has made Apple's monopoly on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad immeasurable to other device manufacturers. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation has criticised Apple's move towards using digital rights restrictions on the operating system to make only Apple-approved applications installable on the devices.

It is also stated that Apple itself, and via "any other authority" can remotely disable and delete applications, media and data on the iPad as and when they choose.

10. Share and print? Probably not going to happen.

PC World said last month just after the announcement that the iPad not only doesn't have a file browser but no printing support. Those putting finishing touches onto an essay or researching something quickly will have to email it to themselves only to print from another computer. You can share and export files through iTunes, but this would mean iTunes would be required on the other machine to download it again.

- - -

Part 2 will be published on Monday. You can find Part 2 over here.

Do you agree or disagree with anything on this first list?

Topics: iPad, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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