20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

Summary:In this concluding Part 2, these last ten reasons entail as to why students should not buy an iPad, which I consider to be nothing more than an 'expensive paperweight'.

Last week, I 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.

With the first ten over here, this is the second installment; completing the twenty reasons why you shouldn't get an iPad.

11. It was released with a serious networking fault.

One university really embraced the iPad; buying every new undergraduate student one for the next academic year starting this autumn. But, three other major universities outright banned the tablet - mostly because of a flaw which caused the entire network to slow down to a snail's pace.

If you're going to release a product, there are two simple rules. Firstly, don't release it with a major bug. Secondly, try and avoid distributing it with malware (not that the iPad did, though).

Oh, and that university which embraced the iPad? Yeah, it's now charging an extra $500 a year as "bandwidth fees" to keep the network ticking over.

12. Multitasking is necessary for university work.

Multitasking is absolutely essential for students. You'll need one browser open (for research, but mostly for Facebook) and the other to be taking your notes on or adding that extra bit to your essay.

Well the iPad can't multitask. It will in the future - along with the ever-popular iPhone, but the future isn't now.

13. The name. It was like when the Wii first came out.

C'mon. The name? You could have called it the iSlate, the iTablet - maybe at a push the iScreen or the iTouch - though the last one does sound a bit sinister, and probably shouldn't be read out loud around children. But no, they called it the iPad.

They may as well have called it the iTampon or something. Although, thankfully with time, it'll overtake the actual meaning of it and be as perfectly normal as saying the 'Wii' - which, of course was mocked when it was first announced. On the other hand, we Briton's didn't really get the joke seeing as we don't call a 'pad' a 'pad', as such.

14. There's no stylus.

If there was just a little slot where you could put a stylus - regardless of the multi-touch support - that would have been nice. Sometimes you want precision, and with me and my genetically fat fingers, I'll never get it. Seeing as nearly 60% of Americans are considered "obese",  you're probably more likely to eat the damn thing than anything else.

15. It isn't really designed to actually do 'work' on.

One nation-leader can use it when he's stuck at an airport because a volcano screwed up the airspace, but the leader of the free world disagrees. Because Obama is... well, Obama, pretty much what he says goes. And he's the man who's embraced email and the BlackBerry culture like a Generation Y kid on steroids.

I would too agree that the iPad can be nothing more than a distraction. Isn't that what smartphones are nowadays? What would you rather do in a lecture - listen to the lecturer, or play the highly addictive iCopter game on your phone?

16. It's 'cheap' but the data costs won't be.

Whether you use the in-built wireless capabilities or the 3G network, it may end up costing you dearly. Wireless access is usually free (though no doubt many of you will have to pay for your access at your favourite coffee shop), the 3G charges will cost a lot more.

On this side of the pond (Great Britain, though the prices aren't really), it's around £25-£40 a month depending on how much data you use. In my books, that's not too bad. But if you look at the wider contract costs for data say, with a Microsoft KIN device, you'll begin to realise how expensive 3G access can be.

17. E-books won't replace paper textbooks (it's a price thing).

Even though e-books on the iPad may not be as expensive as people thought, the textbooks that students need to get for their course modules not only probably won't be on the iBooks store, but even if they are they won't be as cheap as the rest of them.

I can pick out two textbooks required for my modules this year at random. One is a criminology dictionary and the other is an introduction to social policy. Not only are these two books (incredibly popular as they are) not on iBooks but they cost £95 together. E-books may be convenient for the reader, but it loses the author money.

18. There's no high-definition output.

Picture the scene. You download a high-definition 720p film or television episode off iTunes and you want to watch it on your nice 32" LCD television. You can, but seeing as there is no HDMI connection, your video won't be in high-definition after all.

With that shiny, glossy screen and the fact you have to balance the device on your bent-over knees (which gives you pins and needles, by the way), you'll want to plug it into an external monitor. Don't get me wrong; you can, but the quality will be not as good as what you paid for.

19. Battery life doesn't even come close to the average netbook.

My parents have a netbook running Windows XP which battery lasts for 14 hours. It not only lasts them through the departures and arrivals area, but also the 7-8 hour flight from London Heathrow to Phoenix. It's incredible, take my word for it.

With wireless and 3G activity, GPS activated and maybe through watching a film or two, some people have to charge it up twice a day just to keep it going. Not ideal for a campus-travelling university student, I assure you.

20. No choice of mobile network (unless you jailbreak it).

Of course you could only go with a Wi-Fi only iPad, but for those true productive people who want to connect as and when they wish, the 3G model is for them. But seeing as the only network that offers the iPad in the US is AT&T, some customers are a little less than happy.

Even though I wouldn't know - being a lousy Briton and all that - my fellow citizens will understand that AT&T is to Verizon, like O2 is to Tesco Mobile. It's bad. Oh, and they don't even seem to have the full infrastructure in place. That's like buying all the windows and doors to your house when you don't even have the walls up yet.

Conclusion

Sure, you could go and buy an iPad and be the "cool kid" on the block. On the other hand, as I was with my best friend Elliot earlier on today having lunch in the college dining hall, we experienced first hand what the iPad does to people.

The man, we only know as the "Mac Guy" (because he has every Apple product there is to man, and whenever you see him, he's on his own working on some geeky programming), he was showing off the iPad to everyone in the vicinity around him - and they just didn't care.

The "Mac Guy" has no friends, and he's rude and arrogant to people. He's actually American - which makes it all the more hilarious for us Brits - but people around these neck of the woods acknowledge that buying an iPad will turn you into the "Mac Guy", and that's not a cool thing to be.

Charlie Brooker sees the satirical side of the iPad, showing what it is really useful for.

What would you add or take away from this list?

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Mobility, Networking

About

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

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