The iPad will offer me just about everything that I have ever wanted in a digital convergence device: Rich Web Browsing, an unparalleled eBook reading experience, portable video playback and streaming, music and apps galore.
Jason Perlow is getting an iPad. Yes. He is. Really.
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Some of you may ask, "Why did you join the Apple bandwagon so late?" The answer is it took them this long to offer me something I actually wanted and at a price I was willing to pay for.
Actually, Apple has sold me products before that I wanted and was willing to pay for. I bought an Apple Airport Express because I felt it was the best solution to the problem I was having, which was the need for a very small wireless access point. I looked at the competing solutions and I liked what I saw.Adrian Kingsley-Hughes points out a number of limitations in the iPad 1.0 that will prevent him from buying one. I think they are legit beefs with the device, but they are limitations that I am more than happy to work within.
Rather than focus on the device's limitations I would like to focus on what the device will do for me that makes it an easy sell.
Rich "Me Time" Web Browsing and Couch Computing
The iPad won't work with Flash, but that's not a deal breaker for me. Sure, there are a few sites which use heavy-flash oriented interfaces that will be a no-go when when the device initially launches such as Hulu, but I suspect that the App Store will have specialized applications for these sites ready to go in short order once iPad sales start taking off. We've already seen, for example, the CBS TV.com episode player was ported to Android and iPhone, so a Hulu app isn't out of the question.
Indeed, a Netbook would serve the same purposes as an iPad, but I don't see myself as a Netbook user. I already own a full-sized laptop and I'm not going to sit on the couch at home or lie down in bed in the hotel room with it for casual web browsing, and a Netbook would basically be the same thing.
A Tablet form factor is the ideal shape and UX for quality "Me Time" web browsing on my couch or massage chair so I don't have to be sitting at my desk all the time. It will get me out of my home office dungeon more, and I like that.
Unparalleled eBook Reading ExperienceThe iPad will have all of the advantages of the Kindle and the Nook with very few disadvantages. I'll have access to the iBooks store which will have tens of thousands of eBooks, magazines and newspapers available at launch and hundreds of thousands available within a year. And whatever content I cannot get on iBooks, I'll be able to get from the iPhone Kindle application or Lexcycle's Stanza, which Amazon now owns.
This is assuming, of course, that neither Amazon nor Apple takes a defensive measure or "Duplication of functionality" stance and pull either of these from the App Store, which I hope it does not. Apple and Amazon, please be nice.
I'll also be able to upload tons of public domain EPUBs/PDFs as well as similar content I create to my iPad with tools such as Calibre, and read large amounts of content on Google Books with the iPad Safari browser. And despite the current state of affairs between Apple and Adobe, given the market opportunity I wouldn't put it past the company to create a native Adobe Digital Editions reader for iPad either, so I can buy books from Barnes & Noble and other EPUB-compatible stores that use that DRM format.
The only limitation I see is that the LCD color screen is going to eat up more power than the Kindle's, and I'll have to charge the device more frequently. I also won't be able to use the device in direct bright sunlight as you can do with the Kindle and other Vizplex-based e-ink readers, but frankly, I do most of my reading in the evening and indoors.
Portable Video Playback and StreamingI don't currently watch a lot of movies on my laptop today because the form factor is awkward. I watch a few streaming videos on my Android phone, but they are more of the movie trailer and short clip sort of things where you aren't looking at the screen for an extended period of time.
I currently own a Slingbox Pro HD at home and quite frankly, I don't make as much use out of it that I initially wanted to, and that is because I have found that most hotel broadband capacity is pretty saturated and you find yourself streaming movies in a pretty tiny window and lying in an uncomfortable position to view it.
So really, you need to be able to bring your movies and TV content with you when you travel, and you need a more compelling form factor to make the experience enjoyable so you can view the movies/TV in a relaxed position. I see iTunes and other iPad applications as solving this problem for me.
Potentially, Apple could solve the broadband problem by working with Tier 1 ISPs and bringing fiber into major hotels for the exclusive use of iPad customers and charging a daily or weekly access fee for video streaming, instead of me paying $13-$15 a pop for pay-per-view.
However if I have to front-load the iPad with a few videos from its built-in iTunes over Wireless-N at home with my Optimum Online Ultra broadband before I leave on a business trip, that's no biggie.
At home, I only use the Slingbox to stream video from my living room HD DVR to my office PC. With the Slingbox iPhone/iPad app store application I will now be able to watch DVR and live TV content from the living room in bed with noise canceling headphones on.
My wife can then watch all the other stuff she wants on the bedroom DVR which she usually tends to monopolize. That ends marital spats over who gets to watch what and fighting over the remote. No more arguments over Glee or Family Guy. I'd call that a $500 no-brainer and money well spent.
What I would really like to see is Roku or Netflix provide an iPhone/iPad application. The Netflix/Roku Box is one of my favorite services in existence, and it's a constant flow of movie and TV content for my living room. A Netflix or Roku iPad viewer would be an ultra slam dunk, and I think it's a virtual certainty that there will probably be one, unless again, Apple locks this out from the App Store as functionality duplication.
Lots of Music Streaming and Large Screen AppsOne of the reasons why I wasn't a huge iPhone/iPod/Touch adopter is that I'm not a big music collector guy. For music I like stuff spoon feed to me so something like a Sirius/XM streamer makes more sense than buying a music collection.
While I definitely see the value of a Smartphone connected to 3G and running mobile apps, I did not see the iPhone as being a particularly attractive platform for me because the iPhone on AT&T does not do anything for me personally that I cannot do with Android smartphones of every shape and form factor, and with my choice of competing wireless carriers.
The iPad, however, is a large screen device, which changes my calculus. I'll only be using it over high-speed wireless networking, so its 150,000+ apps have much more value to me in that form factor. Larger screen equates to more quality time with the device. I'm much more likely to buy games and apps if the experience is richer, which on the iPad platform it will certainly be once many of these apps are tweaked to take full advantage of its faster processor and superior graphics capability.
Also, the iPad appears to be a completely self-hosting device that can be entirely independent of my PC -- I don't need to have iTunes installed on my PC to load content into it.
These are only some of the reasons why I think the iPad will be a winner and why I'll definitely be buying one. Sure, the device isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn near close to perfect for what I need it for.
What reasons will you be buying an iPad for? Talk Back and Let Me Know.