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

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'.

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TOPICS: iPad, Mobility
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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

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128 comments
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  • Best piece on iPad I've seen so far

    I agree with every single point the author makes here. Assuming the user has more than bare hands available -- and most university students worldwide seem to have discovered the backpack -- it will be just as feasible to carry a netbook and have full control over communications, writing, and publishing. And even Flash!
    Well done, Mr. Whittaker. (Disclosure: I was a university student 50 years ago, and even then I had a briefcase at my disposal, though no electronics.)
    jonrkc
    • Hello Good Sir

      Zack must be on the debating team. Every point he makes can be argued quite easily. We all have come to know that he loathes Apple...at least as a blogger...Apple articles get lots of hits if you strike the right chord$. I find his articles tedious and lacking imagination...shame for such a young person.
      CowLauncher
      • RE: RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        @CowLauncher Your being a very tough critic of our poor lad. Give him time to grow. I can't wait for Monday's final ten points. I just hope one of them isn't that the iPad is a poor underwater reader or can't be used in the shower.
        kenosha77a
      • "tedious and lacking imagination"?

        @CowLauncher
        Well, I guess if someone is pointing out the endless shortcomings of a product you happen to like the situation will feel tedious. And lacking imagination????

        Well, seeing as how this appears to me to be nothing less then an article holding itself out to be a factually based critique, I'm not quite sure what increased levels of imaginative writing would do a service to anyone reading this.

        The fact is, as I have been saying from almost the first day of release of the iPad is that it appears to be a very expensive interesting toy with quite limited ability to do things people are used to doing with computer type devices, and so for those purposes it really is an overpriced paper weight.

        Sure, some people out there have found some quite handy uses for the iPad, keeping in mind that if in a world of almost seven billion people, if a couple of million at least cannot find something good to use your product for then you really have created a dud.

        Keep watching because I swear iPad sales will drop off significantly in the near future, and unless a few key things change with the iPad it will go down as a footnote in computing history as the invention that roared like a shot out of a cannon for a brief period then thudded to the ground without much fanfare or impact.
        Cayble
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

      @jonrkc I agree whole heartedly. This is very well written and to the point.
      blueskip
      • Well written?!?

        WTF are you talking about?!? There are FUNDAMENTAL grammar errors in almost EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE!!!!
        SpiritusInMachina
  • RE: RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

    That's ok, Zack. By the time you depart university life, Flash will be irrelevant. And the iPad will be into a future generation model. At that time, I'm sure you will rethink your position.<br>By the way, from experience, eye strain is not an issue - reports to the contrary. However,outdoor viewing is almost unacceptable.<br>The iPad was never designed to be a primary computing device although it comes close. <br>But to characterize it as an expensive paper weight is a phrase I would expect from a middle school sophomore just coming to grips with the concept of outrageous hyperbole.<br>As for print support-there are apps for that. Personally, I have the HP printer app installed - an iPhone app but it works.<br>But the other side of the printer coin can best be summed up by the phrase "Welcome to the green world of Apple. With an iPad, you don't need processed tree pulp to share an idea. There are other ways"<br>Oh, as for viewing iPad material under poor indoor lighting conditions, I have to ask, does the UK suffer from poor indoor lighting? Over here in the States, we use something called light bulbs when reading indoors. You should try it someday.
    Finally, I typed this comment from my iPad while watching the TV news in my home. It was a little slow since I didn't use my Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard but it got the job done. No big deal.
    kenosha77a
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

      @kenosha7777 I finish my undergraduate university degree this time next year. Are you saying that HTML5, Silverlight and equivalents will take over Flash altogether? In the space of a year?
      zwhittaker
      • RE: RE: RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        @zwhittaker Well, Zack, suggesting that Flash would be completely irrelevant throughout academia, especially within a year's time frame might amount to a historic example of arrogant hubris on my part. (I was thinking more of a two to three year timeline)<br>However, a quick review of Apple's website detailing iPad ready web URLs indicates that a considerable shift away from Flash based content has already occurred. In fact, I even view BBC based news accounts (thru the BBC iPad app) with HMTL5 support on a daily basis. (Hey, I'm retired and I have the time. Besides, ever since Tom Baker, I've been a fan of British based information and entertainment.)<br>Honestly, however, I have been amazed at the pace of major web URL sites adopting HMTL5 support. And, in a year, Apple is projected to have sold around 10 million iPads, give or take a few million. That does not include their iPhone mobile device sales. That amounts to a lot of influential customers using these devices and thus increasing the economic pressure for HMTL5 adoption over Flash.<br><br>That, and the additional blog reports that both Apple and Microsoft agree on the adoption of HMLT5 content over Flash based content just means that the tide has already turned against the continued adoption of Flash. (BTW, another recent opinion on this matter was voiced by the creators of the web browser, Opera, in which the opinions of Apple and Microsoft regarding Flash based content were, more or less, endorsed.)<br><br>Now, I didn't mention Silverlight or Apple's new web based app development tool called Gianduia. (See AppleInsider's recent blog post regarding Gianduia.) But, you have to agree, Zack, that the time frame rate for Flash irrelevancy is increasing on a daily basis. It just might happen in a year's time but I would be more conservative in that estimate.<br>Regards,<br>Mike <br>PS .. Good luck on your studies.
        kenosha77a
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        @zwhittaker He's probably dumb enough to believe just that.
        blueskip
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        @zwhittaker
        both Apple and M$ have recently explained why it just isn't the way of the future. I doubt that it will disappear that fast, but it will likely go pretty quick.
        RedVeg
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        Yes. That is exactly what we are saying.... I am a site developer that is even now removing flash content from clients sites. I don't understand this inability to move on... Flash is like IE6 it was great for what it did at it hay day but it is now antiquated tech. Shame on Adobe for not keeping pace.
        james@...
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

      @kenosha7777 [b]The iPad was never designed to be a primary computing device although it comes close. [/b]

      Oh... Really??? But then again that's NOT how Jobs and Apple have been spinning it. Why, they've got that abortion of an "office suite" iWorks for the iPad written just for it.

      Why is it then that executive types figured they could sync the presentations they spent weeks writing and perfecting only to find that iWorks on the iPad butchered important bits of their documents to the point of making them unusable? They only found out that there were key portions removed after they'd left the office and were basically screwed.

      And if things couldn't get worse, the iPad committed the cardinal sin of syncing the truncated document back over the SOURCE files, eradicating the original copy, and the removed portions - thus forcing the poor schmuck to be hoping the gods of Backup were smiling on them..

      Sounds to me that Apple was indeed trying to pitch the iPad to be AS GOOD as a laptop. Remember, this is supposed to be a "Magical" and "Revolutionary" device. And it may actually fit that bill - provided you're not using any "fancy" features like footnotes, speaker notes, etc...
      Wolfie2K3
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        @Wolfie2K3 That's a sad tale. Just curious but was your example based upon a personal experience? (Not that the answer would condone what your example portrayed .. I'm just curious.)

        But I stand by my statement that Jobs and Apple did position the iPad in a niche between a laptop and a mobile smartphone. Personally, I would have used my laptop for an important business meeting instead of trusting a new tech device (no matter how good or promising that tech device is.)
        kenosha77a
    • Well said Kenosha--

      @kenosha7777
      Seems like the author of the article set out to bash the IPad by repeating every negative comment he could find from other IPad bashing bloggers. Doesn't show any real objective reasoning based on actual IPad use.
      ktodack
    • This article is a worthless anti- apple post

      This device is not a computer but rather a content consuming device... To even think of the device as a replacement for a laptop or desktop is gross stupidity. It is however the most compelling device I have found for personal content consumption, game play and presentations. It is a game changer for students/arts that need to carry a portfolio. As a sales/marketing tool it is is a dream to be able to show a digital brochure at actual size without the computer getting in the way of the discussion.

      If it is not for you then by all means don't buy one... If you have buyers remorse well that's a shame since you have the opportunity to stand in a store and test it before you buy it.

      The article/post does not remotely reflect the "possibilities" or the promise of a device like the Ipad or the hlaf dozen other me too devices being rolled out. This is a "must see" and "hold in your hands" device experience. If you can't come up with five things in your life that this could improve or complement, then your truly not opening your mind.

      By the way drop that laptop on the floor a few times while it is running and tell me how well that works out for you. Idiot.
      james@...
  • The issues you cited can be addressed

    I think a tablet that has a protective casing, which can also be used to prop up the device, would be great. (A flap attached to the underside of the device, could also work to prop up the device to limited inclined angles, for the sake of better typing.) Also tablets with <a href=http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/03/video-pixel-qis-e-ink-lcd-hybrid-screen-demoed-at-computex/>transreflective displays</a> would be great to address the readability of tablets like the iPad, and to increase battery life.

    I think eventually we will see full fledged touch based PC tablets and desktops, with screens having increased vertical dimensions, to accommodate virtual keyboards at their bottoms. Screens for desktops could become quite large, and be anchored by stands that allow them to swivel from horizontal to vertical positions. I believe it is very, very important for virtual keyboards to make physical keyboards irrelevant (through innovation), in order for us to fully enjoy the touch computing experience.
    P. Douglas
  • I don't understand the Apple haters

    I have never understood why people hate Apple so much. Originally it was because the Mac's GUI was a "toy" - until Windows came out. Then it was because Macs cost more than PCs - until you compared the specs. Now you are trashing an Apple product that you have never seen or touched.<br><br>It's not Apple's fault that it is going to cost more in Europe. They didn't initiate the Value Added Tax. <br><br>If I took a plastic net book and dropped it several times it would stop working. <br><br>I won't address each item you brought up. But it reminds me of a Herbert Spencer quote:<br><br>"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investingation."<br><br>By the way, I somehow managed to type this post on my iPad which was lying flat on my desk.
    Kevin McCormick
    • RE: Here's why we hate Apple...

      We hate Apple largely because Apple treats non-Apple users like ****. Non-Apple users are routinely looked down upon by holier-than-thou Apple fanboys; so, when Apple introduces an underpowered, overpriced toy like the iPad, we rejoice. <br><br>We revel in the fact that you have to justify the device, and and we love that, when you really can't justify the device as a serious entry into the market, you say "it was never meant to do this", or "it doesn't do that because", or "It doesn't support that protocol because that protocol is obsolete".<br><br>We love that you keep embarrassing yourselves by insisting that phone apps are powerful enough for business applications, and we really enjoy the fact that you're pretending like you're ok waiting three years for html5 to become the norm. It makes us smile to think that you don't have a real file system or print-capability.<br><br>In short, you're not fooling anyone with your excuses for the iPad...and we love it!
      tricktytom
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 1

        @tricktytom
        Wow, what a big Apple Chip on your shoulders. Have you ever owned anything by Apple? If not you really have no room to comment. Is the iPad perfect nope, not by a long shot, but for my purposes it works great. I do think no native printing is a pain but expect that will be addressed. It is good to have diverse technologies available and users are free to choose the poison of their choice. Me I use PCs and Macs. I will tell you for home use I will take Macs hands down any day as I can run Windows or Mac OS as needed. For my tablet choice I will stick with my iPad until some other better choice is available. The iPad does not fully replace my laptop nor did I expect it to replace it. I will enjoy my tools while people like you rant and rave about big bad Apple. To each their own,
        geoff.schardein@...