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

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.


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

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  • RE: Ridiculous

    A lot of your points are ridiculous enough on their own, but the two that stand out for me at first glance are the battery life point and the carrier point.<br><br>Shorter than the battery life of your average netbook? Ha, doubtful as hell. I've gone through my share of laptops and netbooks, and I have got to say: they all fall horribly short of the life that the iPad gives you. Under continuous productivity usage, my iPad has gone from when I wake up, all the eay to when I go to bed. There's even music and some video in there every now and again. True, the lack of multitasking only really allows music and any one other app to play at this point, but that's good enough for me until they implement 4.0 this fall.<br><br>I've already gone overboard with verbiage here, but fortunately, the carrier point is quick: The iPad comes unlocked out of the factory, with support for whatever micro SIM you wanna use. Sadly, not many other carriers in the country use GSM, so... there's your limitation: The carriers, not the iPad.<br><br>Cheers.<br><br>Typed up, with pride, from my iPad.
  • Zack - your jealousy is showing! Sorry MS could not make it happen! (NT)

    The Danger is Microsoft
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

      @The Danger is Microsoft That's just not true. There is a slew of netbooks out there to prove his.
      Bart B. Van Bockstaele
      • But they're not touch-centrically designed...

        ...so your point is useless.
        ubiquitous one
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

      I at times thought Zack may have even had some brains and was not just some spoiled kid with a computer. Regrettably his 20 reasons show him to be something less than brilliant. Most of the reasons are lame and half baked and will be solved with software updates. I do have one complaint with my iPad and that is the printing or lack thereof to be precise. That to will be resolved in a short time so I don't sweat it. Oh on the battery life I get about 10 hours, quite enough for a transatlantic flight.

      Typed from my iPad, by the way what do I need a stylus for precisely? Oh, no Flash, no sweat don't miss it at all...
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

        @geoff@... The point that stands out is Real Work. Like the iTouch, you cannot save documents to the device, write a document and attach it to an email. Create PDFs, or better yet, you cannot get any work done. Oh, and forget trying to look at the thing outside during the day time, the glare is so bad, you are forced to go back in the house or wait until it's dark out.

        Oh, and one last part, this is not new, PALM created this non-multitasking program over a decade ago on their PDAs.
      • @Maarek

        I'm not sure what you mean by 'cannot save documents...attach it to an email.'

        I just finished editing a 167 page document which is saved to my iPad. I then exported it to a PDF, and emailed it. I then created a spreadsheet using Numbers, which I emailed to myself, and opened it using Excel on my desktop.

        Funny, I thought I was getting Real Work done.
      • I bet if his reasons applied to a product you don't like, you'd agree

        @geoff@... Many people use the same lame excuses for not liking microsoft. The Vista "flop" was completely based off such "half baked" ideas, propagated through propaganda campaigns and ignorant users. The iPad is what it is, it does what it does. Many people find it pretty useless, I am one of those. It falls on my interests as a really expensive gaming device. (Most gaming platforms do more than gaming already anyways). If I had the money to throw around I'd probably buy it for cool factor (as well as the dozen other tablets that are cheaper, and I find more useful).
  • just not the right match /nt/

  • Windows XP will break your parent's netbook

    Windows XP is no good for portable devices with solid state memory (like netbooks) because it does too many read/writes to memory, shortening the device's life span.

    Netbooks are better with SSD memory Linux
  • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

    Maybe so, but an extra few minutes on top of an existing 14 hours life battery won't make the slightest bit of difference to my nearly-50 year old mother who just likes to play FreeCell.
    • RE: RE: Sometimes you just have to chuckle!

      @zwhittaker Reading your latest post I couldn't help but conjure up the image of Chief Brodie chumming for the Great White Shark. There's so much Apple bait in the water that I can't help but believe this blog will become the 2010 ZDNet ratings champion. <br><br>Oh, I'll think I'll pass from commenting on any of your final points. However, I think I have chanced upon one of your "inside journalistic sources", a Mr. Cory Doctorow. Or, if not, than at the very least, a person that shares almost all your salient points regarding the iPad.<br>For example, as Mr.Doctorow points out to a senior citizen, "...I explained to her how easy it is to compile and install Debian on a steampunk casemod of a tablet built by a Japanese company I know of thats run entirely by bloody nurse cosplayers. You have to reset some jumpers and the sound card isnt compatible yet, but you can run GIMP on it. Try that on an iPad."<br><br>You can view more of Mr. Doctorow's iPad opinions at this URL site: <a href="http://www.crazyapplerumors.com/?p=1213" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.crazyapplerumors.com/?p=1213" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.crazyapplerumors.com/?p=1213</a></a><br><br>On a serious note, have you noticed how many "pro Apple" comments have been reported as spam? I know some sage pundits will point out the obvious to that statement (I can even chum the waters occasionally, too) but it does prevent a person from replying to a comment reported as spam directly. Do you have editorial control over your blog comments? That is, if you read some comment that is obviously "not spam" but is reported to be spam, can you have that "changed" somehow? Just curious.<br>Mike
  • RE: Enjoyed the article until...

    @zwhittaker <br>I was really enjoying this article until I read<br><br>Seeing as nearly 60 of Americans are considered obese, youre probably more likely to eat the damn thing than anything else.<br><br>Seriously guy, did you need to toss in an irrelevant juvenile remark about nationality and weight? Poor form, sir, and after the recent IE article this makes me question how in touch with the IT industry you actually are. Pro tips - try not to alienate a large (no pun intended) portion of your audience while writing.

    Special characters, quotes and percentile removed from post - ZDNet must have something that forbids their use in replies, least ways it fails until you remove them stating .bad parameters.
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

      Just ran into the closing paragraph.

      The Mac Guy has no friends, and he??????s rude and arrogant to people. He??????s actually American...

      The ironic part is how fittingling rude and arrogant describe this article rather well, wouldn't you agree? You really should find an editor.
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

        A lesson on arrogance from a person named @ITSamurai
        Turd Furgeson
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2


      We already knew he was juvenile when he went on about the SNL iPad skit. It's a dead giveaway you're dealing with someone who's emotional maturity never developed past the 12-year old boy stage.
  • Why iPad does not interest me either

    1. You can??????t type on a flat surface. (major issue)
    A keyboard is still our most efficient and user friendly input device. Typing on a screen is simply pathetic. It is slow and terribly unreliable. No keyboard? No go.

    2. It breaks really easily. (minor issue)
    That's true for most electronics. I wouldn't hold this against the iPad.

    3. Universities are not full prepared yet. (minor issue)
    Some of us old farts are not at university and could hardly care less about this.

    4. Content over 3G is disappointingly poor quality. (minor issue)
    That would be true for video conferencing, much less so for "unidirectional video", where continuous stop-wait-short_blurb sequences would be seen. That's annoying, it makes the iPad (and any other device) less attractive, but far from unuseful. I usually don't want mere "content". I want "information". Most of that is in the form of text. If it worked over 110 baud modems in the late 70's, it'll work today as well, only better.

    5. The glossy screen is awful to look at. (major issue)
    The glare can be such that the screen becomes unreadable where one is. Smudge from typing makes that even harder. It is also (next-to) useless in bright, sunlit conditions.

    6. Reading e-books is tiring on the eyes. (very minor issue)
    If you can work a whole day on a screen, you can read it the whole day. This is a nonsensical claim.

    7. Flash will never be supported. (minor issue)
    Who needs Flash anyway, there are gazillions of ways to work better without it. If half the world stops accessing Flash(y) "content" even intellectually challenged types, such as the ubiquitous system-engineer-development-design-architect-builder specialists will adapt, or take up some job for which they are better suited.

    8. Apple royally screws over developers. (non-issue)
    As a user, a customer, a buyer, I could hardly care less. As a developer, I do. But iPads are not bought by developers, but by the public.

    9. Digital rights restrictions stifles innovation and application freedom. (non-issue)
    The buyer won't be stopped by issues he or she doesn't know about and/or doesn't understand.

    10. Share and print? Probably not going to happen. (non-issue)
    All Apple has to to, is announce that you *can* share and print (under their breath to make sure you can't here it: by e-mailing your "content").

    11. It was released with a serious networking fault. (non-issue)
    Most people don't even know the difference between WiFi and mobile Internet. Even more don't know that this is part of networks. People don't tend to worry about problems they don't know exist.

    12. Multitasking is necessary for university work. (major issue)
    But only for those who know what this means. Since we can count on the salespeople to be ignorant enough and/or dishonest enough not to tell the buyer, most people won't know about this when they buy, and when they find out afterwards, it will be presented to them as a "feature" to "help" them and most of them will swallow it.

    13. The name. It was like when the Wii first came out. (non-issue)
    Funny. You may want to have a look here: http://thamno.com/?p=3386 ipads are diapers for adults ^_^ and Fujitsu has an ipad as well. It's been on the market for a very long time.

    14. There??????s no stylus. (non issue)
    Get over it. Use a chopstick. It's handier than a stylus, and safer for the screen, and a helluvalot cheaper as well.

    15. It isn??????t really designed to actually do ??????work?????? on. (major issue)
    But only for those of us who still use computers to actually work, a small minority, apparently. The majority seems to use them only because "it's cool", those who think that they will stand out by doing what everybody else does.

    16. It??????s ??????cheap?????? but the data costs won??????t be. (minor issue)
    Just as jeans with holes in them are more expensive than those without, the price is hardly an issue for the "cool" gang. The rest of us will buy two or three netbooks instead, and will be far better off.

    17. E-books won??????t replace paper textbooks (it??????s a price thing) (non-issue)
    That is so wrong. Even if e-books were *more* expensive than the paper version, they would sell: because they are so damn convenient.

    18. There??????s no high-definition output (non-issue)
    Most netbooks don't have that either. That doesn't seem to stop people from buying them.

    19. Battery life doesn??????t even come close to the average netbook. (major issue)
    But not for everyone. My convertible netbook lasts officially some 5 hours, maybe 3 in practice. It's inconvient. I'd like to have more. But most people have easy access to power outlets in most circumstances, and it is therefore not much more than a minor inconvenience for them.

    20. No choice of mobile network (unless you jailbreak it). (major issue)
    But only *if* you want mobile access. I use a Bell mobility dongle on my netbook. Works great. I used to connect it through my PPC. That was a pain, but hey, it was the best there was at the time.

    What I take home from all this, is that iPad is a toy, a gadget. Something to have and show off but not actually use. Like the iPhone. Great for the superficial and the shallow among us. For the rest of us, there are better options.

    You did forget to mention the astonishingly small storage space, by the way. The lack of an SD card slot, the lack of a USB port. These are all non-issues with most netbooks, and they are cheaper. Just not "cool".
    Bart B. Van Bockstaele
    • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

      @Bart B. Van Bockstaele Two things...

      [b]11. It was released with a serious networking fault. (non-issue)
      Most people don't even know the difference between WiFi and mobile Internet. Even more don't know that this is part of networks. People don't tend to worry about problems they don't know exist. [/b]

      That may be true - until those who have the Wi-Fi only version try to connect, unsuccessfully, to their home routers or the one at Starbucks or wherever... And the Apple tech's solution: Move closer to the access point.

      [b]You did forget to mention the astonishingly small storage space, by the way. The lack of an SD card slot, the lack of a USB port. These are all non-issues with most netbooks, and they are cheaper. Just not "cool". [/b]

      Most Netbooks out there - even the MacBook Air - has at least ONE USB 2.0 port. Most netbooks even have an SD chip reader. But you're right - it is a non-issue - mainly because they already have them.
      • RE: 20 anti-'expensive paperweight' iPad reasons: Part 2

        [i]That may be true - until those who have the Wi-Fi only version try to connect, unsuccessfully, to their home routers or the one at Starbucks or wherever... And the Apple tech's solution: Move closer to the access point.[/i]

        @Wolfie2K3, they'll be a firmware update for that in the near future. So?

        [i]Most Netbooks out there - even the MacBook Air - has at least ONE USB 2.0 port. Most netbooks even have an SD chip reader. But you're right - it is a non-issue - mainly because they already have them. [/i]

        And that's why we should wait for the M$ one...

        Oh wait! They canceled the Slate, now didn't they? [b]EPIC FAIL![/b]
        ubiquitous one
    • Well reasoned out, Bart

      @Bart B. Van Bockstaele Your analysis wasn't bad. I disagree with your final summation that the iPad is a toy-and a few other minor points but I'll get back to that later.
      I might be wrong but I drew the conclusion that your a person that doesn't own an iPad. If true, I can understand your "toy" comment and not hold that against you.
      But let's look at this issue from Zack's point of view. He's a student. Does he need an iPad or iPad like device?
      At this point in time, I would have to say that Zack or any university student would not need this "electronic appliance". Or require one. (In my soul I want to say computer but I promised on another ZDNet Blog that I would use the term, electronic appliance, to describe the iPad.) A student may want one .. but they don't need one.

      Plus, I wouldn't need twenty reasons against but only one to argue that point. Zack almost touched on that reason, which is, at present, there is precious little (if any) course text book material available for the iPad. Really, this is the ONLY major reason against widespread student adoption for this tablet format. All other salient points for widespread student adoption of this device can be easily defended. For example:

      Does the iPad provide access to internet related material or sites that a typical student would need? I'll say yes, for the sake of argument. (Flash support to the contrary.)
      Does the iPad supply a quick means for recording input either thru its virtual keyboard or an optional stylus or using its built-in microphone to record voice memos - several points Zack never mentioned? Yes. And for the record, in this day and age of "Twitter" with its 140 character limit, a virtual keyboard is all that is necessary. Besides, anything requiring an optional keyboard can best be performed in a dorm room or some other location best used for extended periods of time. And, it should be pointed out, not carrying that extra keyboard around to classes would be a "plus". Or a larger laptop - say in the four to five pound range. (A netbook's weight would and is not a disadvantage to a current student.)

      And there you have it. Availability (and not cost) of text book material (whether in electronic or paper format) is of paramount importance for a student. The iPad doesn't supply that yet. Case closed.

      Now, from our perspective, I disagree with you that an iPad is a "toy". I have personal experience with this Apple product. Its sort of like a person that is exposed to the concept and knowledge of in-vehicle GPS guidance systems but not actually having personal experience with such devices. That person could rationalize that GPS guidance devices, although nice, would be unnecessary because of the existence of street and location maps. Its only when a person experiences said GPS device for an extended period of time does the realization of its immense worth become known. (And yes, those devices cost a whole lot more than traditional street maps.)

      A person without extended first hand experience would or could rationalize it as a toy or, at best, a supplemental electronic gadget. Trust me, the iPad is more than that. Non other than the great Jason Perlow has gone on record indicating that his iPad is used for an extended period of his daily computer usage.