Why I Will Be Getting an iPad. No, Really.

Why I Will Be Getting an iPad. No, Really.

Summary: The iPad will offer me just about everything that I have ever wanted in a digital convergence device.

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Special Report: Apple iPad

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.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

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 Experience

The 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 Streaming

I 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 Apps

One 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.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Broadband, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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Talkback

190 comments
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  • Not sure if the iFart application will work any better on th iPad though.

    NT.
    DonnieBoy
    • I dunno...

      ...when I run it through my home theatre system from my iPhone it's
      pretty impressive.

      Nothing like a 200W, 12" sub to shake up the neighbourhood.
      hill60
  • RE: Why I Will Be Getting an iPad. No, Really.

    It will be larger, and louder. So that changes my calculus too. :)
    jperlow
    • Ok, and maybe a big picture of the arse making the noise.

      With animation of course.
      DonnieBoy
  • RE: Why I Will Be Getting an iPad. No, Really.

    A very long article for the little content it offered, it would have been sipler to day "I'll get one because iI want to!"
    topio
  • RE: Why I Will Be Getting an iPad. No, Really.

    Jason, it is as if we were twin brothers with different mothers. I have never purchased an Apple product, bought one for my daughter but nothing for myself...until now. I was tempted to buy the iTouch when my PDA went south, mostly because of the large number of apps, but the size of the iTouch was a big problem for me, wished it were larger. When I heard rumors about the iPad, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I agree that not having Adobe Flash will be problem at first but who knows what the future holds. No camera within the iPad, I have a very nice camera, thank you (and one on my phone). My wife and I visit one of our daughters that live 3 1/2 hours from our home and this will be the perfect device to keep my wife busy so I can drive and not have to entertain her on the way.

    Well thank you for reaffirming my decision and it is good to know that there are more practical thinking individuals out there.

    Sincerely,

    Mike Lewis
    MLewis_51
  • RE: Why I Will Be Getting an iPad. No, Really.

    When you are sitting a desk, you are really typing and using a laptop/desktop computer to its fullest capability but in bed, in the backyard or on the road, it's internet, email for work and on downtime, it's music, (there is a XM app, BTW), movies, apps or now ebooks. Why do I need an extra 1 to 4 lbs in my lap? The ipad is PERFECT and since it also runs apps like KEYNOTE, for presentations, again, I'm a senior exec, I don't need to make a lot of changes once it's done and if it's a huge change, I can just pull it down via download or email ... I'll be buying two.
    jbelkin
    • It's called a 'netbook'

      ...That's exactly why they developed the netbook.
      It's extremely light, runs a full-blown operating
      system (so you can do all the productivity you
      want), and costs half of what an iPad costs.
      pbankey
      • Netbooks

        are good for 2 things...

        Tunnel vision and Carpel-tunnel syndrome.

        The performance of a netbook, really doesn't give you any more functionality as opposed to a iPad. "Oh but wait, it runs a full desktop OS" I wouldn't toot my horn to loudly for that feature.

        Reason being, is that the Full Desktop experience works best on guess what, a desktop or laptop, not a netbook. I foresee many more iPad like devices coming, and the netbook, will be nothing but a failed blip in history.

        Anymore when you put a full desktop OS onto a device with a 9 +/- inch screen that gives you like 2 lines of text to read. (Gross Exaggeration maybe), but everytime I have had to work on a netbook, I have hated the experience.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
        • "Reason being" is sufficient.

          The "is" is totally superfluous and incorrect.

          Just a friendly attempt to help.
          Economister
      • Netbooks...

        ...are uncomfortable to use.

        I would prefer the form factor of the iPad and it will do most of the light
        functions of a netbook without hunching over an L-shaped thing in your
        lap.
        hill60
        • Hunched over

          I saw someone onced using a Netbook, he was so hunched over I couldn't help but to burst out with laughter. They poor guy looked just like Charlie Brown on his piano.

          http://brwydevil.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/cbschroeder.gif
          dave95.
      • But a Netbook has far less features...

        A netbook is slower, weighs twice as much, doesn't have a quality screen, no touch screen, no month by month 3G, no built in iPod, no access to touch based Apps, and a bunch of other reasons you can see here:

        http://www.apple.com/ipad/design/

        The Netbook crowd is scared of the iPad since they know it's a better device.
        Pederson
        • the iPad has fewer features

          no physical keyboard, only works with one Internet
          access provider, no WM player, no Zune, no Winamp,
          etc.
          markbn
          • You assume they are needed......

            No Zune... So what? Now WM PLayer..... I wasn't expecting it would have
            said. No Winamp..... What is that anyway? I can tell you that I don't use
            any of that and so I'm not feeling any worry "IF" I choose to get an iPad.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • One man's feature ...

            Is another man's failure.

            No physical keyboard - Unless you want to add
            one that is. Frankly the physical keyboard on
            my netbook is annoying. It forces me to
            use/hold/carry the Dell in a particular way
            that is not always best for the task I am
            performing. Reading in bed, watching video,
            viewing photos, these are all things that are
            made more difficult by the L-shape and screen
            angles of my netbook.

            No WM player - Fine by me! I have no need for
            it. The first thing I do with WM files is
            transcode them to mpg or mp4 so that they are
            compatible with all my devices. For me WM
            Player is a valueless "feature".

            No Zune - No problem. Assuming I even buy an
            iPad (which is a big assumption as I am not
            totally sold yet) it will never replace the
            desktop system that holds my multi media
            library. Ubuntu on my netbook doesn't support
            my iPod and that's no problem either.

            I could go on but really the point is this.
            the device is not meant to replace your
            computer, if anything the relationship to your
            computer is one of augmentation. I love my
            netbook, I really do, but it's form factor is
            not conducive for a lot of what I use it for.
            When it dies I will seriously look at what I
            need accomplished and what device -at that
            moment- will best fill that need.
            use_what_works_4_U
  • Why I will NOT be getting an iPad

    I simply refuse to support Apple's business model, lock-in and prices. That is my principled stand and I will not deviate from it. Period.
    Economister
    • YES! Crush the Apple!

      N/T
      MSFTWorshipper
    • wonderful principle

      Even better, extend your principled stand to ignore all articles about the company and totally refrain from commenting on them!
      We will miss you ;-)
      billtahoe
    • You go girl, fight the power

      nt
      tzcannon