The iPad's downfall: Cloud, mobile Web should replace apps and a sync cord

The iPad just seems to be missing something. Could it be the iPhone style apps on a device that should be tapping the cloud for a richer experience?
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

The excitement around mobile apps has become even greater, sparked by the release of the iPad and some 2,300 apps written for it. In fact, there's been so much excitement around iPad apps that on Saturday, the day the iPad was released, more than 1 million iPad apps were downloaded.

I hate to be the one to burst the app bubble but does anyone else think this is sort of a backward movement, this whole idea of proprietary apps on a proprietary device? I know that everyone and their brother is trying to build an app store these days. And I also recognize that, in some instances, a mobile app makes sense, just as there are still some software products that make sense for a computer. But some companies out there have whole teams of people working on an app for the iPad. How can that be an efficient use of resources?

Also: Apps: What prices will iPad users accept?

Apple said Monday that it sold more than 300,000 iPads over the weekend, right around where Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster originally projected until raising his estimates on Saturday afternoon. That's on track for what we saw when the iPhone - which eventually became a game-changer - originally launched, too. Of course, more people will buy an iPad in the coming weeks and months. But I've also already heard from a couple of people - techies, mind you - and read blog posts by those who pre-ordered one of those 64-gig 3G units (at $829) and now are suddenly getting buyer's remorse.

In these specific cases, it hasn't really been an issue of the money. These particular buyers are suddenly wondering if this device is worth the $1,000 that it will end up costing when all is said and done. Is all that chatter about the iPad being nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch finally starting to sink in? I mean, everyone knew the iPad was a luxury item - but are people who believed that they had to have one suddenly asking themselves why? Quite frankly, that's something they have to answer for themselves. For me, if the money weren't an issue, I still wouldn't be dropping that grand - at least not yet. I'd want to wait until I hear what Apple has to say later this week when it offers a sneak peek of its next generation of iPhone OS, which also powers the iPad.

I'm not making any guesses as to what the next OS will include but I certainly hope it beefs up the offerings around the Web, the cloud experience, if you will - which brings me back that the backward movement idea from earlier.


Could a rich mobile web page offer an experience similar to an app?

Also: iPad aftermath: Strong weekend sales; can the momentum continue?

As more and more tools migrate to the Web, doesn't it make sense that a device as advanced as the iPad would attempt to raise the bar even higher by unleashing the power of the Web? Aside from Mobile Me, Apple is not a company that's shown itself to be big on the cloud the way companies like Google and Salesforce have.

For starters, users of the iPod, iPhone and now iPad still need an actual cord to get their own music and photo collections on to these devices. C'mon, it's 2010 and one of the biggest features of the iPad is supposed to be its WiFi connectivity - and yet there's a connectivity cord (which, by the way, does not charge the iPad's battery) that goes with it. What's next? A dock, like the original Palm Pilot?

Maybe that's an exaggeration but it serves the point well. This device is supposed to be cutting-edge, the trend-setter for what's cool in mobile technology. And yet, there's a noticeable absence of cloud-based technology.

I get that proprietary apps and a semi-cloud approach has worked for Apple so far. If Apple started letting us stream our personal music, photo and video collections to an iPod, iPhone or an iPad, why would we ever buy a 64-gig device? The same reasoning can be used to explain why there's no SD card slot on these devices, either.

The designs that Steve Jobs and team come up with are top notch. And the user interface is always clean, simple and appealing. But why do I need an app for that when a beefed-up Web experience might serve me just as well?  Why do I need a big hard drive when I'd rather store my photos on the cloud, in a place where I can access them from any place, anytime, anywhere?

I really want to like the iPad but let's be honest about it - it doesn't bring anything new. For the money - and the hype - it needs more. Hopefully, we'll hear about "more" when the company talks OS on Thursday.

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