iPad – It’s a Consumption Device

Immediacy. This is the age we live in. I’ve got to have it now, especially information. Apple released its iPad yesterday. People couldn’t wait to find out what it was. People kid me about being an Apple fanboy. I don’t fret about that much. I’m a technology geek. I like and want to find out about all types of new gadgets. I like to find out all I can about gadgets and help to explain what they can do for people who are afraid of technology. Apple just happens to make a lot of cool technology. Notice that I said cool and not essential or good for society, or answer to all our problems.

Now that the iPad is released and the frenzy of what it IS is now over. Now it’s the question of “did it live up to your expectations?” Really? You want my answer now? It wasn’t a movie I just watched, it was a product demo. A device that hasn’t even shipped yet. No one but the earliest testers and Apple Event-goers have even got their hands on it, and the Internet is all “like, well, like what do you like think of the iPad. Dumb name huh?” Fill in your feminine hygiene product joke here. Seriously? When Microsoft released its text editor “NotePad” were people this silly about the name? This silliness will die down.

So now the Internet is rife with comments like “big disappointment”, “where’s this” “where’s that”, right along with “OMG, I gotta have it!”

Wait! Step away from your keyboard and slow the hell down! It will be in Apple Stores in 59 days. Then, go there, pick it up, play with it, and see if you like it, or don’t like it. Here’s some more advice. Make up your mind when you are better informed. Make a decision about whether it is worth it or not, WHEN IT SHIPS! Take your time. Read reviews. Ask yourself if it’s a device that does what you want. This doesn’t look like it’s a new computing device that’s good for creation of stuff. It’s a consumption device. If you want one of these already, sight unseen, you are definitely the type of consumer Apple is aiming this toward. This device is about gobbling up content. Video, music, images, books, podcasts, games, newspapers, magazines, and more stuff we don’t know about yet. Om nom nom. It IS a notepad. You’ll take notes, do some word processing, surf the web, read books, but it’s not meant to replace your computer. Having said that, the computer is not a good consumption device. They’re awkward on your lap (especially desktop computers ;-) ) They heat up to high temperatures and get uncomfortable. They have relatively poor battery life.

This device is a different kind of computer. It’s a giant iPod Touch. And that’s not a bad thing. As good as the iPhone/Touch is, I have wished for a bigger screen to interact with the content in more meaningful ways. The touch capabilities remain the most intriguing feature. I predict people will love using it. Just like I love using my iPhone. Apple made this exactly the way they wanted to make it. They’re not sitting back thinking “oh we forgot Flash”. Apple wants Flash dead. They want to kill it. It hasn’t hurt the iPhone. It would have been nice to have this or that (I wanted a webcam), but Apple did something un-Apple and came in at half of the price that people were predicting, and $100 lower than the lowest prediction I saw.

It’s also another closed system, very much Apple-like. Do it our way. We know best. You want open? Go see the other guys. No? You still want one? Well, go get in line.


12 thoughts on “iPad – It’s a Consumption Device

  1. Jim

    Amen, Andy, amen. I love the idea of it being a consumption device, and not so much a device fro creating. It makes a strong case for the real limitations of both this and the iPhoen as of right now. Not to say they aren’t amazing in their own way, but mix consumption with great obstacles to create, and you seem to have a combination that is so alien to the power of these tools for education.

    I bow down before the altar of edurush

  2. Jim

    Nice post.

    My first reaction was “this isn’t a tablet.” Which is why, I think, they called it a “pad.” Tablets have a stylus, and you can do, among other things, work.

    Again, I can’t do work on it (and I make things when I work – Web sites, graphics, code, etc.). I think Jobs was wrong when he dissed the NetBook – I CAN work on my NetBook, plus watch movies and listen to music and browse the interwebs.

    I own an iPhone a NetBook running Linux, both procured for less than the cheapest iPad – and so far, there’s nothing I can’t do with the combination.

    It is absolutely a consumption device, ready to feed you all you can buy from a single vendor.

    The potential is exciting, to be sure. But, computing is more than entertainment.

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  4. Shannon

    Figures you would have a level-headed commentary about the iPad when all around is chaos. I agree with Jim that you are spot on when you call this a consumption device and is actually a very useful way to frame it when considering whether or not to get one. The iPad takes a step towards thinking about the intersection between computers and mobile devices and there is still plenty of room for other companies to find a niche in this market (if there is a market for it of course). It is too early to make any calls so we will have to just wait and see.

  5. Tom

    57 days until iPad is available for purchase. It’s out-dated on Day #1; 57 days later it’ll be all that more out-dated.

    I’ll put it this way: if Amazon was selling a Kindle for $850 + a $15 to $30 data package, what features would it have? A touch-screen that allowed Flash? Colored Screen? an app store? hmmm…..

  6. Andy Rush Post author

    Tom, I’m not sure what your point is. Are you attempting to compare the Kindle to the iPad? If so the Kindle DX sells for $489 has built-in 3G with no data plan and does books and PDFs. It has 4GB of memory to store content. The iPad sells for $629 with 3G and requires a monthly $15/30 data plan. It has 16GB of storage. They both do books and PDFs. From there the functions of the two devices diverges. Yes the Kindle will do photos and music, but in a limited way. This is an Apple ;-) and an Orange comparison. Also, how can something be outdated when it’s running the same OS as the most popular smart-phone in the U.S. ? Other companies are scrambling to catch up. There are applications being developed for the iPad that we don’t even know about yet. My advice in the post is to wait and see what it does, and how it does it. If you’re serious about a comparison, you will at least wait until it ships.

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