After playing with an iPad in the office yesterday, I took it home last night.
Some follow-on observations:
I don’t want one. I’d happily take one, but I’m not paying $500-$800 for one. I spend too much time on the couch with my MacBook (which I can type easily on and don’t need to hold with my hands), and too much time walking around with my iPhone, which is just as functional as the iPad and way more convenient. Also, I did have WiFi problems (see below). And there’s just no way I’m paying AT&T another $30 a month to connect another gadget for me (see below).
My wife wants one. She types less and consumes more than I do (media). She grooved on the iBook and Spiderman app. She hasn’t experienced the WiFi problem yet, though (see below), and when she does I expect she may reconsider.
The WiFi reception was indeed a problem. There we were and my wife was happily watching ABDC (don’t ask) on her MacBook and I was trying to watch Friday Night Lights on the Netflix iPad app. ABDC was streaming without a hitch. Friday Night Lights was freezing every 20 seconds. The WiFi signal strength on the iPad, meanwhile, veered wildly from full power, to one bar, to NO SIGNAL. Not cool. I’ve had WiFi problems in that spot in the past, but nothing like last night with the iPad. My iPhone, of course, worked fine (3G), so while I waited for Friday Night Lights to unfreeze, I checked email. After 5 minutes of the former, I gave up on the iPad.
I stand by everything I said about how in 3 years these things are going to be everywhere. They’ll cost $199. Each household will have 2-3 of them. They’ll sit around like magazines and newspapers and books do today. When you plop down on the couch, you’ll just pick one up. You might have YOUR iPhone or YOUR laptop or YOUR iPad, but your house will also have AN iPad (or three). And so will your friends’ houses. When you visit, you’ll just pick one up and start using it, the way you read your friends’ magazines now. (Apple and the other tablet makers do need to make it easier to just sign in a guest without exposing all the personal stuff on there to whoever picks it up.)
The idea that people will buy fancy newspaper apps on this thing is just ridiculous — the browser is spectacular. The reason people don’t read newspapers via apps online is that reading newspapers on the web is more convenient. It’s much easier to link around, comment, etc., and the graphics and text look fine. The idea that people are somehow going to want to PAY to be constricted into a single-publisher environment is just a mass hallucination on the part of the media companies.
Two of the three media apps I tried confirmed that print publishing companies are still undergoing a mass hallucination. As I noted yesterday, the GQ app I opened was horrible: Instead of allowing me to click on the headlines on the cover, it wanted to force me to page through the whole magazine. Nuts. The much-ballyhooed WSJ app was no better: The WSJ arranged pretty little icons on the screen representing each day’s paper (pick one and click). As if I care about reading a particular day’s “paper.” Who cares about that anymore? What people want to read now are individual articles. They couldn’t care less which day’s paper or which month’s issue the article appeared in. This whole “issue” motif is just a gigantic, desperate leap backward.
The current per-gadget wireless connectivity model is a relic of a prior age and needs to change immediately. I’m sorry, but I’m just not going to pay AT&T one fee for cell calls, one fee for Internet on the iPhone, and another fee for Internet on the iPad (and the same bunch of bills for everyone else in the family). It’s the same network, and it’s all just bits. I want to pay ONE wireless company ONE bill–for everything. I want it to be all I can eat, across all my family’s devices. I want to sign on to my wireless account ONCE with each device and then I want to pay my flat-rate bill (for the whole family) and never have to think about it again. I understand that AT&T will do everything in its power to avoid giving me what I want, but hopefully that creates an opportunity for someone else. The first wireless company that offers me that for a reasonable price, I’m yours.
See Also: The Truth About The iPad
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