The Apple iPad has taken the world by storm and is now the dominant tablet on the market. In fact I would go as far as saying it is the only real tablet that exist the general consumers mind. The reasons for buying an Apple iPad are numerous, and I will be honest by saying I own two iPads at the moment, 1st and 3rd generation models. I think they are excellent devices and serve as replacement for numerous items including a laptop, movie player and a real magazine replacement.
However not many people have focused on good reasons not to buy an iPad, and this article will focus on reasons you might not want to buy an iPad, at least at the moment. They focus around the closed ecosystem that Apple has created and how that might be affecting consumers, i.e. us.
Content consumption rather than content creation
The iPad is definitely a content consumption device at the moment. With the third generation iPad features like built in voice recognition were included but they don’t work well enough for a majority of people in order to assist in making the iPad a content creation device. There are plenty of applications that let people write documents, access their computer remotely or even run presentations, but these are all clunky compared to their desktop counterparts. The single screen makes it difficult to multitask, and copy text/images from other applications.
Lack of file system
The lack of a file system is many peoples biggest issue with the iPad. A file system is a way of saving a file to work on later, and access it with the same or a different application. The iPad allows apps to have the same application open the same file, but it becomes difficult to move files onto the device in great number. There are lots of solutions to this problem, and cloud computing may totally remove this complaint for some people in the next couple of years, but I still think it is very clunky at the moment.
Paper replacement - going "paperless"
Many people might buy a tablet as a way of reducing the huge amount of paper clutter we gather in our homes and offices. But I think a lot of people think that by buying a scanner and a tablet like an iPad will magically make you paperless. It takes a whole change in what we do and how we work in order to "go paperless". The camera on the iPad can function as a very effective scanner, and the new retina screen makes a good paper replacement, but the iPad doesn’t offer the same experience of being able to write a small note on a piece of paper, being able to pass it to someone else or the general workflow many of us have. I know this because I bought a scanner and worried I would need to replace its feed mechanism as it was only good for 1500 pages, I don’t think in three years I am up to 150.
No physical keyboard
Well that is kind of the point isn’t it? Not having a bulky keyboard allows tablets to be portable but does kill their use as document creation machines - especially for activities like writing. You can buy keyboard docks, and admittedly they are getting better and better with new all metal versions being very comfortable to type on. But at that point buying an ultrabook like a Macbook Air may be a better solution as well as being similar in price with the high end iPad (with a $100 keyboard dock) being similar in price to an 11.6 in Macbook Air.
The iPad isn’t perfect. Its battery life is good, but not long enough for continuous use in the office. Wi fi connections, let alone 3G and 4G data, can and do break down. A lack of connectivity on the iPad renders it almost useless, even if you store some of your documents on the device rather than the cloud.
Is it right for you?
I think the iPad is good for many reasons, I do own two. It is fantastic for browsing the web and for general content consumptions. I think creating videos and photos is very easy with the third generation onwards, but creating documents requires more than just a good user interface - it needs the whole user experience.
A couple of reasons you might want to buy an Apple iPod
I have said a lot about why you might not want to buy an iPad, but these are the reasons I bought mine:
- Integration - with everything Apple that is. It works with your Apple TV, iTunes and iPhone in a seamless experience. It makes life easy and technologies like Airplay let your play content on your TV making your iPad your home media hub.
- Build quality - Apple builds iPads, and a lot of them. The build quality is fantastic although some people have complained about initial launch models. Apple uses lots of metal and glass rather than plastic which gives the tablet a real quality feel about them.
- Application store - there is now an app for everything. From measuring your calorie intake to working out where you are on the planet to the latest game. The app store will have an app, at the time of writing it is over 600,000 apps with tens of billions of downloads.
I like my iPads, but I really feel that they aren’t perfect. Apple is starting to address some issues, cloud services like iCloud will help on a massive scale, but they require OSX or Windows in a desktop form. I really want tablets to be fully functioning devices on their own, with the power to do anything I might want to on a day-to-day basis.
Do you like the iPad? Do you use it to create documents on? Or do you only use it for content consumption? Would you recommend it to others for home? Have you been given one at work? Feel free to leave a comment below and if you need to join InfoBarrel you can use one of the links at the top of the page.