This article was published on January 28, 2010

I Call It The iLetdown – Why The iPad Missed The Mark And Blew Its Big Day

I Call It The iLetdown – Why The iPad Missed The Mark And Blew Its Big Day
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

jobs oddThe moment has come and gone, and our collective post-hype hangover has arrived. This iPad that we were shown today was hardly what most of us wanted, and the letdown is reverberating around the internet.

And what does your humble servant think? In a nutshell, I am so disenchanted with the iPad that in under an hour I went from being fully open to buying one this evening, to having my wallet shut like a bra clasp on a poorly ending prom night.

I did not, ever, want a bigger iPod Touch. In fact, I never wanted an iPod touch. Apple seems to have ducked the responsibility of creating a new product category while claiming the opposite. No, indeed they opened Paint and hit the “Stretch/Skew” button on an image of a product they already had.

Before I get into my own laundry list of faults in the device, what do I like about it? Well, it does allow me to use Apps that I have already purchased. I enjoy saving money. It’s also about the right size, and the screen and processor are capable enough. And, we will get back into this, Apple did at least attempt to get the device to an acceptable price point. Let’s move on.

Getting right into it, the lowest price for the iPad point is a mirage. A non-expandable device that has a total of 16 gigabytes of storage? Assuming a usable 15 gigabytes of space, I can fit less than a third of my music onto the device. Excellent. And zero percent of my photos. And videos. And apps, of course. So to say that Apple has created a mass market tablet for $500 is a little disingenuous. The device is so crippled and hamstrung on the storage side, I cannot help but recall the comical four gigabyte first-tier iPhone. No one bought it, and Apple got to say that the phone “started at” a lower price point.

Even more so, the 3G enabled 16 gigabyte version costs some $130 more, so to have an actual internet-enabled device (more on that later, sorry to keep deferring) that works where you are, the price tag is higher. Again, the $500 price point is a mirage. Apple is merely using it to generate even more buzz around the device. Of course, it is nearly 100% likely that Apple floated the$1000 number, just so that they would look good today at their event. It works well, right? Apple floats a rumor. We write about it, creating controversy, only then to watch Apple swoop in and save us with a device that costs half the rumored amount. Oh, but no one is really going to buy that one, so the device does cost more. Apple wins, wins, wins, and then wins again.

We mentioned connectivity a minute ago, and that must be addressed. Apple, in the face of the opinions of every single iPhone owner in the United States, has chosen not just to stay with ATT, but to expand their offerings together. Also, the two plans are being offered are both jokes. 250 megabytes is an afternoon for most of us, especially if we are being encouraged to watch YouTube (but not with flash, more on that in a second). That means that we all need to get the $30 monthly plan. Not horribly priced for unlimited data, and it is nice to be contract free, but what will this do but overload ATT’s crap network even more? ATT cannot even handle the iPhone, let alone a legion of iPads sucking on its data pipes.

No flash. Come on, Apple, why are you still kicking this horse? No flash on the iPhone was barely tolerable. On a device that you call internet specific to not have flash is more than annoying, it’s insulting. Flash, love it or hate it, is one huge slice of the internet. This is not optional.

Guess which new mobile non-laptop Apple product cannot multitask? Well, all of them, but the iPad loses here as well. Even with an Apple designed chip, the iPad cannot handle what every other companies product offerings do already. You can of course jailbreak your iPhone and run things in the background, but not natively. Why not? Beats the hell out of all of us. Again, this problem is annoying on the iPhone, inexcusable on the iPad.

And just because the software is not flawed to hell does not mean that the hardware cannot be broken as well. It can! The iPad has no camera, meaning that many of the nifty things that you wanted to do on the device you cannot. Skype on the couch? No! Tinychat? No! Again, Apple, what were you thinking? That we don’t?

I am a bit let down. I suspect that you are as well. Perhaps version two is what we really wanted all along. See you all in a year.

I will round this out by quoting a number comments from the big story on Digg about the iPad. They sum it up well, and with more wit:

  • “I am running out to buy pants with bigger pockets right now. Or does Apple have to license plus-size pockets as an official iPad accessory?
  • Does anyone else feel it looks a little…well…botched? I mean take a look at the lock screen. That isn’t the Apple finish you normally see…
  • 2001 called, they want their tablet PC back.
  • iPad = Large iPhone
  • Holy thick bezel, Batman!
  • great, another way to look like a huge d*****bag in public
  • How would you use that with multi-touch on your lap without dropping it on the floor constantly? Smaller than a laptop, bigger than an iPhone…good for what?
  • And the best one: It’s a f****** UMPC!”

Image via Engadget.

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