I think the iPad will be a big disappointment for Apple and its customers.

Look, this is just a giant iPod Touch, and that is about it. Kind of like a phone, but it does not fit into a pocket. And no multitasking, full-version software, USB ports, video outs, or Flash. Microsoft tried this with Windows CE, and look where that wound up.

The iPad has a processor slower than a netbook, no physical keyboard, and runs a stripped-down version of OS X. Not stripped-down like Google’s Chrome OS, which can still run a full browser and software, but stripped-down like the iPhone.

You want to browse the web and carry a lighter computer? Get a netbook. You want portable, stripped-down apps? Get a smartphone. You want to play games on something too big for your pocket? Get a Wii. Paul Miller from Engadget put it this way:

Overall, the device just doesn’t do anything I can’t already accomplish more excellently with another device: I produce content on my laptop, I consume content on my TV, and there’s no way you’re convincing me that you can have the best web surfing experience without a keyboard.

When are you really going to reach for the iPad instead of one of your other devices?

The only thing the iPad really competes with is e-book readers like the Kindle and Nook. While the iPad is undoubtedly a fuller reading experience, those e-paper screens are still easier on the eyes than the iPad’s glossy, and soon-to-be smudgy touchscreen. Besides, the Kindle is much cheaper, while the iPad is bigger, heavier, and requires a monthly internet subscription if you want the Kindle’s always-on access to a bookstore.

If you really think tablets are the wave of the future, check out the HP Slate. The Slate is closer to what I imagined a tablet should be. A decent processor running a real operating system, so that I can check my e-mail, pull up my case files for the document camera in court, and use Skype to keep in touch with my associate. It is hampered by Windows 7, which is a great OS, but not (so far, anyway) particularly small-touchscreen-friendly.

I do want a tablet/slate/pad/whatever, but the iPad is not what I am looking for. I do not think it is what American consumers are looking for, either, and I predict Apple’s first major flop in some time.

(image: unknown)

  • Do you know something about the custom-designed Apple A4 processor that we don’t? Everyone who has touched one of these devices talks about how fast and responsive it is. I have to think that Apple optimized the A4 for the rich media experience, unlike a netbook processor, which is optimized for low power consumption.

    I do feel your pain about the crippled state of legal software. Email and Skype audio will surely work just fine on the iPad. Do you need something more complex than PDF rendering to show your documents? (Does your system require a VGA output or something similar?)

    • I agree with you, Don. I think Sam just wants to be contrarian here. There is no evidence from yesterday’s demo to indicate that it will be anything but a pleasurable user experience.

      There surely is a lot of hype about the iPad, some of it will be prove to be unjustified, but I think there are enough real, unique, and useful features to the iPad that it will catch on.

      I, for one, plan to get one.

  • I just can’t see the utility. It suffers from all the drawbacks of a smartphone, with none of the benefits.

    The fact that most people are comparing it to the Kindle is telling. Was the iPad really meant to compete with a purpose-built e-reader? If so, the price sucks.

    Also, I don’t think it is fair to say I am being contrarian. As it turns out, Engadget, Gizmodo, and Lifehacker are all coming out on the “con” side of the iPad, as well.

  • I can see this being useful at hearings, settlement conferences and trial. Imagine having a device to share deposition recordings with the judge/magistrate. Imagine projecting evidence on an overhead screen and pointing things out to the jury while zooming in and out, dragging, etc. Imagine having (via dropbox) all of your case notes, pleadings, etc. at your fingertips (literally) in an easily searchable small scale device with instant one capability. In court, I just don’t see the need for a notebook any longer.

    There has to be some additions like a googletalk, audio recording, a really good trail notebook and others – but for the price – I think its worth it.

    The only thing I don’t like is the huge bezel and the ugly looking home screen. If course, I’d like to see how the file system would work as well since you can create documents on the device with pages.

  • @chris If I’m in a settlement conference or in court, then what I want is a device that I can see but the other side can’t, until I want them to. I don’t want to have to keep throwing a legal pad on top of my iPad.

    Sam is a dedicated Apple-basher, but I agree with him on this one. The key to a net book is that you can use it as a laptop and do everything you do on a laptop if you need to, but it’s smaller and more portable than a full laptop, bigger than a smart phone. If I can’t do everything I need to do on an iPad, then I’ll end up dragging both that and the laptop around. A touch-screen laptop would be nice, although unlike a small device, you have to use 2 hands. So, what, do you balance it on your lap all the time? Too expensive for a toy, too little functionality to be productive.

  • Joel Anderson

    I think the inability to run multiple apps at once is a pretty serious flaw. It has been a gripe that many people have had about the iPhone for years, but it’s a much bigger problem on the iPad, which presumably is designed to be a fuller, more useful computing experience than a phone would be. We’re talking about a basic feature that the Droid, Nexus One, and even the Palm Pre already boast.

  • Anne M. Hansen

    I’ve never been one to hop onboard the latest technology bandwagon, and for good reason. The first few versions of anything are typically overpriced and under-functioning, which holds true for the iPad. And although I adore my MacBook (which I bought during my last year of law school, after my Dell went to hell in a handbasket), I don’t see myself getting an iPhone or iPad. I really don’t like the big glossy screens because of the glare and smudge factors. Plus, iPhone users always seem to be holding the phone in front of their face while they talk, which must mean you can’t talk and listen at the same time. As far as the iPad, I’m just not seeing the advantage over the Kindle in terms of e-reader capabilities, or the netbook, which has a physical keyboard and ports, etc. My MacBook is small enough for a shoulder bag, my Blackberry Curve is small enough for my pocket or purse, and if I wanted to bring a bunch of books or magazines with me on a trip, I’d beg and plead until my fiance lent me his Kindle.

  • @Chris: And what will you use to project something onto an overhead screen? There are no outputs. Moreover, my laptop can already do all of that. Better.

    @Eric: I don’t think it is fair to say I am a dedicated Apple basher. I recognize that, in general, Apple makes excellent hardware and software. I just happen to prefer Windows and Linux due to some of the “quirks” in Apple’s products that I cannot get over.

  • @Sam: I thought I heard him say that it would be projector ready. I might be mistaken.

    @Eric: Fair enough but I think the right designed accessories can accomplish a bit more privacy. I guess we’ll see.

  • The ipad has a microphone, speaker and video out. You could even make skype phone calls with your skype app.

    @Sam and Chris -if it has video out it is projector ready
    @Joel-I never thought about not being able to run multiple apps because they switch so quick its like they are all running at the same time.

  • @Lisa: Where did you hear that there is a video out? I don’t see one anywhere on the photos on Apple’s website, and numerous websites have reported that it has nothing.

    I assume by “projector-ready,” Apple means you can buy a new one that they or their partners produce especially for the iPad, that will probably cost twice what a normal projector costs, and so you will have to drag it along if you want to use it. No hooking this into the system already in the courthouse, that’s for sure.

  • Brian S

    The iPad specs page says it can output video:

    “Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite Cable”

    source: http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

  • Ah, I see. It goes through the dock thingy, I assume with yet another $20 Apple dongle. Not bad.

  • Mikey

    You were right slick they only sold two million of these useless thingies in 60 days.

    I’ll bet you had relatives who used to make buggywhips and could not see the utility of the horselessl carriage.

  • bob

    good call, you totally nailed it. i love it when apple flops like the ipad.

  • Noah

    Good call, spot on. Sam Glover, do you have any other predictions you want to blast out to the internet?

    • I predict WebOS will become the #1 mobile device operating system by September of this year.

  • George

    Wow, you were so wrong! Four years later, reading this article is absolutely hilarious.

    HP Slate, LOL!

  • AAPL.To.Break.$95.Soon.>:-)

    Yeah, I’m just looking at this article and boy you’d still be riding a horse after the automobile came along, saying that all you really needed was a faster and more powerful horse. You had about as much a handle on the future as a chimpanzee.