apple ipad – the netbook killer?

Today apple announced the ipad. Looking past the ridiculous hype and hysteria, it’s basically a giant iphone only without the phone functions.

Apple iPad
Creative Commons License photo credit: nDevilTV

Steve Jobs started off today’s presentation by taking a pop at netbooks saying they ‘weren’t better at anything’. So he’s implying the ipad is an ‘netbook killer’ which is way off the mark i feel.

The device has no web cam, no sd slot, no multitasking – all features which are almost standard on netbooks these days.

The whole point of a tablet is that the keyboard is replaced with touch sensitive buttons on screen but to me i couldn’t possibly buy a portable computer without a keyboard. Not at this stage. There are just too many convenience and speed issues.

For example, plenty of people like to have two hands on a device at all times… chances are one of your hands is hovering over a keyboard or mouse right this second, brushing some of the keys. How frustrating would it be to have to remove both hands and all fingers from the ipad any time you want to see anything on screen.

The risk of hitting something accidentally is huge. Granted, that’s simply a learning curve and as humans we can get used to things like that but i feel the ipad is out of touch with reality. You have to ask yourself who will buy this and why? Ok, if you read plenty of ebooks and are constantly showing pictures / videos to people then it might be of use, but at $499 can you afford it?

To me, it’s a fancy luxury that yes, i’d like to have, but i know i would rarely use it because it’s just not practical for web browsing and writing which is what i spend most of my time doing. The ipad is a nice idea and it is revolutionary but at the same time it’s a cross between an iphone and a kindle and i’m not sure the market is big enough for it to be successful, not today. Remember, the iphone came out a few years ago. Today things are different and people think very differently when parting with ~$500.

If this were built by anyone other than apple, we’d all be laughing at it or assuming it’s from some of those crazy japanese manufacturers. The fact it’s a new apple device will already have people queuing at apple shops right now… even though it’s not available for another couple of months.

3 thoughts on “apple ipad – the netbook killer?”

  1. I definitely see it as a luxury for the moment, I own a Macbook Pro, there's really no need for me to get this, but i think content will make or break it. When big content providers start supporting it fully, it might become huge.

    One thing confused me though, you say “i’d like to have,” then “If this were built by anyone other than apple, we’d all be laughing at it”. So you'd like to have an item that people would laugh at?

    Ultimately I don't think the debate comes down to whether its Apple or how good this is, its is the table a viable form factor. That'll be the clincher.

  2. I agree – without apps, the iphone would not be where it is today, so it probably is very early to tell how things will pan out…

    what i meant by saying i'd like to have it was that i'd appreciate one if it was given to me (as a present for example). I'd use it for certain things like reading ebooks on a bus or perhaps taking it on holidays rather than a netbook (because of it's form size and battery life).

    but no way could i justify paying $500 for it myself – it just wouldn't be worth it for all i'd use it. Plus i know that if i had a choice between an ipad and a new high spec netbook i'd take the netbook. Same money, but you get much more with a netbook.

Leave a Reply