None for me, thank you

So the ridiculously hyped iPad was announced today. Brooke and I are interested in getting an eReader (specifically, a Nook), but I wanted to see what this Apple Tablet was all about before I pulled the trigger on the eReader. You know, just in case this thing turned out to be as revolutionary as the all the tech blogs said it would be.

It's not.


Now I'm not "drinking the haterade" as my friend put it, because I am impressed with the device, it just doesn't make sense to me. It's an extra large iPod Touch, awkwardly filling the gap between convenient gadget, and productive mobile computer. I think it's great, but it's not for me. If you have a smart phone and a laptop, I'd wager it's not for you either, especially if your phone and laptop are made by Apple.

Overall, I'd say the iPad is not revolutionary, but evolutionary. Our culture seems to be obsessed with owning gadgets that can do everything--It's not enough to have a phone, it has to microwave your pizza too--and the iPad fits in with that, in fact it pushes that idea further. If you're just a casual computer user, this could be right up your alley. It does everything you could want it to do. Throw a phone in there (if they have a Skype or Google Voice app, you could probably use it as a phone) and it would be a perfect all-in-one device for someone like my mother-in-law. No program installs, no plugs, there's not even a keyboard or mouse; it's a dream come true for your tech illiterate uncle.

Personally, If I'm going to drop $830 (that's about the price of the high-end model), I want it to do everything I need it to do, and it can't do that. Here's my break down:

As an eReader, it wins for color and multi-touch functionality, but loses for battery life (just 10 hours, compared to 10 days with the Nook or 14 with the Kindle). As a laptop, it wins for accessibility and the bajillions of apps already available, not to mention the integration with iTunes and the app store, but it loses on the account that it can't run the programs I need--Adobe Creative Suite, MS Office, etc.--plus it doesn't have any of the connections I need--USB, DVD, a monitor input for my graphic tablet, a web camera, etc. As a mobile device it wins for simple portability and usability, but loses because, well, it's huge compared to a phone running the same apps.

I think this is a good step forward for mobile computing, and I'm interested in what next year's model will have (built in camera? better battery life? wider screen?). But I have a laptop, a sweet desktop computer I bought back in June, and soon I'll have an Android-powered smart phone. For me, there's no logical reason to own one of these.* So it looks like we'll be getting that eReader after all, even if the only thing it does is (gasp) store thousands of books for my reading pleasure.

*I wrote that sentence to quiet the completely illogical tech geek part of my brain that's drooling over this thing.

UPDATE--Surprisingly, Gizmodo (a huge iPad hype generator the last two weeks) put up a post called the 8 Things That Suck About The iPad. Some of their reasons are kind of flimsy, but the lack of multi-tasking and flash support are pretty damning for a device that's supposed to replace your netbook.