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I won’t be buying an iPad after all.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been in the company of masses of the technorati here at eComm.  Many of them are carrying Apple’s latest gadget – the iPad.  I won’t lie.  iPad is very pretty.  It has definitely caught my eye, and because of delays in delivering the iPad to Canada, I came down here intending to check it out and perhaps… buy one.

Not this trip, I’m afraid.  I’ve seen the iPad, I’ve played with it, and I won’t be buying one… yet.  It just doesn’t do enough for me to justify the expense.

The positives:  I was blown away by its utility as a media consumption device. Books (Apples iBook, and Amazon’s Kindle) were fantastic.  Video was equally incredible, although I was surprised to see that YouTube videos weren’t available in high definition.  Music was wonderful as well, and the newspaper experience on USA Today and the Wall Street Journal was fabulous. Gaming was cool as well.

The negative (yes, there’s one overarching negative) was the keyboard.  The on screen keyboard is a duplicate of the iPhone keyboard – four rows of keys, instead of five.  It eliminates the number keys and many of the punctuation marks, moving them to a secondary pop-up activated by pressing a button like the shift key on the lower left side of the keyboard.  That’s a great solution in the display constrained iPhone environment, which is designed around thumb typing, but a crappy solution on a device the size of the iPad which purports to be able to support touch typists.  You can’t touch type on a non-standard keyboard!

Apple’s failure on the keyboard impacts every content creation application on iPad from email to word processing, presentations and spreadsheets.  Unfortunately, I cannot justify spending $600 on a device solely for content consumption.  Too much of my usage on a portable device is content creation, not consumption.

A big disappointment. I am glad I had a chance to play with it before making a decision to buy.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Dave April 20, 2010, 11:05 am

    Did you consider a bluetooth keyboard? (If the main reason you want to type is "back at the room" when you're travelling, or in meetings perhaps, then Apple's BT keyboard that they force you to take with their deskbound Macs might be small enough to be a travelling keyboard.)

    • Alec April 20, 2010, 12:04 pm

      I have a laptop with a fixed keyboard already. The tablet is interesting because… it doesn't have a keyboard.

      • Zoogue October 10, 2012, 2:50 am

        I do agree with you. It's funny that people buy iPad, then they will buy a keyboard for it. Then why don't buy a laptop instead? :)

  • Colter Ripley May 23, 2010, 10:23 pm

    True, I am sure there could be a lot more improvements in the upgrade version. It may take another year what it will be worth the wait.

  • Virgil Wrape June 16, 2010, 12:09 pm

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  • Jade July 10, 2010, 7:01 am

    I pad is great for use as a map, book, newspaper etc. but I can't see myself using it to type much. If I need to type a lot on the go I'll just use a notebook. Now if the ipad comes out with a detached wi fi keyboard. I may be more tempted to buy. I'd also like Apple to reconsider Flash. Many websites us flash it'd be nice to have access to those.

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