Those who read my blog know that I’m not an Apple hater. Even with a company name like “GetMorePC,” I was trained on an Apple Power PC back in the 90s by my grandmother, Velma Hendrix. She showed me how to edit documents, create documents, make slideshow and videos, back before I ever really got into PCs, much less PC repair. I regularly repair macs, replacing hard drives and reloading software with the best of them. I have the latest copy of the Apple Operating System, Snow Leopard, and I know how to use it. I even own an iPhone. But there is one new piece of Apple technology that I’m not too terribly fond of because of its lack of a keyboard, incompatibility with iPhone apps, and lame 2nd generation upgrades: The Apple iPad.
Lets start with my experience. I bought an iPad last year when they were still the newest tablet out. I liked the tablet, don’t get me wrong, but I made the mistake of getting the Wi-Fi only model, instead of the 3G. Nothing is more useless and disconnected than an iPad off the Internet. Most of the apps I used were web apps in glorified iOS makeup, so if you go off the internet, prepare for it not to work much. About all I could do was create a document or spreadsheet. Another thing that held me back from my full potential while using it was its onscreen keyboard. I could never get it typing fast like I would a laptop’s keyboard, which made me usually pass over the device if I wanted to do any serious document creating or craft a well-written response to an email. The on-screen keyboard just made me cringe and not even want to use it. I know you can use a Bluetooth keyboard with it, but that’s not a very portable tablet is it? The on-screen keyboard made me feel like I was using a computer with one hand tied behind my back. In the words of Robbie Queener, I could consume media great, but I had a hard time producing media. This might have changed since the release of iMovie and Garageband for iOS, but that has yet to been seen.
Another thing that busted my bubble was the incompatibility with iPhone apps. Now before you Apple fanboys start railing on me, I know you can run an iPhone app on the iPad. This is how it runs, for those of you without an iPad: It runs in a little, tiny, shrunken-down box in the middle of the screen. The box is about what an iPhone would look like if you set it down on the middle of the iPad, if you can imagine that. Its tiny, which isn’t exactly the experience you want from your shiny new tablet computer. Granted, you can expand it to 2X, but then it gets all pixelated and looks like you’re holding a magnify to an iPhone. Also, you don’t get to use the iPad’s keyboard on iPhone apps, but instead you get the little tiny iPhone keyboard, or twice that if you 2X it. That was a real bummer.
Now let me go off on the iPad 2, or the iPad 1.5 as it should be called. First off, they had camera technology when the first iPad came out. Its almost like Apple knew (NO?) they were going to come out with an iPad 2 and purposefully gimped it to screw early adopters, much like they do annually. It used to be the fact that you could buy a piece of Apple technology and have it for 10 years or so. Sure it needed to be maintained and probably upgraded or repaired, but it would still be great. Now Apple has gotten into this one year cycle of re-releasing their new products with a few new bells and whistles and people eat it up! Sorry for the rant, but I’ve been keeping that one bottled up for some time now.
Like I was saying, they had camera technology in the 1800s, for the love of cheese, so they could have put a camera on the iPad 1, but they didn’t. With iPad 2, they didn’t increase the screen resolution, they just made it a little skinnier. Supposedly the battery lasts longer, but they probably just changed the screen to go to sleep in 30 seconds instead of 2 minutes and called it “Genius.” I assure you, this was not the direction I saw this blog post going in, but now I’m into it and I’m feeling good about it. Apple put a new chip in the iPad 2 to make it faster, but nobody complained that the iPad 1 was slow. Besides, Apple has never been a company to impress buyers with its technical specifications; they’ve always left that to the PC owners. Even the cameras they put on the iPad 2 are pretty low resolution cameras, like 1 megapixel for the forward-facing camera. One megapixel. They had one megapixel cameras in the 80s, so again it’s like Apple is holding out on its customers so it can sell them an iPad 3 in a couple of months.
But I’m obviously the lone critic on this stuff. Apple’s stock is way up for this quarter. I sold my iPad to someone who wanted one. I never used it and it sat in the car most of the time. I felt that it was too expensive of a piece of equipment not to use, so I sold it. The tablet I want is a tiny little PC tablet, that will run Quickbooks and Outlook and every other piece of software I use regularly. I don’t want a computer that I’ve got to buy all new software for. I want a PC tablet. This year, 2011, is supposed to be the year of the tablet, but so far, I’m not seeing it. There have been some lack-lustre Google Android tablets come out, but none of them have really impressed the reviewers and some of them are downright broken. Blackberry’s tablet doesn’t even really function without a Blackberry hooked up to it, so they’re obviously going down the wrong road.
Our only hope will be the savior of the past to return. Some small asian manufacturer needs to come out with a fully-functional, PC tablet for an affordable price that runs any software or game. NVidia is experimenting with smaller chips for graphics processing and AMD has started trying to merge its CPUs with its GPUs, promising power savings and graphical-horsepower in a small form factor. Until this happens, the day of the tablet will only be tomorrow. As for now, we’ll have to settle for Apple’s iPad 2, with its dinky camera, onscreen keyboard and App store.