Sunday, 30 May 2010

When am I getting an iPad?

Not only is the Apple iPad selling everywhere in Australia, but I have also seen it in the flesh while touring Chadstone today. And not only did I see it in the flesh, I saw it held up against a Borders Kobo eBook reader (the one I talked about here). So, what do I make of them?
First, let me make it clear: the iPad is a very drool inducing gizmo. It just looks wow. The Kobo is not far behind, although its black & white display does reduce its sex appeal; that said, it should be an incredible way to read given that with all its size (a very thin paperback) it can carry north of a thousand books.
Still, I prefer to wait before buying either. I have already explained why I'm not jumping the eBook bandwagon yet (here and here); further investigations re eBooks availability in Australia clearly indicate one should wait until publishers decide how they're going to play the game and catch up with the technology that's already here.

Things are slightly different with regards to the iPad. The iPad could be a revolution to the way we use computers simply because of the full interaction you have with the screen: you don't press buttons on the side, you just mess about with the screen. Add to that the fact it's always ready for action and just works, and the bonus of not having to worry about viruses and such (yet), and you got quite an appeal from quite a sexy gadget. Probably the sexiest.
Yet I am not getting the iPad. It's mostly because I do not want to take part in the great big dictatorship that Steve Jobs is running as he and his empire attempt to dictate to me what I should have access to and what I should not.
Look at how Apple has limited the iPad. Sure, it has web surfing facilities, but without Flash support you are severely limited: no film clips either than YouTube, plus a very limited ability to music from the web. Instead, you are directed to the Apple app store, where you can get any of the two hundred thousand plus applications that Apple has kindly approved for you to use. Each of these apps is like a perimeter enclosed private property where you do whatever you like; the trick is, the apps need to acquire Apple's approval first, and Apple has its standards.
Steve Jobs won't let you watch porn through his apps. Nor would he let you use apps that may offend people. Now, how the hell do you define what porn is and what material offends people? Well, you just have to trust Apple! They know what's good for you! Say what you will, I have full trust in my own ability to tell what's good or bad for me. As for all the hypocrites who nod their head at the exclusion of porn, please look yourself in the mirror when you do that to see your nose getting longer. Or any other part of your body.
The iPad comes with its own built in morality police. It lacks USB connections. It lacks a webcam. I'm sure I'd love to use it, as limited as it is, but why should I spend so much money on it - as drool inducing as it is - when I know that the likes of Google will come up with an equivalent device shortly, free of Apple's dictatorship? It won't have all the eBooks the iPad will have access to through the Jobs empire, but it will be open source (ala Android) and Linux based (no viruses, instant operation ala the iPhone and the iPad).
The way things are, if Jobs wants me to get an iPad, he should cut its price levels where I wouldn't need to think twice. He won't, because at the moment they're selling faster than suicidal Chinese can make them. Sure, I have my concerns about the morality of buying Apple, but I admit: if the iPad was selling for $200, any ethical concerns I might have would just disappear as I dash to the nearest dealer.

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