Monday, April 5, 2010

iReiterate: I Do Not Need an iPad

Yeah, yeah, You've heard me winge about the iPad here before. But thanks to Slate and Kevin Kelleher, I have more fuel with which to craft a much more informed winge.

First of all, Kelleher says, yup, it's an oversized iPhone. Do not want. But then goes into the pap about how the iPad "may well reshape the way we use the Web, write for the Web, and even think about computers as interfaces for creating and consuming content." Yawn. Read Cory Doctorow here about the creating content thing -- not that I'd ever write an app, mind you, nor have a need to do so. But as a writer, I've got to say these tiny little interfaces don't lend themselves well to writing. And don't get me started on using teh voice capability to record my writerly thoughts. First, those parts of my brain do not connect. Secondly, I'd be talking to a hunk of glass and silicon among people who sort nuclear waste and/or operate heavy equipment for a living. They already think I'm a loon because I chuckle at Star Trek -- The Animated Series on my iPod Touch. Not good for long-term mental or physical fitness.

But his have-to-have apps that make the iPad worth getting? Uhhhh . . .

First, iBooks. Sure. A portable library sounds great. I mean, I brought three books with me to work today, weighing down that briefcase. But these books are already paid for, and cheaply, thanks to my perusing the shelves at the local thrift store. I don't read the newest best-sellers. And though iBooks is free, the iBooks in them ain't. Yes, I have physical book storage problems at home. But at least I can carry them one at a time and loan them out if I want to.

Second, Kindle software. Really? I guess if you're an e-book junkie and already have several for the Kindle, then, yeah. But I don't. So, once again, a must-have is a really?

Third, Netflix. Oh goody -- another way to get me to pay for content that I don't really need on a hand-held device, especially since streaming video only works if you're in constant contact with a cell phone or wi-fi network. I'm too cheap for the data plans, so the videos I watch on the iPod Touch are ripped and uploaded. Netflix is a fail for me.

Fourth, Pandora. Yippee! Free music, and from all over the world. Too bad you need that wi-fi or data connection. And too bad you can't multitask apps. . .

Fifth, BBC. Finally something we agree on. But again, I go up against that wi-fi/sata plan barrier. I have a 178-mile round-trip commute to work every day. Only the first 15 feet are covered by my home network. No data plan for me, I don't need to chuck money down a rathole every month any more than I do for the aforementioned home network.

Sixth, Twitterific. Maybe, just maybe, if I got more personal Tweets than invitiations to MLM sites, I might be convinced Twitter is a most excellent place to be. I'm getting there. Not enough, however, for the blah blah rathole. Part of that is my fault, I know; I don't put enough into Twitter to get good stuff out of it. Maybe that will change. Not enough, however, to make me pay for a constant Twitter feed as I'm trundlign along among the sagebrush going to and from work.

Seventh and Eighth, New York Times and National Public Radio. Meh and Meh. I can get all that on the Internet if I want it. Which isn't all that often.

Ninth, the Weather Channel. Seriously? Seriously? Scraping the bottom of that app barrel, yes?

Tenth, The Wall Street Journal. Meh times three. And I have to subscribe? So twentieth century.

Addendum: More reading here, from Clay Chirky, about how complex business models (apps from only one source, namely the iTunes store, yes) often fail not because they can't adapt, but because they won't.

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