No doubt about it, Apple devices have made a huge impact over the past few years with some amazing innovations, but at what price to our technological intelligence? Apple has swarmed the market with iPods, iPhones and iPads, basically all the same device in a different size (the phone makes calls, but that is about the only main difference). Steve Jobs has decided how the world should use portable devices with his ‘Apps’ and he has done a masterful job at it. Have you ever noticed that nothing ever ‘appears’ to crash on these Apple devices? That is because Steve is quite a good manipulator, he decided that he would pull the wool over our eyes and made it so that when an App on one of his devices has a problem, it just disappears – no warning, no error message, just poof, its gone. This is a great psychological dupe of people. Many people end up thinking that they accidentally closed the app with a bump, swipe, or touch, when in fact the app just crashed due to bad programming by Apple or the Apps maker.
The Apple devices like the iPad have taught us a different way of doing things – and many times that way is harder and more innefficient. Sure, the iPad is a great device for consumption of data, for viewing things, for reading, for surfing the web, but it is quite innefficient at data creation. I have seen many businesses fall for the lure of the iPad, not so much because it helps them, but because of the cool factor (many ‘thought’ it would help them, until they actually tried to use them). Don’t get me wrong, Tablets definitely have a place in business, but it is sad to see someone like a doctor struggle with trying to enter data on an iPad and taking 10 times longer than it would take to sit at the PC that is right there. I almost laugh out loud when I see people trying to use an App clumsily with their fingers that would be so much easier to do on a real computer with a mouse and keyboard. When it comes to using technology efficiently, Apple definitely makes us dumb.
Then of course we have the wonderful Apple marketing machine that has placed Apple devices in Schools wherever they can. This is so the young impressionable ones will see them and want one – and who wouldn’t want a sleek, aluminum body laptop, or all in one with that big Apple logo? Of course no one explains to the kids that learning how to use an Apple won’t get them squat when it comes to applying for a job. Businesses do not use Apple computer’s, they are not made for business, they are not secure, they do not have hardly any business software, and 99% of the worlds businesses run computers other than Apple. A security expert at the latest Black Hat security conference summed up the danger of using Apple’s Server computer in a business environment when he said “once you install OS X Server you’re toast“. Learning how to use a Mac will actually probably hurt students when it comes time to venture out into the business world as they will have to relearn many things. It may be ‘cool’ to have that Apple in class, but cool doesn’t pay the bills.
Now don’t get me wrong – Apple makes excellent quality devices, they pretty much always have (despite their massive exploitation of Chinese workers, but hey, everyone does that <sarc>), it is also true that you have less of a chance of getting malware or a virus on a Mac (not because they are more secure, that myth has been shattered), it’s because people write most viruses today to make money and infecting computers that hold such a small share of the market just isn’t that profitable. The iPad is slick, it has an easy to use interface, and it doesn’t show errors like Android devices (which do tell you when there is an error with the software). The iOS devices have a wealth of apps, which also make a wealth of money for Apple, and you can find an app for just about anything that Steve Jobs will allow you to have, because after all, it appears as if Steve wants people to be dumb when it comes to technology, that is how Apple has made their money.
The iPad 2 is coming, the iPad 2 is coming and it is the greatest thing ever (NOT) – this is what the Steve Jobs hype factory is blowing up our rears, and it is sad to see how many suckers are falling for it. Is the iPad 2 better than the original iPad? Sure it is, it has a better processor, better graphics and ooooooo it now has cameras on it (pretty poor cameras, but if Apple tells us that having the cameras makes it so much better then we must obey and jump up and down with joy ).
The truth is, most of the enhancements are things that most normal people will never notice the difference, nor are the added features ones that people will use more than as a novelty. The performance of the original iPad was pretty good when it came to browsing the limited Web that Steve Jobs allows us to view, and most apps ran pretty good on it. The difference in performance will be noticed by the uber-geek crowd, but not by many others. The cameras are a total joke – the pictures they take look grainy at best, not even high enough quality to post to facebook without people feeling sorry for you for having such a poor camera, and the video capabilities are nothing more than a novelty for most. Sure you can use the ‘cool’ photo software which Steve makes money off of, but do you really want to spend money on an app to edit a crappy looking picture?
The real sad part is the people who are all rushing out so they can have the latest and greatest Apple hype toy are going to be out another wad of cash when the iPad 3 comes out later this year (believe me, the Apple hype machine will start ramping that up as soon as the sales of the iPad 2 level off in a few weeks). If you held off buying an iPad because you were waiting for an iPad 2, you would be much better off waiting until the iPad 3 or better and best, waiting for the new crop of Android tablets which will spank the iPad in so many ways. Steve and Apple may be running way ahead right now, but they are running with their shoes untied and they are headed for a nasty trip and fall!
Then of course is the fact that the iPad 2 still doesn’t support Flash. Steve Jobs is up so high on his high horse that he cannot afford to backtrack and allow Flash on his precious devices, and sorry to tell you Steve, Flash isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, a number of video sites have added the capability for other formats so that you can see limited videos on the iPad, but still a large number of the web’s videos are Flash, as are a huge number of websites. I personally think that it sucks big time that you spend so much money on a device to view the web, and you go to a website and all you see is a box because some company president cannot produce a high priced piece of technology that a cheap $250 walmart special PC can run, or perhaps they can produce such a thing, but his ego is too big to allow it because ‘he’ doesn’t like it. Apple is all about control, controlling everything you do with the product that you bought but they still consider to be theirs.
While the Android devices are still in their infancy, they show promise and I will put my money on them because at least they offer me something that Apple never will – a choice to have things my way! Android phones have already surpassed iPhones and Apple will never regain that lead, and the tablet market is poised to have the same thing happen. Sure, Apple and the iPad have a huge lead, but once again, Apple is offering you a very limited choice (it’s their way or no way), while the Android device market is all about having as much choice as possible. Developers for iPad apps are rapidly jumping ship to Android because they see that there is more potential, and they are not subjected to the huge Apple tax that is imposed upon them.
So go out, get the iPad 2 and look cool to everyone – for at least a few months until the iPad 3 comes out, and the new crop of Android tablets comes out, at which point you are then stuck with yesterday’s cast off which means you aren’t cool any longer (at least in Apple’s eye’s).
Just a note to the fanbois – I own an iPad, and for what it is capable of, it is a great device – not worth the price really, but it does run pretty smoothly. I also own a few Android devices, which while not as smooth are much more versatile in what I can do with them (and they allow me to view everything on the web). The new Xoom tablet has a lot of potential, and at least it has good cameras, the ability to run Flash, and easily allows me to swap files between my computer and it and use these files in any way I want. I can also tether my Xoom easily to my Android phone with bluetooth or wifi hot spot which makes it even more affordable.
While I have personally had an iPad since right after they were released, I still stick to my opinion that although it does have its uses and pluses, it is definitely not worth the money as its shortcomings (such as no Flash support, no USB, no camera, and ATT suck service) make it frustrating to use. Apple did beat a lot of companies to the punch by delivering a working (somewhat) model to market that has been embraced by many, however it was in no way Apple’s idea (look at the Pads in Star Trek for a clue), and there are now many new tablets about to hit the market which promise to deliver things that the iPad just can’t do.
Archos has had tablets out for a while now, and while not receiving the attention of the iPad (mostly due to lack of 3G connectivity), their Android based wifi tablets are pretty cool and are packed with all kinds of cool features such as true HD support, and the ability to use many of the apps from the Android store (in my opinion, a much better option than the overcontrolled and rip-off Apple apps market). RIM (the makers of Blackberry’s) is now entering the fray, and their PlayBook tablet promises to be much more business and enterprise useable – the iPad is just not secure and that is a deal breaker when it comes to being able to really use it in a business setting. The Samsung Galaxy is another new tablet that really shines in terms of features. With 3G, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Android 2.2 OS, front and rear facing cameras, Flash support, HD video support, the Galaxy has many of the things that the iPad currently lacks.
Tablet computers are really designed as consumption devices – they are great for viewing web content, videos, listening to music, etc. They are not the greatest for creating content as it is not very efficient to type on them, nor do they have the precise control which many computer applications need. That being said, I think that tablet devices are certainly going to explode across the market as people WANT consumption devices. They will not replace computers as creation devices, but they will certainly find a place in many people’s technology device arsenal as consumption devices.
My advice for those thinking about a Tablet is to wait a bit to see the what the upcoming crop of tablets will bring – iPads are just too overpriced and limited, and the non 3G tablets are likewise limited in the sense that you can only use them in wi-fi areas. There are sure to be tablets that will use Verizon here in Pensacola, or another wireless 3G or 4G provider other than ATT which has some serious issues in Pensacola (I hate the constant dropped 3G signals on the iPad).