Thursday, April 01, 2010

The new iPad. So what is it? Is it any good?

Looking at the iPad From Two Angles
In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday.

“This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?”

“This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!”

Those are some pretty confident critiques of the iPad — considering that their authors have never even tried it.

In any case, there’s a pattern to these assessments.

The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people. Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.

Read the first one if you’re a techie. (How do you know? Take this simple test. Do you use BitTorrent? Do you run Linux? Do you have more e-mail addresses than pants? You’re a techie.)

Read the second review if you’re anyone else. [...]

Read the rest for the two reviews, it will give you the essentials you probably want to know.

I won't be buying one. I think the concept is fine; we are going to be seeing a lot more of such hand held internet "devices" in the future. And since this is new, there are bound to be some glitches or drawbacks. But I find Apple products generally to be over-rated, and over-priced. I prefer hardware that's more generally available using generic off-the-shelf parts, and software that's less restrictive and proprietary.

That may put me in the "Techie" category the reviewer is talking about. So be it; that works for me. If other people want to go gaga over this, it's their business. I'm not saying that Apple products are awful; just that they are too limiting and too expensive for my tastes and needs. To each his own.

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