Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I didn't pre-order the iPad

You would think that as a boomer trying out new technologies, I would have been an early adopter of the iPad. I've written about this device prior to its availability last weekend and for the most part I've been impressed with all it can do. I reiterate that this is a slate device meant for the rest of us---the non-techies in the world. And I think I would like it. Techies should note: this is a consumer device, and consumers will be judging it. If it answers the question "does it enhance my life or make my life easier?" it will gain traction.

All that being said, I think it's just too expensive right now. In a year, when Apple lowers the price as it has on the iPhone and on the iPod in their time, I will jump on the bandwagon and buy the iPad. And I would guess that a LOT of Boomers will jump on the bandwagon along with me. Even so analysts are suggesting that Apple could sell 5 million of these devices this year at the higher prices.

By the time Apple lowers prices, initial demand will have softened. All the reviews will be out. I'll know if it's really too heavy for happy magazine and book reading. Yes, a lot of us have shoulder and carpal tunnel problems and don't want to hold something in our hands that weighs the 1.5 lbs (iPad) compared to the 10 ounces or so of the Kindle. Also, I'm sure that the device will slim down some by the time the next version comes around. When the iPod first came out it was heavy, compared to today's versions.

I'll know if I really need to spend money for a 3G connection for the device, or if a WiFi connection is good enough for me. I'll have figured out if the virtual keyboard is sufficient for sending out the occasional email or typing in a website address. And Apple will have either provided a USB port and a camera or not, and I'll know if I think this is a deal breaker for the device.

By the time I get to mine, Apple will have time to iron out all the kinks. Some industry observers say there are some problems with charging the battery in the initial version, especially if you have an older computer. You know we Boomers hold on to our computers far longer than the techie types do, so that would concern me.

When I get my iPad, I'll know that many of the applications written for the slate, work on it, and that they will delight me or not. I'll know if the vibrant color touch screen really makes a difference, or if reading on the iPad will be harder on the eyes than reading on the Kindle's E Ink.   Now some reviewers are saying that some applications are grainy or don't take advantage of the iPad's unique features. I'm sure that will change over time.

Of course, the fact that I've made a practical choice doesn't prevent me from wanting this device. So stay tuned, Boomers, because I'm heading over to the Apple store this afternoon. I'm going to stand there and try the iPad out and hope there isn't too long of a line to do the same thing.

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