The few who’ve managed to touch the iPad so far seem pretty much sold on it. Fox News’ Clayton Morris, for one, can’t wait to get his hands on it. But I’m not sold yet. Maybe I will be once they appear in stores and I can try one out for myself. But until then, I have a few specific problems with it that lean me on the “not buying” side of the fence.
1) No camera, ergo, no video chat. How *great* would this have been as a Star Trek-style communications pad? Unfortunately, this is a hardware limitation and would require a whole new revision of the product in order to solve. I do believe the iPad will eventually have a camera, and I think there’s a bit of disappointment amongst all the Apple fanboys and fangirls that it doesn’t have one now. (Still don’t get the purpose of a microphone with no camera in this day and age. Strikes me as really strange.)
2) Perhaps there will be a third-party solution to the camera thing, but that brings up a separate point. What is still not known is Apple’s degree of allowance regarding hardware expansion devices. They, themselves, have come up with several add-on devices that connect through the dock port: a card reader, a USB-adapter (again, for connecting a camera), and a mechanical keyboard. But their control over the dock port has been extremely tight on the iPhone and iPod Touch to this point, so I’m not optimistic that they’ll be any more open on the iPad. Hopeful, but not optimistic.
2) No multitasking. Frankly, multitasking on the iPhone/iPod Touch doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. There’s just not the screen real estate to run applications side-by-side, so you can really only do one thing at a time anyway. True, there’s the whole issue of background notifications that was a thorn in the side of IM client writers, among others, for a long time, but Apple essentially addressed that using push notifications. And yes, I would really, really like to listen to Pandora while web surfing on the iPhone and I can’t do that now. Those things can (and should!) be fixed.
But the iPad is a different story. How great would it be to have on one half of the screen some sort of ESPN or NFL app listing all the scores and stats, in real time, of games in progress, and in the other half of the screen your Twitter client of choice where you can carry on a conversation lamenting how your team can’t get it done in the red zone? (Forgive me, I’m a Redskins fan.) On the sleek form-factor of an iPad, without bulky keyboards to take up space, well *that* would rock.
And *that* could be solved in software. The next round of Apple rumors is likely to involve iPhone OS 4.0, and whether multitasking will be unveiled.
So I’m in “wait and see” mode. I still love the idea, I’d just like to see some of these issues addressed before I send in my preorder.