Dear geeks, …
Let’s face it: There are numerous things the iPad does not do. Just as the iPod, it is bound to iTunes. Just as the iPhone, it is a closed environment. It’s Apple that decides what you are allowed to install, it’s not you. There is no stylus and no text recognition. There is multitasking in the iPad – but Apple does not allow third party developers to use it. You can not change the number of applications on the home screen. The iPad does not display your due appointments on its lock screen. There are more things it does not do than things it does do.
If all of these features are that important for a tablet to be capable of, answer me one question: Why don’t you simply buy one of the other tablets that are that much better?
I’ll tell you: Because there are no better tablets out there. There are other tablets, but just like iPod and iPhone, the iPad is the first product of its kind that does the basics right. Doing the basics right is way more important than having fancy features. Unless she’s a geek, your sister does not care about multitasking (“No, I have never seen this Lost-FM you are talking about on my iPod. Mine has no radio build in. Oh, did you know that the iPod continues to play when you close it? Isn’t that exactly what you want it to do?”). She does not care about not being able to install the latest open source tool – she’s happy not to have to ask you to do this install thing once she downloaded this neat-plushy-animals-game. That’s basic for her: Being able to use the features the device provides.
As all Apple devices, iPod, iPhone and Mac, the iPad is not the answer to all questions. It’s the answer to the question: “How can I use these cool new technologies on my couch without having to become a geek?” That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. (Don’t forget: “cool new technologies” means: Web, mail and some games)
It seems to me as if everyone (well: every geek) expected Apple to release this ultra-cool, geek-ready Uber-tablet. Apple does not build geek-gadgets. They build solutions for the main stream users. They always did. And: They are pretty darn good at it. For us geeks, this is a problem: There is no company that builds equally good devices for our needs. Do you think, we should blame Apple for this? I don’t think so.
Oh, and to write it down: I think, from the pure user’s point of view, the iPad is actually the magical, ground breaking revolutionary device that Apple promised. Ask your non-geek-relative!
Update: Also read this answer to my thoughts.