Although I hate to admit it and try to cover my tracks as much as possible, I probably belong in the Apple fanboy camp – at least one of the lower echelons of fanboydom. I’ve owned all three generations of the iPhone. I’ve returned them, exchanged them, passed them on and even sold them when my relationship with each of them reached an anticlimactic end. I waited in line at multiple stores for the iPhone 3G launch in summer 2008. I know, it’s a problem. But after following Apple’s news about it’s “latest creation,” the iPad, I think I’m finally on the road to recovery. Sure, I wish I was in San Francisco for the announcement on Wednesday, just as I was for a few previous Apple press events, but now that I know more about the iPad I’m not convinced I missed much of anything. Apple will undoubtedly sell more of its latest gadget than just about anyone predicts in the short run, but I’m not sure we’ll reach a point where all of our friends have one or wish they had one in the long run.
The iPad is nowhere near as revolutionary as the iPhone or iPod Touch (I’m talking about the leaps in technology those devices made from day one). And I don’t buy the argument about there being any real need for a device that straddles the fence between a mobile device or smartphone and a netbook or fully-featured laptop. Of course, if anyone could succeed with a tablet it would be Steve Jobs. He’s proven that much. The way I see it, the iPad is nothing more than a super-big, super-charged iPod Touch. I love my iPod Touch. It gives me all the iPhone I could ever want without having to deal with all the issues that eventually make me hate the iPhone. Would I like a bigger and faster one? That sounds cool, but if it can’t replace my iPod Touch or netbook, what’s the point? The iPad could replace my iPod Touch, but not if I’m actually going full mobile – you know, moving. It’s just too big for that and clearly not the role it’s trying to play. It could replace my netbook if it supported Flash, for starters, or carried a more robust operating system with full computing capabilities. It’s been a long time since computers couldn’t handle multitasking – running two or more applications concurrently – and yet we still can’t do that in 2010 on an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. That’s just not going to fit the bill. So that leaves the iPad squarely in that middle zone. Plenty of revolutions were born and bred from the middle, but in the world of technology, success almost always rides on an undeniable wow factor. The iPad simply falls short if you’re looking for wow. Lastly, anyone hoping the iPad would be the beginning of Apple’s break from AT&T were sorely disappointed. Apple’s decision to stick with AT&T once again as the exclusive wireless data provider for the 3G-equipped version of the iPad will leave millions of iPhone owners hoping and praying Apple doesn’t sell many of them at all.