My Honest Consumer Opinion of the iPad: Who Cares?

I can’t speak for the whole of technology consumers when I say that the Apple iPad, which debuted a few days ago in Apple’s Keynote, doesn’t seem terribly interesting. I’ll admit that I tend to roll on gut instinct when gauging the success of a potential product. I’ve done it as both a member of a startup and a tech industry observer. The question that always bugs me is: If Apple hadn’t set a price at $499, how much would I be willing to pay for such a device?

Maybe $200, and I’m not even sure about that.

The real issue at hand is not me being stingy. It’s me weighing the economical pros and cons of owning such a device over something like a laptop or netbook. What can I get out of something already being billed as “A Giant iPhone?”

I feel as if the iPad is making consumers think “that would be cool to have,” while in the past, the iPod Touch and iPhone Keynote was making people like me practically drool while screaming “I WANT THAT!” In fact, I own an iPod Touch, and it is every bit as spectacular as I thought it would be. But I digress, the point is that I was absolutely convinced that I needed an iPod Touch. It had WiFi built in, a web browser, mp3 player, video player, photo viewer, an endless library of applications, mobile iTunes — the list goes on! The iPad doesn’t offer much more, and it doesn’t fit in my pocket.

I will say this: It was probably the vibe that Steve Jobs was going for in his KeyNote (sitting in a comfortable looking chair with an iPad on his lap), but the iPad would probably make a great coffee table piece. You can pick it up at-will, check your email, surf the web, check the weather, watch videos, and oh — read an ebook. But I’ll be honest, the iPad isn’t going to really compare to a Kindle. The Kindle is easy on the eyes, has three times the battery life, and is easier to handle and take with you.

So you may be thinking, “well Kenny, there have been a lot of positive reviews for the iPad!” I don’t doubt it. In fact, everything that I’ve ever tried that has Apple’s logo on it has been awesome. Macbooks, iPods, Apple II’s, every piece of Apple software ever written (iLife), it’s all fantastic. But there was a certain sect of people that needed those devices or software. I’m just not sure that kind of need exists for the iPad.

It’s kind of like Google Wave. It was kind of cool, and still has a lot of potential. Hell, I was one the the first people signing up for a beta account just because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. But it seems as though the world just doesn’t need it.

Any technology like Wave or the iPad will have its share of mindless early-adopting brand zombies. Some people still insist that Google Wave is really useful and has a shot at changing the innerwebs. I don’t buy that one either, mainly because after I tried it, my instinct asked me, “how does it help me? how can it help you do what you do more efficiently?” I don’t know the answer to that yet, and that’s why I don’t quite believe in it as a product.

Like I said, I don’t speak for every consumer, so I will not truly know how the iPad (or Wave for that matter) will fair. But my own personal reaction to the Apple Keynote was “Hey, you can’t win’em all! They still have other great products. Maybe I’ll start looking into Amazon shares.”

Oh yea, the iPad is already the subject of internet hilarity:

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  • Kunmi

    Hi Kenny,

    I have a codeigniter live broadcasting/ondemand project that may interest you. How do I get the project description to you?

    Kunmi

  • http://www.prettygoddess.com Jennifer Powell

    i am planning to buy an iPad since it looks lighter than a regular desknote and i don not use much of the features of a laptop.`.”

  • http://www.pressure-sensors.org Emily Jones

    iPad is way too cool to own, i wanna buy one next month.,..

  • http://www.sodiumascorbate.org Kyle Griffin

    my girlfriend is going to give me an ipad on my birthday this month.:;~

  • http://www.trikemotorcycleslab.com Isabella Williams

    i gave my girlfriend an ipad and she was very very happy-“

  • Kenny Katzgrau

    One thing I didn’t think of when I wrote this post was the eventual move of traditionally paper media to electonic versions on the iPad.

    I definitely see the iPad becoming a huge player in that — it’s great for the train, coffee shops, around the house etc. The niche is there, and now I can start to hear myself think: I need this.

  • katzgrau

    2.5 years later, I think Apple sold the “want” as opposed to “need” really, really well.