Why I AM going to get the iPad 15

A week ago I wrote about my concerns about the new Apple tablet and why I might not buy it. Well, today Apple announced the iPad and while I still have questions, I will place my order as soon as they open up the doors. So a few initial thoughts (I was on the road all day, so this is mostly second hand and from Apple’s site rather than from watching a shaking video of the actual announcement). Let’s start with the positive.

What it does.

Everything the iPhone/iPod Touch does (aside from calls) with a bigger screen. That means reading PDFs, books (including the new “iBooks” software similar to the Amazon Kindle), and all my current iPhone software such as BibleReader from OliveTree and of course music and movies on a 9.7″ screen (that’s bigger than the original Mac’s screen).

And more. There is a “near full size” onscreen keyboard that will allow you to type with two hands and, one of my concerns, a keyboard dock allowing you to type with a real keyboard. This would be good, but incomplete with the current set of apps available…but Apple also announced newly programmed versions of the iWork apps for the iPad (at $9.99 a piece, I believe). This moves the iPad from a neat media device into a productive tool. Still no Hebrew (so far as I know) but given the ability to also project from the iPad, well that is nice! In other words, with an additional cable you can project your Keynote presentations (and presumably movies, etc.) from the iPad itself.

So why am I so enthusiastic about getting one?

It is not just that I am open about being an unapologetic Apple fan. I do not buy everything Apple makes and I don’t believe that they are always right or even headed in the right direction. As I said several weeks ago I was beginning to consider getting an Amazon Kindle DX. I have lots of PDFs to read, such as all of the articles I gathered for research, and the size makes the Kindle great for traveling, something I do quite a lot of nowadays.

The Apple iPad is now here and is the same size screen as the Kindle DX, is the same price, and yet does…oh, about 100 times more than the Kindle.1 So not only can I browse the web in a real web browser (not an “experimental” one), but it is in full color, plays movies, email, twitter, AIM, banking, maps, iPhoto, games, you get the idea.

So for the price of the Kindle DX2 I get a machine that will replace my MacBook Pro for 98% of my travels and out-of-office use.

A few negatives or  unanswered questions.

In fact, there are only two things I do regularly that it appears the iPad will not allow me to do: Accordance Bible software (far more than what BibleReader offers, but word is they too are working on an iPhone app) and writing in Hebrew/Aramaic, usually using NisusWriter Pro. That is not too shabby for a device that many were expecting to simply be a “media delivery device.”

UPDATE: Steve Caruso pointed out below that Hebrew input already exists on the iPhone! I just tried it out so assuming Pages will allow Hebrew input the iPad will do 99% of what my MBP can do.

The biggest open question in my mind is file management. The iPhone OS is locked down so when I create my document in Pages, where is my document stored? How do I move those files around, backup, etc.?

That closed OS brings me to one of the first “why the iPad will fail” posts that I have seen, thanks to a referral from my brother. Tim presents “a case against the iPad” which consists primarily of the fact that the iPad uses the iPhone OS and the iTunes store model, all closed. This, he argues, is a backwards model and is bound to fail, not to mention, goes against the Zeitgeist of openness. It seems that while this may be a case against his buying the iPad, I don’t think it is a serious case against its success. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Case closed. But if that closed system meets your budget, does everything (or enough) you want it to do, then what is the problem? There are any number of other Windows or, more open, Linux based net-books and slates, so let the market decide.3

Will the iPad transform the market? Yes, I think it will. Not by taking over the market, Apple will probably never sell more than 15% or so of the market, but their presence in the market will force other manufacturers to make better devices to keep up. And to meet the demand from people like Tim, who prefer open to well-integrated.

As for me? Well, look for my unboxing video in 60-90 days.

  1. You can even get the iPad with 3G, but it is $130 more. I will not be getting that. []
  2. Admittedly, I will be paying more because I will get a higher end model, but the base price is still comparable. []
  3. He adds an addendum pointing out a “glaring flaw” which is the omission of standard ports. This, he says, is “totally unacceptable for a device that aims to largely displace my laptop.” Except that is explicitly not what Apple intends it to be. Yes, it will likely replace many MacBooks out there, but by not including ports and basing it on the iPhone OS and not the Mac OS is part of Apple’s strategy to create a new niche, between the iPhone and MacBook. Time will tell if it is successful. []

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15 thoughts on “Why I AM going to get the iPad

  • flopPad

    Hello…that is why laptop screens should be closed and even tablet PCs with swivel screens need to be closed for protection… Apple should be ready in the large amt of cracked screens for repair haha. good luck!

  • Steve Caruso

    My money would be on Hebrew support out of the box, or fairly soon thereafter. It’s already fairly well integrated on iPhone OS (at least well-enough integrated for my everyday needs).

    I’m probably going to get my hands on one to play around with at an Apple Store first before considering the investment; however, I cannot deny that seeing it in motion makes the small part of shameless Mac-addict within me rather giddy.


    • Chris Brady Post author

      I was thinking more about that last night. I know Hebrew is possible, BibleReader has it, but I do not know how to enable the iPhone so that I can write in Hebrew myself, say in Notes. Do you?

      • Cameron Willis

        You would need to write an app for this, but theoretically you could ‘intercept’ each keystroke and replace it with your mapped Hebrew unicode character. This would mean a separate repository for your Hebrew notes, but within the app you should be able to switch between Hebrew, English and other entry modes, you may not get rtl text direction though, not sure. I know unicode works because I use it in my flashcard program all the time.
        Looking forward to the unboxing video Chris, and to living vicariously through you! 🙂

  • Steve Caruso

    There already exists a Hebrew keyboard for the iPhone, you just need to activate it in the System panel.

    Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards

    And Hebrew’s about half way down the list. To swap between keyboards, you’ll notice a new key appear to the left of the space bar that looks like a little globe. Give that a tap and you’ll cycle through the ones you have active.

    It’s been especially handy to use, and I’ve re-written parts of my translation delivery system to take full advantage of it.

    Now if they could only get Syriac on it. 🙂


  • Allen Watson

    I absolutely agree with you, Chris. I do see some shortcomings in the iPad, though, compared to either a laptop or iPhone/iPod Touch. 1) I will NOT carry it with me everywhere, as I do my Touch. So I won’t have my contacts with me, or access to the web, and so on. 2) It has no camera.

    I don’t carry a camera now, most of the time, so no biggie, but if I get an iPhone (which I’m considering if they are offered by Verizon), I will have a camera, and that may sway me. And I really can’t see myself buying both an iPhone and an iPad…and having two data plans. So, it may come down to a choice between the iPhone and the iPad for me. I’ve gotten along with a cheapo Motorola phone for well over a year, and don’t feel deprived…but I carry the Touch as well.

    I’m going to investigate that hint you gave about Accordance on the iPhone OS; that would be a huge plus for me.

    • Chris Brady Post author

      Allen, one does not have to purchase the iPad with 3G or, it appears, even turn on the 3G if you have it. I do not think that I will purchase it with 3G. (And if AT&T would ever make good on their promise to allow tethering through the iPhone one wouldn’t have to!) I already have an iPhone and I will continue to carry that with me everywhere, but it is just too small to do any serious writing on it. The iPad, on the other hand, looks to be a reasonable replacement for my MacBook Pro. No, it doesn’t do everything that I do on a computer, but it does almost everything I do on a computer while on the road.

      As for the lack of camera, I do find that odd. I do not do a lot of video conferencing but I would have thought a front facing camera in the iPad would have been standard. Perhaps they are leaving a justification for an upgrade?

      Until Accordance for iPhone is out please do check out BibleReader for iPhone. It is tremendous! Well, at least if you are simply dealing with the biblical text (it parses the Hebrew and Greek for you and links to their lexicons!), but Accordance in the Mac OS allows me access to dozens (hundreds really) of additional texts. I wouldn’t want all of those on the iPhone, but perhaps on the iPad…

  • Drew Tatusko

    i really do crave a digital reader for all of those pesky articles that stack up and make a clutter. here’s my issue. i need to be able to underline and make notes by hand. it’s a good habit and i’m not fond of changing it. if the iPad could multi-task and do that, i would be game. i usually wait for a market to differentiate, then have all the slackers get killed off for something better. i was using a toshiba portege tablet a couple of years ago with pdf annotator which made research sooo much easier. but i was not a big fan of the slowness of the pen and all of the issues with it’s accuracy. if we can get a system to converge the apple or android touch screen with a pdf/document/presentation annotator like the smart board software, i am totally sold.

  • Antony Watts

    But the iPad does have a port! Its called WiFi and I hope they do most things wirelessly, like discovering Bonjour printers and printing to them. Like discovering Airport Express and streaming music to them. That would cover my needs.