Why Are People Buying iPads?

I really don't understand why and how can someone give $500 for an iPad. OK, it looks fancy. Apple finally started investing into designers. And it's a great idea, that tablet that is all touch sensitive screen, capable of doing many things. 

But there all the nice stops. The rest of the truth is: iPad is a shiny crap. With a promise of even crappier future. 

With all the marketing around and all the people wanting it so badly, there's hardly any need to tell you about iPad's specifications and features. It's slim, has multi-touch screen, connects to the Internet, has four buttons, blah, blah. It's doesn't do multitasking though.

Wait! What? You can't run two applications at the same time? You can't listen the music while you're browsing the web or typing a blog post? Nor you can have chat client while anything else is running? For five hundred dollars? Are you kidding me?

iPad promo eventphoto by Matt Buchanan

Truth to be told, they have promised the update of the system in a couple of months so one can run more than one app at the time. But I had multitasking on my computer some twenty years ago. I'm pretty much used to it. Releasing a computer (iPad is a computer) without multitasking in 2010 is just weird. 

But that is just a half of the story. There is something much worse. iPad won't let you install and run applications that are not approved by Apple. Steve Jobs explained that by security reasons. Apple keeps the control of the software so there's no malware and no viruses. But that's a bullshit. They are also controlling the content your iPad can display. That's like buying a TV but manufacturer decides which channels you may watch on it. Once again, there's an "it's for your good" explanation

We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone … Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone.

Moral responsibility my ass. Steve Jobs is selling safety. And making competition look dirty. He's counting on parents that doesn't want their kids to see nipples. And for that reason, he will censor many media that has occasional nudity image. There is profit in the safety. 

And there is even more profit in controlling the media and software. And Steve knows that. 

I'd like to remind you of Apple's advertisement for Macintosh, computer that had multitasking and terrible design


Nice, eh? That was aired in January 1984. In the meanwhile, Steve learned a few lessons about business. Most important one that smashing Big Brother's face is a great first step if you plan to become Big Brother. 


  • Some people are buying an iPad because it's a very handy lightweight portable computer that's more convenient than the MacBook Air (and has a longer battery life) and has a larger screen than the iPhone.  This is very useful for commuters who spend an hour or more on a train each direction every day to and from work and would like to be online getting work done, or business travelers who spend a lot of time on flights and need to minimize carry-on luggage.  So that's why people are buying them, beyond the cachet of a new shiny toy to play with.
    That said, you're absolutely right about the absurd amount of control Apple is exerting over the device and over the iPhone.  I'll point out that this is nothing new: Apple has always been this way, just with hardware, and Apple was small so no one cared.  Whereas Windows was permissive and could run on many different kinds of hardware, Apple could only run on Apple hardware (*after Steve Jobs came back to the company…that's a tangent I'm not going to go down).  This difference allowed Windows to gain a far greater market share, because you could have a HP computer or a Dell computer or a Gateway computer or a computer you built in your basement and it could run Windows…but if you wanted MacOS, you bought an Apple computer.  The benefit to Apple was that if you bought an Apple computer, it worked.  And if you bought peripherals, they worked.  If you bought a Windows computer, you had to download drivers for your peripherals and sometimes the drivers didn't work and sometimes you got corrupt .dll files and you had to go into the registry and you were like wtf this sucks why am I even bothering?
    So that long digression is why Apple is being so insane about the App Store: it's what it's always done, it's just doing it with software instead of just hardware now.  It's also why it's keeping Flash off the iPhone and iPad: Flash lessens Apple's control over apps.
    I think the mess over the App Store is just a symptom of Apple's bigger problem, which is that it's been the underdog so long it doesn't know how to behave like a powerful company.  It's relying too much on the goodwill of geeks who've been with it since the ][e, and that goodwill is rapidly leaving as Apple becomes a vertically integrated behemoth.  And that's sad.

  • That compact device with big screen and 10 hours battery is indeed a nice device. I want something like that! But I'll wait until there is something I can install Linux on it :)
    Apple was always strict about their hardware. But it's a huge leap from controlling hardware so the machines work nicely to banishing porn so they can trash Android around :) Especially when that extends to controlling all the media one can browse. It's weird. 

  • Charging 500$ for something that doesn't have multitask is just rude. 

  • Why? 26 years ago Macintosh with multitasking was five times more *grins*

  • One thing I have to mention is that you can play music while browsing the internet or writing a blog post. I wasn't sure how nice the iPad was going to be until I used it. I don't think of it as a computer replacement. I have a very nice iMac that I use when I want a regular computer experience. But, as a writer, I love the portability of the iPad. It is light and easy to carry around. I can browse the internet and write a blog post and even work on my novel. If I want multi-tasking power, I use my desktop.

  • I stand corrected on the multitasking issue. iPad really runs some selected apps in the background. But only those selected by Apple. I don't think about iPad as a desktop, or even laptop, replacement, but this seriously limits its usability to only what Apple thought it should be. And it is quite unfair towards third party developers. Also, it might be seen as an another form of censorship beside the one upon content, that is really outrageous. 

  • You miss the obvious.  Why people pay for this device despite it not multitasking (disregarding that it will soon enough): those people don't care about multitasking on that device.  And why should we?
    You care about it?  Great; don't buy it.  But don't tell someone else they are wrong to buy it.  In fact it currently meets my requirements just fine.  Of course I also have a PC that I use for more serious computing purposes.  But just because full multitasking is pretty much necessary on a personal computer, it doesn't make it necessary for every person on every internet-aware device.
    As for restricting content; again, I don't care.  I have no problem finding and using apps that do everything I want the device to do.  If it doesn't do something you want, again, don't buy it, but don't tell me not to.  If you are a developer that doesn't like the restrictions, don't develop for it; but don't tell other developers not to.
    The assumption that everyone who has different requirements or ideals to you is somehow "wrong" is every bit as obnoxious as the practices you ascribe to Apple.

  • I'm not saying "don't buy it". For all I care, you can pay 500$ for an empty tin can with Apple's logo on it. I'm sure many people would do that. That's the power of marketing.
    But I should ask people not to buy iPad. not because of the multitasking. If you don't need it, that's fine, though I still find it weird for a computer not  to have it in 2010. But app censorship is a serious precedent. And it is against net neutrality. Which is something that we all benefit from. It's a common good, like any freedom is. Buying iPad is actually supporting big companies' (not only Apple's) control of the media we share. And that is not good. Please, think out of your own backyard. because, your own backyard is a part of the much bigger world. 

  • Content blocking has absolutely nothing to do with net neutrality!  Net neutrality is a protocol level assumption about how IP traffic is directed through internet routers, nothing to do with what apps run on which devices.  The absense of net neutrality prevents businesses from getting traffic without "buying" the right to neutral (or preferential) routing.  I am a strong believer in net neutrality.
    Apple's content blocking prevents iPads from running certain applications.  It does not prevent anybody from doing anything they want; they just don't get to do it on an iPad.  Apple's content blocking does not prevent any developer from developing a killer app; they just don't get to put it on the iPad.
    I agree that Apple's ability to block an app at the very final stage of development is shabby towards the developer; but my reaction to that would be just to not develop for that platform.
    By choosing the iPad, I declare what sort of content is important to me.  It does not define what sort of content is available to other people.  My use of an iPad does nobody any harm, so please do not offend me and many others by suggesting that it does; particularly by invoking the unrelated concept of net neutrality!

  • if an end machine discriminates content that can be achieved over the net, then it works against the principles of net neutrality. But let's put that aside. 
    It's true that Apple doesn't prevent people to develop and use any kind of apps on non-Apple machines. But it does enforce strict control what's going to be run on the Apple. And by buying Apple you declare that you don't mind a corporate control the software you run and the media you consume. 

  • No – net neutrality merely says that the way internet traffic is routed through the internet should not be dictated by the service providers.  It is an infrastructural question.  It has absolutely nothing to do with what content is usable on a particular device.  If I sound harsh, it is because by mentioning this, you really demonstrate that you don't understand the concept well enough to be dictating it to others.
    To make it clearer.  Let's say you have a flash web-store operated from your garage.  Net neutrality does not state that all internet devices must be able to run flash.  It means that when a potential customer types your web-store's address into their browser, their ISP should not route that traffic through low-priority routers.  That would affect your ability to do business with that customer.
    As for your second paragraph; yes, that is true.  I do not mind.  You do, so don't buy an iPad.  But do not tell me that I am doing the world harm by taking that view.  I am not; Apple do not hold a monopoly, so the consumer is free to choose an alternative should they have a problem with the way Apple does business.

  • Once again, I am not dictating anything here. I am suggesting that people are too easily go with first steps in censorship and that that is against the ICT community. That's all. I am aware that some people don't mind about freedom and also that there are some that enjoy lack of it. 

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