The Big Yawn
A year ago when the iPad premiered, I was very skeptical and even scoffed at it. As pretty as it was, touting all the bells and whistles that made the audience and ultimately the whole world drool and clamor for one, I just wasn’t impressed. Never mind that it was costly or that the data plan was attached to AT&T’s much criticized (and justly so) network, people wanted an iPad and they wanted it now!
I am not an Apple hater. I love their products and I think Steve Jobs is brilliant at employing extremely smart individuals that make his “magical” products. I’ve owned two iPods (classic) and ditched my Dell desktop for a Mac Pro five years ago. I jumped ship from Verizon years ago and got myself an iPhone 3G and then later a 3Gs when the iPhone 4 premiered (I’m not an early adopter of anything). For work, I refused my company’s Lenovo laptop and opted to purchase my own 15″ Macbook Pro which I use exclusively for work. Just last year on a whim, I purchased an AppleTV to simply display pictures for my family on my TV without any hassles. This surprisingly little $99 box proved to be the best thing I purchased for my HDTV.
Am I an Apple fanboy? Hardly. I just look at what’s out there and do my research and then make an informed decision. For example, I wanted an eReader so I settled on Barnes & Noble Nook. Then I wanted the color version so I got the Nook Color. It was a much better experience but I felt that the ball was dropped in some aspects of that eReader and the makers should’ve enabled more functionality in it. It’s a perfect eReader but I wanted a little something more.
Now enter the iPad 2. Like I said, I expressed no interest in the first one so I was very unfazed with the introduction of the cameras, faster processors and slim design. It just wasn’t a radical change from the previous one. It’s as if they purposely held back these features to ultimately milk the masses. I was looking for a micro SD card slot. The Macbook Pro has an SD card reader, why not the iPad? Oh, that’s right. The milking aspect. I thought that Steve Jobs would stick his finger up at Amazon by introducing a non-glare screen option. Nope. Maybe in the next one. How about an HDMI out port? Ah, they have AppleTV for that. And you, the poor consumer who didn’t invest in AppleTV, there’s a $39 cable that’s offered, thus adding more money to their already full coffers.
Apple didn’t create the tablet market. It was here years ago (I remember having a clunky Toshiba tablet running Windows). What they did manage to do was create innovations that made their tablet better, more accessible and stylish. They reinvented it and now other companies are coming out of the woodwork showing what they can do. Competition is a good thing so I am hoping for bigger and better things from other companies.
My buddy came over a couple of months ago with his first generation iPad and showed it off to me, citing it’s robust features. “Meh. It’s just an oversized iPhone. No thanks,” I said with complete disinterest.
Then he proceeded to show me news apps like USA Today, CNN and a few others. My interest was piqued. Then on a whim, I sent several PDF books to his Dropbox and watched as he opened them.
I was drooling.
I love my Nook and I have loaded many of my own PDF files I’ve collected through the years; manuals, magazines and even books. They look great on the Nook despite the sluggish performance but they looked phenomenal on his iPad! In mere minutes I had wrestled that device from his hands and I think I squealed like a giddy little school girl. I saw that there was a Nook app available on the iPad so that pretty much solidified my stance: I wanted one! I folded like a cheap suit and I had no shame in that.
Fast forward several months and I find myself standing in line at Best Buy in the Palisade Mall in Nyack, NY. There’s a big Apple store in this mall but I opted for Best Buy instead: I wanted to add points to my Best Buy Rewards account and I just knew that the lines would be shorter. The lines at the Apple store inside the mall was at least 400 strong according to eyewitness reports from those on the Best Buy line. I got there early and saw that there was a small line around 4:00 pm with about 20 people ahead of me. The people there were very friendly. We talked about technology in general, hacks and shared tips on jail-breaking iphones.
About 4:30 a Best Buy employee walked down the line with flyers, asking each of us what we wanted. As we made our choices, he handed us our “golden tickets” to the iPads. Many at the end of the line were turned away as he ran out of specific models. That was a heartbreaker. Apparently Best Buy didn’t keep a high amount of iPads in stock like Apple did. I chose the 16 GB Wi-Fi model. I got the 4th out of 5 available models in black. Nearing the cash register, employees tried to push their own covers, stylus, and protection plans. I batted all away like pesky flies. I debated over the magnetic covers and finally settled for the gray one.
The items were placed in a plastic see-through Best Buy bag. I didn’t want to advertise that I had purchased an iPad 2 (with the fanaticism over Apple products, I didn’t want to become a crime statistic – thugs want their iPads too) so I wasn’t happy with that choice in bags.
Two days later I am happy to say that I made a wise choice in getting this iPad. I justified the purchase by saying to myself that I will share it with my soon-to-be 9-year old daughter. Who am I kidding? Although it’s my purchase she totally hogs it all up. I figured I get it for the both of us and when Apple comes up with the third iPad (with far better features) next year, she can have this model.
The key to the iPad’s success is in the Apps. Plain and simple. I have revisited some iPhone apps on the iPad and they look stunning. Some haven’t ported over to the iPad yet but it’s only a matter of time. I love the various news apps . I’m currently trying out the two week demo of The Daily and it’s not bad. At $39.99 a year though, I can save my money and continue getting my news from various sources online and on CNN. I love my purchased Nook books (anyone want an almost brand new Nook Color?) and how they look on the iPad. My PDF files look amazing. I love the iPad as an eReader. This was my primary reason for purchasing it. My daughter loves the games and photo booth. I plan to purchase some educational apps for her.
I travel quite a lot every week so the addition of the camera on the iPad is now a plus. Communicating with my daughter on away trips is priceless. She always had access to my Mac Pro (love the parental controls!) but now with the iPad, she doesn’t have to mess with my desktop in my home office anymore. She can now talk to me anywhere in our home.
The iPad 2 is a winner and I’m very happy I made this purchase. I am happy I waited a year for this release. THIS is the iPad that should’ve premiered a year ago.