iPad: a very first impression

/ 3 April 2010

Our iPad arrived this morning (thank happy UPS driver) and Nathaniel had it unboxed in no time. But then he had to wait for me to get home, and this exposes the most serious downside of the iPad. It cannot be a standalone device. The first thing it asks to do, out of the box, is “sync” to a computer. In fact, that is the only thing it can do out of the box.

I’d love to say that the iPad is the computer for my mom. That it is the real computer “for the rest of us.” But that cannot be said, because to own an iPad requires also owning a full blown computer.

This model made sense for the original iPod, and even for the iPhone. But I think it is a serious shortcoming of a device as powerful as the iPad. This is a machine that should work out of the box, that should be able to be setup without a sync to another computer. I think that for the iPad to really take off, Apple will have to learn to make it a more capable standalone machine.

The ultimate insult I discovered setting up my iPad? Not even iBooks is installed! Helpfully, the iPad warned me of this when I first launched the App Store on the device, then helped me automatically download iBooks. Unfortunately, though, this download was cancelled by a request to read and “agree” to a 58 page iTunes license. Yeah, I read every word of that one (not). After that, iBooks was still not installed, so I had to go find it and install it myself.

Apple, this is not how my mom’s computer should work!


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