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Andrew Pollock


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Thursday, 15 April 2010

On the iPad

I tend not to be a huge Apple fanboy. They make nice stuff, but it's just too closed for my liking. I like to tinker. I had a PowerBook for a while, but I gave it to Sarah in favour of a Linux laptop.

Sarah's been a happy Mac user for a number of years, and had an iPhone (until I gave her a Nexus One). For a "normal" user like her, a Mac is fine, especially if you want to embrace Apple's entire ecosystem.

Anyway, the iPad. When it was announced, I sat up and took notice. Why? This seemed like something I might actually use as a casual computing device. I mean, I'm almost in the target market for Chrome OS these days. I spend most of my time in a web browser, and the rest of my time in a terminal window SSHing to another computer. I could leave this thing lying around on the coffee table in the living room, and instead of digging my phone out of my pocket to look something up, I could pick this up instead.

It is also appealing because I found Microsoft's Surface to be pretty cool. The iPad is like a more affordable, portable, version of that.

It also appeals to me as a computing platform for my parents. Their computing needs have simplified over the years, but they're still running Windows, largely because I've never had the time to try and foist Linux on them. Since I moved to the US, my visits back home have been too brief to do a proper migration. I think an iPad that supported user switching would be perfect. Mum and Dad could share it, and read their email and do their web browsing from anywhere in the house.

Since the first generation iPad doesn't do user profiles and lacks a camera, I'll wait impatiently for the second generation one. I heard a rumour today that it would have a camera, and do user profile switching based on the face of whoever was in front of it. That would be pretty cool.

I'd also be very interested in an Android tablet. I love Android's speech to text input support, and I could really see an Android tablet stuck to the wall in the kitchen, instead of a whiteboard on the fridge and a paper calendar.

The WePad also sounds intriguing.

So I'm not so bothered by the iPad's closed nature. I think for the set of users who have basic computing needs, and don't care about openness, it's very cool.

[22:09] [tech] [permalink]