iPadLess - Especially For Photos
Apple markets this as the ultimate portable computer product, but it has serious shortcomings similar to the iPhone that I wasn't aware of as I don't own one. If you have no interest in external files or photos, then this may not be important to you. I waited a month for mine to be delivered, and after a week, I can say I'm keenly disappointed for specific reasons of Apple's own making.
You can't transfer ANY file to it, you can only SYNC all files from one designated computer, i.e. tethered.
Despite reading enormous reviews & comments about the original, as well as the 2, I never got the impression from anyone that this was the case. There were a few rumblings about "file handling" and workarounds for it ["everything's going to the cloud anyway" "just use dropbox"] - but nothing that says what an incredible restriction it is for anyone using photos/movies at all. Their only official solution is that you buy a $40 dongle that then will allow SD card content [no CF cards, which I have] to be transferred directly. But the worst part is that even if you were to transfer anything to it, it all gets dumped at the bottom of "saved photos" without any file separation, and no ability to separate or make collections of them after transfer either.
Unlike my iPods, you can NEVER transfer any existing file to another, or create a new one. Only with Sync. Apparently they want you to work "with the app" to do whatever you want to do. So the only way you could store photos is randomly, unless you want to sync all file/photos from your one mothership computer. The only semi-solution is to email yourself whatever you want, then download the photos/files...which again will only be dumped in the "saved photo" generic file. You can imagine the limitations with original file sizes.
Another key element to me is the lack of any tabbed browsing, whether in Safari or the special Bing app for the iPad [superior to Safari for most things]. So to actually write an email, while constantly switching between single browser pages etc. I'd find ridiculously cumbersome, not to mention that you can't resize ANY windows/apps at all. You can only resize font/content within a given page.
Which brings me to the keyboard, or lack thereof. I had no idea that the numeric/symbol part of the keyboard is ALWAYS separate from the alpha part, meaning that if you're ever entering alpha/numeric content, i.e. passwords, airline record #'s etc. you have to hit one key to show the number part, hit the number/symbol, then hit another key to reveal the alpha part again, and back and forth endlessly. In addition, because there's no real tactile feel for the keys, and because the entry points are different for every program [where the browser bar is vs input for youtube etc] you're staring at the keyboard to make sure your fingers are in the right place, then having to look back up and find where it's going, then back down etc., which not only slows the process, but can give you a headache from your neck bobbing up & down, as well as the different light/contrast levels for the keyboard vs the rest of the screen.
Yes - I know that you can get a separate bluetooth keyboard, and that would solve some of it - but it also defeats some of the advantage of the form factor if you have to haul the 2 around everywhere you go.
This doesn't even address any particular program you may want to work on - just the physical/OS realities of trying to work with it at all.
Yes - scrolling through photos is very fast, and can be easily manipulated with your fingers. Yes there are some very inventive apps out there that take advantage of finger-abilities, but what the finger giveth, it also taketh away when it comes to anything that requires content creation or precision. I never expected it to do something like Photoshop, but to be this crippled wasn't in the cards either.
This should be marketed to generic users not comfortable with computers, and iPhone users who are used to--and don't want anything more than what their iPhone will already do. The geeks that have championed it should be dismissed for misleading everyone, as they will always find workarounds, and have multiple devices anyway [macbook air/pro/imac etc]. They could just as easily make an Android phone/tablet work for them.
The strength of Apple is supposed to be it's user-friendliness, flexibility and support...with their advertising just teasing out a few of the myriad possibilities of the device. In the iPad's case, I feel they did the opposite: they oversold it's abilities, touting dual-core ships, 9x better graphics etc., when in fact none of that really matters at the only pace the interface allows. [I got my mom a refurb original iPad, the first computer she can work - and there's little difference in most app performance]
At the direction of my local Genius Bar & Store Manager, I went in search of an app that could help with photo file/transfer, but I queried one of the best reviewed, "PhotoSync" to be sure they responded:
"PhotoSync can only transfer photos to the save photos folder. This restriction is made by Apple unfortunately. Third party developers are not allowed to create albums in the camera roll, save photos in other locations than the saved photos folder, or to delete photo from the camera roll. All these features Apple reserves completely for itself. We hope that this will change one day in a newer iOS version but at this point it is the only thing we can offer (though we would like to offer more)."
That may be plenty for most others, but it's not for me. I went back to see if I skipped parts of reviews that mentioned this, and no - i didn't. Here's from Mossberg from WSJ...who runs down all the drawbacks, including poor-quality cameras etc., then says:
"there are two big omissions, one old and one new. The old one is that, like Apple's prior phones and tablets, the shiny new iPad 2 still won't play Adobe's Flash video in its built-in Web browser. This is a deliberate decision by Apple, and puts its devices at a disadvantage for some users when compared with Android tablets, which can play Flash, or say they will soon, albeit not always well.
The other omission has to do with cellular data. The iPad 2 can't use, or be upgraded to use, the new, faster 4G cellular-data networks being rolled out."
NO mention of any of the aspects that are important to me, and I would think to a substantial number of people...even if we aren't a majority.
I want it to be the Next Big Thing - the one that replaces laptops with a smaller, more flexible form factor that's also inspiring to use.
I'm just left with the deflated feeling that I've been had, and mostly because of some very dumb and ridiculous failures in their OS that don't have to be that way...just sticking a finger in my eye as a dedicated Mac user.
**Update** I got the 11" Macbook Air and am very happy with it - although it is a lot more computer power than I needed in pure portable terms - it isn't substantially bigger than the iPad [especially with keyboard] for those of you that can afford it.