Friday, April 16, 2010

iPad: Reader Responses

A few days ago, I posted my impressions of the iPad.  Many of you responded, either in the “Comments” link at the end of the post or via emails to me. Here are some of those responses, group into Enthusiastic, In The Middle, and Unenthusiastic For Now.  Overall, a lot of enthusiasm, along with a fair amount of skepticism.


Rod Canion, Founder, Compaq Computer:

I am typing this email on my iPad with the keyboard dock. While I believe the iPad will be viewed as a successful product, I think the initial surge in buyers will be followed by a slower period while people figure it out and developers come up with new apps that take advantage of the larger screen. 

My belief is that bringing the iPhone platform to the iPad form factor is the seed from which a new industry will grow. I believe that in the future people will access and use Internet services primarily through an iPad type device. The iPhone type device will continue to evolve as a companion product, with the advantage of portability but limited by screen size. This should be an interesting time in technology.

Scott Cutler, Professor, Rice University:

I got a full week out of [my daughter’s] iPad and absolutely loved it.  It was great for email while not at my computer and became a preferred way to surf the net.  The picture application is better than anything I have seen for showing photos.

And for me, I chose to wait for the iPad 3G as that solution has benefits over the Wi-Fi only version.

But for me, the killer app is just placing one all over my house.  It is a phenomenal private airplane companion storing all the backup charts and manuals in PDF form.  It can control my wine cellar.  And I hope I can adapt it to control the three HD cameras I use for the chamber music concerts I hold in my house

In any event, I have two weeks to wait for my iPad 3G to arrive.  I am suffering severe iPad withdrawal.

Peter Norton, THE Peter Norton:

We haven't gotten our iPads yet (waiting for the 3G version) but I'm convinced that I need it and will love it. For me it will be an e-mail and Internet appliance whose screen size makes it what the iPhone can't be -- really usable.

Bill Gross, Idealab CEO:

I LOVE my iPad so far. Well, it WAS my iPad.  I showed my wife how great the book reader was, and she stole MY iPad and now it’s hers, while she ordered me a new one.

Then I showed our 5-year old son the $0.99 math game and he $0.99 letters game and the free labyrinth game, and now it’s HIS iPad, so we ordered another one.

We’re a three iPad household now – trying to hide them from our other kids.

David A. Ross, Art Museum Executive

This semester, I was teaching a graduate course at the School of Visual Arts in NYC exploring the history and future of the photographic book. At the beginning of the semester, we discussed (as everyone was) the impending arrival of the iPad. Only one or two of the students voiced an interest in the device, as they were all committed to the look and feel of a physical book.

Last night I brought my iPad into class, as we were exploring rich-media digital alternatives to the "dead-tree" publishing world. Even though it is clearly not a production device, by the end of last night's class, there was nearly universal recognition that this was the format for the future (once the HTML 5 vs. Flash issue gets worked through), and that they need to understand and embrace this profound change --especially since it will be the pressure of their creative work hat will push Apple and the rest of the industry to continually adapt the platform to the needs of artists.

By the way, the iPad comes with a desktop image that was made by the great California photographer Richard Misrach --even though he is not credited-- and it is a beauty.

Bob O’Rourke, Caltech VP PR:

Makes me want one

Bernadette, Marketing Consultant:

My laptop computer died and was taken by apple to replace the logic panel. I was in the midst of launching a fashion e-commerce site between clients and creatives. Devastating. So I HAD to buy an interim iPad. I love it. For those dealing with creative, images, photos, it's superb. We can review retouching and recoloring of products/images from fashion shoot. For those always on the run, in the car or a cab, it’s great because these old eyes can hardly see things on the iPhone. So it's sort of a large type NYTimes, so to speak. And my neck isn't killing me from lugging everything around.  REAL quality of life improvement - bad for masseuse.  Once this goes 3G and I upgrade, it will be even more valuable. And so much better in NYC cabs than reading email on a phone. 

The software/app limitations aren't the best but will continue to develop. I use Keynote for sophisticated presentations (great animatics to energize a ppt presentation), but the iPad app is very limited. Bummer. Also, wireless printing is not yet feasible. Another bummer.

But this baby goes with me to horse shows and across the lake and I'm relatively productive on it. Just need full wireless.

Can't wait for the 3G wireless in 2 weeks and for better software/apps.  Oh - great for photo slide shows and albums too! Also love the large Note pad for this chemo brain of mine! My Powerbook came back today and I'm still using the iPad. Love it for reading - quite right - far better than Kindle.
Just a chick's perspective.

Jane-Howard Hammerstein, Screenwriter and Raconteur:

I never liked even First Class air meals and never liked the iPhone at all: don’t do small+cramped.
I never carry anything around except in a car: don’t need small+cramped.
I never talk on the phone except in emergencies or to set a date for face time.
I love playing in sandboxes in rooms not called my office.

So the iPad’s my kinda mobile me.

Chris Burney, Associate Creative Director, Second Stage Theatre:

I really appreciated your insights into the iPad--and I completely agree. My mom got me one for my birthday--and I totally love it--but I'm not sure what to do with it! I'm taking my first trip with it this week to Los Angeles so I am very hopeful the iPad will fill some need I had not foreseen. As of now, it's fun to play games on it!

Nick Rubinstein, Tech Investment Analyst/Manager:

I do love my iPad.

Deborah Castleman, former Defense Dept. Deputy Asst. Secretary:

I'm eager to receive my 3G. From all that I've read, I think it will meet my needs for these reasons: I'm finding that most apps are too inconvenient for me to use due to my iPhone's small screen, and my MacBook Air is heavier and bulkier than what I find I am primarily using it for -- e-mail and the Internet. But the most important driver for me is that I want a better e-reader than the Kindle2 I have now, for all the reasons that Tim Childs [see below] wrote in his comments, and more: I'm hoping to be able to read newspapers and magazines as well as books on the device -- imagine, eventually I may be able to have nearly all my reading material on one device!! That would be marvelous!

I think the iPad will be a BIG hit for people like me, and also will open up the market for people who would not otherwise use a laptop or an iPhone for the aforementioned reasons. And I love the thought that I can carry it around the house with me, and simply throw it in my large purse/briefcase when I go on a trip.


Arthur Einstein, Advertising Executive, Marketing Consultant:
I am presently trying to resist device-creep. And so to satisfy my need for the latest, hottest gizmo, I bought one for my son, who has a bazillion ways he plans to use it. I've read lots of reviewers who share Vern's POV [see below] and while Mossberg is entranced, David Pogue doesn't seem to have made up his mind. As usual the market ignores the pundits and they're selling briskly.

I'm guessing, with Ben, that apps will emerge that make the iPad even more compelling - but it's hard to imagine another VisiCalc or Lotus 123 - both of which filled a pent-up demand that most of us didn't know existed.

I watch Joe Scarborough on my iPhone, but like most of the apps I use I'd love them more on a larger screen. My Kindle is useful - especially since I've run out of book shelves - and I love not killing trees.

The hemming and hawing about this device is because while it looks familiar it really is 'something completely different' - with enough entertainments to divert people till they find their best uses for it.
Part of the befuddlement is because the thing really doesn't replace anything - it's the first entry in a new category - which hasn't yet been named.

Tim Childs, Broadway Producer:
I’ve never quite bought the idea the iPad will replace the PC, but I’m looking forward to getting one (now waiting for a patch or two first) so I can sit on the couch and read magazines or newspapers, look up things on the internet, etc. It may be the expense will keep this limited usage from creating a big market for the iPad, but I think it will be a nice addition for those who can afford the indulgence. And I wouldn’t bet against Steve Jobs.

Interesting you feel what you now feel about the Kindle vs. real books. After an intense romance with the Kindle, I’ve come to the same conclusion, but I think an important part of my feelings comes from the poor design of the Kindle, which is the clunkiest piece of hardware I can remember. Maybe it’s just mine, but I can’t look back at the cover w/o losing my place - getting back to it by searching is often futile without page numbers - and a Kindle-user loses all the photographs, including the author’s photo, that are such important additions to at least some books. I’m hoping the iPad will solve this, but haven’t seen any comments to that effect.

Regis McKenna, Himself, Marketing Consultant:
I like to say that half our GDP each year ends up in our basements and garages under an inch of dust. These are the things we “wanted” but did not “need.” Fact is, most people rationalize “a want” by convincing themselves it is “a need.”
When I was on the Toyota International Advisory Board, I gave a talk on the difference between “need” and “want” to the Toyota Board. Paul Volker was also on the advisory board and he gave hard time on my comments. He thought need want and need was all nonsense. He said that he didn’t “want” a new car because his 15 or 20-year-old car (?) suited his needs well. Toyota execs grimaced.

I don’t have an iPad as yet but use my iPhone for everything. Probably will get the next release.


A Journalist:

I can’t figure out what to do with the iPad other than read books.  I did hear one great application on NPR.  When dark restaurants put their menus online you will be able to look them up on the iPad and read them when you are out for a romantic evening.

Joe Nocera, Journalist, Author:

You just helped explain to me why I don't feel any urge to rush out and buy one!

Barbara Motley, Cabaret Impresario:

The only long-term value I can see in the iPad is it potential to replace textbooks, notebooks and calculators.  Students are the only group required to purchase these tools these days.  However, I heard an interesting comparison of the 'green' value of the IPad versus traditional paper books on public radio last week.... the iPad lost...not a pretty footprint for technology.  I actually have gotten used to reading books on my iPhone, so an iPad isn't in my future I fear.

Bill Weed, Advertising Executive

I have not bought an iPad because I had a lot of questions. I’m not rushing out to buy one.

Rich Melmon, Tech Entrepreneur:

In the end, it may become somewhat important as a video consumption device.  Or, it may fall in the zone of death, not quite one thing or another, as you suggest. 

Vern Raburn, Tech Entrepreneur

I agree with your comments but am even more negative about the iPad. The iPad is basically the adult equivalent of the car back seat DVD player that parents use to pacify their kids. It does nothing more than a run of mill laptop does. And it doesn't do a whole of things that any laptop can do. And it depends on AT&T, the fastest non-existent 3G network in the world. But it sure is pretty and as you correctly point out gives insanely great demos. Of course it is going to change the way we compute.

As usual the normal pundits are falling all over them selves proclaiming that once again Steve is leading us out of the wilderness. But I think the iPad is likely Steve's next Next.

Having been deeply involved in the first generation of tablet computers (Grid, GO, Compaq, Apple Newton, etc.) you could say that I am somewhat jaded about the concept. But it is not so much jaded as understanding what people really do with computers including tablet readers! With the exception of being pretty, the iPad doesn't do much of anything that a machine that is going to change the way we compute needs to do.

I do disagree with your assessment of the Kindle. Having had a Kindle for nearly a year I find it really useful. I read the NYTs on it daily. But I read the WSJ the "real" way, on paper and will always do so. Overall Epaper and Kindle is the best our industry has done to date in terms of replacing paper and books. Is it perfect? Not yet, but it is a heck of a lot closer to something that I can carry and use daily than the iPad is.
Thomas Lemann, Lawyer, Renaissance Man:
I have a Sony X computer, which weighs less than the IPad, has a larger screen, plus a regular keyboard, and as I don’t do games, E-books, or the many apps available on the IPad, I figure I don’t need one.

A Tech Executive:

My guess is that you’re right to suspect that the e-reader and movie/video programs have the best chance of turning it into a category-creator.  But I must say I remain a skeptic.  A great form of app might emerge, but until it does, I can’t imagine any reason why I would get an iPad.  


  1. This is as fascinating as your original post. The logical folks don't see the need for it. The right brainers seem suffused with the joy of it. Reading the raves has pushed me to the edge :)

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  2. I am on Rod Canion's team. Now I know what you are up to all day in your office. You absolutely crack me up. Bet

  3. Ben and Donna, come with us to the Santa Fe Opera opening weekend, we promise a laisse-faire dress code (so long as you are nominally in black tie)...

    Susan and Vern

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