The obligatory iPad post.

Now, I am really excited about the iPad. now before you dismiss this post as just another fanboy rant, hear me out.

The App Store

The app store is a smart idea if only to leverage the power, dominance and success of the iPhone App Store.

There is an uproar over the fact that Apple has closed its device up.

One, Apple has very simple rules for admission into the Apps store. if you meet them, then you go in and make your money. Apple is happy since your app will not crash its perfect tablet (and looks good) and you’re happy to be in and making money.

Two, Apple has one golden rule for apps: no duplication of functionality. That’s why the Google Voice App was rejected and caused the entire blogosphere to have palpitations. This still leave considerable leeway for developers.  Note also that the iWorks applications actually have to be bought separately and installed. They are not native functionality. Hence, and if I’m reading this right, Microsoft could in theory have Office Applications on the iPad. Isn’t that fair??

Three, native iPad apps are going to be just great. It will take a while for developers to fully leverage the capability of the iPad, but we have no idea what they will come up with. So, who wants to go tot he end of cyberspace and back to find these little gems?? Not me. The App store is by far the most convenient way of discovering and installing new apps.

(Note – There are a number of apps that I love that would look wonderful on the iPad- more on this in a future post)

The iBook Store

I was seriously considering buying a Kindle 2. Its cheaper than an iPad, it has a great store, it has a great screen and it has free 3G. And, this is the important bit, has international availability. As far as i know, the iBook store is restricted to US customers only. Presumably until Apple negotiates the international rights. And apple has 2 months to do that.

Another thing worth noting:the iBook books are significantly more expensive than the Kindle books. This is a problem. A big problem. I can probably buy the dead tree version of that book for less than either of them.

Now I may only buy a few books year but that cost difference adds up.

there has been much talk of the multimedia capabilities of the device, and how publishers could leverage this in their books, but i want to see what forms this make take to see if its worth it. From that cost difference alone, my Kindle may well pay for itself.

The Wireless

Much has been made about how you have to fork out some money every month for 3G access. So what?? its a contract-less arrangement thats cheaper than AT&T’s normal data contact. being able to use it on a month to month basis makes it extremely flexible.

The fact that there is a 250Mb cap on the cheaper plan has got people frothing at the mouth. Come one people!!! I never have gone above 250Mb a month on my iPhone. Ever.

i already have 3G on my iPhone, so the 3G on the iPad is redundant. that is why I’d prefer the Wi-Fi iPad.

 

The Accessories

The Keyboard Dock is awesome. Period. Whether I actually need one is another matter altogether.

Now this is the point that has been driving me crazy with the iPad coverage. People have been complaining that the iPad has no SD or USB slots. It actually does. There are two adaptors that plug into the connector slot. The current use case for these are for camera’s. Which is great.

Think of it. I’m on a shoot. I take the SD card out and review all the JPEG’s on the iPad. I can email them as well, sort them, tag them, make notes.

Better yet I can stick my portfolio on the iPad and show clients on a beautiful, slick deice, consumerate with the standard of my work. Impressed customer?? You bet.

The Screen

This is where the Kindle really has the chance to shine. The e-ink screen needs no backlight (hence not much battery power), is easy on the eyes and can be read in direct sunlight. Whether the iPad screen will stand up to hours of use (i.e for our own eyes), and use in direct sunlight remains to be seen. I think this is a fairly compelling reason to get he kindle over the iPad.

Since teh Screen does not support Widescreen natively, the actual movie viewing area is very very small. I’m not at all bothered about that.

Conclusion

The iPad is NOT a device, or simply a platform for consuming content – having the ability to install iWorks on the iPad is one indication of that.

The exclusion of a camera does not bother me – i don’t want one.

If Steve lets me do what I wanna do, I’m happy. I wanna work with the iPad and transfer to the PC very, very easily. I wanna use it as a star Trek PADD. i wanna leverage the full eco system of applications and accessories that complement the iPhone. Who knows if Adobe will release Photoshop for the iPad??

But i am a Microsoft developer. I live and breathe in Visual Studio. There is no way I am going to ditch the laptop in favour of the iPad. I need it for work. not to mentiont hat I need it to sync the iPad in the first place (yes here are other machines, but the laptop is the most convenient one). Which is

I don’t feel that there is a compelling case for unilaterally ditching the Kindle (certainly not if Apple will let the Kindle App onto the iPad). I have a feeling that the Kindle 3 will give us more to think about. Amazon will come back at apple with Something. Even if its the mass of personalized recommendations that Amazon has on our book buying habits. I think that this is one arena that the battle is not over in.

But I will say this.

The week after its release, I’m going to the store and I’m having an hands on session with it.

And then I’m gonna by it.