Monday, April 12, 2010

When Reviewers Are Pointless

A lot of reviews... reviewers, I mean... missed the point about the Wii (it's not the graphics, it's the experience). A lot of reviewers are currently missing the point about the iPad.

The iPad is not a phone.
The iPad is not a laptop.
The iPad is like a big iPhone, and like a touch-screen laptop, but it is not those things.
The iPad exists in an information environment, it is not just on its own.

Very few have compared it to eBook readers, although some have, but the point is basic: the iPad is so much better than a device that can only do one thing the comparison isn't worth exploring much beyond that.

We heard a lot about how the iPad does not have multitasking, until Apple said it will, then that complaint went away. But I don't see why we need it on a device that only allows for one app on the screen at a time. When I exit Mail on my iPhone and go to Safari, Safari returns to where I last was. Sure it takes a few seconds, so what? (And sometimes Safari annoyingly reloads the page when it doesn't have to.) Then if I leave Safari and go back to Mail, Mail returns to where I left off. I didn't miss anything by not having it multitask. The iPad is not a laptop.

We still hear how it does not have a camera. The iPad is not a camera phone. Maybe we want a camera on it, maybe not.

We hear how it does not have 3G. The iPad is not an iPhone, it is not a phone. I don't read laptop reviews, but is it considered a massive failing when a laptop does not have 3G?

People are still stuck with the wrong framework for understanding new devices. New devices sometimes mean new frameworks, and the iPad is one of those devices.

Some notable reviews that I like, so, not the ones I'm talking about with my criticism:

There are also commentators who take the approach that there can be only one device, so various companies are going to try to "kill" the iPad. Here is one such article from the New York Times. I am amused by the line, "companies are hard at work on products that they hope will be iPad killers." Not that I believe in first-mover advantage (Palm, anyone? Apple's Newton?), but again we see companies responding to Apple's move. I was in Seattle in 2008 and played with the Microsoft tables in the hotel lobby, big touch screens that didn't work very well. But Apple got there first (well not with tables, but commercializing touch screens to the wider market). For a long time we have had a diverse computing environment (and cell phones, and automobiles, and...). I don't see that that will change anytime soon. The Zune, for some unknown reason, still exists, but it didn't kill the iPhone.