whither iPad

I’m getting a lot of conflicting views on whether the iPad would be worth it or not. The web is starting to swim in articles about why photographers need or don’t need an iPad, or why writers need or don’t need an iPad.

I like some of the idea of the iPad – and this is probably because I am influenced by owning an iPhone which is, in some respects, like an iPad mini, except you can make phone calls with it too.

The one comment that caught my attention and said “yeah, maybe you’ll get some use out of an iPad” as a comment from the editor of ImagineFX (I think) who stated that the online version of his magazine looked fantastic on it. I could be tempted by that because I love magazines but I don’t always have time to a) buy them b) read them or c) carry them around everywhere I might read them. For the most part, the magazines I tend to read include Imagine FX, Advanced Photoshop, Photoshop Creative, National Geographic, Kiteworld and occasional other forays into related disciplines. The trashy magazines like Hello and VIP I allow the hairdressers to pay for and the glossies like Marie Claire and Vogue have been demodé for years for me. But that’s by way of an aside. The iPad seems to be a tad expensive for being purely a magazine reader and let’s face it, the ebook readers are a good deal less expensive.

Apple have helpfully gotten themselves into a mild dust up with Adobe over Flash. They’re not going to allow Flash to run on the iPad – it already doesn’t run on the iPhone and this is one giant nuisance. Leaving aside the tech arguments over whether Flash is any good or not, the fact remains that a lot of sites run it. An awful lot of sites run it, still. And Apple have helpfully added developer restrictions that make it very difficult to work around their limitations. The net result is that although you may buy an iPad, you will do on it only what Apple allows you to do. Adobe have run into the limitations that Apple have applied to developers in terms of what libraries you can use to develop for their devices. Their argument is that it protects the device.

But it restricts the supply market for software for the device and could, if you were being pernickety about it, be described as a little anti-competitive.

There is an argument that realistically, HTML 5 when it comes along in general use, will preclude the need for Flash in the future and I’m fairly sure that Adobe will do a nice trick in making it possible to create great HTML 5 sites. However, that’s in the future and now is now. The world – and a lot of creative sites in particular – use Flash.

So I’m not hugely happy with Apple on that while recognising that there is a lot of really lousy Flash there and anyway, if you wanted to write Flash you needed some expensive Adobe tools. That’s not ace either – and I already use Adobe Photoshop and am looking at some of their other design tools now too.

If someone were to ask me “Should I get an iPad”, I’d have to say, I don’t really know. I know its shiny and new, and I think the people I know who have one actually really like it. But I’m still not sure that I’d really need it over what I have at the moment, and apparently it’s pretty useless unless you can connect it to some class of a network, be it via WIFI or 3G. To be fair though, for a lot of people, any non-networked computer is basically useless.

The other key issue I have with it is that its drive capacity borders on the too low for me. Not enough room for music, not enough room for lots of photographs and not enough room for a few movies.