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iPad on Ulitzer - I’ll Buy iPad. But What For?

Now, let me try to explain why should I purchase an iPad as soon as it becomes available

iPad on Ulitzer

I’m proud to consider myself an upper middle class American .

Why am I so proud about it?

Because I haven’t been born in an upper middle class American family. I came to the USA 18 years ago with $200 in my pocket on a visitor’s visa. Don’t rush reporting on me to the Immigration authorities. I was legal in this country each and every day since. Then came the work visa (H1B), after that the green card, and back in 2001, I became an American citizen.

Our family consists of me (silver 15” MacBook Pro), two sons (black 13” MacBook and a silver 13” MacBook) and my wife (post World War II Windows PC own by her employer, a filthy rich international bank). I also have an iPhone.



To complete the picture, I need to mention, that occasionally I’m getting separated with my MacBook Pro.

For example, last week I’ve been skiing in French Alps and didn’t get it with me on the slopes. Its battery absolutely sucks: 90min and I bought it only  a bit more than a year ago.  My smarty pants son David told me that it’s my fault – I shouldn’t be keeping MacBook plugged in most of the time as the battery needs to get regularly fully drained.

Thank you very much, but the batteries in any laptop suck big time. A colleague of my purchased a 17” MacBook Pro because it has 6-hour battery. No way, Jose.  I’m not going to be carrying this grand piano with me all the time. I’m on the plane quite often and want my computa to be up all the time (this stupid seatguru.com lied to me twice about the AC outlets on the planes).

Now, give me a sec for a self promo – in  month I’m flying to Belgium teaching a class (8-hr flight) followed by the 6-hour flight to San Jose, CA to speak at 360Flex conference .

By this fall I hope to find a reason to purchase for myself a new 13” MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM and Static State Disk drive. To make my wife happy, I’ll give her my 15”. These are the long term plans.

Now,  let me try to explain why should I purchase an iPad  as soon as it becomes available.

Two months ago, our friend  called me telling that her daughter Sandra, a UPenn freshmen, wants a MacBook. Sandra’s mother also carries a Blackberry and knows how to use Google. A quick search revealed her that she could’ve bought a decent Window laptop for half the price.  She called me saying, “You know, I’m really proud that Sandra was accepted to UPenn, but can you give me a reason, why should I spend my money on Mac rather than PC?”I thought for a split second and replied, “Because it’s cool”.  Sandra's mother replied, “Got it”.  

Why people buy Mercedes cars if Hundai will also take you from point A to point B and, actually they will change oil and transmissions for free for many years to come? Why? It’s elementary, Watson! Because you want to enjoy the ride! Have you ever heard that solid chunk-sound when you close the door in Mercedes? Can you compare it to those Jingle Bells of Hundai?

Do you know what a life is without worrying about installing anti-virus programs? Have you ever used an OS that’s created to be so intuitive that you can’t believe how they could’ve made it so proactive? Do you know that we, Mac OS users don’t have to remember an entire directory tree structure and make twenty clicks to find that picture of your lovely wife Natasha? Guess what? I just start typing in a little spotlight field N,a,t….Here you go!  

Do you want to enjoy the ride or you are one of these masochists Linuxoids who scream, “We want free and open source software, or else…”  As someone put it, “Only those who don’t value their time can say that Linux is free”.

I’m OK with using a high end proprietary software and gadgets. And Apple is the company that exceeds my expectations so far. I love my iPhone even though AT&T sucks as a phone provider. Verizon is better. So what? Droid-shmoid… NOT COOL ENOUGH. Who said that a cell phone’s main feature is to make a call and maintain a steady connection? It’s so Ninetieth… I want a slick device with a choice of dirt cheap 140,000 applications.  iPhone fits the bill.


Yesterday, there were two major shows on TV: Steve Jobs presenting iPad and Obama with his first State of the Union address. Obama got really lucky that Apple’s announcement was not scheduled at the same time.  You know what I mean.

By now, you should be warmed up and irritated enough thinking, “Enough already, what about the iPad?” OK, I’ll give you some random thoughts.

1.    iPad is not a replacement of any notebook. It doesn’t have Microsoft Office. Most of the computer users can’t live without it.

2.    It doesn’t have Eclipse IDE either. This will make it useless (as a computer) for half of the software developers of the planet Earth.

3.    They claim up to 10 hours of battery life. Based on the history of Apple, I would assume that you’ll achieve such performance only if you turn that device on, put it on the table and leave it alone. The light will go off in 10 hours. If this doesn’t sound like a reasonable usage pattern, the battery in the new iPad will, probably last for 6 hours, which means three movies on my plane to Belgium. I’ll spend the remaining two hours drinking wine and eating other airplane gourmet food.

4.    Now I’m going to have  to pack into my bag both MacBook and iPad. The latter doesn't have USB so it needs the mothership computer anyway. Don’t  try to sneak through the metal detector carrying iPad in the pocket like this.

5.    The Sony eReader becomes the most useless gadget I have in the house. People say that Amazon’s Kindle becomes a joke too.

6.    Flash Player is not supported. Because of this I lost my $20 bet with Jesse Warden. Apple is afraid of letting a plethora of the Flash applications and games without getting their cuts as they do with all applications in iStore. Excuses that Flash Player drains the battery and takes all CPU (who cares on a single-process OS?) are not serious. To get yourself prepared to the iPad experience, got to Safari Preferences and uncheck the Enable Plugins. You'll see how the Web sites that use Flash Player look like.  If you are too lazy to do this on your own, enjoy the ultimate browsing experience over here. But this picture with broken pictures in place of Flash Player content doesn't give you the real story though.The popularity of the device will force some of the third-party software vendors to change the way they deliver their content. For example, CNN Web site has an iPhone version, where they display videos using Apple's QuickTime player instead of Flash Player.

7.    If you are in a software development, learn how to program for iPhone/iPad. I’m getting there. No need to learn this ugly Objective-C. Adobe’s CS5 and ActionScript is all you need.

8.    Yesterday, I went to Staples (they have low prices)  and noticed a sexy 10” Toshiba netbook for $399  with a 10-hour battery. So? Where are the killer apps? Not cool enough.

9.    Five years from now, most salesmen, UPS drivers and police officers will carry not those sturdy-and-ugly pads they have now, but iPads.

10.    The iPad doesn’t have a Webcam. No video “Hi, mom!” on Skype. No funny faces on instant messengers either.

11.    The next version of iPad can be customized. No, I’, not talking about pink iPads for girls. The spot where you’d expect a WebCam can be used to hold a nice size diamond. Since every woman will carry an iPad anyway, a diamond will indicate that she’s engaged.  

12.    The cheapest version (Wi-Fi, no 3G) goes for $499. This all you need as long as you won’t think about this device as a replacement for your main computa. Of course, if you are a commuta, spending long hours on the bus or train browsing through a fresh newspaper  on iPad makes sense if you can shell out yet another $30 for the 3G data plan (a funny option of $15 for 250Mb can be ignored) . Otherwise, go with Wi-Fi iPad. By setting the entry price so low, Apple wants to kill the competition - why get something regular for $399 if you can own a high-end accessory for just one bill more?

13.    If you are a music fan, you have you 160GB iPod anyway, so it’s hard to justify why purchase more than 16GB of storage in iPad? OK, get 32GB model if you have some spare cash.

14.    Remember, an iPad is an addition to your gadgetry, not a replacement for anything.


15. Twenty years ago, back in Ukraine I dreamed of having a personal computer at home. What kind? A computer, you, moron! Any computer would make me happy. Here in America, people are dying from making choices each day and now we have one more - the iPad. Please do me a favor and watch this 20-min talk by Barry Shwartz, which, hopefully, will help you in making this choice.


The day before iPad announcement,  after reading about Apple’s quarterly results, I purchased some AAPL shares at $203.  The last time I purchased any stock was 9 years ago. I’ll keep it for a while.
 


Consume, consume, consume. Edward Berneays (Sigmund Freud’s nephew) has great followers who know how to convince you that your life will be miserable unless you purchase yet another gadget. This time it’s iPad. Don’t think too much. Just get it, will you? I sure will.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).