Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thoughts on the iPad

I'm not a Mac fanboy.  I bought two Macs in the dim and distant past and both had serious problems.  More recently I find that Apple's prices are too high and their products - while they work very well if you're doing exactly what Apple anticipated - are problematic if you're trying to do something Apple's engineers didn't plan for.

All that aside, I find the iPad interesting, at least as a concept.  I am unlikely to buy that specific product from Apple.  The cost is actually OK, as far as I can tell, but...
  • I hate ATT as a network provider.  (And no, Verizon isn't any better.  Currently I'm on T-Mobile, which has much better customer service than either.  Their network, I know, isn't nearly as good, but then again I don't travel all that much, so it's OK for me.)
  • It has no multitasking.
  • Battery life may not be long enough to be a good e-book reader.
What the iPad does, though, is whet my appetite for something similar.  The vast majority of what I do on a computer could be done on such a device, though I'm not entirely sure about the keyboard without trying it.  Still, a fanless, lightweight, general purpose computer of that form factor could be very handy.

Imagine something of the general size and shape to the iPad running Chrome OS or a similar Linux variant.  (Such a device needs a lightweight OS, not Windows or MacOS, but something specifically designed for this environment.)  It should have a good integration with the Internet - essentially providing a cloud computing environment - but I also want both local data storage and locally run applications.

Being fanless is important to me. My existing laptop is just fine until I am sitting in a quiet room trying to think and the fan clicks on because FireFox is using too much CPU.  That's deafening and silly.

I also want a customer replaceable battery.  I know that will add to cost, weight, and thickness, but it's simply a requirement.

I just read a rumor that Google and HTC may be working on a tablet style computer.  That's what actually made me write this.  That's a device I'd love to see, and if they did a good enough job I'd buy it.

This is all just idle speculation on my part, but the age of the tablet computer may be coming.  I look forward to seeing what it looks like.