I Bought An iPad… And I’m Returning It.

A while back I posted that I would buy an iPad when I found a very specific type of app for it. Well I found that app thanks to the comments on the blog post and I’ve had my iPad for about 24 hours now. I’ve downloaded apps, and played games. I’ve watched movies from my Netflix account. I’ve checked email, I’ve used IRC and Twitter to communicate with my team while my laptop was going through 20 hours of CheckDisk (no joke on the 20 hours)… and I’m going to return the iPad. It’s not worth $600.


The Good:

The apps are the undeniable killer part of an iPod Touch / iPhone / iPad. Without the apps, it’s hard to say the device is worth anything. Apple has certainly created a culture around the apps and it shows. There are some amazing apps out there and they can do some great things. You can’t deny the quality and quantity of apps that are available.

If your wondering what app I bought to solve my problem previously stated: Air Sketch by Qrayon. It really is a great app and it does provide a solution for the needs I stated. If you are looking for a way to solve your distributed team collaboration needs by replacing a whiteboard with a virtual whiteboard, then an iPad and Air Sketch should be on your short of things to try. It really does work.

The hardware is also really nice. It’s solid. It’s easy to handle. It’s intuitive to use the controls on the device. It’s really well made and anyone who owned any Apple device (prior to iPhone 4) can tell you that this is what you expect. I have a Macbook Pro and an older iPod video. Both of these are well made, and I expected nothing less with the iPad. I was not dissapointed. The screen is also nice. Good resolution, great brightness and contrast. It makes the apps look great. The overall performance of the device is really good as well. Overall, it’s just a good piece of hardware.

Netflix streaming is awesome!

The Kindle App is great! … I’ve got a Kindle DX already. The benefit of the iPad is that you get a backlit screen and it’s color.


The Bad:

Everything else… well, ok… what’s left? Not a whole lot, honestly…

No multi-tasking. This one really drives me nuts with the iPad. I know a lot of you don’t care about this and don’t notice it. I believe that’s because you’re used to it with the iPhone (prior to iOS4). There is no iOS4 for iPad… at least not until later this year, which will likely see the announcement of new iPad hardware anyways. Coming from the world of Android, though, I do notice this. I can’t stand the single-task nature of the iPad. I had my IRC set up for work while my laptop was on the fritz, but I had to constantly re-open the app every time i wanted to know what was going on with my team. Forget that… I paid $5 for Android IRC on my Droid and turned on background notifications so I could receive messages even while running Skype Mobile. Yes, I do use multi-tasking on my Droid… just about every day. Why can’t I get IRC notices, twitter updates, play Pandora radio in the background and track my movement via GPS all at once? Oh wait, I can. My Droid does this for me every time I go out jogging or bike riding. :)

Yes, Netflix streaming is awesome… but i’m not going to spend $ every month on a 3G connection for this… i didn’t even buy the 3G iPad. I bought the wifi version. Sure, I could tether the iPad to my phone when I’m on the go, but what’s the point of that? I’ll bring my laptop, tether that, and have so much more. If i’m at home, I’m going to watch netflix on my PS3 (in much higher resolution than the iPad) or on my Laptop (again, much higher resolution)… so yeah… netflix is awesome if you’re on the go and have 3G or a tether… no thanks. not worth the $.

Yes, the kindle app is great! it really is… but I don’t care about backlight or color that much. I don’t read in dark places, and I have yet to need color on the device when I can open my PC and read / see the color version of what I’m reading. I’ll keep my Kindle. I love that device.


The Verdict: Not For me.

I have a Motorola Droid for my phone, and quite honestly it fits my life and my needs better than the iPad does. The things that I love about the iPad i also love about the Droid. Sure, the apps are not as numerous and it’s hard to find the same quality at times… but I don’t use that many apps… I’m not a casual gaming addict… I have a handful of games and I play them on occasion, but it’s not that big of a deal to have slightly lesser games. The ones I have are great.

I am a social media addict – twitter, facebook, etc. That being the case, I want a device that will keep me up to date when I’m on the go without me having to manually check in on things. My Droid gives me that. The background checking and multi-tasking capabilities of Android are what I need… and if I already have that fix being filled, why would I need another device that can’t fit in my pocket or give me that fix?

The iPad is a multi-media and entertainment powerhouse, and this device does not fit into my life. It is not worth the $ I spent and I want my $ back. I’d much rather have a new road bicycle to help me continue getting back into shape – something I’ll use for years to come – than a first generation multi-media buzz-worthy hunk of technology that will be outdated in 6 months or less.

The iPad solved the problem that I originally stated. No really… it did… but at a price that isn’t worth it, in my opinion. I expected to be wow’d on many fronts and I was wow’s on some of them. I expected a lot from the iPad, and I was given a little. I expected it to replace my netbook that the wife carries around the house … it probably could, except she uses it to play facebook games… *ahem* Flash, anyone? I expected the iPad to fill a void in my digital life and ultimately, it only reminded me why I bought a Droid and a Kindle – both of which fit my digital life perfectly.

Bye bye iPad. I wish I hadn’t spent the $ on you and I hope I can get a full refund from Apple.

About Derick Bailey

Derick Bailey is an entrepreneur, problem solver (and creator? :P ), software developer, screecaster, writer, blogger, speaker and technology leader in central Texas (north of Austin). He runs SignalLeaf.com - the amazingly awesome podcast audio hosting service that everyone should be using, and WatchMeCode.net where he throws down the JavaScript gauntlets to get you up to speed. He has been a professional software developer since the late 90's, and has been writing code since the late 80's. Find me on twitter: @derickbailey, @mutedsolutions, @backbonejsclass Find me on the web: SignalLeaf, WatchMeCode, Kendo UI blog, MarionetteJS, My Github profile, On Google+.
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  • Fernando Z

    Hey maybe you should hold until someone puts android OS on the iPad… just a though. It can be done with the iPhone.:-)

  • Rob Conery

    A lot of my friends have tried to figure out how to replace their phone with an iPad – for me it didn’t work that way. I find it completely irreplacable – and I know others will have different circumstances… these are just mine.

    First – I read all my books on it. I’ve made the switch to digital reader and I won’t go back. I use either GoodReader (which does any document type) or iBooks. Right now I’m reading Diamond Age; I also have about 20 other titles sitting in the queue.

    I also bought 12 PDF books from PragProg. So in total I have 30 or so sci fi, 12 geek books – no paper required.

    I fly from time to time and I bought iRip and am able to pop movies on the thing. I have kids, so the 14 hour battery life is worth it. I watched 4 movies on the way to Norway last month – paid for itself right there.

    I have the NY Times crossword on it as well – a daily addiction that has made more than 3 of my friends go and by the thing. I can’t get past Wednesday – but I’ll keep trying.

    At night I like to read – but sometimes it’s boring so I’ve been watching Firefly (again) and also Doll’s House. Some friends have told me about Farscape – so that’s what I do (and I’m about to do that right now) when I go to bed. I know I know – but it’s nice to be in my bed instead of on the couch – the giggling gets to my wife though.

    I redid my entire presentation at NDC2010 on the plane to Norway using Keynote.

    The StarWalk app conveyed almost perfectly how the Earth rotates through night and day to my 8 yr. old. She also digs the coloring book.

    When I was in Norway I rolled my photos out using the Picture Frame app. As dumb as it sounds – it helps to have some pictures while you’re away.

    I could go on – but I sound like an Apple spokesman. I spose what I’m trying to offer here is that the iPad is not a replacement for your phone. It’s a consumer device, for sure, and one that I can’t honestly do without.

    The books alone are worth it to me.

  • I have no doubt that the iPad has become an important part of some people’s digital lives. I really waned it to be part of mine and I found some good reasons for it to be – but I also expected it to be more than those reasons and it disappointed me.

    I make the comparisons to my phone not to say that I was trying to replace my phone. I had no intention of doing that… it’s not a phone, it’s a multimedia and entertainment device, it’s a tablet pc, it’s a portable digital life. I make those comparisons to give my perspective on the things that I think are wrong with the iPad – to provide evidence for others to weigh in their own debate (if any) on whether or not an iPad is worth the $ for them. frankly, I’m a little jealous that some people do find a place for it in their lives. I really wanted to, but didn’t.

    who knows… maybe an iPad with iOS4 and/or a 2nd generation of hardware will make it worth the $ for me. if it was a better price – say $250 or less – then it probably would be worth it to me. but for now… it’s not, so i’m returning it.

  • Sounds like you either bought it knowing you would take it back because what you complain about is widely known in regards to the iPad or you didn’t do your research.

    You didn’t really want an iPad to begin with so you were setting it up to prove you wrong which usually ends in a predictable manner.

  • in hindsight, i think you’re right, Scott. i was just lusting after the shiny new tech-toy and convinced myself that i did need it while ignoring everything that you said. hoping i can learn that lesson the next time the shiny new tech toy comes around.

  • Lisa Vella Snelling

    I feel a sense of relief for you. Now what are you going to get yor wife with that ” extra” $600

  • i’m umm… getting her a skinnier me… through me buying a new road bicycle… :)

  • Rob Conery

    My money is on a repurchase within the next year.

  • I bought mine to use a a personal organizer with ‘other stuff’. What’s nice is being able to read books, etc while commuting.

  • i won’t deny the possibility – especially if they put iOS4 on it and/or update the hardware within the year (which is what I expect from Apple)

  • Brad Mead

    Derick I wasn’t initially going to respond but then as I just tried to listen to the IPod feature while browsing in Safari and got the all too common non-response from the interface my anger boiled over.

    I would not be an early IPad adopter if not for restrictions at my workplace that forbid so many internet sites I have come to rely on ( blogs, bookmarks etc).

    It’s definitely a love/hate relationship. The Safari experience is just awful and 3G is like 14.4 all over again. And when the interface does freeze up trying to play IPod and browse (which is supposed to work) it’s hard to get Safari responding again even after stopping IPod. I will trade in on a second-mover device as soon as one is released that addresses mutli-tasking – regardless of app store advantages.

    Lack of arrow keys on the virtual keyboard is also a ridiculous decision — just as the lack of the same on the original Macs was. (It was a ploy to force users to utilize mouse and preempt keyboard-based apps on the Mac).

    I have heard rumors HP is following with a device that picks up where the IPad falls short (albeit without the app ecosystem).