The unfortunately named iPadI can’t say that I’m particularly in love with the idea of the iPad.  Really, it looks like a bigger version of the iPhone.  Yeah, I know, the technology is totally cool.  It’s thin, it’s sleek, it’s a geeks wetdream.  I *GET* it!  It can do a whole lot of  really neat things.  The question is, do I need what it does?

1) It’s a web browser: Okay, great.  But I have my desk top for that at home.  I have my laptop for when I’m on the go. Do I really need a third machine?  It’s not like it can fit in my pocket like a BlackBerry or iPhone, both of which let me access the web and update my facebook/twitter accounts so it’s not particularly convenient in that regard.

2) It lets you access your email: So do most smart phones.  The only thing that might make the iPad  more appealing is the full size keyboard.  NEXT!

3) It displays photos: Wonderful, another way for skeezy people at the airport to show you their erotic umbrella collection.  It used to be that people whipped out their wallets, now they’ll be whipping out this thing? Save yourself some money and buy yourself a digital picture frame.  And for gods sake, leave it at HOME!

4) It plays video: Okay, you got me here.  It would be great on a long bus, airplane or train trip to be able to watch video of your choosing instead of one the ones chosen by people of questionable taste.  Portable DVD players are cumbersome at best so I can see the appeal of the iPad in this instance.  I can also see it flying through the air because your toddler doesn’t like the episode of Diego you downloaded.

5) It plays YouTube videos: Do people really have a burning desire to watch YouTube where ever they go?  Okay, maybe if It’s Just Some Random Guy puts out his latest opus, I might want to view it right away (we’re still waiting for Zero Hour Episode 2!  Do we have to sic Random Cat on you?), but I can’t imaging anything else that would engender such a burning desire.

6) It’s an iPod:  So’s my iPod.  The only interesting feature is that the iPad incorporates BlueTooth thechnology that allows it to pump music out via wireless headphones.

7) It can access iTunes: Again, in terms of convenience, its a nice feature, but it’s not a deal breaker.  That being said, do people really need to access new music RIGHT THIS MINUTE DAMNIT! Are people incapable of  waiting the 2 minutes or so to sync their iPod up to their computer?

8 ) It can access the Apps Store: So can the BlackBerry and iPhone – NEXT!

9) It can display books: I think this is the iPads biggest draw. Amazon’s Kindle is one of the hottest products on the market and it doesn’t do nearly the things that the iPad does, so I can understand Apple’s desire to tap into that market.  That said, I can’t imagine ever owning one.  I like books.  I like holding them in my hand, the act of turning its pages.  As someone who works online, I like physically manipulating something in my downtime.  I know, you can hold onto a Kindle or an iPad, but I’m still looking at a screen, and after 8 hours or more staring at a screen for work, I really like the idea of not looking at another one, no matter how nicely backlit.  I think Rupert Giles said it best:Rupert Giles - Lover of books

“Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a – it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It’s-it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.”

Besides, if I loose a book, I’ve lost what, maybe $12.00? If I loose my iPad I’m out $500 and all the books I’ve ever bought on the thing.

10) It displays maps: So does my GPS and do you really want to try reconfiguring an iPad while your driving?

Then you’ve got your Notes feature, calendar, contacts, homescreen etc… which are standard fare on a good smart phone.

Basically, my conclusion is that the iPad an amazing piece of technology and engineering, but Apple isn’t giving me a compelling reason to buy it versus an iPhone. Other people might feel differently. Do you feel differently?  Why?

The iPad launches on April 3rd.