Why I Returned My iPad This Weekend

All good epics come in trilogy form.  Here on Flip The Media, we began with Why I’m Not Buying an iPad This Weekend from my faculty colleague Kathy Gill.  Then MCDM student Jeremy Snook sounded off on Why I Bought an iPad This Weekend.  So I’ll wrap it up with my Return of the iPad (apologies JRR Tolkien).  I took it back this evening (and paid the 10% restocking fee), though I had made the fateful decision this weekend when I left it behind with my family for two days and realized that I hadn’t missed it.

Most of my thoughts can be summarized in my review of the iPad last week on Seattle’s New Day Northwest:

I wouldn’t go as far as Lost Remote’s three word review: “Heavy niche toy.”  But as the Apple customer service rep told me sympathetically, the iPad has compelled users to determine their specific portable computing needs and ask themselves whether this device fulfills them.  For me, it didn’t — and it negated any desire to cart it around.  In the last 72 hours:

– I decided to watch the uStream of the Seattle Social Media Breakfast event from home — on my Macbook Pro because the iPad’s browser doesn’t support Flash, and there’s no app to compensate.

– I used the webcam on my laptop to conduct a video Skype chat with my family in London.  Not possible on the iPad.  That’s not a deal breaker, but it means that if I need to decide which computer I want to have with me on an ongoing basis, I’m going to choose the one that gives me the most utility.

– I took my cheap, light somewhat stodgy Asus netbook to the Pacific Science Center for a run-through for our TEDx Seattle event; using Evernote to take notes about our speakers.  There’s an Evernote app for the iPad, but I wouldn’t have been as adept with the on-screen keyboard; and it would have been tough to balance a bluetooth keyboard on my lap.  I’ve been thinking hard about what I’ll use as a notepad as the event’s moderator; ultimately, I think I’ll use….a notepad.

– I opted for a trial subscription for the Seattle Times on my Kindle 2.  I do like the iPad’s color screen, but the Kindle is much lighter — and I can hold it for extended periods of time.

– I’ve returned to messing around with my very delightful, Linux-based Maemo OS Nokia N900 mobile computer — the antithesis to the iPad (warts-and-all open-source, comes with a full-featured browser that supports Flash, a geek’s wet dream and a technological dead-end given Nokia’s new relationship with Intel to develop the MeeGo platform).

I really do like the multimedia streaming options on the iPad (the Netflix and ABC apps especially); but that’s not enough to justify a $500 expenditure.  I know that my 2 year-old daughter will dearly miss the “big iPod.”  But I think it’s worth sitting out the tablet wars to come and see if someone does develop one device “to rule them all.”  I get what Apple is trying to do here,  it’s just not for me.  Of course it’s absolutely ridiculous that I have so many gadgets to begin with, but I was hoping the iPad would help me cut back.  Not just yet.

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