The Gilded Cage: Why My Next Tablet Won’t Be an iPad

I love my iPad, truly I do.

But this is my last one.

Other than a few iPods over the years, it’s been my first true Apple product — at least one I purchased and wasn’t handed to evaluate — and the experience has been nothing short of excellent since I lucked into one late last April at an Apple store in North Carolina. The anticipation leading up to the launch of the iPad made it a foregone event — at least within the walls of Lenovo — but no one anticipated the excellent responsiveness, elegant user interface, and impeccable integration with iTunes and the iTunes app store. The product was far more than an upsized version of the iPhone, and came as a sharp rebuke to the stylus-based tablet computing model pushed by the PC makers and Microsoft.

Nearly a year later I spend as many hours with the iPad as I do with my classic laptop. I’m purchasing and reading an average of three Amazon Kindle books per week on it, do nearly all of my television/movie consumption through the Netflix app, and use a mixture of browser, Google Earth, and other reference tools as I read and research various non-fiction topics. I hate typing on it

In short, I’m a satisfied customer and am glad I winced and bought the $500 device when I did. I think it represents the most significant shift in computing devices in over twenty years, and has shown a way forward for a completely new model of information/entertainment delivery and consumption.

Now with the next version allegedly already in manufacturing, I  can also say this iPad is probably my last Apple tablet. My next one will most likely be an Android Honeycomb version, not purchased with a 3G/4G contract from a carrier, but most likely a WiFi enabled device.

I shared a table on the Acela to NYC this week with Forrester’s tablet analyst, Sara Rotman Epps. Like any good analyst she took the time to survey me, the average man on the train, on my purchase intentions. I told her — this time next year I’ll probably spend as much as $350 for an Android tablet and expected it would be much lower in build quality than an Apple — plastic instead of brushed aluminum. The real question is what, other than god forbid breakage or loss, will induce me to move to a new tablet. Camera? I don’t think so. Video calling is the most overhyped technology since speech to text recognition.

Why will I leave Apple?

In order of importance:

  1. Monopoly: I’m alarmed by Apple’s monopolistic moves towards publishers — and book sellers — that essentially forces them to sell content — books, movies, magazine subscriptions, through Apple’s commerce infrastructure. This tollbooth will jack content prices up, with the impact inevitably being handed down to me, the buyer. I am sick and tired of Apple’s proprietary/walled garden approach to their platform from the lack of Flash support to sticking guns into the sides of the third parties that have coalesced around the platform to make it so successful.
  2. Google integration. I am a Google person. From Gmail to Google Docs, Google Voice to Google Earth, Chrome to ….. the Google mobile app on the iPad is weak. I am also an Android phone owner, so I want better sync capabilities between devices. Google’s stuff works ok on the iPad, but not great.
  3. Cost: I want to pay way less than $500 for basically half of a laptop. I hated netbooks although I inflicted one on my daughter, but regard the $250-$350 price point to be just right for the form factor. Sure, my next tablet will be made out of cheesy plastic, but slide it into a nice cover/case and who cares? It’s all about the screen and the processor.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

13 thoughts on “The Gilded Cage: Why My Next Tablet Won’t Be an iPad”

  1. Why you will stay?

    Battery life. No one else is as focused on battery life as Apple is. And nothing less than 10 hours will suffice on a tablet.

    Your forget how great the battery life is on the iPad precisely because it is so great. You don’t worry about it on a day to day basis. Sure, it’s no Kindle but it truly is a full day’s charge.

  2. Thoughtful post. Dave. on target too. And now it looks like the Feds have put Apple in their crosshairs, once again.
    Apple’s market may be much admired, but it’s also quite fickle and subject to high churn.
    I want to see the WebOS device from HP but it’s going to take a lot to make me move away from Google/honeycomb.
    know what i want most of all in my slate?USB expansion. Without it no maker gets jim bucks.


  3. I am right there with you on all of this, I think. I am very worried about losing access to Kindle books and the Rhapsody mobile app on my iPad. Either would be a dealbreaker for iPad2. But I am worried about Android tablet pricing. It seems so obvious that there should be a cheaper tablet but so far the big names are pricing over the iPad.

  4. iOS is definitely more open than Android. telesphereo/cydia use normal dpkg/apt. all the freeBSD userspace and even GCC is readily installable, and you can write your apps in any language. dont let the facade of the app-store fool you. on Android youd be futzing around soon realizing they replaced this decades-old mature/stable/flexible POSIX land with some java-esque monolith..

  5. Bought an iPad for my wife for Christmas. Naturally, the kids immediately took it over and figured out how to make it sing within a matter of hours. Since then my wife is forever trying to get it away from them–thank God school provides a brief interruption–but she loves cooking in the kitchen with it, playing music, looking up recipes, etc. For all that, it is still pretty much an entertainment device, albeit a very beautiful, well-conceived one. To your point about typing, it is essentially useless as a work tool–at least if your work requires lots of typing. I admire it but don’t really see it as being more than an expensive toy.

  6. I agree with your arguments. Almost as soon as I got my iPad, I started envisioning what my next such device would be and wondered if I should have held out for a decent android tablet. I find myself using the iPad mostly for reading RSS feeds, twitter feeds, facebook feeds, other news and books on the kindle app – all of which I can do with my android phone (but on a more comfortable screen for reading). Sure, I’ve loaded it up with my favorite music, and have the ability to watch movies on it, and it is probably very good for certain types of games, but all of those are secondary considerations for me. Basically, my iPad is a glorified kindle. A kindle with just a little bit more functionality (native google reader, facebook, twitter and email clients) would be an excellent device, as would an android device with the same functionality as my phone but with a larger screen. However, until such a device exists at a price point that makes it a no-brainer, I’ll stick with my iPad.

  7. Right there with you on this (iPad owner, Android phone owner, heavy Google user). Android tablet is likely in my future too, but for now I would settle for a “fine-tipped” stylus to take hand written notes in meetings on the iPad. Agree with Charles that it is useless as a work tool as it is.

  8. In the fall, our meetings at the office were filled with folks busily taking notes on ipads. All manners of cases, keyboards etc. were in use.

    Now a few months later, almost everyone is back to lugging their laptops into the room.

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