Now I admit, I bought an iPad on impulse. I did very little prior research, and I really didn’t consider my need for one (which, as I found out, was negligible). As I found out later, many of the problems I had with the iPad were heavily documented online, and if I had read up on them, I would never have bought the ridiculous device in the first place. Thank christ for Apple’s friendly return policy, or I would have been out $800.

Either way, I bought an iPad for uni, and in my opinion, it failed at being good at uni. There was a handy program that I bought for $5 that I could write notes in…. in the same kind of way I can write notes in Wordpad which I get for free. Actually, that’s not true… Wordpad has substantially more features. Then I paid $2 for a browser that let me use Facebook chat on the Facebook website (because Safari won’t for some arbitrary reason) Yep, I paid for a browser, another thing that I would expect to get for free on a PC (and would also have substantially more features).

I began to see a pattern; I was paying extra to make my device more like a different device that I would have paid substantially less for. Am I the only one who has noticed the stupidity in this? A friend of mine stated, with no sense of sarcasm or irony, “I’ve spent about $1000 on apps, and I’m fine with that”. $1000 ON APPS WHICH AREN’T EVEN PARTICULARLY ADVANCED? FOR AN $800 DEVICE WITH LESS FEATURES THAN A $300 DEVICE?? WTF?

As I started using several apps, I began to realise some more fairly annoying problems that wouldn’t appear on a PC. I had several word processing apps, but if I created a file with one of them, I couldn’t use it with the other without first connecting the iPad to a computer and then transferring the files between the apps using iTunes. This may make sense in a phone, but in a device designed to be used instead of a laptop, this becomes fairly annoying. Also, the lack of flash and java support can be annoying, but I guess forcing people to buy your game apps instead of playing flash games online is another way to corner the market. (They failed at their attempt at censoring though; the biggest porn site in the world re-encoded all their videos to make them playable on the iPad)

Now I admit there are positives to this device. It is very lightweight, has an in-built 3G modem, and has a ridiculously insane battery life, but without a proper operating system or any practical applications, it’s just an oversized, overpriced, inconvenient, phoneless smartphone. At time of writing there was no multi-tasking support, and all video’s had to be changed to .mp4 before usage.

I’m sending back my iPad within the next few days, and it’ll be a welcome change to return to my netbook. It may have no touch screen, weigh 400g’s more, require a $60 300gm battery to give it the same battery life, and need a USB 3G modem instead of an in-built one, but it cost half as much, and I think the ability to actually do anything useful on it makes it the better choice. Now I just have to wait for the HP Slate, maybe that will sell me on this whole Tablet bullshit.

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