"Closed Ecosystem, No Web Browser Choice"0.5 starson by GentleNation
Pros: Fast, familiar though boring interface, long battery life thanks to lack of multitasking and cellphone OS.
Cons: Only Apple Approved software allowed (expensive)
No choice of web browser
iPhone apps look bad on large screen
-SD card slot
Summary: For $500-$700 the Apple iPad is hundreds of dollars too expensive and not portable enough for the limited functionality that the device possess. With all that the iPad lacks in functionality and connectivity (see "cons" section) it would seem unfair to compare the iPad to a netbook or laptop computer even though they are in the same price range. On the otherhand when one compares the iPad to a device with similar functionality and connectivity such as a smartphone or iPod Touch the iPad lacks portability and is comparatively expensive. No matter how you look at it the iPad fails in comparison to both netbooks and smartphones.
Let's first look at smartphones which are closer to the capabilities of an iPad. HTC has recently announced a 4G smartphone known as the HTC EVO. This device running Google's open Android OS features a 4.3" touchscreen, 1GHz CPU, front and rear facing cameras, HDMI output, speedy 4G cellular connectivity and the ability to share it's data connection with up to 8 other devices. The iPad though similarly priced lacks all of these options. How can Apple claim that the iPad bridges the gap between smartphones and computers when smartphones coming out in the coming months are vastly superior pieces of hardware in smaller and more portable packages? Could someone who owns an HTC EVO released in the next couple of months ever truly justify owning an iPad? I don't see how. Reading Kindle books on the EVO's 4.3" screen may not be as luxurious as reading on the iPad's 9" screen, but which one are you more likely to have in your pocket everyday when you have a spare moment to read in a waiting room or during a coffee break? The HTC EVO may seem like the pinnacle of smartphone technology right now, but by the end of this year it will most likely only be an average smartphone. In short the smartphone itself is bridging the gap between the phone and the laptop and already doing a better job than the iPad does. Smartphones like the ones coming from HTC and Samsung are bringing the functionality of computers: free open app ecosystems, multitasking, choice of web browser, flash and java support, etc. with the portability of the cellphone (a device that a man can easily carry with him everywhere). The iPad fails to deliver either the functionality or portability of the best smartphones, but it costs as much or more.
Perhaps the biggest reason to not buy an iPad is that you will be forced to use an extremely limited mobile web browser that does not display websites properly. The mobile Safari web browser is not capable of displaying Flash content, Java content, Silverlight content or any other plug-ins that most websites use today. By intentionally limiting the functionality of the internet Apple gains much more control over what access consumers have to website content. This gives Apple power over both their consumers and developers since there is no way to install software on the iPad without Apple's approval. At this point you become dependent upon Apple to allow or provide apps in their store for each and every website that uses a plug-in (Netflix, Hulu, Google Maps, Youtube, Facebook games, etc.) basically every great site on the internet. With an iPad doing you will be forced into downloading and buying expensive applications from Apple's app store just to gain back functionality which is free and standard on a laptop computer. Things you can do for free on a computer like printing will be extremely limited and require the purchase of a specific application. Apple profits directly from every single piece of software sold for an iPad so they have no incentive to give you all the standard functionality you expect from a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC.
All I can do is encourage educated consumers to not buy into this oppressive Apple ecosystem anymore and demand that Apple allow an open development platform where consumers have the freedom to choose the web browser of their choice. Consumers must demand that Apple allow them to decide for themselves which software should be allowed on their devices and what websites they should be allowed to view. If we accept locked down devices like the iPad to become the future of computing then we will all lose in the long run. To even think of the Apple iPad as an alternative to a netbook or laptop computer should be a repugnant thought to everyone.