Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPad vs. Netbook

C|Net’s Dan Ackerman recently reviewed Apple’s new iPad, comparing it to any one of the plethora of Microsoft Windows–based netbooks out there. Of course, as happens with any Apple product, the responses are both polarized and numerous. Here’s my take on the subject:

Personally, I’d never buy a netbook. They’re too small, too slow, too—well, too just about everything I wouldn’t want in a computer. I just can’t see myself having any use for one.

IMHO, the problem with a netbook is that it tries to replace a laptop, while the beauty of the iPad is that it doesn’t. I think the funniest complaint I’ve heard is the one along the lines of “It’s just a big iPod touch.” Well, yes, that’s exactly what it is. That’s exactly what Apple was going for, and after playing with an iPad at my local Best Buy, I can say they achieved that intent quite effectively.

The reason some people are so excited about the iPad is because it meets a need they have. What is that need? It varies from person to person. Some are just Apple zealots; some just like to have the latest status symbol. But not every iPad customer falls into one of these categories. I have a client, for example, that has tremendous use for the iPad, one that will impact his bottom line significantly. For him and his business, it’s a good investment. For others, maybe not. So what? You can’t be everything to everybody. I don’t have an iPad for the same reason I don’t have a cell phone: I just don’t need it, so why should I waste my money on it? If the time comes that it meets a need for me, I’ll get one. Until and unless that happens, I won’t. Simple as that.

I guess what I’m getting at is that the iPad can either be a great product or a lousy one, depending on what you need. Since it really does meet some people’s needs, I can totally understand why those people would be excited by it. What I don’t get is why so many people whose needs it doesn’t meet are so bent out of shape. If I’m hungry for chicken, I’m not going to bash the guy at the next table for ordering spaghetti; I’ll just order my chicken and presumably enjoy my meal.

So what are your thoughts on the iPad vs. netbook controversy? Will you be getting one or the other? Both? Neither? Do tell!

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