Common sense and the iPad

Dave Winer is one of the wisest people on the Net, so I was wondering what he thinks of the iPad. Here are his initial thoughts. They make sense to me.

It’s definitely not a writing tool. Out of the question. This concerns Jeff Jarvis, rightly so. This is something my mother observed when I demoed it to her on Saturday. Howard xxx writes that not everyone is a writer. True enough, and not everyone is a voter either, but we want to make it very easy for people to vote. And not everyone does jury duty, but we require it. Writing is important. And experience has shown that the winning computer platforms are the ones you can develop for on the computer itself, and the ones that require other, more expensive hardware and software, don’t become platforms. There are exceptions but it’s remarkable how often it works this way.

Most of this is negative, and it reflects my feeling about the iPad, which is generally negative, even though I have a lot of fun discovering the problems with the device. It feels so nice to use. It’s so pretty and the nice touches are so incredibly nice. I like using it the way I like driving my BMW.

And the battery performance is astounding. Apple, who seemed never to understand how important battery life is, has achieved it. My iPad still has 44% of its battery left after flying with me across the country, in use the whole time, and on the train trip from the airport, and reading the news this morning at breakfast. That's remarkable, not for Apple, but in comparison to the netbook that I admire for its battery life.

Further, in the iPad’s favor — the screen is uncluttered with the 30-year history of personal computer development, and my netbook screen is. As a result, even though the netbook has a slightly larger screen, the iPad feels larger, and effectively is larger. That’s why the map application feels so much bigger and more useful, because it has more screen real estate to play with. But this comes at a substantial cost. There is lots of missing important functionality. And even where the functionality is present, it's hard to find, and because it works differently makes it hard to use both the netbook and the iPad. And I believe that, for me, the netbook will win, for a variety of reasons…