“Jackass of the Week” is already taken, so I’ll highlight the occasion douchebags I come across. Rafe Needleman at CNET today writes that the iPad isn’t living up to his expectations. That’s fine.
It’s his arguments that are douchey.
I shall call him, ”Smudgy.”
Everyone knows the first-gen iPad is lacking a camera and multitasking and that many of its apps are overpriced. Annoying.
My toaster is also lacking a camera. The iPad does indeed multitask; I can listen to music or streaming radio while I do other stuff, and new emails arrive in the background, or calendar pops up. It doesn’t allow 3rd-party app multitasking, and won’t until Fall. But neither does the iPhone, and I like both devices a lot.
April 3: No chamois
MacBooks and iPhones come with little screen-cleaning cloths, and they don’t collect fingerprints in nearly as spectacular a fashion as the iPad. Come on, Apple, at this price you can afford two pennies of cloth.
I assume he’s joking. The oleo-phobic (literally “oil fearing”) screen can be cleaned with a tissue, napkin, or sleeve. But there’s rarely a point in doing so (though I admit I do it too): The thing’s going to get smeared in fingerprints as soon as you start using it again. Nature of the beast.
April 4: A hobbled New York Times app
It’s Sunday, and the New York Times is sitting on my kitchen table. Apple’s ads have me thinking that I can read the whole thing on the iPad instead, and if so I’ll happily cancel my paper subscription. But the current ”Editor’s Choice” NYT app gives me only a limited selection of stories. Cruelly, the iPhone version of the NYT app gives me everything in the paper. I didn’t pay all this money only to choose between a tiny version of the Times and an abridged version at iPad size. Give me what you advertised, please, Apple.
This isn’t up to Apple. Rafe’s beef is with the New York Times.
April 6: Where’s the kickstand?If the iPad is meant as a media-consuming device, how exactly are you supposed to arrange it to watch said media? You can buy Apple’s overpriced case ($39.95 for what appears to be a file folder made from recycled milk jugs), as I did, and that works pretty well, but the device should have some form of stand so you don’t need to spend yet more money just so you can do with what it’s sold for without generating chiropractic bills.
I agree a kickstand of some sort would be nice, and I suppose the next version may have one. Maybe. It interrupts smooth lines, and Apple doesn’t go for that often. But I’ve been using mine sans case and haven’t needed to see a chiropractor yet. It weighs LESS THAN TWO POUNDS. I’ve literally eaten hamburgers that weigh more than my iPad, and they didn’t come with kickstands either.
April 7: Missing apps
Waaaait a minute. Where’s the clock? The calculator? Come on, Apple. These are freebies on the iPhone. The clock omission is particularly galling. The iPad is a good e-book reader and it’s been spending nights on the table next to my bed, so why doesn’t it have the one other app that would be useful there, an alarm clock? And without multitasking support (at least for now), third-party clocks don’t even work. (Workaround: Set an appointment in the calendar, which has audible reminders. But see below.)
Wow. Even for a lamely-written piece, Rafe’s article is really stretching here. The clock? It’s in the header on EVERY SINGLE SCREEN. It’s also on your lock screen. If he’s looking for an alarm clock, I found a free alarm clock and a free calculator app (PCalc Lite) in about 4 seconds of searching in the App Store. I installed them. I almost never use either; the iPad is a comically large calculator, and I rarely have need to use it as such. I still have an iPhone, and truth be told, I almost never use its calculator, either. When I need to run a quick calculation, I use Google.
The line that 3rd-party alarm clocks won’t work is hogwash, and I guarantee that Rafe knows it’s hogwash. There are many, for the iPhone and the iPad, and the all work. Some use push notifications; some rely on your leaving the app running. But to make a blanket “they don’t work” statement is pretty disingenuous. And as Rafe points out but dismisses, you can use the built-in Calendar app to set alarms very easily.
April 12: No arrow keys on the keyboard
Back at work, I’m trying to get productive with the iPad… But try writing or editing anything other than a short e-mail or Tweet on the iPad’s virtual keyboard. It has no arrow keys and obviously no mouse, which makes quick edits go slow. Selecting text by pointing and dragging over it works and looks cool but is just not efficient. It’s an annoying roadblock. (The external keyboard accessory has arrow keys, but I’d rather carry my MacBook with me that schlep that thing around.)
He’d rather “carry” his Macbook than “schelp” the Keyboard Dock (or, one assumes, a Bluetooth keyboard). That’s his right, I guess. But I don’t know why the keyboard gets the schlepping label. If you need to lots of typing, use a real keyboard.
There’s more, but you get the point. If Rafe doesn’t like his iPad, that’s fine; he just needs to write honestly about why.
Oh, and don’t miss his conclusion about just how bad the thing is:
I’ve been adapting to the iPad’s niggles for two weeks and I will continue to. It’s a fun and beautiful device, and it is actually useful both at work and at home.