Why You Don’t Want an iPad

This blog post was written by guest blogger, B. Imei Hsu. You can find her on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Her Blog.

Just moments after Steve Jobs demonstrated the iPad to the world on January 27, 2010, people sent in their opinions on whether or not they would be pre-ordering one. As a therapist oriented towards education, I was fascinated with how quickly individuals formed highly opinionated statements about their choice.

Many of these statements were not backed with logical evidence, but with unsubstantiated adjectives: “dumb, hypocritical, useless, crap, brilliant, clever, stupid.”

I’ve never been one to “must have” the newest gadget when it’s released. If anything, I’ve usually been the one laughing at the people who wait outside of a store early in the morning to be one of the first to buy something at retail price. I’m naturally curious – and equally cautious. Admittedly, I’ll let others do the shake-down of a product. When things are perfected, I’ll happily plunk my hard-earned cash down (while looking for a way to save a buck, here or there). Yet, I reserve judgment until after I pull off its cover and try something for myself.

Not every person who claims to hate the iPad secretly wants one. There must be people who genuinely believe they do not wish to have an iPad, too. There are also people who genuinely believe they do not have a present need for an iPad, and thus have better uses for their limited resources (such as food, gas, medicine, and heat for their homes).

But why would anyone be so hasty to reject something outright that they have not tried themselves? Isn’t that akin to listening to a kid say he hates broccoli when he has never tasted a single crown?

I asked Chris why he thought people might have such a strong reaction to the iPad release. Strangely, he asked me to reveal my theories first. Here they are:

  1. You have a problem with desire. If you reject something without hesitation by labeling it as something you don’t want, you need not experience the pang of longing, wishing, and (perhaps) not receiving. This is similar to how we feel about relationships we are unsure of. Notice that many romance films include two people people who feign disinterest or conflict to hide their real desires; they’d like to meet up somewhere alone and “play doctor” on each other.
  2. You ask the wrong questions. If you ask an unrelated question of something or someone, you won’t get an answer that makes sense. Initially, people asked the iPad to be all things to all people without considering what its function was to be: a mobile device with the usability of an iPhone for consuming large amounts of content comfortably without being chained to one position or a “laptop” paradigm.
  3. People see what they want to see, believe what they want to believe, and do what they want to do.

    Whether right or wrong, good or bad, people act upon these principles not necessarily from experience – nor from a logical sequence of thoughts. Therefore, if you are looking to answer the wrong question, you will find the answer you are looking for (not necessarily the answer to the question you should be asking). The only destination you’ll arrive at is a place called confusion. You may not even know what it is you want.

  4. You hate change. Even if that disruption of routine relates to using familiar apps on a less-than-familiar device, there is this little voice in us that ever-so-quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) says: “Shit!” For example, how about having to manually select which applications to use on the iPad after hungrily devouring hundreds on your iPhone? Perhaps some of us would rather hover close to our mobile phones – and others enjoy the status those phones connoted to others.
  5. As much as we may anticipate the freedoms (or ease of life) that follows a new development in technology, it’s change itself that stops millions of us from moving on from such activities as overeating, smoking, oversleeping, or moving into activities such as trying a new job, going back to school, initiating an exercise routine, moving to another state or country, or speaking another language.

    We resist – but in the end, we encounter gamechangers such as the iPad that remind us of one single truth: change or die. Resistance is futile.

    Chris came up with yet another possible reason:

  6. You have envy. Put simply, this drives people to spew hate-filled comments about what they cannot have. Ever watch a man who loves an unreachable woman suddenly call her a “bitch?” Or a woman describe a car as “ugly” because it’s beyond her budget?

At the same time, I know that if there were a giveaway of a hundred iPads at my local Apple store on a first-come, first-served basis, then riot police (with tear gas available) would need to keep the peace.

Just yesterday, Chris set the iPad in my hands many hours after filming demonstrations for his unboxing event for the live stream and chat room. Though there were a number of interesting apps to explore, we ended up settling into putting together a puzzle, struggling through the unforeseen problem of flipping individual puzzle pieces without moving already-finished edges. Honestly, I was more interested in reading a page from a book on the iPad, or trying out a driving game to check out the graphics and the “grace notes” touted by early-release press reviews. But it was the simplicity of making a puzzle on an iPad in a quiet room that made me think of all the possibilities about to be laid at our feet.

I was in awe.

Certainly, there are glitches to be ironed out in the months ahead. Applications not perfected for the iPhone have been less than desirable on the iPad. Other apps have simply crashed more often than ocean waves in a storm (chiefly because hardware only became available to most developers yesterday). I kept going back to the simplicity of the device, its portability, and how easy it was on the eyes. It made me say: “My Mum is going to love this.”

And for the Twitterverse: #iPad #iwant

B. Imei Hsu, RN, MAC, LMHC, RYT is a nurse psychotherapist, Yoga instructor, dance artist in Bollywood and Bellydance, and n00b to Social Media. When she’s not putting virtual pennies in her SmartyPig.com account for an iPad, she’s gardening and hanging out with her Applehead Siamese cat Charles-Monet in Seattle, WA. For inquiries, email Imei at imei.hsu@gmail.com.

23 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Want an iPad”

  1. It isn’t hard for a practical person to see what the ipad is and decide whether or not it fits into their “digital lifestyle”. I’m excited because its new technology, but I also can’t see how I’d ever use it.

    From what I’ve observed, a lot of the irrational hatred is often a response to the equally irrational love the device has gotten. Comments about how this thing will bury traditional computing are providing plenty fuel. Both sides need to take a step back and accept the device for what it is.

  2. I do not want an iPad as it does not provide me with anything that I need for my day to day computer needs, nor does it offer me anything new for entertainment or work related tasks.

    I used to be an early adopter of technology in my early teens through to my late twenties, but you soon tire of chasing first release products and paying premium prices, so I suppose it’s an age thing that you tend to grow out of.

    If I was handed one for free, would I take it? Of course I would, and play around with it, but if it was not something I would use, I would pass it on to someone who could use it… for nothing, like I do with all of my equipment that I have no longer got a use for.

  3. helloB. Imei Hsu.

    Honestly the adjectives dumb, hypocritical, useless, crap, brilliant, clever, stupid goes along with the adjective Magical.. don’t you think?
    I will get a ipad sooner or later. I may get the 2.0 version, this version is kind of experimental. Im very sure that apple will have the 2.0 version ready very soon, just like they did with the iphone.
    Referring about what you said, “My Mum is going to love this.” I said exactly the same the first time I read about the ipad; it is so easy to use, very portable, and light. ipad is wonderful, but there is a problem, My mom is addicted to Farmville and Yoville.. and that is a big problem :).

  4. So if I read this post right, the writer doesn’t believe there is anyone out there is happy with a netbook or prefer another tablet (which is either out there or coming soon)?

    I find it a bit ironic that the author targets people who form opinions about an ipad they never touched, when their opinion is of people they never met.

  5. It is either those topics sugessted for you just don’t see the point of reading books on a bright LED screen. No-wonder why we computer freaks are always wearing glasses. LOL!

  6. I can see myself using the iPad in my college classes, however I want to wait until another generation to see if a camera is added. 3G isn’t that important to me, but would be nice to have just in case I travel and see need to use it. All I want for now is to go to a store and use one! =)

  7. Oh hey Bill, thanks for your comment. I actually did include a paragraph that states that I do believe there are people who do not have a desire for the iPad and have better uses for their money; in fact. The article is a speculation piece not so much on the technology itself, but more about the strong reactions people have had to new tech before they’ve tried it out for themselves. It’s a a note of observation about how people walk through the decision-making process.

    And a note to Kakis: yeah, I’m going to be bombarded with emails if my Mum actually gets one. Oy veh!

  8. The only reason I don’t buy it, is apples freakish app store.
    As a user I think apple shouldn’t dictate me what apps I use and which ones worth it to get into the app store.
    As a developer I think: screw you apple I ain’t put money and work into something just to let you kick it into the bin, my users ate those who are king and decide and not you.

    greets Jan

    ps: ah screw it your post is douchebagish apple-fanboy

  9. Uh… Have you ever heard of Black Friday? People stand in line for hours on end, trample people, kick people on the floor, kill people, etc. etc. at your nearest Wal-Mart just for a chance to purchase a new flat screen TV for $399. The obivousness of the “free iPad riot police” correlation is well uh… pretty much that. I like this response to your article…. And it’s written much better…


  10. I’m getting one for two reasons, both quite simple:

    1) I want a web browser by me while I’m on the couch, but not a whole laptop.

    2) I didn’t buy a Kindle because I thought Apple would come out with something better. I think they have.

  11. Meh, I had this long, impassioned rant all worked up about how aggressively offensive this post is given that the author is a therapist. Then I erased it because who really cares? I’d just be one more anonymous hater swimming on a sea of fiber cables brimming with ignorant malice. So: all the best to you, Ms. Hsu; I don’t much care for your article, but what do I know?

  12. I think my biggest issue with the venom against Apple and this product have to do with the assumption that no intelligent person would want such a product from a company that “controls” every aspect of the experience. Or that no one who wasn’t a blindly wasteful gadget monger would have any actual need for a device like the iPad when there are tons of perfectly good devices out there for half the price (there aren’t).

    As someone who has been working in technology for over 16 years, at one point building animation systems for major studios, writing about technology for publishers like O’Reilly for countless years, etc…this idea that I am not smart enough to make a decision on buying a “gadget” based on its merits but instead based on impulse control issues or being a sheep or part of some cult…is rather insulting. I’m smart enough to be successful in my career and my daily life, but my choice to buy an iPad somehow negates all that because I’m a mindless consumer. Let’s be real.

    As I’ve gotten older I care less about hacking and tweaking and care more about getting things done with little fuss. I bought an iPad and as a general browser and email device (which is 70% of what I do daily) and so far it is an outstanding experience. I don’t need to have a laptop chained to me anymore and for travel it will suit me perfectly.

    I use products like these because they are simple to operate, they don’t waste my time, setup and maintenance is a breeze, and I have more time to enjoy life and spend less time hassling with technology. If someone else makes something better I’ll buy it…which is why my actual music system is a Sonos…not Apple. I have yet to find a better phone than my iPhone…a better laptop than my Macbook Pro…and I expect the iPad will quickly take its place in the tools that make my life easier.

  13. Alan, I loved your response. You get it. Thank you. You got my point completely. So many people make asinine comments about new technology and gadgets, thus my fascination with human thought and its influence on behavior, even purchasing behavior. It is insulting to think that so many people purchase on “impulse”, as you say, instead of thought, such as the well-thought response you’ve laid out. Perfect.


  14. What confuses me a bit is the hating change point. Maybe I am reading it wrong (which I admit, I do), but one of the big reasons why I am not frantically saving up to buy an iPad is not that I hate change. Quite the opposite actually.

    I have not ponied up because I want to see more change. I am aggravated about app store policies and communication between apple and developers. The iPhone OS does not blow me away as much as it used to, some apps do (many apps do). But apple has started, and is continuing to make me feel babied and immature using my phone. Compared to some other app phones, namely the Nex1, I feel like I can’t be trusted.

    The iPad is just too similar to my phone already. Sure it would be nice to surf the web on the larger screen, and Netflix… wowzer. But Is wanting to tweak and customize our gadgets if the hardware is ready, willing and able such a crazy crime? I mean, I bought the thing. That is the iPhone, not the iPad.

  15. “You have a problem with desire.” Yes I do. I desire something other than a Ipod touchDX. Thats all it is.

    “You ask the wrong questions.” You may not even know what it is you want.” Yes I do. Something other than the Ipod touch DX.(See above)

    “You hate change” Uh, yeah we hate change. That’s why we subscribe to a tech site. Duh!

    “You have envy.” Yes I do. I wish I had the incredible ability to psychoanalyze millions of people who don’t think the same as you. You think the IPAD is wonderful but you have to remember that apple had a chance to add new abilities and functionality to it’s shiny new toy but didn’t. Why? Because Apple knows that there are people who will tear down walls to get to the newest tech toy no matter it’s limited or copied ability. So they sell their very weak copy to the tech zombies before they update and improve it to the 2.0 model. Apple makes much more money that way and the zombies are sated. I do envy Apples sales savvy though. Perhaps that’s what you meant?

  16. honestly i could see myself using an ipad becasue for the past 3 years on my ipod touch i mostly listen to music play apps go on the internet and watch videos. why wouldnt i want to do that on a bigger screen?

  17. “There are also people who genuinely believe they do not have a present need for an iPad, and thus have better uses for their limited resources (such as food, gas, medicine, and heat for their homes).”

    Nice implication there, two in fact. Firstly that Apple aficionados will buy the iPad regardless of their resources. Secondly, that those not planning to buy an iPad are doing so primarily because they cannot afford it.

    My view of the iPad has remained the same since the initial announcement: a device with a small market — a market that will only account for at best 5-10% of the people who’ll actually buy one.

  18. As I mentioned above, I’m finding less joy in “fixing” and “hacking” things now as I did when I was younger…and I’m not even 40. I just find my time more and more valuable.

    This morning I’m repairing permissions and whatnot because my MediaServer/Backup server is not booting. That’s 30 minutes wasted.

    I’ve gotten quite use to my iPhone just working all the time. I don’t worry much about feeling “babied” because I’m just really thrilled at just being able to look something up, have the info in front of me, have the links to their site, the map of their location, their phone number, etc. For me it is more about solving problems I face daily. The freedom for me in all the apps and the “walled system” is solving problems and accomplishing tasks…which doesn’t make me feel trapped. No flash support? Whatever.

    My 2010 Ford Edge has a nav system based on Sync and I gotta tell you it is the most painful UI and user experience I’ve ever seen. This is one of those situations where learning a little something from the iPhone would make all the difference. It is funny how I often just skip the nav system in the car in favor of the iPhone maps.

    I don’t buy gadgets unless I have a place for them in my life that solves a problem. Period. I don’t have room for the latest gadgets.

    I was just talking to a friend last night who is a lawyer and doesn’t want to take his work laptop on business trips. He wants a good email client, web browser, and basic document creation/reading. When I mentioned to him the iPad also had remote wiping if it got stolen…that sold him on it. There is definitely a need here that the iPad fills that other devices have failed to tap…no matter how often people yell, “But there are dozens of cheaper netbooks.”

    But hey…we’ll just have to wait and see if another 62 million sheep (iPhone/iPod Touch users), who apparently don’t know any better, buy iPads…or if it just flops like people said the iPhone would flop.

  19. Heck, I’m still trying to decide if I want to get a Mac. I’m not at the point of thinking about an iPad.

  20. You mention that you settled on a simple puzzle mini game. If the iPad’s magic is just that then you’ll instantly get gratified on any tablet having flash. There’s a gazillion mini games on the web waiting for you.

    I’m rather skeptical of all this hype and the more tablets from various manufacturers appear in living rooms around the world, it will become obvious that their main use will be just browsing the web, email and messaging.

    And then, laptops will simply feature an autonomous detachable screen (like Lenovo’s U1) and tablets will go the way of mp3 players who integrate in mobile phones and integrate themselves in laptops.

  21. There is definitely a lot of psychological reactions going on here, but I don’t think you really need to try a device like this out to form what might be even a strong opinion. When the device was announced I assumed the theoretical best in terms of performance and usability. What I questioned is what I would ever do with it. More people seem to be questioning the iPad not on it’s actual quality (I’ve never bothered to try one out, but my assumption is, being an apple product, that it does what it’s designed to do very well).

    I cannot rightfully decide if a device is good for it’s intended purpose without trying it, but I can look at the role of the device and figure out if it appeals to me. In the iPads case, it definitely doesn’t. That is definitely a class of device I have no need for. I think the same goes for a lot of people, ESPECIALLY the type of people who like to comment on technology. Obviously you’re going to get a lot of skewed views.

  22. Like all iDevices some glitches will need to be ironed out.
    It’s common knowledge that many of the issues which plagued the iPhone were fixed later on. So in short, “Yeah I’d wait”.

    But one thing is for sure.
    This webpage “Straight-Buggs”. 

    I know you have to pay the bills, but this “Talking-Tomcat Add” fills my entire 3g screen, so I can’t see anything but the add & I don’t see an option to turn it off  ie.(OK / Close /Opt-Out).
    Also, load time is so slow, I don’t know if it’s the flash-add causing this or not, but this page hits 95% & just hangs.

    PS: I’ll try it on My Notebook to see if it hangs.

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