You Know You Want An iPad… But Should You Buy One Now?
Posted 03/12/2010 at 6:13am | by J.R. Bookwalter
Happy iPad Preorder Day! We know many of you have the credit cards warmed up and are anxiously hitting the refresh button on your browser waiting for The Apple Store to come back to life, but before you bite, read on.
Smart Money has a report that looks at the downside of being an early adopter of any technology, with a special focus on today’s belle of the ball, the iPad. While the earliest adopters are likely to bite the bullet today and preorder their new friend from apple.com, even more will probably hit their nearest brick & mortar Apple Store on April 3rd, when they can finally hold one in their cold, clammy hands.
But is buying now a good idea? “Most people are better off waiting for the technology to mature,” says Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. “Even the first iPhone owners were pretty unhappy.”
We’re not quite sure how much truth there is in that statement, although those first-generation buyers in June, 2007 did get burned a price drop after only a few months, which Apple rectified with a nice store credit. Hear anyone complain after that? However, Smart Money seems to feel that a new iPad “could come down in as few as six months,” but Apple’s track record of late generally has hardware refreshes a year later, so we’d say you’re fairly safe on that front.
As far as the technology maturing -- well, the iPhone OS used on the iPad is at version 3.2, which means most of the bugs have been worked out of the system. Sure, there may be hardware issues yet to be uncovered, but for the most part Apple’s track record with early adopter bugs is generally better than most other tech companies.
The biggest strike against the iPad may be app availability -- while the device can run most of the more than 150,000 apps currently in the App Store, those are designed for the smaller screen of the iPhone and iPod touch and won’t provide an ideal user experience until developers can rewrite them to work best on the iPad. Since almost no developers have gotten to actually use an iPad, there will likely be some bugs to work out once the device is available to them, so the first few weeks could be a bumpy road in that regard.
Smart Money also notes that no one knows what else is coming after the iPad -- it’s still not the perfect tablet device since it lacks a camera, and other companies are working hard to make sure the iPad doesn’t capture too much of the extremely young market just yet. Time will tell.