Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Rejected The I-Pad

"Buy it," I told my Finance Manager.  She had an idea to go to paperless Board meetings that I liked (and still like).  I was lured by the coolness of it.  The thinking was this:  We would start with one I-pad that I would test drive and then move to buying a dozen so we could convert all of our Board meetings to paper-free ones.

Then, I went to the Apple Store to test it out.  I read the books, surfed the 'net, watched part of a movie, and, generally, toyed with it over a 20 minute test drive session.

"Hold off," was my e-mail afterward.

Nearly thirty years of making technology decisions was behind this decision to reject the I-Pad.

I advised my Dad to buy an IBM PC instead of an Apple Lisa in the early 1980's when he decided to take the leap from typewriter for his company.  Apple was neat and superior on the gee whiz side, but IBM was more functional.  Time's passing, and Windows operating system, made that decision the right one.

I don't build credibility saying this, but I'm the same guy who was for Beta instead of VHS. On my dorm's board to help decide what to use some of our discretionary funds for in 1986, I successfully convinced everyone that Sony Betamax was the way to go.

Beta tapes were smaller and the quality was better I argued. VHS emerged but I'll still argue Beta was better.

The I-Pad is a neat tool, and the access to I-Phone apps like skymap makes it a neat gee-whiz tool for the tech-hungry among us. 
As much as I liked it, I couldn't see where it was better than my Windows Mobile phone, though, for productivity and access to information.
I couldn't see myself taking it to the beach or mountains this Summer as a way to keep connected to my work while I try to relax.  There's no Wi-Fi in the Atlantic or on top of old Stony Man, yet.
And it's not ready for business.
Put 12 people around the room with them and try to replace paper.  I couldn't see it happening, yet.
The key is in the "yets." 
The technology already exists.  Someone, therefore, will soon figure out the way to EASILY make a device like the I-Pad that works in concert with my cell phone.  Don't tell me I have to pay for duplicative services to make it work the way it already should.
They will also make it possible for 12 devices in the room at the same time to work in concert with each other even if the Wi-Fi is down.  When I turn to page 5 and highlight a section of a document, everyone on the other 11 devices can see that in front of them too.
Then, I can accept the I-Pad or an I-Pad-like device that will truly replace paper and bring productivity.
In the meantime, I've rejected the I-Pad.

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