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TechBit: The iPad and the Electric Car

I'm sure I don't have to link to the thousands of articles and blog posts about the iPad both praising it and bashing it. Just do a google or twitter search and you will find both rather easily. One thing I still remain a bit puzzled with is the continued reaction to the device about what it doesnt have and can't do. Primarily from techies who would never buy one. Neither would I, at least not yet. The thing that keeps coming across to me from these folks is a complete lack of understanding about what its for.

Consider the electric car for a moment. Pure electric, not hybridized. It only has a range of about 40 miles. It's small. Its does 0-60 mph in like a whole minute. I can totally imagine the exact same conversation about one of those happening:

Steve: I'm thinking about getting an electric car.
Bill: Why would you ever do that?!?
Steve: What do you mean?
Bill: An electric car has such a limited range, 40 miles or something, what if you need to really go somewhere!
Steve: for 75% of the population, myself included, have a daily commute, including shopping, less than 40 miles. So why is that a problem?
Bill: Well it goes so slow!
Steve: Its not like I'm going drag racing or expecting performance vehicle, I just need to get from here to work and back. When I want to have some fun driving , I'll use my Tesla. (snarfs)
Bill: But you have to plug it in every night and wait for it to charge. What if you need to drive when that is happening?
Steve: uh, Bill, I'll use my car with the, you know, gas engine in it. As I will do when I need to go on long trips.
Bill: Well then if you need two cars, how is it worth it?putzes
Steve: We need two cars anyway. During the week, I only drive to work and back. During that same time, my wife has to drive the kids to Timbuktu and back so she gets the Hummer. And on the weekend, we may go on a long trip, so I'll drive the Hummer then while she scoots around town in the electric car.

It's true, if you live in the burbs, or out in the country it make no sense at all to have an all electric vehicle as your only way to get around. The electric car, as it stands right now, would only be an efficient method to supplement your driving needs.

The same sort of gripes are being made about the iPad. It doesnt have USB. It doesnt have a camera, it's not upgradable. You can't add memory or replace the battery. You can't run more than one 3rd party app at the same time. You are stuck with Apple blessed software. Yes the limitations are large. But no one expects this thing to be your only computer.

It's a supplemental computing device. It performs 90% of the tasks that average Joe and Jane needs. Email, internet (web based porn I am sure for many customers), it holds contacts and provides a great information source for a variety of needs. One that wont crash, won't get slower as you use it, not prone to any viruses. Plus all the apps, many of which are actually useful. But yeah, if you need to build a website, you probably need a computer. Want to print to a USB printer, you probably have to transfer the file. etc etc. For those of you that do things the iPad can't do more than 10% of the time, know two things:

1) The iPad isnt for you.
2) You are in the great minority of people in the world

As I said, I wont be buying one for myself (although I like the iBook stuff), but its perfect for my wife (and mom and sister), all of whom hate computers and live a frustrated life with those evil machines. I have no doubt the next iPad will have a camera, and other goodies. Maybe I'll jump in then, maybe not.

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