Everyone wants an iPad this Christmas, right?
But you can count me out. I don't want an iPad for Christmas, thanks very much.
Why? Here are my reasons.
1. It'll be cheaper next year.
How dumb are people? Apple is coming out with iPad II in 2011. (Mr. Cordwell predicts April.) That means fanatics won't be seen dead with this year's model, and you'll be able to get it much cheaper. Try
2. It's going to be better next year.
The next iPad will have new featuresâallegedly including video conferencing and maybe a better screen. This year's model will be so over. When Steve Jobs unveiled the second iPhone in 2008 he actually made fun of the slow first modelâthe same product that he had hailed a year earlier as the eighth wonder of the world. The audience yukked it up. Me? I'm not a fan of buying a product for $500 from a guy who's going to deride it a few months later.
3. Check out those profit margins!
OK, I admit it: I've been wrong about Apple stock lately. After correctly turning bullish at $85 two years ago, I turned cautious waaay too early. My mistake? This isn't a technology company. It's a luxury brand, like HermÃ¨s or Tiffany (TIF)
4. Competitors are coming.
Right now the iPad has just one serious rival, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. So no wonder it's doing so well. But all that will change in just a few months. New tablets, many running on the Android platform, are expected to hit the market as soon as March. These will give you a much wider choice of size, style and operating system. And when these companies duke it out for market share, you know you'll be able to get a deal. So why would I buy now?
5. No Flash.
Do you want to watch video clips on the Web? On a boring old laptop or PC, you can do that for free. On the amazing new iPad? Only sometimes. Most Web video runs on Adobe Flash, and the iPad can'tâor rather, won'tâhandle Flash. So there are plenty of video clips you won't be able to watch. And plenty of others you will have to pay to watch, either by renting them from Apple's iTunes, or by paying for a subscription service like Hulu Plus. Mr. Jobs had a very public bust-up with Adobe over Flash this year. I have sympathy for his position, as Flash can be unstable. But it's still the software most Web video clips use, and I want that choice.
6. The cost of the add-ons.
The iPad starts at $499 plus tax. That's nearly twice as much as a netbook. And I know if I get the cheapest iPad I'll regret it. It has only 16 gigabytes' storage. And it can only go online when you are in a WiFi hotspot, like at home or in Starbucks (SBUX)
7. The games.
Yes, they're great. But that's the problem. Computer games are as addictive as cigarettes. And this is a habit everyone is taking up, not quitting. This is why I dumped my iPod Touch. Am I alone? Maybe. But I don't think so. I know lots of people with horror stories about addiction to immersive games. Someone I knowânow, as it happens, a British member of parliamentâonce sat down to play Civilization, a role-playing game, on a PC one Saturday evening and didn't finish until three o'clock ... Thursday morning. (He stopped when he ran out of cigarettes.) And that was on an old PC. Games on the iPad are more intense than ever. A friend recently showed me some of the serious news apps on his iPad. I noticed that to get to them he first had to "wave" us past several screens of games. Is he really using his iPad to read that article about the Indonesian economy, or is he playing Angry Birds? Hmmm. You make the call.
8. The waste.
The scarcest resource in life isn't money, land, fresh water or gold. For singles under 25, the scarcest resource is sex, and for the rest of us it's time. And the biggest waste of time I've ever discoveredâafter games (see above)âis the Web. Nothing comes close. It's a total black hole. Do I want to carry a device that lets me surf the Web endlessly wherever I am? That's easy. It's amazing how much time I have to read now that I never look at Facebook.
9. It'll get boring.
This year's totem is next year's meh. Economists call this "the hedonic treadmill." Human beings quickly get bored of each new item. We always want the buzz from something newer, better, bigger, faster or fancier. But the treadmill never stops. Think of how amazing the first Palm Pilots seemed back in the 1990s. Look at them now. The iPad may look like the eighth wonder of the world today. Soon it will seem so old.
10. The whole Apple cult is starting to creep me out.
OK, I already knew about the fans. Last summer, three-quarters of the people standing in line so they could buy the new iPhone the moment it went on sale already owned an iPhone. But now it's the company, too. Look at how it reacted last spring, when a Silicon Valley blogger scooped an early iPhone 4: Next thing he knew he was being handcuffed on his lawn in front of his wife while police ransacked his house. And think of Steve Jobs, complaining that news coverage of the iPhone 4's troubled aerial had been "blown so out of proportion that it's incredible." Hmmm, out-of-proportion media coverageâyou sure you want to go there, Steve? This is the guy marketing a new telephone under the slogan "This changes everything. Again." Maybe this stuff shouldn't matter to me, but I have to confess it's turning me off.
Write to Brett Arends at email@example.com