Thinking Tech

iPad? I'm passing

Posting in Technology

I'm passing on the iPad for now because it's Apple's way or the highway.

I've had several opportunities to play with the iPad and like millions of others, I love it. But I'm not going to buy one for the main reason I don't buy Apple. That's because it's Jobs' way or the highway.

credit: Apple

Specifically with the iPad, it does not have a USB port, meaning I can't connect it to my Blackberry which doubles as a broadband modem. I pay Verizon $30 a month for that service and the Blackberry works with all my PC notebooks and netbooks.

With the forthcoming 3G version of iPad, you pay $15 or $30 for broadband which will only work with that iPad. Bloggers have praised the iPad because its broadband supplier AT&T will not require contracts, but they missed two essential points: I can cancel my broadband any time with Verizon even though it's part of my overall Verizon cell phone contract. And with the iPad, you pay for broadband that works only with your unit whereas my Verizon service works with any PC with the free Verizon Access Manager.

In short, my Verizon broadband via my Blackberry is a better deal.

[update: I was just speaking with a Verizon exec, who tells me the Palm Pre acts as a mobile broadband WIFI hotspot (mobile broadband in, WIFI out). And here's what's hard to believe: the mobile broadband/WIFI on the Pre is free for the the life of your contract (it's a promotion which implies it will end. Normally, the service is $40 a month). I'm due for for upgrade and a Palm Pre would save me $30 a month! It's not a bad phone, either...I just hope Palm survives.]

The iPad also does not allow saving of PDFs and it's not "Flash-friendly" as one blogger writes. I'll stick with my $290 open box HP Pavilion notebook (320 GB HD, 4GB RAM, fabulous keyboard....great Windows 7 notebook). OK, I'll still have to read old-fashioned books and newspapers made from paper, but frankly, they're both an experience I savor.

I would buy an iPhone and even give up the Blackberry, but I suspect you already know why I don't. I am a Verizon customer and Apple has been all about giving AT&T the iPhone monopoly. Hopefully, the rumors that Verizon will finally get an iPhone this summer are true.

Only recently did Apple lift restrictions on voice over IP which has been standard fare on PCs for years and a savior for parents with kids overseas.

For many Apple fans, these downsides are a small price to pay for what I grant you is wonderful technology. For me, they're a pain.

Follow me on Twitter.

John Dodge

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor John Dodge has written for the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, PC Week (now eWeek), EDN, Design News, Electronic Business, Bio-IT World, Health-IT World, Lowell Sun, Haverhill Gazette and Newburyport Daily News. He is based in Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure