Just in case you needed a further antidote than Cory Doctorow to all the iPad love going around these days, Gawker has proclaimed that “the iPad backlash is here.” Most of their criticisms seem to be fairly lame, though. The biggest one, the problems staying connected with wifi, has already been addressed by Apple.

Here’s a more cogent criticism, from Tumblr and Instapaper developer Marco Arment: he finds it very frustrating that that iBooks uses many private APIs that other apps cannot:

I won’t be able to offer some features that iBooks has (such as a true brightness control), but my customers will expect them, making my app inferior to Apple’s in key areas.

He feels Apple may be reserving to itself an unfair competitive advantage.

Slate has an interesting pair of articles: Farhad Manjoo on why he thinks you don’t need an iPad, but boy will you ever want one once you’ve tried it, and Tim Wu with an interesting, thoughtful piece on why the iPad represents Apple’s final rejection of the values of openness on which Steve Wozniak founded the company. They have some very interesting things to say.

Here’s a trio of articles that point out that Apple still has some way to go if it wants to conquer the e-book industry. James McQuivey at PaidContent and Rafe Needleman and David Carnoy at CNet all say more or less the same thing: Amazon’s Kindle app for iPad beats Apple’s own iBooks in terms of selection and portability.

McQuivey in particular notes that, thanks to the launch of the iPad, Amazon is actually in a stronger position now than it was before:

As I told the Wall Street Journal last week: “If you’re an iPad buyer, chances are about 90% that you’re also a book buyer on Amazon. Amazon has your credit card on file, they know what you like. …That relationship is the key to selling books.”

Needleman makes the point that Kindle books can be read on the iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac, and whatever other platforms Amazon ports its Kindle Reader software to. iBooks books can, at the moment, only be read on the iPad. Carnoy says much the same thing:

The fact is as much as you might love your new iPad and cling to it the first few weeks you have it, you’re not going to want to carry it around with you wherever you go, especially if you already own an iPhone (virtually all the people I know who bought an iPad also own an iPhone).

Carnoy also wonders if the iPad might not serve as a tipping point to provoke more e-book piracy. As always, whenever I see this kind of supposition, I wonder if the author is aware of just how much e-book piracy there is already, and has been for the last decade.

Ars Technica has what may be The Review To End All Reviews of the iPad. It’s 18 pages long, and very thorough—it covers everything from unboxing to benchmarking.


  1. Boy, this is a lot of links ;-).

    Tim Wu’s piece is thoughtful, but it’s far too simplistic (he paints Woz as a good guy obsessed with open technology and Jobs as a bad guy obsessed with keeping things closed) and has lots of historical errors. Some of the reader comments on that site try to correct it, with varying degrees of tact. As someone who remembers the Apple I and II, I appreciate the corrections.

  2. With today’s announcements about the new iPhone/iPad 4.0 features, some of this criticism is out of date. Apple is offering developers hundreds of new APIs, so there’ll probably be little that Apple can do that reader app developers can’t do. Keep in mind that Apple has a lot on its plate right now. We may have to wait for some things, such as iBooks on an iPhone and (hopefully) Macs and PCs.

    The best news for me is Bluetooth keyboard support for the iPhone/iPod touch. Now all we need is for some of those who make pocket-sized mini Bluetooth keyboards to create one specifically for the Apple’s mobile gadgets.

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