iMania

The Apple iPad, like many apple products before it, has polarized people. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some people will use it everywhere, some people honestly can’t imagine a single use.

As with many products before, I fall somewhere in the middle.

On the plus side: It looks like a beautiful piece of hardware; every report I have read says that using it is a dream come true to any fan of the various iTouches. Fast, integrated, smooth, and with beautiful user interface decisions; top of the line hardware and (more polish on) groundbreaking software combine to make an unbelievable platform, and one which the vast majority of people will find satisfies their needs and exceeds all their expectations.

On the minus side: Apple has made, and will continue to make, an intentionally crippled and limited device in the name of a better overall user experience. While I wholeheartedly agree with their goals – make it accessible to the common man! – it is simply not what I, as a power user who is otherwise well in the target market, need in many respects.

Any number of minor concessions would solve this problem for me – and these are the same issues I have with any “trusted computing” sort of platform. It is not my best interests that Apple is trying to protect here, either as a developer or as an individual user. It is theirs, and it is not in their best interests to allow me to, for instance, decide whose software I actually trust.

No, I’m not trying to run Linux on the thing. It runs a perfectly acceptable *NIX operating system already, and in fact has a fantastic GUI (for almost every purpose) and software installation procedure (for almost every case) already. I just want to run my instant messenger and Pages. Even just the ability to background one application (with – yes, I realize this – the appropriate time and attention put in to making the experience smooth and complete) would make a huge difference in the overall usability.

I’d really like to run Processing on it. It’s just such a perfect platform for art-programming, and there’s nothing else quite like Processing for that.

But that’s all. I don’t want a pony.