Why I won't buy an Ipad: ten years later

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/27/nascent-boulangism.html


the iPad isn’t for you.



I would estimate that well north of 90% of consumers have never had any interest in taking apart their electronic devices to customize them or figure out how they work.

If you’re not in that 90+% then clearly the iPad isn’t for you. It seems a bit insulting to describe the rest of the population at large as “infantilized, technophobic and scatterbrained” though.


OK Boomer


more than that - the iPad does not need us to defend it from Cory, at least that much is clear


We have had 2 versions in our home (both bought by wifey). The first was a standard size gen 3 iPad. After the screen was replaced twice we decided not to do it again.

The second was an iPad mini she purchased with cellular so she could use it as a mobile computing spot for her photography shows and as a compact computing device and personal hotspot. Our 11 year old lost it…god knows where it is, though we presume in the house somewhere, dead battery, collecting dust.

Unless you specifically want one of the top line iPads for artistic purposes…I don;t see the point in them.

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Get off my lawn!


Yeah, it seems like such an oddly bitter vendetta to have against the device and more specifically the people who use it. Like you point out, the overwhelming majority of people aren’t interested at all in swapping out parts or coding their own apps–they just want something that works and doesn’t require an hour of tinkering for every hour of use.

If the tinkering is what you want, great, go nuts! Get an Android tablet with a ported custom version of Rasberry Ubutnu with hard-coded VPNs and encryption algorithms*. But it seems like most folks would rather be able to turn it on and have it do the things that most folks want to use it for. I don’t think that’s “infantilized, technophobic and scatterbrained," as much as it’s just preferring to spend your time doing something other than customizing electronics.

*I’m quite certain none of these things actually apply to tablets, but what do I know?


It’s fine for handing your kid a glowing rectangle to distract them, but it’s terrible in the workplace. I remember the wave of coworkers who insisted on getting one only to find out they couldn’t do much, and then they ended up getting bluetooth keyboards and stands to turn them into laptops…that didn’t do as much as their old laptop. I ditched the one they gave me after a couple of weeks of trying to make it work.


I’d also point out that non-Apple devices (like Android tablets) are far better and more functional for the existence of the iPhone and the iPad, if only because they are forced to innovate in order to compete with the iPhone and the iPad.

It’s not like there was already an incredible revolution underway with consumer touchscreen devices that was ruined by the arrival of the iPhone.


If your job entails sitting at a desk and doing a lot of typing, certainly.

If your job entails walking around a warehouse and checking inventory with an app or swiping credit cards at a farmer’s market it’s a helluva lot more convenient than a laptop.


Some of what happened is there was a “big enough” mass that computers were everywhere, yet not common. So tyat set up standards of expectation. The real mass just waited, for GUIs and computers that worked out of the box and facebook and the web.

A lot of things mean nothing unless you were there early and saw change.

The iPad does fail by the lack of a battery compartment, but then so do all or most other tablets, and I’m not sure if they have their own reasons or just follow Apple. The iPad also fails by not upgrading the software after a while. But my first tablet was a Blackberry Playbook, and the second was a Surface 2, and both were shunted off the main tracks by the companies soon after I got each.

The “Right to Repair” is complicated, and I think for many people is simply about changing tye battery or screen, by followinga video someone else made to explain the process. “Repair” used to be problem solving, and required skill. Electronics has changed a lot in fifty years, becoming cheaper but also endless devices not imagined when I was a kid. But electronics is now designed to be cheap to manufacture, which makes it hard to repair, and labor costs were always high. People are cheap, they toss ink jet printers rather than pay for “expensive” replacement cartridges. They could pay a whole lot more for their electronics, and decide what they really wanted, and then repair would be easier, or at least the cost of labor wouldn’t ve as large a percentage of the original cost.


“ Gadgets come and gadgets go. The iPad you buy today will be e-waste in a year or two (less, if you decide not to pay to have the battery changed for you). ”
I have an Apple iPad 2 from 2011 in my kitchen with all my recipes. Works great. A little slow but when I’m cooking I don’t need speed. Original battery.

I ran tech workshops for teachers for decades. I agree with other commenters: most did not want to open anything up.


If they’re not interested how they work they are at a massive disadvantage, because these electronic devices and the software that runs on them are inevitably used against their interests, fragmenting their attention, influencing their decisions, wasting their time they could have used to relax, to reflect, to learn or to build something.

And yet it is true. Most people I meet (and I spend a lot of time inside tech organizations, mind you) are unable to take responsibility for the decisions they make, have no clue about technology, and have the attention span of my six-year-old daughter on a bad day (her bad day, not theirs). That sounds a lot like “infantilized, technophobic and scatterbrained” to me.

Is that so? If you ask people if they would like to be able to simply pop in a new battery when the old one no longer holds capacity, add more RAM when websites become unbearably slow, or a flash drive to copy files, the overwhelming majority would say “yes”.


Does anybody have a tl;dr summary?


Cory doesn’t do that, though. He says that Apple does that by assuming those things about their customers and using that stereotype (typically, in tech-bro sexist fashion ascribed to some eternally technologically-impaired class of ‘mothers’) to justify making anti-consumer design choices in their devices.

And maybe you have an issue with that characterization of Apple’s motivations. But it’s flat-out-wrong to assert that Cory is name-calling vast swathes of the population in that quote.


“Siri, please summarize Cory’s post.”


Some people are really into customizing cars and knowing how they work. Other people are not, and just want a car that is reliable, fuel-efficient and functional. That doesn’t mean we should use insulting language to describe every automobile driver who has no interest in running their own full-service garage.

Different people have different talents, interests and priorities.


I’m on my second one. I knew full well what I was getting and when used as designed it’s great. Same applies to most purchases.

I replaced my in-laws windows laptop with an iPad Pro a couple years ago. Best. Decision. Ever. Tech support calls have gone to zero. It’s much better than the short lived android POS tablet they once bought too. Probably going to get them another one soon so they each have one.


Seriously. Maybe I’m just having a bad morning but all I’m seeing is a bunch of disconnected rants all circling around an argument that leads to, “iPad make Hulk angry!”

I’m highly technical and I’ve owned several generations of iPad and they are fine for what I use them for - which is something I can use to watch movies and read magazines while traveling on a decent size screen, or something I can use for browsing the web or reading while sitting in bed that’s easier to hold than a phone. I certainly can’t imagine anybody actually using it to be highly productive.

It seems like Cory is expecting the iPad to be something it’s not ever been.