This past April, Apple very successfully debuted the iPad. A few months in, and up until yesterday, I have not seen the advantage to the iPad over the iPhone.

To me it is an iPhone on steroids.

Yesterday, though, I had a conversation with a very good friend who is a techno-junkie. In fact, it’s his job: To find the new trends, gadgets, software, etc. and recommend them to his Fortune 500 electronics company. He loves his iPad.

He loved his iPad’s ease of navigation, the large screen, the wonderful apps, and more. He simply did not have the benefit of using an iPhone so the iPad was a new experience. In our discussion, I suddenly realized why: he did not have an iPhone.

Now the iPhone is not perfect and the newest version still lacks a simple modification: interchangeable batteries. I use my iPhone all day long. The 32mb version seems to deplete my battery quickly and I’m often not near an electrical outlet, computer or a car adapter. What am I to do? Apparently nothing.

Come on, Apple. How difficult would it be to have the back cover slide off and be able to replace the battery? I’ve asked the question at the Apple store and was told that they thought it would “ruin the integrity of the design.”

Back to the iPad.

Again, no way to replace the battery for a road warrior or iPad junkie. Why?  Apple simply refuses to acknowledge that ‘heavy’ users of these products need to be able to have a way to replenish the battery while on the road or away from AC outlets.

251/365 - one happy geek [explored]
Creative Commons License photo credit: joshfassbind.com

And while I am discussing the iPad and its limitations let’s not forget that currently I would still need my iPhone. Can a VOIP app or some other way to access cell service to receive or place a call be too far behind?

Here is a description taken directly from the Apple Web Site: “iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G offers superfast data speeds up to 7.2 Mbps over 3G cellular networks around the world. It’s perfect when you’re out and about with no access to a Wi-Fi network, because you can still get a fast connection for surfing the web, sending and receiving email, or getting directions.”

So perhaps Apple will listen to their customers.

My friend takes frequent business trips and when I asked what he carries with him, he said: his Droid, iPad, Kindle, work phone, and iPod.  He carries them all for different and very understandable reasons.  He says the Kindle has better battery life but the iPad screen is easier to read EXCEPT outdoors. He says the lack of phone service requires his Droid, and he often uses the Droid apps because the phone is with him all the time. The point is, we shouldn’t have to carry 4 or 5 devices with us at all times.  With the advent of the iPad and the popularity of smart phones and other electronic devices, it seems the line between a laptop, e-reader and phone is getting blurred.  I, for one, think it’s a great kind of blurry. But it would be even greater if it were simplified into one multifaceted device.

Bottom line is that Apple needs to address these issues so that they continue to satisfy — no, exceed — the expectations of their customers. But as long as 5 million iPads are sold, and AT&T had to actually stop taking backorders because the demand was crashing their website, Apple may have little incentive to make these changes.

 I am, however, optimistic: You never know when pigs might fly or, as their partner AT&T says, “Rediscover Possibilities.”

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