Media Technology

iPads are ace, but we still need netbooks

Me at Techradar: there are still areas where netbooks are better than iPads.

… [Adobe] Flash. Sure, there are reasons to loathe it, but in my house my wife matters more than Steve Jobs, and many of my wife’s favourite sites use Flash. Until they see the light and switch to something else, the iPad isn’t a fully functional web browser.

It’s not just Flash, either. Some things simply don’t work, either because of overzealous browser sniffers that don’t recognise Mobile Safari (“Your browser is old or strange! You can’t come in!”) or because of a lack of testing. For example, I’ve found many sites that use RBS Secure card authentication don’t work on the iPad because the box that asks for your password doesn’t display at all.

5 replies on “iPads are ace, but we still need netbooks”

I can type at a decent speed on an iPad, but I still wouldn’t want to use it for anything more than light text entry, so it’s no surprise that writers – particularly people who have problems articulating their digits, have long nails or exceptionally dry skin – would prefer at least a netbook for extended key tapping. Despite a plethora of interesting writing, outlining and brainstorming apps, iPad was never intended to be a significant tool for writing or text input. No surprises here.

I would say Banks has a special requirement, but personally I have never found the lack of a USB port to be worth a second thought. I mean, I plug my iPad into a laptop via USB, don’t have any problems moving files around or backing up, don’t need to plug any peripherals into it and like most people don’t create much on it in the first place. I can definitely relate to Banks’ comment about not wanting to own too much Apple gear. It feels a bit dirty, but I don’t resent anyone for achieving success on merit and giving me a choice.

As for the usefulness of mobile safari and the lack of flash – I started out expecting this might be a bit of a compromise but as time goes on, this concern is becoming a distant memory. I’m finding few sites that cause problems with safari on iPad and most that do are poorly coded non standards compliant sites which themselves are at fault and will have to get re-coded pretty soon anyway.

Last time I hit a no-flash brick wall was months ago – the site wasn’t worth visiting and the alternatives were better anyway. Most heavyweight Flash sites offer what is catered for far better by native apps. I definitely wouldn’t consider lack of flash support to be a good reason for swaying towards a netbook over an iPad – this year maybe. Next year and beyond, it’s looking like Flash is heading for a rapid decline – not necessarily in terms of its widespread use, but certainly in terms of how much better native apps are covering similar ground, and new ground.

I guess that what I am finding with my iPad so far is the balance has swung from the iPad being somewhat lacking for web/flash to the offending sites themselves being deficient and lacking instead.

> the balance has swung

That’s what I’m finding too. It’s more bad sites than bad device.

I was dithering about one the other day, but still can’t get over the price. Bought a kindle instead. Phone does enough webby things well enough but fancied a screen that I can read outdoors.

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