back to article Fanboi's lament – falling out of love with the iPad

As the iPad goes on sale in the UK (and eight other countries), I've had my own "magical and revolutionary" Apple tablet for exactly 56 days. And I'm using it less and less each day. My fading relationship with my iPad reminds me of a long-ago college fling with a young lovely. High anticipation, fervent consummation, growing …

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Linux

Nice article

Balanced & objective too, thanks.

Mind you, as you've come out and said "No" to the holiest of holy Apple devices, I'm looking forward to the descent of the iTards on this forum. :-)

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Hit the nail on the head

This is not a replacement for a note/netbook or a 'phone or a TV or or or - it is something else which may or may not be useful to people.

Now can we all calm down?

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Pint

KWOYT

I second that and add this: there are additional possibilities.

Many people seem to think that j-bking your apple device is somehow criminal or morally wrong (don't see how, but hey).

It's not.

As long as you're careful, it's simply a way of getting some of that freakish control back into your own hands. There's an entire world of wonderful *legal* apps out there, created by hard-working professional programmers. I buy stuff both from apple's store and from the alternatives and i'm much closer to having a real portable computing device for it -- as opposed to just a nifty shiny gadget.

Anyways, i'm not advocating for or against it. Just adding to the mix.

Cheers.

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Illegal

Morally wrong, certainly not!

However, if the Apple license agreement requires you to use ONLY Apple approved software, then technically you are legally in violation of that agreement. Don't like the agreement, then don't buy the product.

I am fairly certain (have not checked recently) that Apple does have such a ridiculous wording in their device and software licenses. I know that it was "illegal" Apple OSX on other laptops.

Now you agree to the terms by buying the product and not returning it, so in the bare sense it is a legally binding agreement. The big question for a defense would be does this agreement restrict fair-use law as it applies to the product. I think you may have a case here, but just like all the EULA that everyone clicks through, there is no telling until some circuit courts (or the the supremes) weigh in on a judgment involving this issue. Until then its all somewhat speculation.

Now even assuming that Apple wins in court, and their bogus restrictions are considered a valid binding agreement; I'm still not sure that they could really "do" anything about it, other than not help you. e.g. if you jailbreak your device, they have the legal right to void your warranty, and not provide support

Now if you jailbroke 10,000 ipads, and were selling them as Ubuntu pads......well I'm just not sure - Apple would seemingly be happy with the making that money, but past behavior shows they might try to sue and stop such sales. They have been cannibalistic on their knock-off vendors in the past, and they seemed very against people loading Apple OS on other machines as well, going to so far to take legal measures.....

Bottom line to me is they are bunch of a**holes, and why would you want to do business with someone who so much wants to control and restrict your behavior. I'm less a fan of Google these days, but I'm prone to buy a Android based phone next, as its open source, and I feel i have more choice and control over MY phone

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Stop

I'm not looking forward to the whining thats gonna come...

....in six months time when the Mk2 comes out with all the stuff missing from the Mk1.

Thats why I cant understand that folks havent learnt from the past Apple gadget releases that the first one is always a glorified prototype that doesnt show all its cards.

Several hundred quid is lot to pay for a gimped market tester prototype.

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I don't see it happening

What that is missing from Mk1 do you really imagine Apple being wiling to add to Mk2? There'll still be no Flash, no direct access to external storage*, a fee to pay if you want to write your own code and an approval process to determine whether you may run anybody else's. What I'm hoping for is a killer app that makes the device suddenly so useful and obvious that none of us who have difficulty seeing the point at the price can understand why we didn't think of it before.

* though I guess with HTML5 you could set up a networked movie store if it had an HTML front-end?

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Maybe

The front facing video camera for skype type calls?

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This is what I can't understand

So many people complain when a portable device doesn't have a front-facing camera. "No video calls!" they cry. Video calls might be a "nice-to-have" kind of thing but is it really such a "must-have" for so many people? I think people really haven't thought it through enough. Would you want video when calling in "sick" to work? Or calling your spouse from the pub, claiming you have to work late? Or even when being completely truthful with the person on the line but having just gotten out of the shower or still being half-asleep and looking like crap in the morning, or any of dozens of other reasons you wouldn't want your image transmitted?

If video calling becomes commonplace and the de facto standard way of making calls, then not sending video will become suspicious. Personally, I'd rather video calls remained a niche application and not the expected way of doing things.

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Calm Down???

That will require the wearing of the dark suitlike the corp-nerd in the TV ad. Those with no lives and little prospect of a future one will continue to blast whomever they feel is out of their pitiful boxed-in "life" and are therefore better off in some way.

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I've never actually seen the iconic ads

with "I'm a Mac" vs "I'm a PC." Did they ever have "I'm a UNIX admin" in these? I wonder how he would've been dressed. I'm guessing combat boots, cargo pants, half a dozen multitools hanging off the belt, beard (natch), wild longish hair and maybe a joint hanging from one corner of the mouth.

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Badgers

As a non fanboi

Yet not an apple basher... I do have one comment. If 'some usb ports can't charge it', this must mean it is out of specification for the USB standard. Which, along with literally hundreds of other devices, makes it unfit for purpose under UK trading standards laws

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Not quite

You can charge it over any USB if you turn off the screen.

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Pint

Fair enough :-)

This bit isn't a title. It's a pint of beer for being correct

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Pint

Not so sure !

I have an external USB harddisk.

Some of my machines will support it and provide 5V DC as required. Some will not (device load causes 5V power bus to lose voltage), and this extends to work computers too. On the machines that won't run the drive standalone I run a powered USB hub and everything ok, apart from the pain in the backside factor. Seems it's all down to the PC power supply and the USB device power consumption.

This artice is interesting. Don't use Apple stuff myself as too expensive, but what I've seen I've drooled over ! I think the article has reached the right conclusion in that the device does not fit in any current category. Bet that will change anyone ?

I have a palm PDA which with instant power on and use is really useful. The standard palm application suite leaves lots to be desired. Add Open Source applications and suddenly the device becomes indispensable as it becomes truly useful anywhere. Lesson to Apple here ????????

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Wrong Way Round

You may find that you've got it the wrong way round - the USB standard allows a device to request up to 500mA, but not all hosts can cope with that, especially if they're supporting multiple devices. A four-port hub with a total power capacity of 1.5A is technically within spec, but can't support four 500mA devices, whereas it can support two of those and two 250mA devices.

Laptop USB ports tend to be built down to a price/power budget and may struggle to give 500mA. It's also the case that many desktop PCs were capable of providing much more than 500mA, so they would be less likely to be fussy about things.

What you do find is that custom USB power chips exist that allow the device to draw a given maximum power from the host, and that if the current drain of the backlight and processor is high enough, all the USB current goes to supply that and none is available for battery charging. Similarly, if the device has asked for 500mA and has been turned down, it may opt to only draw the 100mA it's allowed without asking and power the electronics but not attempt to charge the battery.

The final point is that Apple may not claim that the device conforms to the USB spec. I believe that they make no such claim for the iPod. Electrically and from a software protocol perspective it may be perfectly compliant, but the spec also requires use of standard USB connectors and the iPod has a custom one. I don't think there's a USB logo on a standard iPod lead for this reason - it's not compliant with the mechanical aspect of the standard.

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Confirmation

That Steve's lost the plot.

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@gautam

Or maybe you're living in an alternate reality where this device hasn't sold more than 1M units making it the fastest consumer device to make $1M revenue? Lost the plot, yeah, in this greedy world of capitalism, Apple now is number 2 in market cap.

Yeah, that's losing the plot. Or perhaps your criteria would put us all in that losing the plot world??

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Flame

Market cap

"Lost the plot, yeah, in this greedy world of capitalism, Apple now is number 2 in market cap."

Big whoop. Volkswagen were the most highly valued company on the planet a while back - a matter of real interest only to a bunch of people holding short positions on their stock - but that doesn't mean Volkswagen had "won" or that you should go and buy one of their cars.

And to think capitalism had lost its mindless cheerleaders. Fail indeed.

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Yup Lost the plot - surely

What revived Apple was some new sleek Laptops,Mp3 player and Iphone. Surely he raised the bar with that Ifart and changed some of the Market rules about DRM, distribution and RIAA, which Napster couldnt. He became a proxy for DRM imposed by RIAA as face saving by legalising paid downloads (who killed Napster)

However, to me it now appears that just becasue of the Iphone success, the fanbois believe that he can do no wrong. Worst, HE now believes that whatever he does (hobby) is divine and lapped up by the fanbois doesnt mean success. Its like the deaf/blind following the ........... Steve's an egoistic boss and sycophants support him to the hilt. Thats not success. Ipad is still to find a useful purpose. The new thing (TV for $99 on another post here?) is also a hobby and eager beavers will still lap it up. I can compare BBC Iplayer (without cloud) with that and we already have it. But when Steve launches it, Ill see people like you queing up down Regents street salivating, cos its from St..Jobs.

Market capitlisation is the Wall st. boys' playground and nothing to do with what Steve's latest iteration is. They are banking on precisley fanbois like you to make some more dollars.

Its distorted at best.

Remember the Netscape Navigator market valution when launched? FFS, it was only a browser but the price was stratospheric !

So stop judging Apple by the market cap.

Fact remains, Seve's lost the plot and a sound direction. Wont last. Its only a glorfied Ipod (internet device) with flaky wifi. And a 3g card to get some more DATA ACCESS DOLLARS from you.

Wake up and smell the coffee, available elsewhere, not only in Regant street.

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@williamLondon

Apple is No 2 in Market Cap so what? The reason MS is lower is because they have the sense to buy up as many shares as poss with spare cash and as market cap = share price * number of shares outstanding they have a lower Market Cap than Apple. But MS have higher levels of profit . BTW they also own hunk of Apple.

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Troll

Take both pills

Tis true iPad will not live up to the hype though to be sure the complaints would vaporize if it sold for half as much.

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laughing all the way to the bank

I doubt that Steve cares if you don't use it - provided you've already handed over a fist of extra $$ for apps from iTunes, of course.

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MnM
Stop

Come on Rik

She dumped you, right?

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Linux

A title

"That said, no one is forcing you, dear Reg reader, to buy an iPad/Pod/Phone —"

Quite right which is why I don't own any of them. Apple's devices are too proprietary for me.

A well balanced article. I have one additional comment though:

For all that you say that you don't like the device, Apple still has your money. They don't care anymore. The same problem continues with Hollywood films. A lot of people believe they are turning our few good films but as long as people keep paying to see the rubbish films (often "because there's nothing else") then they will not be motivated to improve their products.

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@Robert Brockway

"Quite right which is why I don't own any of them. Apple's devices are too proprietary for me."

Same here. The devices seem nice enough. But the fact that I cannot write apps for myself and friends without jail-breaking is a deal breaker. I simply will not use my engineering talents to support someone's proprietary walled garden.

"For all that you say that you don't like the device, Apple still has your money. They don't care anymore."

That's a good point, apple has no incentive to open up since apple already knows its users are willing to part with their money for the closed models.

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Writing apps for yourself and friends

is catered for. It's a bit twiddly for the developer, but little effort for the users.

http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/Xcode/Conceptual/iphone_development/145-Publishing_Applications_for_Testing/user_testing.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40007959-CH10-SW2

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Pirate

Unfortunately

They'll just say they've been pirated so much that no one paid to see their grand masterpiece...

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@Writing apps for yourself and friends

Really, thank you for that info.

It still doesn't satisfy me however. I dislike that I'd need to pay yearly to be in the iPhone Developer Program (as opposed to a one time fee for the development kit which I could use indefinitely). Apple can change the terms and fees at any time, it just doesn't seem right.

I could possibly overlook the above, but even then as a legal user the process itself seems to be unnecessarily complicated, and restrictive.

"An iPhone application in development can run only on devices with provisioning profiles generated by the application developer. As iPhone Developer Program members, you and your fellow team members install these files on your devices as part of your development process. To include users that are not part of your team (also known as testers) in your testing strategy, you must add them as part of your team in the Program Portal and issue them test provisioning profiles (also known as ad-hoc provisioning profiles), which allow them to install on their devices applications that have not been published to the App Store."

"Before a developer can send you an application for testing, they must register your device with Apple under their application-testing program."

So now, even as a registered developer, I have to deal with crappy DRM administered by apple so that me and my friends can run our own apps? With all this hassle, it'd be more palettable to jailbreak the thing and accept the consequences. I'm sure this is exactly what the majority of developers end up doing.

I'm sorry but my vote is still for an open platform.

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Jobs Horns

@Lou

QUOTE: "So now, even as a registered developer, I have to deal with crappy DRM administered by apple so that me and my friends can run our own apps?"

This is why I have not got an iPhone yet. I think one would be really cool to have but with all that BS? Well, fuck that.... This is probably the major reason, the second being cost, the third being compromise (its not as good a phone as the simple nokia I possess considering signal reception, battery life etc).

Honestly, the later objections are weak ones. I can afford it, I can afford to miss calls (at some times, it would be preferable!).

yes.. grumble groan. But listen here, I acknowledge the virtues of the iPhone (UI second to none, imho), I am just not blind to its faults. This DRM is a deal breaker. I don't want to be beholden to Apple just to knock off simple apps for this darn thing.

You can just go stuff yourself, Steve, you bucking fastard.

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Good Read

A nice and balanced piece. Although I'm in what you'd call the anti apple camp, I'd have considered the Ipad if some the problems you highlighted weren't true.

Namely, the closed environment that Apple seem to want to enforce, The requirement to use AT&T for the 3G connections and one or two technical things such as USB ports etc.

What potentially would have help sell the Ipad to me as well would have been a forward faciing camera to be able to use the device as a video conference phone.

As it is I'm likely to be looking at ASUS/Acer for tablet PC (HP would have been in there but they've dropped the Win7 options for their Slate (I like choice :) )

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FAIL

Lack of tabs?

56 days and you've not been able to tap the 3rd button along on the toolbar?

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Guz
FAIL

Uncomfortable - no - PAINFUL

"... holding the iPad for any amount of time gets uncomfortable." Nope, it's painful!

I don't have an iPad, but I have been picking it up and playing around with it at several retail locations in the USA. I have to say that holding the iPad in my left hand and taping around with my right hand, the back of my left hand starts to hurt after a few minutes, I do mean HURT!!

I am not sure why exactly, But I think it's because it's thinner at the edges than in the middle. One would think that design feature would eliminate any issues, I guess not, for me.

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seek help

If holding something that light hurts after just a few minutes then it sounds to me like you need to go see a doctor: seriously! I don't have your problem, and I don't know anyone else who either owns an iPad or has tried one out at a store who's experienced that either.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: seek help

So all those people with repetitive strain injuries are at fault, not the products or environments which cause them? Yes, if they seek help, the doctor will probably tell them to stop using something that's so unergonomic. Steve Jobs playing the maestro on stage may whip up a frenzy amongst Apple's "base", but the story after prolonged use (that is, once the posturing ends) can be quite different.

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Big Brother

ex fanboi

Yes, nice piece. But lets face it, despite the brilliant hardware and the luscious interface, the Jobsian lock-down on developers and users is really starting to make him look like more the evil step-father than the hip uncle, and the products acquire that taint I now associate with chinese hairbands (http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/hairband.asp). When is apple going to realise it's reached the fork in the road, and for it's own good it is going to have to open up these devices?

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Anonymous Coward

Not for Reg readers

I think the value of the iPad is questionable if you are already a seasoned computer (esp. laptop) user. I like the concept of the iPad, but I already carry a laptop almost everywhere. I need multiple platforms, use 5 different compilers and host of other development/design applications that will probably never be suited to the iPad environment. I have my music and videos onboard too - so when would I use an iPad?

But then, I don't think it was designed with me in mind (or probably many other Reg readers). Apple is targeting people who want to use the Internet (email, browsing/shopping), store and view media (show their photos, read books, watch films, listen to music), or create modest documents (writing/presentation)... *but* they struggle with computers. I know many people like this because I'm often called upon to help with problems. When you have a gift for using technology, and years have past since you first started, it's hard to remember or understand why anyone should find this difficult - but the plain truth is that computers (even Apple's) still require a lot know-how, and either don't have the time, patience, or ability to learn.

I think the iPad will be brilliant for all of those people who are struggling to use a computer (or have given up) because - from the users point of view - it isn't a computer. It gets straight to the heart of what a lot of people want to do at an incredibly intuitive level. And I think this also explains why so many power users call it a toy. From their perspective, it is. But it isn't designed with them in mind.

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Syd

But...

... it doesn't work as a stand-alone computer, does it? You can't upload photos from your digital camera; you can't back-up your documents; you can't copy-over your existing music collection; etc. etc. etc... UNLESS you have (and can use) another "real" computer.

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But squared

That may only be for the time being. It's possible that the potential popularity of such accessible computing devices will make it so these elements you mention -- uploading, backing up, etc, etc. -- will be offered by either apple or their competition.

I think it's a little early in the game to start pulling definite conclusions. Apple's ipad is only the first in what could be a whole buttload of such gadgets -- acer just gave us a glimpse of theirs, dell's got something in the works, etc.

Who knows, one might even offer enough to interest even long time power users.

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Anonymous Coward

No computer needed

@Syd: "... it doesn't work as a stand-alone computer, does it? You can't upload photos from your digital camera; you can't back-up your documents"

You're still in the wrong mind-set - what's "upload"? What's "backup"? If you've seen what most average folks do with a full computer, you'll know that very few even understand the need to backup let alone actually do it. The facility is a total waste.

I haven't looked deeply into what the iPad is capable of, but there's definitely a camera connection kit for those who want their pics on the iPad. And if you don't have a computer, the staff at the Apple store will get you kicked off with iTunes etc. From there, what do you need a computer for? Everything they want is laid on for them - music, news, books, games, video, TV - through the Internet.

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Re:No Computer Needed

Well the average user does indeed mainly use email and web browsing/online shopping. Backup is never a total waste - those same users that don't do it whinge their arses off when it all goes tits up.

Ah yes, the marvel of a camera connection kit. Users do indeed like to take photos, lots of them, and videos too with these little marvels. The average compact camera these days has around 8 megapixels. That translates to at least 5 or 6MB per photo. Won't be long until that poxy little bit of storage is filled up will it.

This *is* a device that definitely needs a computer to make it functional and to state that it isn't is utterly disingenuous.

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upload is legi use here though

Because a lot of people like to upload their pictures to MyTwitFriendFace. I'm actually surprised this wasn't catered for - particularly when many of the more popular applications on the iPhone are things like photo uploaders for facebook or twitpic, and status updaters and the like.

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Anonymous Coward

The iPad is a portal

@Mark 65 "Won't be long until that poxy little bit of storage is filled up will it."

I don't think Apple's plans have been fully unveiled yet. Apple is building a huge new data centre, it purchased LaLa, and the AppleTV is rumoured to become something along the lines of the iPad too. To my mind, this all points to Apple aiming to make these devices a mere portal to content stored, managed, and backed up elsewhere. This takes the burden off users who struggle to understand filing and backup systems, or are constantly running out of room to store all the content they own. IMO - watch this space.

Also, bear in mind that the detail in an 8 megapixel image is lost on most people. Look at the way photos are usually uploaded for friends/family at far lower resolutions - and everyone is happy. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the average consumer ends up keeping images at the resolution of the device they view them on.

Apple has done some radical things in the past, eliminating technologies thought to be indispensable. I well remember the uproar when they dropped floppy disks from their entire line-up. Maybe this time they aim to eliminate the whole computer.

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Coat

@ Syd

You don't have to use the iPad with a "real" computer, it does plug into Macs too.

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Coat

Gadgets

A lot of people believe that some gadget or other will improve their life.

I've just seen in a gadget catalog a dog ramp so that your fat and or elderly dog can get into your car. It's a plank! Just go and buy a plank!!!

As for pad devices, when they cost $100 and run linux I'll buy one.

mines the one with the Bonios

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Pint

Not metaphorically, then?

"since literally the first day that the original Macintosh 128k became available in 1984"

Oh, *please*?

As for that unobtrusive note-taking, how about a pad and pencil?

Now I've got all that off my chest... Have a pint :)

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Terminator

No arguments....

...from me, if you want one, need one, then buy it and enjoy.

Personally, I have no desperate requirement for an iPad, notebook, netbook, or any other "intermediate device".

I cannot envision any situation that would require an additional device to my (grotesquely overspecced) PC, and my mobile phone (Nexus One running Android 2.2). so equally, I won't be queuing for an iPad, or for any other kind of slate, tablet, or similar.

Call me a cynic, but I really don't get the hostility and nonsense flung between the rival camps of fanbois. I'm not going to malign someone for choosing differently to me.

Buy what you want to buy, enjoy it while you can.

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Bad review originating in San Fran

Apple gets a bad review from San Francisco: an ominous portent!

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Good advice

"Those of you who commute by Ryanair, well, knock yourselves out."

Yup. A prolonged state of unconsciousness is definitely the most comfortable and least stressful way to travel with Ryanair.

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Grenade

Re: Good advice.

Careful there. You'll have the bastards at Ryanair charging a tenner for the extra comfort and stressless experience.

Anyone caught napping who's not coughed up will be prodded awake by the staff every time they pass.

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FAIL

One advice

Get an n900.... screen may be smaller but you see almost the same as on an ipad. And it fits in your pocket. And you can actually do stuff with it. And it does flash well :)

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