After frequently lamenting the lack of a “knowledge worker tablet”, I’ve gone and purchased and iPad 2 after doing my own tablet showdown of sorts. Having a proclivity for rooting for the underdog, I first purchased an Asus Transformer, a tablet running Google’s “Honeycomb” operating system. The tablet reminded me in many ways of the Linux operating system: it seemed technically superior and “slick”, but with an abundance of rough edges, and constant poking and prodding required to accomplish fairly mundane tasks.
The other grave similarity to Linux was the lack of application software when compared to something like Microsoft Windows. Even the most technically superior operating system is essentially useless without compelling applications to run on it.
This effectively drove me towards the Apple product, which hardware gurus are quick to lambast as underpowered and inferior, all while someone that actually needs to get real work done tries to decide between ten competing applications to accomplish any given task. I’ll take a dozen note taking applications versus 1 or 2 over technical superiority any day.
Like the iPhone, I have no particular loyalty towards Apple products, and find the zeal to which some defend the brand borderline frightening, but for the moment Apple seems to be the one company that understands a quality user experience, and broad selection of applications designed to accomplish something, rather than megahertz and gigabytes, rules the day. While this seems painfully obvious to me, a raft of big name companies seem to keep missing the mark.