Scott Watermasysk posted a piece this morning that to me sounds like another attempt to rationalize the act of buying one more overpriced shiny gadget from Apple: http://scottw.me/post/498411986/ipad-v-netbook.
It also seems like Scott is basing his opinion on the netbooks that were available two years ago. There are now amazingly powerful computers in this format, which makes for a great experience in the exact circumstances that the iPad is designed for. In other words, I think Scott’s post would have made some sense if Apple had shipped its tablet two years ago.
As Scott’s blog for some reason doesn’t have comments on, I thought I’d plagiarize him here :)
Another personal angle on the netbook vs. iPad thing.
The iPad is all about compromise. It is just like a normal iPhone except it’s a lot more expensive, you won’t get 3G unless you fork an additional hundred bucks and it won’t fit in your pocket. Just like its little brother, it doesn’t have a keyboard, it’s riddled with DRM (no app will make it if it isn’t approved by Apple on completely arbitrary criteria), it doesn’t support Flash or multitasking (so no streaming Pandora while reading e-mail), etc. If you were to build a dream laptop, there is absolutely nothing in an iPad you would want today.
The modern multitouch netbooks are about doing things well. They draw a line in the sand on what you should be able to do today. A notebook can talk and it could very well tell you:
There are no tasks I cannot complete. I am not going to force you to complete them in a half ass way. You’ll have a great, unconstrained experience that will leave you happy and satisfied. If this bothers you, please go and buy Apple’s crippled product. You will not be happier (it’s a freaking bunch of electronics, go out and meet people), but you might resent it in the morning when the excitement dies down and the RDF dissipates.
Kidding aside, modern notebooks represent a different take on both casual and temporary business computing. I love the experience and would rather see Apple try to do something bold and different than follow in the drab foot steps of the TabletPC and the iPod Touch.
But I work for Microsoft, so every thing I say is biased :)