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10 Reasons You Should Stay Away from the iPad

March 26 2010

verizon prepping the ipadTo counter the numerous articles spouting accolades of the iPad and the wonders it can perform for the real estate agent, RET Staff members created a document to bring balance to the discussion.
First of all, we are not against the iPad, but we do have some reasonable doubt as to its usefulness in business. For personal use, we will not comment. Our website is not about promoting the latest and greatest technology for personal use. We look for the business value technology products and services can bring you. 
If you are thinking of buying an iPad for business use, wait until you’re read the top ten reasons why real estate agents should NOT use the iPad for business.

1. It’s expensive.
The iPad alone will cost you $30 a month. This would be on top of the data plan that you already have for your cell phone. You will still need broadband at home too. And it will be pretty slow—800 kbs is a top speed in ideal conditions. If you add all three together—$30 iPad, $50 iPhone, $40 Broadband (average prices)—you come up with $120 per month to “stay connected.” Given the shortcomings of the Safari browser, you may want to think twice about paying extra for the 3G version.

2. You cannot Multi-task.
Workflow on a computer with a full operating system allows you to have your email open while browsing the web and creating a document. With the iPad, you have to open and close each program to switch between applications. Professional tools for real estate agents require multitasking.

3. Many Websites will not work on an iPad.
An iPad does not support Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight which means that many websites will not operate correctly when you visit them on the iPad Safari browser. This also means that you may not view many virtual tours on the iPad. Check with your MLS before you buy to insure that your iPad Safari browser can access the MLS system. Test it before you buy.

4. Does not Support GPS.
Many of the applications that were developed for the iPhone’s onboard GPS will not be able to provide location services on the iPad. If you plan to keep the device for any period of time, the iPod is a Dinosaur in mobile computing without GPS.

5. No Built-In Camera.
You can forget about Photo Booth and Video Conferencing on the iPad. I guess you would need to take a picture on your blackberry or iPhone, mail it to your iPad so you can see it over there. They do have a work around—you can pay a monthly fee for Mobile Me. Yet another monthly fee.

6. AT&T is the data plan service provider.
If you have an iPhone, you have experienced the poor quality of the AT&T data network. My iPhone regularly freezes up and drops calls when I have a 5 bar signal. They are already struggling to cope with data usage on the 3G network. The iPad will make that worse.

7. Cannot operate Word, Excel or PowerPoint on it.
iPad only supports software purchased from and downloaded from the iTunes App Store. Some of the most popular brands of software, like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., are not available. Most real estate agents I know rely pretty heavily on Microsoft in their workflow. The alternative is to do word processing and other comparable activities in iWork products. iWork is Apple’s version of MS Office. But plan to pay and extra $10 for each of those applications if you want them on your iPad. There are some other work arounds like AirShare Pro, iFiles and Documents to Go.

8. Can’t connect video to your big screen or television
You can’t use your iPad to feed media to a television or a big screen. The only output is very low quality.

9. Video will be choppy, not real-time
File sizes and resolutions for cell phones are okay because the screen size is so small, the bandwidth to send streaming video is ok. The file size of the 9.7” screen to provide a decent resolution will be a challenge. Plan for choppy video, poor resolution and slow streaming. Technically it is limited to 720P, with an aspect ratio of 4:30.

10. No video chat.
The iPad does not have the capability for video chat—an already established system available even on low-end MacBooks and the MacBook Air. If you were planning to use an iPad to allow for video conference calls or video chat meetings, think again.

The reality is that Apple’s iPad is just a tablet. While it possesses the capabilities of many existing devices, it is not a netbook, nor a personal computer, nor a pocket device. So is it any surprise that it does not hold the same functionality as our MacBook, iPhone and iTouch? Not to us. Hopefully not to you either.

It may be good for reading books, but not for conducting business.

Take away: Stay away from buying products for business with this many drawbacks. We don’t want your iPad purchase to send you home with a healthy dose of buyer’s remorse.