Boilerplate conventional wisdom has it that that non-tech oriented users love the iPad for content consumption surfing. No doubt that’s true, but I don’t necessarily buy it as a logical determination.
For example, I presume that part of content consumption surfing for many iPad users involves online shopping, and my experience dipping my cyber-toes in those waters on my ‘Pad has been a distinctly mixed-bag.
Shopping bag, that is.
It was hard to resist those post-Christmas sales, and I found myself on the Sears Canada Website checking out a gaggle of attractive deals. The iPad is great for checking out the merchandise, relaxed in an easy-chair, with the exception that iOS browsers don’t support Command-click for opening links in a new tab, since there’s no Command key. However, page loads are pretty speedy, so I can live with that.
However, the iPad’s real deficiencies started to show up on the checkout page. Filling out forms proved annoying due to the virtual keyboard having to pop in and out as I changed from field to field on the Sears site. This would be so much slicker on a Mac or PC. Then the browser, which happened to be Dolphin HD, crashed. I like Dolphin HD for its speediness, but its stability leaves something to be desired.
I switched to Opera Mini, and got as far as the checkout. I even had typed in my credit card information. Then things apparently ground to a halt. The order confirmation page refused to appear and things locked-up. After five minutes or so I killed the app and switched to Safari. By that time, finding the items I wanted, tapping “add to cart,” and filling in the checkout page forms was becoming old hat, but as time dribbled away some of the items I wanted began selling out. Thanks a lot, iPad!
I ran out of time, had to attend to other matters, and finally gave up. Later in the day, I got on the Mac, and went through the whole rigamarole again, much faster and more efficiently than I had been able to on the iPad. By that time, however, only two of the seven on-sale items I’d had in my original order were still available. Some of this may be due to coding optimization for tablet browsers shortcomings on the Sears Canada Website, but I can’t speak to that.
The mini-saga wasn’t over. Checking my email a few hours later, I discovered that one of the the order attempts I’d executed on the iPad (presumably with Opera Mini before it locked up) actually had gone through, even though no confirmation page had ever turned up. Of course the order made on the Mac also had been confirmed, so now I had a duplication. One mitigating factor was that one of the two hoodies I’d ordered, marked down from $49.95 to $9.95, had made the cut with that phantom iPad order, so I guess I got the last one.
I called Sears Canada Customer Service, and I’ll give them credit for my being able to get through to a real human being inside of a minute on what must have been one of the busiest days of the year. I was able to cancel the duplicate order, so all was well that ended well, sort of.
Still, it was frustrating to lose out on those first thing Tuesday morning deals, not to mention the ill-afforded time burned, and the whole farrago hasn’t endeared me any more to iPad computing. If I’d been on a Mac at the outset, it would have taken a fraction of the time I ended up spending, and I would have succeeded in making all of the purchases I wanted.
I’m trying hard to love the iPad, folks. I really am. Indeed, I’m writing this commentary on the iPad right now. However, the post-PC era still seems a long way off for me, with both browser refinement and website optimization evidently having a long way to go before a tablet is anywhere close to being an adequate and satisfactory substitute for a Mac or PC.