Nov 302011

I’m just dumbfounded. I’m seriously dumbfounded right now.  What I experienced today was the last straw.

I bought an HP TouchPad during the fire sale a few months ago for $99 knowing full well that there is no future in the TouchPad or at least no future in a webOS-based TouchPad.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that Palm/webOS is effectively dead.  As nice as the webOS interface is, HP deciding to dump all of their TouchPads in their fire sale was a clear indication that a webOS-based TouchPad was no longer in HP’s plans for the future. So when I bought the TouchPad, I went into the purchase with clear expectations: it would be my podcast/media player and occasional web browser for as long as it would last. (I will admit however that I bought Angry Birds for the TouchPad, but that’s just about obligatory at this point.)

As a podcast player and web browser, the TouchPad does exactly what I want it to do and it does it very well. Because of my expectations of the (lack of a) future for webOS, my TouchPad is effectively no different than any other media player, such as a Sansa or Zune.  But at $99 there’s not a single media player that comes close to what the TouchPad offers for the money – not even an iPod Touch, unless you know of an iPod Touch with a 10″ screen for $99.

But yet, even after I stress the fact that the TouchPad already does all that I expect of it and that I would have no additional expectations of an iPad or any other tablet (including an Android-based tablet), I still to this day get Apple fanboys (and I use that term unapologetically) telling me that I should have paid five times as much for an iPad instead!

Granted, this doesn’t necessarily make them any different from any other technology fanboy/fangirl who supports their platform, but Apple fanboys seem to take it to an extreme.  Why buy a $99 TouchPad that does what you want it to do when you can buy a $500 iPad?  Similarly, why buy a $900 Windows laptop that does what you want it to do when you can buy a $2,500 MacBook Pro? That people even consider those to be valid questions is astounding.

What’s worse, some have actually treated me as though I had no clue what I was getting into when I bought an already obsolete tablet. For the record, I’ve been involved in technology as a serious hobby since the late 1970s and as a profession since the early 1990s.  I don’t make any technology purchase lightly and I certainly don’t make my purchases uninformed.  I’ve actually spent hours comparing features, prices, and user reviews on Amazon, NewEgg, Tiger Direct, and so forth just for a monitor for my PC!  To assume that anyone who bought a TouchPad (or any non-iPad tablet) at a ridiculously discounted price did so only because he didn’t know what he was getting into is arrogant and borderline offensive.

(I do find it humorous when they refer to the iPad as an “investment” as though it’s the only device worthy of that title.  Everything – even the TouchPad – is an “investment” as long as you continue to use it for as long as it serves your purpose.  That’s the very definition of investment!  Nothing, including an iPad, is an “investment” once you no longer have a need for it.)

In fairness I have no problems with Apple hardware itself. The iPod Touch and the iPad are sleek and efficient. I’m sure that I would be pleased with either. If I were to ever receive one as a gift I would absolutely use it and I know that I would end up spending a lot of money on apps.  However, the religious mentality of the people that surround those products is what prevents me from purchasing them on my own.

Am I using a very broad brush in my decision? Absolutely, but no more so than those who automatically equate all non-iPad purchasers with being ignorant.

Look at this another way.  Most people have refused to support a business or charity in one way or another because of that organization’s practices or because of the particular type of people or ideology that supports that organization.  My decision is no different.

I don’t hate the Apple Club or the products it sells; I hate the people who frequent the Club.

Edit: Read my follow-up to this post here.