Blinded by the iHype

I have been seeing more and more stories like this.

The Aurora (Colorado) City Council is considering trying out iPads to go green and help save some green.

(snip)

City officials say it currently costs $710 to print each city council information packet and another $200 per council member to assemble and deliver the packets.

It’s happening here in the city and in the state:

This year, the General Assembly is initiating a pilot program that will place iPads in the hands of select legislators as an alternative to the more common PC laptops they have been assigned for about the past decade.

State lawmakers first received laptops as part of a 1999 pilot program which was extended the following year to provide computers to all 140 members of the legislature. Since then, those computers have been replaced every 3-4 years.

Every one I’ve seen justifies spending almost $800.00 each on iPads by comparing their cost to the cost of printing documents, but not by comparing them to other machines could do the same for less.

It is certain that almost every, if not every, legislator or council person already has a computer, most likely a laptop. One wonders what they have been using them for.

It is certainly true that iPads are attractive machines. Apple excells cosmetic design.

When judged on a standard of functionality, though, iPads are no more–perhaps less–functional than the average netboot. Among other things, according to Apple’s specification page, iPads have neither ethernet nor USB connections.

It is possible that there are data security concerns that justify the government’s purchasing and setting up the computers for legislators, but let’s look at the math: They could get laptops for half the price of iPads and netbooks for a third the price.

About the only practical advantages, other than the sleek design, is that iPads may be conveniently held in one hand and manipulated by the other.

I may be wrong, but I suspect that most legislators have desks.

They are letting themselves get sucked into the Apple vortex of hype.

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