The iPad does some really wonderful things - the new Garage Band looks freakin’ sweet, as does iMovie; plus, hello Netflix. And I’ll be the first to admit, that the reason Apple has won the tablet race so far, is that by and large, what works, works really well. This is the paradigm Apple has set - lock down the device, and tightly control everything running in the software stack from soup to nuts, and you can control the user experience to give the perception of better performance. And I do think if Apple put a full size USB port on the iPad, aside from looking horrible, it would lead to potential confusion - “why isn’t my mouse working?”
But the fact is a micro-USB port takes up a tiny slot, is nearly ubiquitous on all other mobile devices for data transfer and charging, and few peripherals use a mUSB connection, which minimized the risk of confusion, yet Apple refuses to make that allowance - that’s kind of annoying, and there’s really no need from a design perspective. Now, instead of one charging/data cable, I’ve got to have two - and another wall wart, since at 10W, the iPad won’t charge from a standard USB port or wall charger and needs it’s own special white, chunky, cutesy little adapter. This kind of crap gets old quickly if you travel a lot.
And the lack of an SD card is clearly just profit-mongering - a $100 premium for 16GB more flash? I’ve got a fast 16GB MicroSD card that I got for $25, and turned my 16GB Android phone (a Samsung Captivate) into a 32GB model.
Plus, Apple locks down their filesystem so that you can’t even really transport a file on the damn thing, let alone attach a non-media file to an email. If for instance you’re working on a laptop offline, and wanted to transfer an Excel file to send from the iPad - why should the iPad need to be able to open a file just to let me send the damn thing? I should be able to either transfer it over Bluetooth (but iOS doesn’t support Bluetooth EDR), or pop in an SD card, click Attach, and browse to the file location. But I can’t and that buh-lows.
But dammit, Garage Band looks so damn awesome.