Laptop Thoughts: 60 Days With The iPad; Now What?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

60 Days With The iPad; Now What?

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 07:00 AM

Who Needs A Big iPhone?

The iPad is great for E-Mail, E-Reading, and Internet Browsing. Yes, I have numerous apps that convert things for me, tell me the time in cool ways, provide weather forecasts, and distract me from making meetings, and life in general. The problem is, I also have an iPhone. If you have an iPhone, you really have a small iPad; it's just better. Let me explain.

If you have an iPhone, you already know about apps. You have experienced the excitement of downloading the app and emptying your wallet at the same time. You have already burned through all the FREE apps; or most all of them. You already have a unit converter; cool clock, sunny icon thingy, and a bunch of other stuff that take up room on your iOS pages. You may have a better screen, front facing camera, and you probably have iOS 4 with its folders and multi-tasking capabilities. And then there's ATT. If you have an iPhone, you already have excessive data fees. Oh, and it's a phone!

With the iPad, you have all of those things, (minus the phone) and you don't get a retina display, camera or iOS 4 with its multi-tasking capabilities. And those are the things you really want on a device like this. I know -- wait. Problem is, they took my money, and I can't repurchase the iPad every twelve months; like I have with the iPhone. And then there's the size and girth of the iPad. Yes, it is svelte, but wow is it dense! A hundred pounds of feathers or a hundred pounds of lead - they're the same, they're heavy, and that's that. You won't find me hauling around my iPad to external business meetings, seminars, or fine dining establishments. Why? Because I have an iPhone that does basically the same exact things, is smaller, lighter, and less obtrusive. It should be noted that I want to do those things with the iPad. No, I really do, but seriously it's too inconvenient.

So Now What?

Well, for me, the iPad is relegated to an E-Mail, E-Book, and Internet browsing machine, sitting somewhere in-between my iPhone and my MacBook Pro. Is this any different than any of the many hundreds of devices that have been labelled PDA since the early '90s when the Apple Newton and SONY MagicLink roamed the earth? The Cassiopeia, or Compaq Aero? No. I can argue the cool-ness, Apple-ness, and new-ness, but in the end, it's just useless (as in USE LESS - than I want to).

Figure 3: All the right apps, limited productivity.

Conclusions

60 days with the iPad has been an infatuating experience. In the end though, despite all the promises, good looks, and pedigree, it still doesn't make me want to give up my phone, or my computer. Worse, it still doesn't replace one or more of these devices. In fact, I find myself hard-pressed to identify the places it really does make absolute and practical sense. Medical applications? Higher Education? Government? Perhaps. Look, if you ask me if I like the iPad, I'll say I do. Is it worth the money? I can't honestly say that it is. Is it the next evolution of computing devices? It's not. Is it a same old, repackaged in a new and exciting façade? Yup. And for some, that's enough. As with most Apple products, 3rd or 4th generation units will bring it all together. Can you wait until then? I couldn't. Well, I gotta go, a new update for Solitaire is showing up on my iPad App Store radar.

Eric Juillerat is a technologist, geek, and all around admirer of anything with silicon, buttons, or touch screens.

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