Apple announced their tablet computing device yesterday, and the general consensus around the web seems to be “meh.” A coworker of mine said (paraphrasing here) “why would I buy this if I already have an iPhone and a laptop?” I agree. If you’re already a laptop toting iPhone wielding Apple fanboy, then this has to be a bit of a letdown. There doesn’t appear to be anything vastly innovative or different about the iPad. The iPad appears to be little more than a bigger, faster, iPod Touch. People wanted more. More innovation. More pizazz. Apple didn’t want to shake the boat too much though, and went with what has worked for them in the past.
But for me? I am intrigued. Not blown away. Just intrigued. We have one computer in our house. It’s a somewhat aging desktop, and it’s located in our basement. I don’t have smart phone. I don’t have a Kindle or other e-reader. I do have an iPod Nano. Kate doesn’t understand the appeal of a device like the iPad. Here’s what I see.
- Portable Web Browsing: Not mobile web browsing, because I’m not willing to front the extra $130 up front and $30/mo that the 3G versions of these devices require. But portable web browsing I can get behind. Need to send a recipe to your friend, but don’t want to trek down to the basement? iPad. Want to check the directions to your event that night but don’t want to trek down to the basement? iPad. Want to check your fantasy football score while watching the game? Ipad. Send a quick email, update twitter, or check facebook? iPad, iPad, iPad.
Yes, there is a certain laziness implied in the above paragraph. It IS only a flight of stairs, after all. Let me put this another way. Want to do any of the above but can’t because your spouse/kids/dog/cat/gerbil is using the computer? iPad.
- Portable Video: Watch an episode of Chuck in the comfort of my own bed before I go to sleep? Or on an airplane ride? Or on the beach? Or on my way to New York while the kids sleep and Kate drives? Heck yeah!
Oh who am I kidding? I never let Kate drive.
- Calendar, Contacts, Notes, etc. The functions and form of the iPad point towards it making a pretty decent PDA, especially if it syncs nicely with Google Calendar and Google Contacts. This is something that I always thought would be nice about having an iPhone. The successfulness (or lack thereof) of the on-screen keyboard will likely affect the iPad’s usefulness in this category.
- Photo Sharing: If I’m toting this back and forth from work every day (see the previous bullet), which I would, you’re darn right I’m going to use it to show off my kids. Heck, I’d prop it in my cube when it’s not actively in use and it’ll be a digital picture frame. Because my coworkers don’t get enough pictures of my kids already.
- Light Gaming: I’m kidding everybody if I don’t include gaming. I (and yes, probably the kids) will play a few games on this device. Not like I would on a gaming console or a full blown PC, but I bet there will be a couple of ways to waste some time with this bad boy.
- Digital Books, Magazines, and Newspapers: As much as I hate to admit it, digital magazines, newspapers, and yes, books are the wave of the future. I don’t think I’ll ever give up on reading a hardcopy book, but magazines and newspapers make pretty good sense for a device like this. It remains to be seen if the technology is to a point where I can read on a device like this without getting a headache, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
So while it might not make sense for others, this device might make sense for me. Does it have shortcomings? Absolutely. Might I wait a while for the price to drop and for the next version to come out in a year or two? I might. But this device definitely fits a hole in my electronics devices arsenal. Is it a hole that I absolutely have to fill? Ask me in March.