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What Is the iPad?

Entry 1156, on 2010-02-08 at 22:22:39 (Rating 1, Computers)

What is this new device from Apple called the iPad? Is it a computer, or a laptop, or a netbook, or an ebook reader, or an oversized iPod? Is it some of those things, or all of them, or none of them? The answer is yes!

I don't usually like to comment on products I haven't used yet but since everyone else is I thought I would join the crowd and throw my opinion into the mix. But what the iPad is will depend on the user.

For me it will be (yes, I will buy one) mainly a media viewer, especially for reading books. Assuming the book store has a good selection in it and I can upload free stuff myself I doubt whether I will ever buy another physical book. Of course that will very much rely on the book reading experience being as good as people say it is and that will have to wait until I get an iPad to test.

I think I will also use it for storing and displaying photos (I already do this on my iPhone but the screen is a bit small) and videos (again, the iPhone is great for this but the screen is small). I might even move the visual media off my iPhone completely to free space for more music and podcasts.

And that brings me to one of the reasons I still want a camera. I don't like carrying paper and often take a photo of documents for storage and viewing on my laptop and iPhone. It seems the iPad would be better for that but I need that camera! Steve... are you listening?

So what about other people? Many people will not read a book on an electronic device no matter how good it is. And many people still get their digital photos turned into prints and watch movies on their TV. If they don't need a media device what could they use the iPad for instead?

Well these people are unlikely to be very technically advanced so they probably don't really need a computer. Of course everyone needs to be able to surf the web and work with email but they don't need a computer to do this. They need a simple appliance which handles the web and email really well. That sounds like the iPad to me!

So I can see the iPad as being a really useful device for someone who wants to do simple internet activities and maybe play a few simple games. To do this they might not want to try to maintain a PC netbook (who really wants to worry about the constant updates and security flaws in Windows) or even a MacBook (which are probably too expensive for many users). The iPad is a low maintenance, easy to use, cheap, and very secure device which I think would suit many people.

It might not support multi-tasking (yet) or allow running "real" computer programs but who cares? That's not what most people want.

So I think everyone should have an iPad. Advanced users should keep their laptop and use the iPad as a media device and more basic users should use it as their internet device and maybe play a few games and create simple documents on it.

And that brings me to one last thing (in true Apple style). I consider myself to be a fairly advanced user and I use Apple's iWork as my main "productivity" programs. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are beautiful programs. They are so much better than Microsoft Office in terms of ease of use, reliability, and consistently. If iPad users want to use these for basic tasks they usually use a netbook and Microsoft Office for then they are in for a pleasant surprise. They might want to start using iWork on their main computer too (if they have one). Maybe Apple should make a PC version!

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Comment 1 (2639) by OJB on 2010-04-06 at 21:32:43:

iPad seems to be getting positive reviews: example.

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Comment 2 (2711) by OJB on 2010-07-15 at 20:42:46:

I now have an iPad and have written some quick initial comments here.

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