Apple recently unveiled the iPad.
From where I was sitting (figure of speech – I wasn’t there), it seemed like a great device that meets my needs. But I’ve been hearing a lot of people dismissing the iPad as a potential flop. How it can’t do this and that, and how much better their netbooks or desktop PC’s were at certain tasks. I’ve also been approached by people who wanted my opinion of the iPad, since they’ve heard bad reviews about it (although no actual units are yet out in the market). This has made me wonder. “Did I miss anything about the iPad. Was I unduly influenced by Job’s RDF (reality distortion field) all the way from The US of A?”
So I’ve done some analysis of the situation. Allow me to walk you through the analysis.
First off let me list the top most complaints about the iPad:
– no USB
– no Flash
– no Keyboard
– Can’t run my favorite application
– no multitasking
This is by no means all of the iPad’s shortcomings, there are lots more. Now replace the name iPad in the previously mentioned list of complaints with the word “PSP”, “Nintendo DS”, “MP3 Player”, “NOKIA”, (-your favorite gadget here-). Does your gadget’s shortcomings make you wanna throw your favorite gadget away? No! Why? Because it meets your needs. Be it for portable gaming, listening to music or reading an e-book.
Perhaps Apple did not make it clear enough that the iPad was not meant to replace your laptop/desktop. All of a sudden people want all the capabilities of their full blown computers into a half-inch think, 1.5lbs portable device with a 10 hour battery life. Blame the hype. It did the iPad a ton of disservice.
Where does the iPad fit into the grand scheme of things? Primarily being productive/entertained in situations where you can’t afford to use a laptop/netbook for various reasons. Situations like:
– traveling to another place for a few days and you don’t wanna lug around your laptop. The iPad’s dimensions and weight makes it easier to decide to bring it along.
– Watching a movie or working on your documents/spreadsheet/presentation without a power outlet for ten hours. Think crowded coffee shops/ airplanes.
– taking notes in college, without having to add more bulk to your backpack. or worry about battery life. Or better yet, record your professor’s lecture instead. (it’s got a built in mic)
– checking your email or consulting a reference document without having to boot and wait for your computer. Such as when you get a call while lounging on your sofa and your boss asks you to resend an email he deleted or asks you to read a certain figure from your worksheet over the phone.
– Do presentations without a laptop. (Yes, it connects to LCD projectors with an optional accessory)
– watching a movie or surfing the web on the bed with out a lapdesk, breakfast tray, or pillow getting in the way. You can even lie down on your side if you wanted. A laptop on the other hand might break its hard drive if handled like an iPad on the bed.
Do I want an iPad? You bet. Will I be saying good bye to my laptop? Not at all.
The iPad allows me to work in situations where the laptop is simply not a viable option. For all other instances I still need my regular laptop. People should not treat the iPad as a laptop replacement. It was not meant to do that. Very much like the PSP was not meant to replace your computer/XBox. Both the PSP and iPad were meant to extend the areas where you can do gaming and other stuff. Granted that the iPad is not for everyone, neither is it bad for everyone.
With that in mind, perhaps we can avoid forming a wrong opinion of the iPad’s potential and whether or not it meets your needs. It is unfair to wish that the iPad can meet needs for which it was not made, we should judge it’s capabilities and see if it fits our lifestyle instead. Now after seeing what it can do (instead of what it cannot), and you decide that it’s not for you, then you have made a good decision.
I for one believe that it will be useful for people who currently use iPhones and iPod Touches. People who after being productive with their gadgets find themselves wanting to expand their productivity beyond what their device’s tiny screen can currently offer. But that’s just my opinion. You form your own.