Why I want an iPad

February 24, 2010

There has been much talk in the tech-sphere lately about the iPad.  Primarily from people honestly putting it down and ragging upon it.  Saying how it doesn’t have <insert feature they wanted>.  Or saying how it’s a toy because you can’t hack it, put your own unapproved software on it, hook up a USB keyboard, etc.

I don’t disagree with those statements actually.  There are some features that I wished it would have had, I might have been excited to have seen it run OS/X instead of the iPhone operating system, so that I could have used it more like a real computer.

But in the end, I think that starts to miss the point.  It’s not a ‘real computer’, it *is* something new, and the more I think about it.  The more I end up wanting one.  Perhaps I’m an edge case, I can accept that.  But ever since the announcement, I keep thinking to myself: “I’d love an iPad right now”.

So why do I want one?  What are the situations where I find myself wanting one?  Typically they are situations where I’m wanting to stay ‘connected’, do some computing and/or online things.  But I’m not wanting to be tied to a laptop.  Afterall, a laptop is actually an intrusive thing.   Try sitting at the breakfast table with one.  It’s there.  Projecting itself into the space.  Acting as a wall between you and anyone else at the table.  However, sit down with a magazine, or a newspaper, or even a cell phone / iPhone, and it’s not in the way, it’s laying flat, you are picking it up to view things, you can easily lay it back down.  You are using technology but staying more connected to the people around you.

Plus there are just places where a laptop is awkward to use.  For example, in your lap strangely enough.  At a doctor’s office, on the airplane, etc.  It’s all these times, when I sit back and start thinking: “You know if I had an iPad right now”.  So many of these situations come up, such as:

  • The aforementioned breakfast table, checking the morning news/twitter/email.  (Heck, just doing email in general with something less intrusive than a laptop, but better built for it than an iPhone)
  • Sitting on the couch with family watching TV while also checking things online.
  • While playing video games and needing to look up some information online.
  • While at a non-profit meeting, wanting to look something up.
  • When spending a ‘short time’ at a coffee shop, relaxing while wanting to stay on top of things.

In general, I think that an iPad is going to be superior in use to a large laptop, because of it’s form factor, as well as to a netbook, because honestly I agree with Steve Jobs about netbooks.  I have one, I rarely use it, and when I do I wonder why I didn’t just grab a real computer instead.  Tiny screen, bad interface, etc.

Plus the iPad is going to add functionality that I can only imagine how I may want to use it:

  • As a book reader (I’d been debating about getting a Kindle, now, to me, this is a no-brainer that I’d rather have an iPad)
  • As a video playing device (just the right size to hold in lap)
  • As a new way to share photos with family.

In the end, I kinda don’t want to be excited about the iPad, since I have many of those geek tendencies to dislike it solely because it didn’t have X/Y/Z.  But in the end, I keep finding myself back at that “If I only had an iPad right now” stage.  I see myself using it.   Interestingly enough, 90% of the time I see that use being Wifi only based.  So dropping the extra $130 plus $30 a month for a separate data connection, I don’t see.

Which does bring me to my one complaint though, and the one reason I don’t want an iPad:

  • Price

Really that’s it.  I know, I realize, that $499 is an amazing price for a product with a 10″ touchscreen, massive battery life, etc.  But in the end, it’s still more than I want to pay for this device, given how I know I’m going to use it.  That is, as a device to use when my iPhone is ‘too small’ for the job and when pulling out the laptop is overkill.

To that end, I wish it was more like $199

That being said, I still want one, and I’m going to have a mention struggle between now and release date as to whether I can justify buying one.  The one biggest thing (other than price) that is holding me back at this moment, is that I’m unsure how easy it’s going to be to use the ‘bigger onscreen keyboard’.  Because honestly much of the use I expect out of the iPad, is going to involve typing, which is slow on the iPhone.  I expect the iPad to be ‘slower’ than a real keyboard.  But I’d hope that I could put it in my lap, and semi-touch-type on it.  If I can’t really do that.  If typing is going to be at ‘cell phone thumb speed’.  Then that’s a problem for me.  That may become the killer.  Because if I can’t type easily-enough on it.  I’m going to get frustrated.

In summation?  I dunno, I’m still torn.  I want an iPad, but I have a couple concerns.  Let’s see if I can resist when the day comes.

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