Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's So Special About the iPad

I admit, I am a bit of a gadget freak. In my suburban home shared by two parents and two kids, we have technology throughout: 3 laptops, 3 desktops, 2 iPhones, 3 iPods, Wii, Roku, Blue-ray, Netflix, screaming fast FIOS broadband (internet, tv, and telephone service), whole house DVR, and a house and yard covered by WIFI.

Yes, I also bought an iPad and have been using it now for 7 months. I find myself regularly hearing from friends and pundits who point out the limitations and say "I'll wait for the next generation.". In the meantime, I'm enjoying what I have today. Let me try to explain the appeal. I bet it will ring true to other early adopters and fellow iPad owners.
  • Instant on - it is on and connected to the web before my ROM BIOS boot message appears on my laptop
  • All day battery life - my laptop batteries are so bad, we keep them plugged in all day and whenever we use them. The iPad runs often for 2 or more days without a recharge.
  • Portability - with the standard Apple protective case it is the size of a small book. No cords, no accessories. I just grab it and go.
  • Continuous and free software updates - Apple and app providers update OS and application software for free as soon as it becomes available. This keeps everything at the latest release level and cleans out bugs quickly. (Microsoft could learn a lesson here)
  • Social Web and email- Twitter, facebook, websites, email, blogs, it handles it all very well.
  • Video and audio - I have yet to see a better device for pulling it all together: YouTube, Netflix, digital movies, iPod, podcasts.
  • Games - my kids (and I) love the great games. The display, the touch interface, the speakers: they all work swimmingly together.
Say what you will about the lack of flash support, the difficulty typing, and the lack of ability to build complex spreadsheets and presentations. I'm tired of doing that stuff anyway. All I really want to do is simple short communications (tweets, email, blog posts and the like) and then quickly experience what the web has to offer in video, news, entertainment, and updates from my social circle. For that, the iPad is just right.

Thank You Apple for, yet again, not giving incremental improvements, but rather for dreaming up a new experience that we all wanted but never thought to ask for.


  1. Jim, All good points but you missed a terrific one that it doesn't sound like you use....yet. We are programming them to operate and monitor home automation systems. The iPad is a game changer in terms of whole house system control. The iPhone was great but the real estate afforded us on an iPad make it even easier to understand and control your music, lights, HVAC and more. Good post, thanks

  2. Ive been doing a lot of experimenting with the iPad as a notebook replacement (I even have an awesome keyboard/case by Kensington), and while it certainly can't replace the notebook (or PC) for everything, just remember that it's a 1st gen product. That being said, for most general tasks, and even some more advanced stuff) I find myself reaching for the iPad 1st.

  3. Nice Post! Typing comment on mine now!

  4. Once the OS upgrade occurred that allowed multitasking I took the plunge. I think you captured the spirit of the device. The genius behind the iPad is that it does not try to be a tablet PC. Instead, it has become my favorite means to read, engage, and share and does so in a portable, aesthetic way. Nice post.