For the most part, the introduction of the iPad has created three main groups.
1. Those who love it.
2. Those who don’t get it.
3. Those who wish it did more.
The people who wish it did more, want it to use Adobe’s crashy Flash plug-in, have USB ports, and a slew of other features that people see on laptop and desktop computers. This is akin to wishing your sports car would toast your bagel. There have been tons of “iPad killers” announced already, and they all boast a long list of hardware features that read like a traditional laptop spec-sheet. What this group of people don’t yet understand is that the iPad is very clearly not a laptop or traditional computer of any kind. Even comparing one of these Tablet Computers to an iPad is comparing apples to oranges to say the very least. Almost every single one of those wish list features brings with it the potential to cloud the impressive new vision that the iPad has created, and lessen the overall experience.
The people that still just don’t “get it” are people that are perfectly happy with their flip-phones, renting movies from the local Blockbuster, and might not know what Torrent files are. The fact that they can look at Facebook while watching a reality show on a flat-screen TV is all the technology they really need. And that’s fine. What these people don’t know, is that the iPad is even more well suited to them than the group of tech nerds that I mentioned previously. To oversimplify, the iPad could be viewed as a computer, with all the computing taken away. Apple calls the device “magical”, and while that may seem like silly marketing, I really kinda feel that way sometimes. The fact that it “just works” is huge. A person can carry around some flat little thing that is smaller and thinner than a regular paper notebook, and use their finger to access the web, get email, watch video, and countless other things that used to require a computer to do. The device is always on, and you don’t need to know anything about what’s in it, or how it works. To me, it is the perfect anti-technology. It’s so high tech, that anyone can use it.
I was well aware that Apple was going to debut some sort of tablet-like device, and I was curious to see exactly what it would be. When it was finally announced, I thought it was cool. Cool, but certainly not something I “needed”. Slowly but surely, I started noticing situations in my daily routine where the iPad would fit in well. My main computer at that point was my MacBook. The whole idea behind a laptop computer is that it’s portable and doesn’t require you to be tethered to a desk while using it. In practice however, using the MacBook on my lap was pretty uncomfortable. It has to be positioned in a very specific way due to the limited range of the screen hinge and relative position of the keyboard. Worse than that is the fact that it gets hot enough to fry an egg, or my groin, which is part of that general LAP area that it is designed to sit on TOP of. Add in the much shorter battery life, considerable weight, start up time, etc., and the iPad started looking like a viable replacement as my main content-consumption appliance.
Once I laid my hands on one at the local Best Buy, I was sold. It felt amazing to me. I knew I wanted the always-connected possibility offered by the 3G version, so when it was released, I got one. So far, I have not been disappointed by a single aspect of the device. There’s always room for improvement, and the main things I would choose to improve upon are already scheduled to be part of the next software update (multitasking, unified inbox). Since taking ownership of my iPad, I have not used my MacBook at all. Not one single time. It’s been sitting on a shelf with many other books, right next to a Clapper.
As I’m sitting on my couch (or in my chair, on the porch, in the backyard, or laying in bed) it’s become easier and more comfortable than ever to reach over and immediately get what I’m looking for on this amazing little… thing. The web, games, movies, all of it. In no way does it feel like using a computer. I mean, just look at it. I dunno about you, but it’s nothing like any computer I’ve ever seen. The beautiful thin hardware, coupled with the ever-growing list of custom made apps is really proving to be as close to “magical” as any little electronic device has ever been. To nitpick which features or old school ports it doesn’t have is missing the point completely. I’m barely touching on the many specific ways that I’ve been using the device, but I can’t recommend it enough. Obviously it isn’t something that everyone needs, but if you enjoy spending time on the web, playing games, and amazing futuristic technology in general, you should really spend some time with one. The only group that’s stayed silent through all this are the people that have an iPad and don’t like it. Hmmm.