Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

More on the iPad

I just finished reading Why the iPad isn’t for me over at MacWorld. And I have to say he’s not the only person from whom I’ve heard that type of refrain.

I do find it funny, though, that so many people figure that the iPad should be a general purpose computer. As I’ve stated previously, to me it’s a media consumption device. I’m sure Apple will release an iPad-ized MacBook in the future, but for many people out there the iPad is perfect if what they primarily do is consume media and, to a much lesser amount, produce it. Thus, for those who occasionally email or post on web forums the iPad is fully sufficient. To provide annotations to a document via Pages, fully sufficient. To take notes during a meeting, again sufficient. To use as one’s primary device in a media-heavy context, be it journalism, high tech, etc., fully insufficient.

As a senior researcher I primarily need a luggable computer to read contracts, make notes, read documents, provide commentary, etc. And, to be honest, most of that can be done via a desktop instead. However, as I spend an ungodly amount of time in meetings I would love to have a device through which I sync up relevant data for my ongoing projects and interests. This would be a device I simply carry with me, that’s reasonably light, and has a great battery life. It’d be instant on so that at a meeting I could just open it up, check out particulars for that meeting, reference a doc if I needed to, and move on. I could take minutes or simple notes as necessary, check my calendar, check email in a pinch and ensure my day flowed nicely. A laptop or desktop would still be necessary for me, but not as the device I’d lug to meetings. Instead of lugging a 7lb notebook to meetings I’d be able to lug a 1lb iPad. And I’d be better off as the iPad would force me to ensure relevant information is properly synced up, as opposed to having to hunt through the desktop for information that is relevant, but hadn’t been referenced in months and so is no longer on any “recent” folder list.

I’m sure many people will find little use for the iPad. However, the market for the iPad is wholly different from the market for a general purpose computer. Personally, I believe the market for the iPad is massive and will supplant many folks’ need for a computer since so many people do little other than browsing the web or answering email with their boxes.

At the moment Apple stupidly requires the device to be synced to a physical computer. This should change as many people — such as the “grandma demographic” — will want to sync to the cloud. And I’m sure Apple will provide such a service via iSync, iDisk, and some other i-thing soon enough.

Once we get a few revisions in on the mobo — and maybe a wholesale revision of the device itself — I’ll probably buy one. I’ll happily leave my notebook behind, opting for a more practical iPad coupled to a simple and low cost desktop for my work environment/needs.

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April 2010
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