As I write this the Apple iPad is about to go on sale nationally. But instead of waiting in line to get one for myself, I’m here at the keyboard writing about it. Why? Because, as cool as it may be, I haven’t a clue what it’s good for. How would I use it?
First of all, I’m a huge fan of technology. Unlike my daughter who likes only the technology that she deems truly beneficial to her or to society and not the technology that replaces tried and true methods of doing things (such as eBook readers), I like pretty much all technology, even the kind that seems to be technology for technology’s sake. If it’s technological and cool, it usually gets thumbs up from me.
But most new tech gadgets have an obvious function, and usually one that is either new or that provides a different tip to an old hat. When the iPhone first came out, for example, I wondered what made it so much different from any other high-end cell phone. But its larger display, multi-touch screen coupled with its ability to run downloadable applications convinced me that it was truly something innovative.
The iPad, on the other hand, doesn’t convince me that it has anything new to offer other than packaging. It sort of looks like an iPhone, only larger. But you can’t use it as a telephone. It has a nice, large display screen, but it provides nothing new per se. You can download eBooks and read them, just like with a standard eBook reader. You can listen to music on it, just like you can with an iPod. You can send and read e-mail, just like you can with any Smartphone.
So, if you have an iPod (or other mp3 player), a cell phone, and a laptop, why do you need an iPad? I have an Android Smartphone that I use to surf the Net when I’m away from my computer, check my e-mail, listen to my music, take pictures, get directions, check the weather forecast, and even make phone calls. I can even watch Flash videos on it. The iPad has no Flash support. And, as mentioned earlier, it also can’t make phone calls or take pictures.
To me, the iPad is like an oversized Smartphone that doesn’t make phone calls or do many of the other things a Smartphone can do. So why do I need one? In fact, other than its “coolness” why should I even want one?
I love new tech gadgets, but in order for me to shell out $500 for one, it has to be more than just cool. Somebody tell me something significant that the iPad can do that my Smartphone can’t (other than doing it on a larger screen), and maybe I’ll change my mind about it. Otherwise, my Droid Eris will get me by. Besides, I can at least carry that in my pocket. If I owned an iPad, where would I put it?