The Apple iPad is now out in the UK, and I will be getting one as soon as I can. When I mention this to friends and family, I am met with the outbursts that so many other people have been getting. People keep on bringing up the fact that it doesn't allow you to use any Flash content, or the fact that it's just a big iPod Touch, or the argument that I should just get a netbook, or people taking issue with the fact that you're only able to use Apple approved apps, bought through Apple. There are loads of arguments that people will bring up to try and sway me against getting an iPad of my own, but I'm still going to buy one.
Is this because I am a consumerist whore, desperate to be in one every possible new gadget so I can seem like I'm in the know? Nah. Anyone that knows me well knows that I have a crappy old mobile phone (which is so battered that half the numbers are worn off) and a 1st gen iPod Touch. I'm hardly cutting edge when it comes to gadgets. So, how come am I so enamoured of the iPad? First and foremost, I believe it would make my working life a great deal more enjoyable and in some cases a great deal easier. With that said, I'll go through some of the issues that I'm already tired of hearing about.
It's a vanity device with no real use.
True in some cases, I'm sure. However, I intend to use it as both a work tool and an entertainment device. With the apps available, there is a massive amount that I can achieve with it. As I write for a magazine and a bunch of other places, the ability to write an album review as soon as I've listened to the album, whether I'm out, in or nowhere near home is very attractive. Sure, there are apps like the piano one and suchlike, which (while a bit of fun) don;t serve much purpose, which can also make the iPad look like little more than an expensive toy.
Why not just get a netbook?
Because I am very much enamoured of the way Apple set things up. The unit is a delight to use, and runs an OS that offers me speed and enjoyment rather than obstacles. I don't want to have to boot up every time I want to use it, either. That gets old really, really quickly. Netbooks are slow to do just about anything, and if I'm going to spend money, I want to spend it on something that isn't going to irritate me more than help me.
Ah- the cost. How do you justify the huge amount the iPad costs?
I hate to use well worn phrases, but you get what you pay for. As a consumer, I have had nothing but good experiences with Apple products. I came to be a huge fan of the company's gear whilst recording music with my old band, RED20. Using Mac computers was a delight, and I was turned on to the idea of getting in on the act myself. I did, and had nothing but good experiences. I want to know that new tech I buy will be reliable, and while yes, it's expensive, I will pay a little more for the peace of mind that their products have always given me.
But it only runs a smartphone OS – not a proper computer OS.
So? It's not supposed to be a replacement for full computers. Not yet, anyway. I tend not to even turn on my Windows laptop at the moment unless I am going to be writing for lengthy periods. A lot of the time I will surf on my iPod Touch, check and send email, check my social stuff, play games and so on. An iPad will allow me to do all of those things, with the added incentive of a much larger screen, making it easier to read and type. The argument that the iPad is essentially a big iPod Touch just makes me shrug. I mean, great! A big iPod Touch! I don't really need masses of power from it. I just need a device that will allow me to write, listen to music and keep up to date with my ridiculous
media intake easily and enjoyably.
The iBooks store – Will you actually use the iPad as an Ebook reader?
Yes. I'm always carrying books around with me (usually 2 even when I'm only going to work). The iBooks app is easy to navigate and pleasant to read on. Plus, I am very interested in the development of ebooks as apps in a professional capacity. I have a selection of books and short stories on my iPod Touch, which have saved me from boredom on many an occasion. Being able to enjoy them properly on a larger screen is an added bonus.
But you can't modify the iPad or alter it at all...
Why would I want to do that? I'm not one for stripping computers down for fun. I don't care about having the greatest machine in the world. I just want something reliable and fun to use. It's more an issue for tech geeks than regular consumers.
Other stuff: No tabbed browsing in Safari, having to hold it, having to buy accessories, the cost of 3G...
Tabbed browsing? I don't have a problem with separate windows opening in Safari on the iPad. It doesn't get in my way on my iPod Touch, so why should it bother me on the iPad? Anyway, I'd get the Atom browser app, which does offer tabbed browsing. Having to hold it? Not a problem. They feel really nice, aren't very heavy, and are great for leaning against your lap while sat down or held in one hand. Plus, they're easier to move around and show people stuff with than a netbook or laptop. As for having to buy extra accessories such as the case, dock, external keyboard etc, heck, they're optional. Nobody's going to twist my arm to buy those things, and what's the fuss anyway? There are plenty of things people buy for their computers and personal devices. What about the prohibitive costs of the 3G version? Not an issue for me. I will be perfectly happy with the WiFi version, as that's all I really need.
Think of the iPad as digital Marmite. You either think it's a great idea or a bit pointless. I personally love the way it works and am eager to get one for myself as I know I'll get a ton of use out of it both at home and when travelling. I need a device in my life that will allow me to easily write and meet my deadlines even when I'm away from home, with an OS that works like a dream and the capacity for a great deal of entertainment and reading as well as working. If you don't like the idea of the iPad, then don't buy one. Simple as that :) I'll be getting one, as, quite simply and honestly, I believe I will use it enough to more than justify the purchase.
(I'll update this post whenever I get more questions/points raised)