I love my iPhone. Before I get dumped in the Apple fanboy pigeon hole though, I can honestly say it's the first Apple product I've owned and despite enjoying it, I'm still very unlikely to buy a Mac. I like the iPhone because of its large screen, responsive touch interface and range of apps that are genuinely useful - not to mention it's a fully functioning iPod.
However, the iPad
reignited my loathing of the ruthless Apple PR machine and the brainwashed hordes falling over each other to get one. It's hideously expensive and generally far inferior to a laptop but most importantly, I simply couldn't see decent reason you'd actually buy one.
Tablets have been around for years and have never really taken off. After all, most tried (and still try) to cram in a desktop-orientated operating system, usually meaning they're painful to use and lack power and features. The iPad at least has the weight of iTunes behind it with games, apps, ebooks, music and videos but with no proper keyboard, lack of Flash support and not sporting anything better than a bigger screen over and above an iPod Touch, why not just get a laptop?
That's my thinking anyway. I can't imagine having a keyboard and screen in the same plane is as easy as having them in separate ones with a laptop. You've also required to hold it in such a way that the screen faces your eyes. Again a laptop does what it says on the tin - sits on your lap and allows you to point the screen at your eyes with its base remaining on your knees or desk.
Jake Humphrey using his iPad whilst presenting Formula 1 on the BBC.
So basically I'm questioning its very existence although for Jake Humphrey presenting the BBC's Formula 1 coverage, the iPad does seem to be an ideal tool for the job. But apart from TV presenters, who else fits the bill for actually using an iPad in a situation where a laptop might be awkward to use? I was stumped until last weekend when, after weeks of asking me to borrow an iPad from work, my girlfriend and I walked into an Apple store in Lakeside where she spent the next half an hour playing with one while I drooled over the iPhone 4.
Despite my antics with modding, overclocking and PCs in general, my girlfriend isn't very tech savvy and prefers things to be simple and easy to use or else she just doesn't use them. She'll use the internet mainly to watch videos, send emails, read news articles and do research for work and doesn't play games. She prefers reading, and listening to music. And she loved the iPad. What's more I could see her using it at home a lot as it's so easy to use and does everything she needs it to.
Does ease of use, a great interface and the power of iTunes, mean the iPad has found solid ground?
Now from my perspective, dealing with Windows is something I've done for two decades. I'm used to updates, viruses, maintenance, reinstalling and everything games and applications bring too. As such, my new Windows 7 based CULV laptop is the best thing I've bought for a while and I'd just find the iPad too restrictive.
But it's easy to forget that a vast majority of the population find these things either a waste of time or simply have no idea how to do them. A big reason the iPhone and iPad are selling like hotcakes is that they're so easy to use - clearly an attribute which has been massively underestimated and devices like these are ploughing their own segment through the field of market share.
What do you think of the iPad? Is it a waste of materials, just another consumer device or do you think it's a great idea? Let us know in the comments.