In Defense of iPad

In the tech world it feels like old news, especially for the US who have had their iPad for months. In Canada, it’s been less than a month since the magical little device made it to our shores and I still get all kinds of questions from people when they first see me with mine. I guess it’s a testament to the hype and reputation of Apple that everyone seems to have heard enough about the iPad to form some opinions about it (can’t say the same for the latest HTC smartphone or Google Android device). Most people are just curious and are not really intending to judge me for buying an iPad, but since I shelled out the big bucks for the top of the line 3G model, I guess I always feel some need to justify myself as an early adopter and why I don’t think I got scammed.

Do you love it? What do you do with it?
I have to say, even though I don’t believe it’s magical, I do love my iPad. I use it every day, a few times a day. Mostly I’m either checking up on my Godfinger worshippers (it’s a game where you are God, taking care of a bunch of farming minions), or reading on Early Edition (it’s an app that lays out my RSS feeds to look like a newspaper — very cool!). Also, it’s a lazy-man’s device for sure. Even though I’m only a few feet from the computer, whenever I get notifications of new gmails or tweets, instead of getting my butt off the couch to check, I just pull out the ol’ iPad and saved myself from burning a few extra calories. On top of the convenience, I actually find myself really liking the way it runs so smoothly and the way everything looks on it. I’m looking forward to journaling on it as well when vijournal M (a journal app that syncs to my Mac and my iPhone) makes its way to the iPad.

Isn’t it just a big iPod touch?
It’s true that in essence it’s a big iPod touch. It is not as revolutionary as all the marketing from Apple would have you believe. However, my counter-argument is that it’s a big iPod Touch in the same way my recently-purchased 42 inch LCD TV is a big version of my old 26 inch CRT TV. Everyone is clamouring for new big flatscreens, but they’re just essentially bigger versions of the smaller TVs we used to have — but there’s the rub! The larger TV allows for an HD signal to look noticeably better. Similarly, the larger screen real estate of the iPad makes games look better, but also many apps can take advantage of the extra space for menus, lists, etc and still maintain a good sized screen on the right. (Case in point, an app called Air Video lets me stream video from my computer. On my iPhone, the menu takes up the screen until the video comes on, at which point that takes over the entire screen. On the iPad, there are menus on the left, while a decent sized video can fill in the right.) And don’t get me started on how great a reading device it is for comic books, magazines and regular eBooks. The bigger screen makes all the difference.

But it still doesn’t have a camera, or support Flash, right?
Well, those are both true, but frankly, I have yet to care. I have a camera on my iPhone, and I don’t do much chatting, let alone video chatting. I definitely don’t need to be doing that on my iPad. Plus, there’s no way I would be caught dead holding my huge iPad up to my face to take a photo. Similarly, there’s only been a handful of times I’ve come across sites on my iPad where missing Flash posed a problem (plus I was reading something recently stating that for most mobile phones, the Flash they support is not the most recent or capable of displaying a lot of the flash video out there on the web.

Does anyone really need an iPad? I could have purchased a computer for that price.
It’s also true that the iPad is a luxury item. For the most part, if you have computing needs, you’d be better off getting a cheap laptop (or maybe even a netbook) but for the rest of us, that is not nearly as fun. Apple does a great job of creating things that developers get behind and support with 1001 inventive new apps/functions. It’s cool to be part of that community. No one needs an iPad, but everybody wants one (at least those people who have had their hands on one). It’s an easy sell.

Bottom line is that it puts so many wonderful things at my fingertips and fills so many of my needs for convenience. It’s a fantasy come true after watching years of Star Trek and seeing them hold their PADD devices in their hands. Now I finally have my own version of one (now if Steve could work on getting me that starship!)

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