There has been a lot of marketing and journalistic hype about the iPad. It’s “magical” according to some. To others, it’s “just a big iPhone.” What is it? Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? Or is it truly a revolutionary device? And, do most users need an iPad?
What is the iPad?
The Apple iPad
is a 10-inch tablet computer that runs iOS, the same operating system
that iPhone runs on. So, in one sense of the word, the iPad *is* a big iPhone. However, this is not necessarily a pejorative. The iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones available, and its user interface
has been widely praised.
So, for an iPad to be “a big iPhone” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. An iPhone with more screen real estate makes for different modes of interacting with the device than even an iPhone, let alone other forms of computer.
The iPad only runs apps from the Apple App Store. There are hundreds of thousands of these applications available, from dictionary apps to music-making apps
, writing apps to reading apps. If you can imagine it, it is probably on the iPad.
The iPad can store music, videos, and applications on the SSD memory
that comes with it (16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB). You can also get Internet on-the-go just as you can with an iPhone through optional 3G service (note that the 3G iPad costs $130 more than the regular WiFi-only iPad).
Who Needs an iPad?
In truth, no one actually needs an iPad. However, this is true of just about any consumer electronic. The iPad, like any other gadget, is not a necessity. However, it can certainly increase the quality of life for some users. So, a more apt question might be: who would get enjoyment and use out of the iPad?
If you find yourself reading a lot of articles online or watching videos on your computer late at night, it may be worth considering an iPad. The iPad is great for passive computing tasks, such as taking in information, watching TV, or
If you want an ultra-portable computer
, the iPad might be right for you. While it does not have a tactile keyboard
, typing on the iPad (particularly thanks to autocorrect) is surprisingly easy.
Since the iPad costs $500, it can be a very affordable alternative to a cheap laptop that you travel with. Again, it is not a suitable alternative to a full-fledged computer, but as a travel computer or netbook alternative, it is incredibly useful.
As of June 2011, there are no credible iPad competitors. Some, such as the Motorola Xoom
, try hard, but don’t come close to the cohesive experience of the iPad. As a result, we cannot recommend the Galaxy Tab, HP TouchPad
, or the Xoom at this point. Hopefully, by the Christmas season, there will be a slew of new iPad competitors giving Apple a run for its money. After all, consumer choice is a very good thing for end-users, creating a Google Voice