Apple iPad… I just don’t get it…

I’ve been using a Mac for a while now and I’m still waiting for it to change my life. It’s no different for me than any Windows or Linux box. Just a box to run a browser and SSH sessions from. The only thing that distinguishes it from the other stuff out there is the box is really pretty. The content is no big deal. I don’t find it easier or harder to use than anything else. Tastes vary, but the OS is not particularly prettier or uglier than anything else I’ve used. Added to that, I believe the iPhone is just another smart phone, not a lifestyle. Now you know where I stand, here are my first impressions of the iPad.

The iPad looks like a really nice way to view information, but I just don’t see how it fits into my life. Of course my lack of understanding is explained by this quote from the advertising blurb.

“Exceeds your ability to understand”

I see. I’m just not clever enough to understand that I need it. I better not announce to the world that I don’t understand or I’ll prove I’m stupid. Isn’t that like The Emporer’s New Clothes? Well I for one don’t understand…

Here are some of the things I’m confused about:

  • No phone functionality? So I have to carry my phone and this around, but if I have an iPhone I can do most of this stuff anyway (but with a smaller screen), so what’s the point of having both?
  • No keyboard? I just don’t see it as practical to do any of the non-work stuff I do without a real keyboard. Of course I’ve not tried this screen, but typing on touch screens sucks. I need physical feedback to type at any speed. If I have to use a separate keyboard to feel comfortable, what’s the point? If you are predominantly a viewer of information, fine, but if you have to produce anything I can’t see this working.
  • No lid? How long is that screen going to stay unscratched? I can see those who have Compulsive iPhone Polishing Disorder going mad with this thing. Of course it’s great for the manufacturers of accessories who will no doubt produce a multitude of covers and lids.

So what does it do well?

  • It looks really neat for viewing existing content. Browsing, reading, casually information retrieval.
  • If you are a big traveller, it looks like an improvement over the Kindle for reading.
  • For travellers also, it beats watching films on an iPhone, but I’m not sure it is better than a laptop. Why? Well a laptop is free standing on the fold down table. I’ve got to hold this thing or rest it against something and risk dropping it if I fall asleep it’s going to annoy me. I see an oppertunity for a iPad stand for plane tables. :)

My biggest stumbling block is many people I know would still need a phone and laptop if they bought an iPad, so what’s the point?

I’m torn between thinking it is cool and wanting one, but ultimately knowing it is pointless. I would consider having one in the living room, lying around so I can casually look something up on the net, or quickly check my emails, but that’s about it. The problem is it’s not as portable as a phone and not as flexible as a laptop. This middle ground always confuses me. I’m sure this will be a natural fit for some people, and this years accessory for others, but I just don’t get it…

Cheers

Tim…

Update: This is funny Next from Apple: The Pocket iPad.