Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Is a tablet worth it?

I spent the weekend with the iPad.  I'm still trying to "make it my own" as Dave Winer said in his blog this morning.

One sign I have found the iPad useful is how little time I spent in my home office.  I could check e-mail, read my RSS feed, and follow Twitter all from the family room or in bed.  I have always found laptops to be poorly named; they just do not work well on laps.  They need a chair and hard surface to function.  The iPad works well on my lap, or simply being held.

I have found the iPad to be a wonderful tool for reading blogs, checking e-mail.  I knew from Jobs' introduction I was going to like this device. We have been waiting for it for years.  Remember Yeoman Rand handing Captain Kirk orders to sign on a tablet?  And in this week's Time, Stephen Fry wishes his friend Douglas Adams had lived to see his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy form factor come true in the iPad.  I'm sure there are many other sci-fi references out there for tablets.  I can't count Avatar since tablets were a fait accompli when that came out.

Critics of the iPad like Jeff Jarvis lament that it is only a consumption device.  Time magazine this week reminds up that PC's  are "the greatest all purpose creativity tool since the pen" making every computer "a music studio, a movie studio, a darkroom and a publishing house".

However, an iPad can help you to gather and store information, and even do some publishing via blogs and document creation.  I do not see iPad's replacing every computer in the house; we'll always have a computer. I did retreat to my PC this weekend to edit a series of videos.  But while they rendered, I surfed the net on my iPad.

And I don't see us giving up our smart phones.  They are just too easy to keep with you.

The iPad is truly a new gadget.  Is it of value to us to have a new gadget?  That is for each individual to decide.  For me, I think the answer is yes.

For teens and young adults, I think a tablet could easily become their primary computer, as long as they still had access to a PC in the house when they needed to produce movies, music or other media.  For research, social sites, videos, reading, and writing papers, a tablet properly accessorized could meet their needs well.  Ever watch a young person use a laptop?  They sprawl across the bed, or floor while using it.  A tablet is much easier to use in that environment.

I have much to say about the iPad specifically and tablets in general.  I think I'll say them in several posts here.  For right now, I just wanted to say, yea, I think the iPad is worth having.

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