The night last month when I bought my iMac, the Apple Store was just a-swarm with people fiddling with the store's iPads. And, really, I just didn't get the furor at all. Its screen was too small, I thought, to be of real work use. And even if it were bigger, it's hard to produce multi-page documents if you're typing on a faux (touch screen) keyboard. I already have and love a Kindle, so its book reading ability didn't suck me in. And its ability to watch videos wasn't a selling point for me. Basically, I need a portable computer to be a portable computer, not an overly ambitious iPod touch. This was the first Apple product* that I wasn't drawn to at once.
But then, I read this today from Gizmodo. And as quickly as that, my mind has been changed:
I went nearly 24 hours without charging my iPad, watching four hours of video, reading books for a couple of hours, getting in a few rounds of Strategery, and still had a bit less than half of my battery life left when I hit the ground three planes later. That longevity changes the experience profoundly, more than making up for the iPad's deficiencies for me. Except for editing video, there's not a single thing in my workflow that I can't do on the iPad, and I haven't even begun to experiment using VNC or other screen sharing tools to connect back to my iMac to access its "real" computing power.If the iPad can easily produce documents with the simple addition of a Bluetooth keyboard, weigh next to nothing and have a really long battery life, then it meets all the needs I could want out of my MacBook. Whenever my MacBook finally does die for real, I know what my next Apple purchase will be.
But I returned from this trip convinced that this form factor has legs. (And everything I came to appreciate about the iPad's merit as a travel computer should apply to Android and WebOS tablets, if and when those actually make it to market with a consumer-friendly level of UX refinement.) Since I have a power-guzzling traditional computer on my desktop to do all the heavy lifting when I'm home, I don't see a place for my laptop in my life right now. I had an inkling that might have been the case when I bought my iPad, but I had to take a leap of faith to be sure.
* Leaving aside iPhones because I have/had cell phone provider/Outlook compatibility issues that drove my decisions in this arena.