Recycled Computing

A Belated Defense of the iPad

- 2011.08.16

"One tablet to rule them all and in the darkness bind them."

I don't really have any insight into why Apple released the iPad, but I can try to guess.

In some ways, its a no brainer. Apple was looking at how it dominates the portable music player and smartphone market and then thinks that if it makes a larger iPod and combines it with 3G - success!

And, of course, it was.

The biggest problem for the iPad is that while it may take away from some netbook sales and may introduce some folks to the Apple cornucopia of computing, it does not lend itself to traditional computer-type work.

I concur. I just lost three paragraphs, because I am typing this on an iPad and there is no "Recent Items" on the version of Pages for the iPad. The reason I can type on the iPad is because I have a Bluetooth keyboard - and there is no major cut and paste work to do.

But that's not the purpose of the iPad. It's intended to be a consumer of media in a neat, small package, and not necessarily a producer of media. I would much rather cruise the Internet while my wife watches The Secret Life of the American Teenager or some other cable time waster than have to fight iOS to do something that I take for granted in OS X. Typing is not fun, but using the iPad to watch Netflix is great!

Why not look outside the box?

The iPad can be used while you are standing and walking. So to use the iPad for serious work, you have to find situations where the user is not sitting at a desk. If it isn't replacing clipboards in a hospitals - well, it probably is.

The education field is traditionally conservative, but I can see teachers using the iPad to roam around the classroom, and I can see special education departments using the iPad to allow handicapped students to access the same computer universe as mainstream students.

I wonder if the three paragraphs that I lost to cyber hell were better? No way of telling now.

John Hatchett's computer desk with PowerBooks and 17" Apple monitors
John Hatchett's computer desk with PowerBooks and 17" Apple monitors.

However, thanks to scoring two old 17" Apple CRT monitors and TenFourFox, I have turned my old PowerBooks into desktops and, even as we speak, I am testing the load limits of my desk. See the accompanying photo. Betting pools may form.

I like using my iPad for somethings, but I will always need a laptop. LEM

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