What the hell are you supposed to do with something that’s too big to put in your pocket and too small to replace your laptop? That’s what I’ve wondered for months now, caught up in the swirl of rumors over Apple’s mysterious God Tablet. Well, I’ve seen the thing, and I think I’ve figured it out.
The iPad is for making stuff funner.
Almost all of what I do on my battered white plastic MacBook is email, blog, surf, and listen to music — things the iPad would seem to do better, or at least make funner. The laptop’s aging (and non-LED backlit) screen is too dim for looking at pictures — or for reading comfortably. Even with my reading glasses on, I find myself hitting COMMAND+ to jack up the text size on most websites.
Sure, I could buy a bigger, brighter, newer MacBook Pro — but I don’t want a bigger laptop. I don’t want to trade in a five or six pound computer for an even bigger one. I don’t want to curl up on the sofa (or in bed) with something bigger and heftier than necessary. What I want is, something funner for doing fun stuff.
iPad seems to fit the bill. The screen is bright, and even at 9.7 inches, has nearly the resolution of the 13-inch MacBook screen (and higher resolution than most any 11-inch netbook or even many 13-15 inch Windows machines). And it’s LED-backlit, so it should be easier on my aging eyes. Also, DPI is vital to your eye comfort and fatigue. Higher pixel density is in most ways more important than screen size — and iPad’s got it.
Battery life will get you through the day, the iWork apps look usable (and way funner), you can get no-contract 3G if you want it, and it’s hands-down the best thing I’ve seen for portable video or showing off pictures.
And for most of what we do on computers now, the ancient window & desktop metaphor is just tired and old. What I’ve seen of the iPad GUI… well, to be honest I really want to lick it. (That’s not a typo.)
Is the iPad the God Tablet, the game changer, the device You Must Own Now? Well, no. But it’s an affordable way to make some fun stuff funner. And for the bottom-end $500 model, that’s a pretty good deal. Keep it for a couple years, and you’re talking about spending five bucks a week to take some drudgery out of a bunch of everyday tasks, and add some sparkle, too. And I suspect I’ll get an extra year or two out of my MacBook, which damn near pays for the iPad entirely. Buy it the day it comes out? Nah — it’s not that exciting. But it’s good enough not to wait for V2.0 next year.
So I like pretty much everything about the iPad.
Well, pretty much everything but the name.
ONE MORE THING: There’s no Flash in the web browser? And people are complaining? That’s like getting upset when you’re told that your new car won’t come equipped with a toothless vagrant who sits in the backseat, screaming at you.