Yesterday, since the crowds have died down, I decided to go back to the Apple store in Manhattan Beach to play around with an iPad again -- just to see if I'd missed anything since my initial visit the day of the launch, when I could find no compelling reason to buy an iPad.

This time, I was able to sit and play with the iPad for as long as I wanted, and I was there for about an hour. Much of that time was spent on distractions while surfing the web. In addition to surfing the web, I played with every program and App that was installed on the iPad.

There's no doubt that the screen is beautiful and the processor speedy. But, again, I found no compelling reason to buy one. There's just no productivity gain to be had by using an iPad; instead, there is significant productivity loss for various reasons. Given all the kids that were hanging around the iPad station who were playing games and watching movies, and the fact that at least three people came up who, like me, were exploring the iPad as a possible replacement for their Mac Air laptop or for a better experience beyond their touchscreen iPhone and were disappointed, it seems like the iPad is truly a revolutionary device in the sense that you can now more easily play movies, stream television shows and movies, play games, and other similar activities on a device easily held in your hands -- but, beyond that, for various reasons it's use as a serious productivity tool has a long way to go. 

Then, coincidentally, this morning I read a blog post listing 15 reasons why the iPad may just be a better choice over a netbook. The post felt to me like someone trying to convince themselves that they'd made a wise decision to part with their money when they bought their new iPad. Of the 15 reasons, only four had to do with actual programs on the device (E-Reader, comics, gaming, and use as a "photo frame".)

Since I no longer read comic books or play computer games, those two are irrelevant to me. As far as using an expensive iPad as a photo frame, that doesn't appeal to me either. With respect to the iPad being an excellent E-reader, that's probably one of its strongest points, and one that does appeal to me.

The other points the poster listed were relative to hardware quality, touchscreen technology, excellent battery life, portability, and even a point that was described simply as "the indescribable".

Even after the new iPhone/iPad operating system comes out, hopefully in June, which will allow for multitasking, the iPad will still be of marginal appeal to those hoping for a true productivity tool. Multitasking is a big step forward, but as long as typing remains as cumbersome as it is now, and cut, copy and paste remain as complicated as they are now, and there is no ability to use Google docs, among other things, the iPAD will continue to lack productivity. It's ability to read HTML 5 websites is impressive, but the lack of being able to play flash videos is a hindrance in surfing the web.

At this point, I continue to rely on my iPhone to be my E-Reader, iPod, telephone, web browser, productivity tool, and all around amazing device with unparalleled portability and size for such a powerful computer. The iPad sits in a netherworld between the iPhone and the Mac Air laptop -- it truly is just a "bigger iPhone/iPod Touch", too big and heavy to be very useful on the go (try to hold it in one hand without support for very long). It seems perfect, however, for watching a movie or playing games while laying in bed or curled up on your couch -- neither of which I ever do.

I'm confident, however, that as other tablet devices enter the market, and competition heats up, these devices will become more sophisticated to the point that they may indeed become a replacement for a laptop, with genuine productivity tools included.  That would appeal to me!

As TannerVision said in the recent post titled "Calling the iPad a 'productivity tool' is like calling the iPod a musical instrument"; " if you want a really good Kindle replacement that does a whole bunch more stuff, buy an iPad. Just don't fool yourself into thinking that it's going to make you more productive."


Rick Robertson
04/18/2010 11:33pm

Totally agree!

Loved your post about the new LEAF, too.

Wish I could afford a Tesla.


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