Six Really Good Reasons to Buy an iPad - Right Away

| Editorial

There are plenty of articles floating around that advise one to wait on the iPad, not buy one sight unseen, or not buy one at all - especially of you already have a Mac and an iPhone. I believe that’s nonsense. Here’s why.

1. Portability. My MacBook Pro sits on an elevated stand and, if it’s anything like yours, is well connected. I have the following connections:

  1. Mag-safe power
  2. Ethernet
  3. FireWire 800 to Time Machine drive
  4. USB 1 to USB hub
  5. USB 2 to Blue Snowflake Microphone
  6. DisplayPort to Cinema Display
  7. External Speakers
  8. Sonnet eSata Express card

Every time I want to go mobile around the house, I have to dismount the Time Machine drive, disconnect all the wires, then I can take the MBP to another room. I’m looking forward to the day when I can sit on my couch with the iPad ready and waiting on top of the coffee table and just be on the Internet. Right now.

2. Family Envy. Even if the first iPad doesn’t come with an inward facing iSight camera, it’s not a total bust. I don’t know why this is such a big fuss. I have the required camera and iChat software on the MBP, and to be frank, I do a video iChat with someone about once a month. The idea that you’ll be continuously video chatting on an iPad is ridiculous. That is, unless you have nothing else worth doing in your life.

iPad

After you’ve been sitting in the living room with friends. parents or spouse & kids, reading books, surfing, reading e-mail, reading newspapers and magazines on that fantastic, LED backlit 10-inch screen, others members will start to notice. They’ll be leaning over your shoulder, wanting to see what all the fuss is about. And once they handle the iPad, they’ll want one of their own. No problem. When the new iPad 2 comes out (I’m guessing in June, 2011), you’ll just give away the original iPad as a hand me down. This is what thousands and thousands of customers did with their original iPhones, and you’ll do it too with your original iPad. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

3. Your Immediate Learning Curve. The iPad will be a breakthrough device, and it will grow in its technology over time. The iPad OS and apps of Spring 2011 will be hugely different than what the iPad originally ships with. You’ll want to grow with the technology from the start. How many people do you know who are befuddled by their Mac or iPhone, but you seem to have been born knowing all that stuff? They are amazed at you. The only way to achieve that knowledge base with iPad is to jump in, right now, and grow with the technology.

4. Posterity. And, hell, if you hate it after six months, you can sell it. But you may regret that because the iPad 1.0 has no moving parts, and it’ll probably last forever — especially with a new battery replacement in a few years. It’s possible the value of an original iPad could actually rise in time — and become a collector’s item much like Apple Newtons are today. I’d keep it in the family.

5. The Future. There’s no question that this device is setting the stage for new technologies of the future. I don’t expect the Mac and the Mac OS X technology to go away for a long time because there’s just too large an investment in that technology. Plus many users need the customizability and control they have with a Mac OS X system.

However, I expect that many of the advanced technologies of the fast-developing iPad will seep into the traditional Macs even as the iPad develops dramatically in its own capabilities. This mixture of technologies is not well mapped out yet — no one knows where the future will lead.

There’s no doubt in my mind, however, that the vast majority of Apple’s customers, in four or five years, will be using iPad descendants, and they’ll feel fully functional with them. Meanwhile desktop Macs will be primarily be used by developers, content creators and scientists and engineers. So, for the long term, the iPad is the future. As with the original IBM PC back in 1981, it’s time to get on the bus and ride the technology wave. That is, if you’re young in sprit and still able to change.

6. Joy. I haven’t handled an iPad yet, but from seeing the demos, I suspect the iPad will be a joyful device to use. The sleek design, the touch and feel, the freedom from using a mouse, and the immediacy of the screen in your hands as you touch and swipe will make the iPad a “magical” device to use — in Apple’s words. To deprive yourself of that experience would be a shame.

Material things aren’t the most important thing in life, but if you’re an Apple customer, for $499 + tax, you can grant yourself the sheer joy of living in the future. The immediacy of great books and textbooks (coming soon) means that the iPad will become the greatest learning device to have ever held in your lap. (Not to mention an occasional movie or TV show.) Joy and and magic are a combination that’s hard to resist. I’m going to go for it. How about you?

Comments

det16

Yup, I’m in…I’m in the same camp with your thoughts in this article. Be happy with what the device has, and enjoy. Then buy the next one if it has more.

Dave

geoduck

I agree, mostly. It suspect it will be a groundbreaking machine, much in the way the original Macintosh was. However I never spend $500+ on anything without looking at it first. Taking it for a little test. Seeing if it fits my hand, how these old eyes do with the screen. I’ll be astonished if I find any deal breaker but I always look before I drop that kind of cash on anything.

If I may put in one teensy little comment about your article.
“Joy and and magic are a combination that?s hard to resist.”
Magic? There is no magic. This is the result of some engineers and designers putting massive amounts of hard work, man hours, and late nights to produce an amazing product. Maybe it’s because I worked as an engineer for several years it bugs me when magic gets the credit when it’s the engineers that did the work.
(FWIW I never believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny either)

daemon

1. Portability. My MacBook Pro sits on an elevated stand and, if it?s anything like yours, is well connected. I have the following connections:

Seriously? Your number one argument for replacing your mobile laptop at home is that your mobile laptop isn’t portable enough once you plug a whole bunch of useless crap into it? I hope your wife reads this John.

bbh

I agree…. 100%. Can’t wait.

Steve W

I can think of only two reasons:

1) You need it now; or
2) You want it now;

Otherwise, you can wait.

Peter

Actually, I’m gonna go all “old fart” on you.

See, here’s the thing—my computer and my TV are in the same room.  And I’m not so lazy that I can’t get up and go over to the computer to look something up.

And, if I am, I have an iPhone that I can use.

So I can’t see spending $500 on a device for quickly looking up something on the Internet when I already have two devices in the same room (iPhone, Mac Pro) which can do the same thing.

Now get the hell off my lawn before I tell you about having to walk to school in a blizzard.

ScottInTheOC

Seriously? Your number one argument for replacing your mobile laptop at home is that your mobile laptop isn?t portable enough once you plug a whole bunch of useless crap into it? I hope your wife reads this John.

Daemon, he never said he would REPLACE his MBP with an iPad, just that it IS a pain to have to disconnect it every time you want to go mobile. I have that same issue at work: ethernet, power, firewire drive, external monitor, multiple usb devices. Every time I want to take it to a meeting I play the same routine.

I look forward to be able to just take the iPad to the meeting. As for family envy, I have to say that I have almost converted my sister’s entire family (4 members) to iPhones once I got one and they played with it

jpfreeman

I"m with daemon here. My MacBookPro has a powercord plugged into it, which is magsafe. So I just pick my laptop up and walk away with it all the time. I can’t imagine being tethered like that… wait, yes I can. From about 15 years ago when I had my last desktop. Why bother having a laptop if you are going to use it like this?

Seriously? Your number one argument for replacing your mobile laptop at home is that your mobile laptop isn?t portable enough once you plug a whole bunch of useless crap into it? I hope your wife reads this John.

Chuck B

Reply for reason 1)
Why did you buy the laptop if it’s going to be constantly connected to devices and sit on a desktop? Wouldn’t an iMac or Mac Mini be more appropriate there?
Reply for reason 2)
You just stated in your reason 1 that you don’t want to disconnect all the devices on your laptop just to go into the living room, but now it’s ok if you want to use video chat?

Thompson

Chuck B:

On your observation number (2) I think you missed the point.  I believe that the author means that for that one time per month that he needs to do a video chat, he’s willing to get off the couch, go sit down in front of his laptop/workstation, and chat there.

Thompson

John Martellaro

Reader Thompson is correct.  Remember, I’m a TMO editor and spend many hours a day glued to my MBP in the office.  Often, I’ll disconnect the MBP during the day and go sit in another room where I can put my feet up. This disconnection routine is a pain.

That said, I don’t believe I’ll be able to do my daily editing and writing work on the iPad.  Work with the iPad will likely be surfing while time sharing with TV in the evening, book reading, Netflix management and so on.  And I suspect I’ll keep it on the night stand next to the bed for those times when I wake up in the middle of the night and need to write or look up something on the Internet that’s been nagging me.

barryotoole

Here’s what I see the future which Apple should pursue, (for an average Joe, not a techie or an engineer) as:

1. A ‘mac mini plus’ at home (digital center), which will be a mac mini, a time machine (with backup and router) and an Apple TV rolled together and connected to your HDTV.

2. An ‘iPad HD’, which will be able to display full-HD at 1080p, have pen input, a camera, USB port (whatever version, maybe 4.0). It will be Wi-Fi only (see #3)

3. An ‘iPhone LTE’, able to at as a hotspot when you are away from your home LAN. This will also be a remote to all your devices and an iPod when you’re on the move.

4. All these devices sync to each other by BT and/or Wi-Fi, and the cloud (?MobileMe) by Wi-Fi.

5. A keyboard and mouse that interacts to your devices thru BT/LAN.


I’ve ordered a 64 GB iPad with 3G. I have a MBP and an ATV. I plan to use the iPad as my mobile ‘computer’ and move all the video content to it, while having all my audio content on my iPhone.

iphonzie

Magic? There is no magic.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke, “Profiles of The Future”, 1961

furbies

Often, I?ll disconnect the MBP during the day and go sit in another room where I can put my feet up. This disconnection routine is a pain.

John check out:
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/BookEndz/BEMBP15F/

It’s a docking solution for the MacBook Pro

webjprgm

Why did you buy the laptop if it?s going to be constantly connected to devices and sit on a desktop? Wouldn?t an iMac or Mac Mini be more appropriate there?

That’s why I have an iMac on my desk.  I have a laptop to carry around with me.  I have another desktop computer at work.  Most of the time I just use my iPhone in meetings, since I can take notes and look stuff up on the internet just fine that way.  The only problem is that I haven’t mastered the synchronization issues yet (and refuse to pay $100/yr for MobileMe, now $15/yr I could handle).  I know several people that just have docking setups at home and work and carry their laptops around like John does.  I would only be tempted to do the same to avoid my multi-device syncing problem.

Also, I keep finding situations where all my computers are turned off and I want to check something on the internet, and I groan about using the tiny screen on my iPhone since now I know that the iPad exists and would be so much better at doing exactly that.  So, John, are you trying to tempt me to buy one? grin

haywire

John, Does that mean you’re going to jump into the non-3G iPad as soon as it comes out? Or are you going to wait another month?

I’m wondering about that myself.

geoduck

geoduck said:Magic? There is no magic.
?Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.? Arthur C. Clarke, ?Profiles of The Future?, 1961

True but it still is Technology that some poor schlep put blood sweat and tears into creating.

Dubious

So, your reasons are:
1.Portability greater than laptops: Isn’t the reason for a laptop its portability? Essentially the iPad is good in your reasoning because it doesn’t have any connections that you could use.
2.Video calling no big deal: A camera would allow you to perform decent sized video calling flexibly. It is supposed to be a ‘magical and revolutionary device’; so maybe changing the way people communicate wouldn’t be a bad thing. I have friends in other countries such a feature would be useful for.
3.Immediate learning curve: i.e. it’s exactly the same as the iPhone. It’s like a computer you can fit in the palm of your bag.
4.Posterity: Items become collectable when they are rare. Not marketed to the lowest common denominator.
5.Future: The iPad is indeed paving the way for the future. Sadly, all the features it displays are old news. Is there any one thing it does that is truly revolutionary?
6.Joy: I’m sure the iPad will be a pleasure to use. Apple are masters of the user interface. However, here they seem to have made an interface with nothing to use. Macbook minus notebook equals notepad; I have one of those.

dhp

I haven?t mastered the synchronization issues yet (and refuse to pay $100/yr for MobileMe

I refuse to pay $100/yr for MobileMe, too, yet I have been a member for several years. The trick is to buy it from a discounter, not Apple.

Dean Lewis

I love people who claim they don’t need an iPad because they have an iPhone and can look up things on that. well, that’s all well and good, but I suspect you all have perfect eyes or are young. My aging eyes need a bigger screen, and I am so ready to get the iPad yesterday. There is a market out here for this device, and before you say it’s only for old people, there are young people who wear glasses, too.

Dubious’s counter arguments are dubious in themselves. I didn’t see anything about collectibility in the original article. I’ve handed down several computers as I moved to the next, giving them away to family and friends and people without money, etc. My 3rd Gen iPod was given to me who stepped up to a 5th gen iPod. It’s not collectibility but handing it on to people who need or want it and will use it. as for video chat, I’m still skeptical it can be done without being incredibly jerky or using some kind of face sensing stabilization—either way, viewers are probably going to get motion sick. (And have you seen HP’s face sensing camera that can’t sense dark-skinned people? search for the video…) Better to wait to put technology like that on the iPad until it “just works” like Apple is supposed to do.

I probably need to reserve my iPad. I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to get one for a while if I don’t, and while I usually wait or use my equipment until the bitter end (I just got an Intel Mac Mini last August and still use that 3rd gen iPod, etc.), I just don’t want to wait on this one this time. We’ll see how that works out for me.. heh.

G.

I don’t have an iPhone. They are too expensive with the AT&T voice/data plans so the iPad is a perfect fit for me. Even the AT&T data plan is cheap and flexible, I like that. So my regular cell phone with no extras and an iPad = Functionality for me don’t I don’t have now.

FlipFriddle

I will hold my opinion until I get my hands on one. We are getting one at work to test iPad apps we are paying for (or so my boss has claimed <wink, wink>) so I’ll get to play with it for a bit. And I think I’m a likely customer as I don’t have (nor want) a laptop, but use an iMac for my design work; the iPad looks like a good compliment to a desktop. At the moment I’d rather spend the money on power tools this year, but playing with one my get the geek on more.

Mike K

It is so true about a computer and a TV in the same room.  I’m always looking up some reference on the computer.  Some movie star’s age, when the movie was made, where is some referenced country or place on a map, or some historical fact that is referenced on the TV.

anon

My MBP is tethered too - but I travel a couple of times a year, away for a month at a time, and the standalone MBP is crucial then.  At home, I use a cinema display and external keyboard.  That’s the best of both worlds, portable and desktop, but it is a pain to disconnect.

I envision using the ipad as a notetaker at work, scheduler, e-mail device, and something to put digital pics on.  Also the e-reader capabilities, but for magazines or newspapers rather than most books.  (I love my Kindle.)

If my employer buys it for me (a strong possibility) I’ll get generation 1.  If I have to buy it myself, I’ll wait for Rev2.

Thompson

True but it still is Technology that some poor schlep put blood sweat and tears into creating.

Geoduck,
I am an engineer and have created a lot of stuff in my day.  Let me tell you this, if somebody referred to one of my creations as “magic”, I would take it as a huge compliment.  It would mean that they either:  (a) really DO believe in magic, or (b) they just think that my creation is too awesome to more easily describe any other way.  I give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t Kindergartners (such as your Santa Claus reference suggested) and I gladly accept the compliment.

Thompson

Lancashire-Witch

If Apple still made docks for laptops there would only be 5 reasons…  Maybe docks will make a comeback if only for the iPad.

iphonzie

I work from home a couple days a week, and have a docked environment (4 wires - monitor, power, USB hub, FW800 time machine drive) both there and at the office for my MBP. Even with a dock device, there is still a penalty for undocking your laptop from an external monitor - all your windows rearrange themselves to fit the smaller screen, which can be a pain when I have a bunch of windows open for web development.

I look forward to using my iPad as my walk-around device in the house and the office. I currently use my phone for this, but it’s screen gets cramped for a lot of uses, like when sharing information at a meeting.

Another use not mentioned yet is I expect the iPad to be a great VNC client for managing my servers.

Dean Lewis

Another use not mentioned yet is I expect the iPad to be a great VNC client for managing my servers.

Cool that you mention this. I am working with a friend on a business plan for a store. One of the plans is to have a large screen TV out on the sales floor fed by the sever/system in the back room with a Keynote presentation showing product ads, customer information (revved up community bulletin board), as well as being able to fire up demo videos of product. Besides the iPhone app for Keynote remote control, I am hoping the VNC apps already available will let me use the iPad to drive the system from out on the floor while with customers in order to bring up specific demo videos for them or just get info from our website for them and more.

CityGuide

I ordered the wi-fi iPad and after five days changed it up to the 3G model. Ultimately, it’s for my 80-year-old dad, who has a lampshade iMac but doesn’t care to be tethered to one spot. He’ll be able to go anywhere in the house, sit in the back yard, lounge in the living room, and check out online news, email, photos and a world of apps. He going to have enjoy this. Best of all, I get to play with it first.

zulu

deleted

zulu

I can hardly keep myself from getting the wi-fi only model, but my purpose will be to have the internet so I can install the AcroBits Softphone app, an SIP VoIP client, to make phone calls, and have incoming calls ?pushed?, i.e. automatically opens the app and rings, with the use of a permanent incoming number subscribed to at CallCentric.com.  I heard the iPad+bluetooth in-ear headset can become a right cheap cell phone, albeit a bit hefty.  But I liked the right cheap part!

haakondahl

You and Apple and I have something in common.  However, only you and Apple think that I should buy an iPad.  I have a few issues with your write-up about the reasons for that, but they’re not my issues, really.  They’re yours:

1) Your Desktop Issue:  People already mostly covered this, and the iPad won’t cover what you say you need it for (“I’m a TMO editor”) as a drop-of-the-hat mobile Mac, unless you buy a keyboard dock a month later, which puts you right back where you were.

2) Your “Somebody must want my old one” Issue: This is not a reason to buy it.  This is a rationalization to upgrade away from it.  As a hedge for buying it, this argument is weak tea.

3) Your $500 (and up) iPad Training Program Issue: I don’t mind learning new things at the right time—I do not need to spend lots of money on a product I don’t want, just to learn how to use the next-generation product before it comes out.  What’s more, this argument is predicated on Apple so thoroughly divorcing the iPad’s App regime from the iPhone’s that the core metaphors will be incompatible.  I’m not taking that bet.

4) Your Franklin Mint Issue: It may indeed become a collector’s item.  I suspect that if it does, it will make it to Low End Mac’s Road Apple list first.  But I do not read TMO to find pointers to risky “collectibles” of dubious value.

5) Your Belated Recognition of the Terrible and Sequential Nature of Time Issue: Yes, the future holds many unknowns.  By this point in your article, you are not even trying any more, not even to the extent that you were previously.  Oh, perhaps to meet a self-imposed requirement for six bullet points rather than four, and of course, to surround yourself with fellow sufferers of Premature iPad Acquisition Syndrome.  Symptoms include the loss of five hundred dollars and the nagging sensation that you’re the only one you know who bought this cramped beta white elephant.

6) Your Castles-Made-of-Unicorn-Poop Issue:  Joy and magic, Hope and Change, Starsky and Hutch—whatever. 

Why are so many people taking you task for this article?  Because you can’t think of a good reason for most people to buy an iPad.  Neither can I.  Neither can Apple.

geoduck

It’s funny. When the iPad was announced I thought it was OK but I was going to wait for v2. Over the next several weeks I got more and more excited about it. A month after the announcement I was really psyched to get one as soon as I possibly could. Now I’m not so sure. I’ve thought about it more. I want to play with an iPad, see how it works, and then decide how it would really fit into our computing environment. Unlike haakondahl I can think of some good reasons to get one, I’m just not sure any more if they are compelling enough to make me run out as soon as it’s available. I’m now going to wait till closer to the end of the year, maybe even for v2 to come out.

Essentially I’ve gone all the way around to where I started again.

tommccarty

I agree. I have been nagged by what if this thing is too small or really underpowered.. r if it makes Al Gore richer somehow….. I think I will cancel and wait until I get my hands on it. Buying sight unseen, and a Alpha issue at that is problematic. I bet I wont have to wait long in any case. I wonder if I can sell an iPad unopened to someone on craigslist for $50 over my cost.

geoduck

I wonder if I can sell an iPad unopened to someone on craigslist for $50 over my cost.

$50?
Catch the hype wave at the right point you could very well get 50% over cost or more.

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