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:
- Mag-safe power
- FireWire 800 to Time Machine drive
- USB 1 to USB hub
- USB 2 to Blue Snowflake Microphone
- DisplayPort to Cinema Display
- External Speakers
- 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.
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?