What is the iPad for?

The Apple hype machine has really been in full effect this week. Yes, we get it! The iPad is “amazing”. But what is it really for?

I’m flummoxed by this question. Maybe that is because I don’t own one or even know anyone who does for that matter. I’ve heard a story about some guy who presumably knew a guy who maybe had an iPad, but even that’s not certain. I’ve seen them at the Apple Store, surrounded by a bunch of teenage girls who are using Facebook through Safari. And then there was once this older gentleman who the hip-looking Apple Sales Rep tried to convince that the iPad is just like a PC (except it isn’t). Other than that my personal experience of the device is pretty slim. And there is a good reason for that. I have no idea what I would use it for.

When the magical iPad was first introduced I actually thought it was kinda cool, until Jobs left the stage. Then I started to think what I would do with it. Most likely email and web browsing at least. Although I don’t like touch screen keyboards and it doesn’t support full-web, namely Flash. And then…hmm…what else? It is too big to use as an iPod (and I already have an iPod), I use my Mac or my “big ass TV” for photos, Mac for word processing, PS3 for games and movies. So, why do I need and iPad again?

I though the biggest drawback of the original iPad was its size (mainly weight), text input and the lack of front-facing camera (and the fact that I didn’t find any use for it). The second-generation iPad improves on two of these drawbacks. It’s lighter and has two cameras, one in front and one in the back. Yet, text input is still a pain. But I guess that’s what laptops are for.

I was one of the critics who didn’t “get” the original iPad. With that same money you could get a laptop with a lot more functions, better processor, USB-ports to plug “things” in and proper keyboard. Apple says there is a gap between an iPhone and a Mac that the iPad fills. Still, I’m not completely convinced that this gap even exists.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs ended the iPad 2 introduction keynote with an important message: We are now living in the post-PC era. According to Jobs post-PC devices are just like PCs but different. Apple believes in delivering experiences and this is what a post-PC world is all about. In this new world specs and features are irrelevant.

”In this new world, Apple no longer has to compete on specs and features, nor does it want to. There is no Mac vs. PC here — only “the future” versus “the past.” It won’t be a debate about displays, memory, wireless options — it will be a debate about the quality of the experience.” Joshua Topolsky, Engadget

I think this is ultimately what the iPad is for. A weapon of confusion that Apple has unleashed in order to put competitors in a state of panic and to get them to spend a fortune on R&D and marketing on devices that no-one will ultimately buy. Or it could be the greatest way to consume digital media. What do I know.

Well , I know this: “One iPad 2 for me please!” It’s just so damn sexy!


  1. Lal Chandran Avatar
    Lal Chandran

    Good analysis Ville; thank you! I liked your conclusion as to why Apple might have chosen to make iPad. 🙂

    What made me buy one were two things: Cool/sexy factor and to be on top of technology. These days, we (My wife and I) use it only for 1) Reading recipe while cooking 2) Reading books and sometimes reading news when we are a bit lazy sitting in the couch.

    However, I see some potential in turning those pad devices to something like a remote for your Internet media/TV devices in a connected home network. For e.g. a good intermediate device between your media server and TV. Can’t imagine it to becoming much mobile anyways.

  2. Ville Aho Avatar
    Ville Aho

    “Reading recipe while cooking”

    This is a good one! Are there also cook books available at the iBook Store?

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