(Author’s note: in order to walk the walk of this article, I am composing this article and sending it in its entirety on my new iPad. At the end of the article, I will let you know how long it takes to compose and email.)
I admit it. I am a nut for Apple products and probably get caught up in the hype like several million other people. My family and I have three Macs at home, I have an iPhone and I have just purchased an iPad. It’s the wireless version (not the 3G), so I am a little late to the early adopter party, but I managed to sneak under the Apple velvet rope line anyway.
I hesitated buying an iPad because I own a Kindle too. So when you combine a Kindle and an iPhone, it eliminates the need for Apple’s latest shiny toy, right? And the iPad IS just that, right?
Not so much.
Its appeal is not so much the fact that you can read email, surf the web, and play games. I can do that on my phone. To charge a premium price, Apple has to deliver a premium product. What is that “premium product?”
Even for Apple enthusiasts to shell out the money for this pretty expensive device, it has to be more than a shiny toy, and Steve Jobs has stated that they are creating an entirely new class of computing, one that resides between the mobile phone and the laptop. That’s a big claim.
So how can you use this product in a way that demonstrates that it has, in fact, created a whole new class of computing?
I use my iPhone for a lot of things, but remember that the name is iPHONE. Its main purpose is to place and receive calls. You can, of course, do plenty of other things on the phone; its flexibility has led to millions sold. But its small screen size makes it less of a computing device and more of a very cool phone.
Computers? I sometimes think that my MacBook Pro can launch the Space Shuttle. I bought a high-end device so I can easily have several memory hog applications open at the same time, like graphics or audio and video editing programs.
Where does the iPad fit into this? Imagine for a moment that you are a college student and are bringing the device to school for things that you need to do.
– Term papers? Check. I am writing this article using Pages, the Apple word processing program. While it clearly doesn’t have the full capabilities of Pages on the Mac, it can do plenty based upon some very easy to use templates. It’s just fine for term papers. And taking notes in class.
– Email? The embedded email feature is as complete as Entourage. And you can open and save attachments as well.
– Staying in touch? While the number of iPad apps is relatively small compared to the iPhone, you can still run the iPad native apps or use iPhone apps by doubling the screen size. And you can count on plenty of people creating new apps for Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging.
All of this adds up to a pretty good offering that can eliminate the need for a laptop. The iPad’s weight–less than one pound–makes it great for taking to class. For what people do in college (add iTunes to the list as well) and you have an ideal device for college.
So has Apple created a new class of computing?
Note: Writing, editing and emailing this article on my iPad took 48 minutes.
Mark Story is the principal of the Intersection of Online and Offline Consulting. You can find him on Twitter at @mstory123.