Damn you, Indecision!

I’m getting an iPad, and here’s why

I love my iPhone.  I’ve said many, many times that I often use my iPhone way more than I use my laptop.  There have been many days when I didn’t touch my laptop all day, using my iPhone instead.  I almost always have it with me, and thanks to its mobile broadband connection, I’ve got the internets at my fingertips almost all the time.  The iPhone’s “instant-on” capability and simple, single-task apps make it easier to accomplish certain things a lot faster than I would on my MacBook.  There are certain computing tasks that I now prefer doing on the iPhone rather than on my laptop, whether it’s because it’s easier to carry around the iPhone during said task (i.e. using Bento to inventory my graphic novels, and using the iPhone’s camera to add a picture of the cover to each database entry), or because the single-task app on the iPhone is faster to access and use than pulling up a browser on my MacBook (i.e. opening the IMDB app to look up an actor from a movie).

My collection of iPhone apps is pretty large (maybe not as large as other more iPhone-crazy kids), so yes, I am “locked” into the App Store, but totally by choice.  There are so many wonderfully creative photography-related apps for the iPhone, and they are the ones to which I am most loyal.  After the photography apps, my collection of social networking apps gets the most play — Tweetie 2, Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, BuddyFeed, etc.  Then a couple RSS aggregators, Bento, Amazon.com, Kindle, IMDB, and PhoneFlicks round out the bunch.  Yes, I have games, but I don’t play them as much as I use the other aforementioned apps.  Words With Friends is currently my most-played game.  

My current set of installed apps.  Most of the games I’ve left there for my nephew to play with when I visit him. ๐Ÿ™‚

As I said, I chose to “lock” myself into the iTunes ecosystem because I like and get much use out of several of the apps being offered there.  Yes, I think that the App Store approval process has a lot of kinks to get worked out, but the quality of apps coming from the iPhone developers is so good that I chose to invest in this platform over any other.  When I used other smartphones that ran Windows Mobile, S60, or UIQ, I didn’t feel any such enthusiasm for apps offered for those platforms, so I never really invested any money in shareware, instead opting for free apps.  I also was flipping back and forth between platforms, never knowing which one would catch my eye next, so it didn’t make financial sense to buy apps that I might use for a month or three or four and then “lose” after moving to a completely different device.  For a while, I had a smartphone and a 1st-gen iPod touch.  I loved using the apps on the iPod touch, but increasingly there were apps that would work with the iPhone only because they needed speakers or mic input or GPS input, and I grew tired of not always having a Wi-Fi connection.  I finally bought the iPhone 3G after I found out it would have GPS and 3G support (such as AT&T’s 3G network is… :P).  It totally fits my smartphone needs.  This isn’t to say that the iPhone is a perfect device, though.  Multiple experiments with jailbreaking has shown me what features and functionality Apple has chosen to omit (at this time?).  But even playing around with “jailbroken” apps has shown me a creativity, level of innovation, and enthusiasm for a platform that I haven’t seen for other mobile device platforms.  [Editor’s Note: I have not yet been able to properly play around with an Android phone or a webOS phone, and these two platforms seem most similar in creativity and innovation to the iPhone platform to me, so my opinion may change.]  In the meantime, I changed my way of using a smartphone slightly to adjust to how an iPhone works.  The iPhone’s limitations weren’t a dealbreaker to me at all.  I have no problem typing up huge e-mails or long blog posts on my phone.  I am quite productive with my iPhone.  

However, there have been times when I wished that I had just a little more screen real estate when working on my iPhone.  Or I wished that my MacBook were just a little smaller, lighter, and easier to carry around.  I took the MacBook with me on our trip out to CA a few months ago because I thought there might be some things I couldn’t do on the iPhone, like edit travel photos, or do some serious multi-tabbed browsing, looking up information on several neighborhoods in the area.  However, I ended up worriedly leaving the MacBook in the hotel room because it was too damn heavy to be lugging around all day.  And because we were out and about so much, my iPhone was my workhorse, though poor network coverage in the Bay Area *really* hampered things.  For the longest time I lusted after a MacBook Air — full OS X, thinner and lighter than a regular MacBook.  However, since I was an avid Tablet PC user before I switched to a Mac, I also dreamed about how Apple could take the Tablet PC concept and “Apple-ify” it.  This was helped along by the news of the Axiotron Modbook.  Around that time, it seemed that more speculation about an actual tablet device from Apple sort of bubbled up.  The iPhone OS and App Store were doing really well, and Apple started incorporating more multitouch input devices into the MacBook line.  I even thought to myself that the engineers at Axiotron were probably sweating about whether or not Apple would make a tablet device that would render theirs obsolete.  

Enter the iPad (after many months more of wild speculation).  It is not the device I was expecting (well, before I saw the rumor that the device would be running a version of the iPhone OS).  I was hoping for a slate device with a special touch version of OS X that would allow me to run apps like a photo editor, have a full Safari/Chrome/Firefox browser, and basically most laptop functionality in a smaller, lighter package.  I didn’t get what I wished for, but I’m pleasantly surprised by what the iPad is, and am happy enough with its functionality that I plan on buying one (or two…I think the hubby wants one as well).  No, it’s not a tablet computer, in the Microsoft-Tablet-PC sense, but as I rambled above, I have been able to get a lot done with my iPhone, and prefer many of its single-task apps to their “desktop” counterparts.  

Image credit: Apple
This is the version I want, a 32GB or 64GB version with Wi-Fi and 3G.

The iPad leverages the iPhone OS and apps very well, from what I’ve seen in the announcement.  Ironically, this may free me up to get a different smartphone — I’m very curious about both Android and webOS — since I’ll still able to use iPhone apps on the iPad.  I have said in the past that I wouldn’t want to completely drop my iPhone if I tried a different phone because of the apps that I like, the photography-related ones, especially.  But with the potential to use the iPhone photo apps on the iPad with pictures taken with different cameras or cameraphones, I wouldn’t feel like I’m giving those apps up.  I’m not an uber-smartphone-user like some people are, carrying and using several phones at a time, on different carriers.  So the iPad would be quite helpful to keep the iPhone apps in use without needing to carry a redundant iPhone along with my other phone.  Sorry, Apple! ๐Ÿ™‚

The iPad also makes another Apple product “unnecessary” for me.  For the longest time I wanted a MacBook Air because it is thinner and lighter than my aluminum unibody MacBook.  Surprisingly I don’t have a netbook, and I no longer use a desktop computer, so my MacBook is my primary computer.  For trips or photo outings, I sometimes need a device to offload pictures to clear out memory cards, so my MacBook would be my go-to device for that.  The problem is, it’s so friggin’ heavy that it’s a pain to lug around in addition to camera gear.  I thought having a MacBook Air would help the issue, but now that the iPad is here, I think it would work even better as my photo bin, and maybe as a photo uploader, depending on how much “real” photo editing I could do.  So, sorry Apple.  Instead of the MBA, I will be buying the iPad (and accessories).

I actually have more general ideas about what the iPad is and what it isn’t in separate blog posts, so if you aren’t already tired of my rambling and haven’t read them yet, you can check those articles out to get an even better picture of why I think the iPad is a great new mobile device with lots of potential.


3 responses

  1. steves71

    WOW that took a long time to read all 3 posts, think I need a sleep now…. just kidding ๐Ÿ™‚ You seem to think along the same lines as me with regard to the iPad and what you hoped it would be compared to what it is. When I first saw it unveiled during the keynote live blogging my initial thought was “is that it? I don’t want one” I was hoping for a “tablet” running OS X. Even at the end of the live blogging I still wasn’t impressed and had no intention of getting one. All that changed once I saw the demo video, and more so after watching the full keynote video.

    You mention seeing it used as a blogging platform, I chuckled at that, when watching the keynote video, during the demo of “Pages’ and they dragged the image of the giraffe so that text flowed round it, my first thought was “wow, if wordpress can incorporate features like this into their app the iPad would be fantastic for composing, arranging layout and publishing blog posts”.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on one, and it’s looks like I might have one before you ๐Ÿ˜› I’m not waiting for the 3G version as I don’t see a need for it in what I want the iPad for. I need always on 3G connection on my phone for email notifications, push notifications and quickly looking something up on the internet when Im out and about, I’d still use my phone for that and if I’m anywhere where I would want to use it and there’s no WiFi then I have my MiFi for 3G connection, if I didn’t have that then maybe like you I would wait a little longer for the 3G version.

    Ok now I’m rambling and my comment is going to end up as long as your post lol. Roll on the end of March/April then we can both finally get to see if it really is as good as we hope.

    January 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

  2. steves71 :

    You mention seeing it used as a blogging platform, I chuckled at that, when watching the keynote video, during the demo of โ€œPagesโ€™ and they dragged the image of the giraffe so that text flowed round it, my first thought was โ€œwow, if wordpress can incorporate features like this into their app the iPad would be fantastic for composing, arranging layout and publishing blog postsโ€.

    Thanks for reading all of my posts! Honestly, I wasn’t expecting many people to get through all of them since they were so long. I can’t help it, I’m verbose. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Actually, I am really loving blogging via Posterous, and it’s so simple because you can just e-mail posts, and any media embedding is intelligently handled automatically. I’m considering not crossposting to my WordPress blog anymore because the posts here are often messed up and it’s gotten rather irritating to remember to come back here and fix any problems. ๐Ÿ˜›

    But anyway, I know that some of the tech bloggers have used netbooks at trade shows like CES, so that’s where I was coming from when I made the comment in my blog post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And yeah, I was considering just getting the Wi-Fi version and using a MiFi for mobile broadband. But I read that the GPS functionality is actually built into the 3G chip like in the iPhone, so if you want to use the GPS apps, you should wait for the 3G version.

    January 31, 2010 at 3:36 am

  3. I am also getting 1 I think. The fact that I should still be able to use iWork and export word, is enough for me. If I can use it for school, great. I barely use my netbook while out and about. Got accustomed to the iPhone OS.

    January 31, 2010 at 4:18 am

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