I have had an iPad in my possession since Thanksgiving. For the first two weeks, I let my daughter play with it. After that, it was my turn. Any guesses as to how long it’s now been sitting up on the shelf untouched?
That answer would be four weeks.
I’m sure glad I didn’t drop $400+ on this device, that’s for sure (it is a loaner). After the initial fun of killing bugs and “oh, look, I can read my work email from here,” the fun was gone for me. Work? On such a pretty shiny thing?
Not to mention the “fun” stuff wasn’t that fun to begin with. The device is mostly useless unless you are connected to either a wireless network or have paid the extra for 3G coverage through a cell phone service. It wasn’t like I was going to be able to sit in my car in a parking lot waiting for a kid to get out of guitar lessons, or on the bleachers at the local swim club during another kid’s practice and use the device for anything. And to be honest, even when using it for its intended purpose of surfing or accessing other online things, it was amazingly slow. Pages pull up slowly, switching apps is also slow, and then there’s that whole greasy-fingerprints-on-the-screen thing that just grosses me out entirely.
I look at what I do on a computer, any computer, and do not see why the iPad is so awesome. I write a lot of emails (lots of typing – I’m not a two word email writer). I write procedures and policy manuals as part of my job. Lots of typing. I’m also a novelist. Lots of typing. I do some research and surfing, and cutting and pasting of information or saving of PDF’s and text files as I go. I am what many would consider a power-typist; I average 120 wpm with accuracy, and probably type upwards of 10,000 words a day in my day-to-day life between work and home.
None of those things can be done on an iPad with any kind of consistency, or speed. For what I do, the iPad is not the right device. I know people love them, and use them a lot, but I just don’t see it as a device worth the money that is paid for it, including the long-term cost of wireless access. Give me my laptop and my wireless network any day (and free wi-fi elsewhere) and I’ll keep getting the job done. If I want to kill bugs, I’ll go outside in my backyard at dusk in June. Plenty of bugs to be swatted there.