People that say that the iPad is just a big iPod/iPhone are missing the point.
This will change things. A lot.
This device is certainly cool. I won’t be buying this because it is cool, but because it will make every other computer I have a more useful and productive tool.
I’ve got an iPhone, 2 labtops (PCs), a desktop (also PC), and an xbox, if you want to count that as a computer. I don’t need an iPad. Everything the iPad will do can be done on one of my other devices.
For most of those things, however, my iPhone is either too small, or my labtop is needlessly big and clumsy. Checking email, posting to twitter, quick updates to my blogs, facebook, reading RSS feeds, commenting on other blogs are a touch difficult on the iPhone because of its size, and while my labtop is powerful enough to do all of this easily, it is not very portable.
This tablet will be my “casual” computing device. I will use it to check email, read twitter and my RSS feed, download pdfs, and browse the internet. The size is big enough not to be an eye sore, like the iPhone, but small and portable enough that I can lounge about at my coffee table, or sit in bed. I have a feeling that for all of these casual computing and internet tasks, this tablet will be the baby bear device: not too big, not too small, but just right.
The beauty is my other devices will be free to do what they do best.
My iPhone will still be a phone, ipod, and on-the-go internet device. I’ll be able to post to twitter, update foursquare, and check my email on the bus, walking to work, or at a party (lame, yes, but important when you launch new product for sale that day).
My labtops will be movable work stations, and I’ll be able to use them for what they do best, writing code, creating written content, and editing audio media. My desktop will be my primary media storage device, and image and video editor.
The biggest challenge for me is that computers do too much. When I am writing a blog post, I am working on a machine that also connects me to email, RSS, my music, twitter, can be used to update the code of my websites, can create audio media, and on and on and on. Even when I don’t have these applications fired up, the fact that email is just a mouse click away is a distraction when I am editing an article.
My hope, and faith, is that this tablet will create a hardware separation between these applications. Right now, my computers are be-all, do-all devices. They do everything, and it’s too much for me. When I am working at my labtop that I use for everything, it becomes harder to focus on one thing.
When I am working on my computer, I don’t think about doing my dishes, folding my laundry, or reading a book. There is a hardware separation between those activities that helps me keep these separated in my mind.
(Sure, it may be funny to think of labtop and a dish sponge as separate hardware, but it works for me)
I don’t have a hardware separation between twitter and Notepad++. Interacting on twitter and writing PHP code for my WordPress installation are pretty different tasks, as different as checking email and doing dishes are. Having one machine that does both keeps me a little distracted from either, even when I’m not consciously aware of it. I may not know that this happens, but I feel that this happens.
I imagine that I will use this tablet when I want to quickly check my email, or post on twitter, read some articles, or something else that has to do with social interaction, contact, and media consumption.
I’ll fire up my labtop when I want to write code, or write a blog post/email newsletter, or edit images or a podcast or something. My computer will be a content creation device again, and I will (hopefully) be able to break the distractions in this process caused by content consumption.
My other computers will once again be tools for primarily getting work done.
I could probably write another 500 to 1000 words about how this tablet will change how media is consumed, blah blah blah, and it probably will. This will have an impact on the arts, media, and all sorts of stuff.
Ultimately, however, having a separate device that mixes the best of how an iPhone accesses the internet with the best of how a labtop access the internet is going to make me more productive.
That alone is what sold me on this device.
What do you think? Is this device the future? Are you going to get one? Why or why not? Leave me a comment, let’s discuss.