I’ve Changed My Mind About The iPad

I got an iPad for our home when the wifi version first came out. I used it for a day and then wrote a post about the iPad on the iPad. I was not very enthusiastic about the device. At the end of the review I said:

Over time it may turn into a mainstream computing platform but I don't think it is there yet and I don't think Apple has the kind of hit on its hands that it had with the iPhone.

Over the past week, I have fallen in love with the thing. And so I am telling you why.

It may be the best email device I have ever owned. It took me a while to warm up the way Gmail is rendered on the iPad and I really miss my Google Labs hacks, but I prefer doing email on the iPad to my two phones and my laptop right now.

Part of it is the fact that I can go out on my terrace with a cup of coffee, a glass of lemonade, or a glass of wine and do email in a relaxed mood. If my wife or kids interrupt me, it's easy to put the thing down and engage in a conversation. The iPad makes using a computer less of a commitment and that has important implications for the way I compute. I like how I feel when I am using the thing.

I also like the way it sits on our kitchen counter and gets used for all sorts of little things. I came home last night and my oldest daughter Jessica was making guacamole and using the iPad to display the recipe. She was getting lemon juice on it and I thought that was so cool. A baptism of sorts.

We use it for our sonos remote, to do crossword puzzles, play games, pull up menus to order in, read techmeme and hacker news, and watch the occasional youtube video. It's replaced our kitchen computer on our kitchen countertop. It's become a member of our family. And when visitors come over, they love to use it. It's great at a party.

Our iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries are our personal devices. We wear them and they are with us everywhere. Our iPad is our family computer in way that the kitchen macbook never was.

I realized that I had become smitten with it yesterday when I was headed to a place I like to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat and read alone before work. When I go to this place, I take out my Google phone and read blogs and occasionally do some email. I wanted to take the iPad with me but decided not to so it could stay at home on the kitchen counter. Then I thought seriously about getting another iPad just for me. I'm not going to do that just yet, but the urge is there. I'll probably wait for the first Android tablet and get that for my personal use.

So I've changed my mind about the iPad and tablet computers. In my initial review, I focused on capabilities. And tablets are stuck between the power and utility of the notebook and the size and features of a smartphone. But they also create a middle place in terms of usability. And that is what I missed in my first day with the iPad. It feels less like a computer than any computing device I've owned. It's easy on me in a way that the other devices are not. So I'm now convinced that tablets will have an important place in our homes and our lives.

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