Thursday, January 28, 2010

Insanely great? Ars reacts to the Apple iPad:

When I leave the apartment for anything beyond local errands, I'm almost invariably carrying both a cell phone for communicating and a laptop for getting work done. A truly useful device would be one that could let me leave one of those devices and its added bulk, cables, and worries about charge status at home. The iPhone went a little way towards that dream—it was a phone, but its ability to handle a bit of web browsing and some light e-mail meant that leaving the laptop at home was possible in a few additional circumstances—but, for the most part, I'm still stuck lugging two devices.

The iPad doesn't fix that. It's clearly not a phone, so my phone would still have to come with me. It would do a better job of e-mail and web browsing than the iPhone but, if I'm carrying one of those anyway, that's not a huge help. On the other side of its category divide, the iPad might add a few more cases where a laptop is unnecessary, but very few. I'm a touch typist; I take notes on presentations while watching the speaker, and I am often writing in one application while looking over a document in a second. With no physical keyboard and no multitasking, the iPad simply wouldn't work for me. It's just too limited to mean I could leave my laptop home any more often than I already do.

Apple looks like it nailed its target of creating a truly distinct device that's somewhere in between the phone and the laptop. And, for precisely that reason, it doesn't seem like it would be all that useful to me.