A question I get a lot since I got my iPad a little over a month ago is “What does the iPad do that makes it worth it?” And to be perfectly honest, I really hesitate to answer that question and find that I usually don't have the most eloquent answer for people. The reason why I stumble over my words and probably don't do a good job of convincing people is because it really comes down to defining “worth it.” See, to me, “worth it”, could be a lot different than what you think it means. Over the past month and a half there is a lot I have learned about the iPad and what I think makes it “worth it.” The goal of this post is to give you some perspective and to try and tackle the question “What does the iPad do that makes it worth it?” I will first talk about what makes the iPad NOT worth it for certain people. Then follow up with why I do think it is worth it.
Why The iPad Isn't Worth It
1. Replace your laptop
If you think the iPad is going to replace your laptop, then you may want to not get one. Apple has always said, the iPad is the device in between your smartphone and your laptop. The iPad may not be worth it if you plan on ditching your laptop for the iPad. The iPad is limited in some areas that the laptop can do. For example, printing is complicated from the iPad. As we know printing from a laptop is a breeze. Also, the iPad is running the iPhone operating system. I mention this because it is important to remember that the iPhone OS cannot be compared to the Mac OS. The iPhone OS is meant for lite use, where as the Mac OS is meant to be used in the way a stand-alone computer was built for.
2. In the market for only an e-reader
If you are on the market for an e-reader and that is what you want, then the iPad may not be for you. Now, that does not mean that the iPad is not a great e-reader. I honestly think it is an amazing e-reader. The screen is crisp and bright and it makes for great reading. But, if that is the only thing you are looking to buy. I don't see spending double the money for an iPad. If you are in the market for an e-reader, then take a look at the cheaper e-readers, like the Nook or Kindle. They are both very good e-readers and about half the price.
3. Huge Expectations
There are a lot of people who think that the iPad should do some amazing things. Well, yes, it does do some amazing things. But, I have to caution you as it is not perfect. Yes, even as a Mac lover, I still find some quirks and nuances with it. But you have to remember this is version 1.0 of the iPad. It will only get better. If your expectations are too high, then you will probably be disappointed when you buy and play with one. You have to go in knowing that even though it is a cool device it is not going to completely change your life and there are going to be some features that are missing. Take the iPhone for example. Apple is on its third version of it and I believe by the fourth version, they will finally have a product that people were expecting the first time around. So caution yourself if your expectations are high and wait and be patient.
Why I think the iPad is worth it
Yes, the iPad is convenient. Like I mentioned earlier it does bridge the gap between the smartphone and the laptop. There are times when I find that I don't want to take my laptop somewhere because it is just a little too bulky. But I now have the option to take the iPad around and use it in place of my laptop. For example, I love the fact that I can now take my iPad around with me to meetings and not a pen and pad or a laptop. When I go on short trips, I just take the iPad. I don't have to lug around the laptop. Also, there are times when I am in bed or downstairs on the couch and to be honest, I just don't want to move my laptop all over the place. I like to use it as my main computer and so I like to keep it in one place. The iPad lets me accomplish this.
2. Desktop User
If you are only a desktop computer user and don't have a laptop and you are looking to go a little more mobile, then I definitely say this is for you. The iPad gives you some of the features of the laptop, but yet allows you versatility to become a little more mobile. It gives you the convenience of using a decent amount of the laptop features, and also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of some of the other features on the iPad that make it more convenient to use versus a laptop.
To be honest, this is one of the iPads best features and probably one of its biggest selling points. It opens up the entertainment aspect of a handheld device to a whole new level. Watching a movie or a TV show on the iPad is amazing. The screen is so crisp and clear that it almost does a better job than some televisions that are out there. Also you can use the iPad as an e-reader for books and a lot of the different magazines. This is nice as now I can have my books and magazine subscriptions all on the iPad. Also, once the gaming industry starts to master games for the iPad, I believe gaming will be huge on the iPad as well.
4. Lite Productivity
I have mentioned this in earlier parts of this post, but one of the reasons I wanted to get the iPad as because I wanted to leave my laptop at home more and just bring the iPad to meetings or work and be able to get by with just that. What I have found is that although the iPad doesn't do all of the functions as a laptop it gets the job done for a short time period. I found that I could take notes at meetings and do some word processing on the iPad. But because of the fact that you may not have an external keyboard and/or a mouse, your productivity can be slowed on the iPad. That is why I say it is good for lite productivity. For this aspect, I see the iPad suiting college students, people who are on the move a lot and need to take notes as well as small business owners.
5. Amazing Apps That Do Some Great Things
The apps really make the iPad even better than what it is. There are some really great apps that do some great things. For example, the Zinio App is a great app to subscribe and read digital magazines on. Further review of the app coming in a forthcoming blog post. Apps like Evernote, make note-taking in meetings a breeze. You can edit documents with the iWorks suite. Dropbox is a great app to keep your documents synced across multiple devices and platforms. You also have apps such as Netflix and the ABC which allow you to stream and watch TV shows and movies. I could go on and on. But, my point here is that the apps make the experience of the iPad so much more better than just the iPad itself.
So is the iPad worth it? Well, for me, I can say yes it was and continues to be money well spent. For anyone else, I cannot say. It really is up to what you think and how you think you will use it and whether or not the money will be well spent on what you will use it for. I can tell you this: if you are only planning on using one aspect of the iPad, then you may not want to get it. In order to get your money's worth you really are going to want to maximize the potential of the iPad by using all or most of its features.
I hope this post has helped you with your iPad decision making. It is a great device to use and I know if you do purchase one, you will not regret the purchase. So what do you think? Do you think the iPad is worth it? What are some of your reasons why you bought one or didn't buy one? I am always open to hear what others think, give me a little perspective. Feel free to leave your comments below. And as always, thank you for reading.