I admit I’m a bit of an Apple fanboy – I’ve used Mac computers for years, I have a MacBook, a classic iPod and an iPhone. Frankly, I don’t see myself using any other MP3 players, smartphones or computers any time soon.
I also love what Apple has done for user interaction on all their devices. Over the past ten years they’ve revolutionised the way we use computers, listen to music and access digital information on the move.
So since Apple announced the iPad, like many others, I’ve been thinking about whether I need one – or just really, really want one.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I need one. But not for the reasons you might think.
For example, it’s not because I think the iPad is going to save magazines and newspapers.
I’m a big fan of printed media – I grew up loving and later working with magazines and newspapers, and I’m convinced that they will continue to provide immense value for readers as we go on through the digital age. But the idea that the iPad represents a renaissance opportunity for ‘packaged’ media is misplaced. As exciting as the Wired Magazine iPad app looks (see video below), this is not the best use of digital media.
The best use of digital media is represented by the world wide web, on desktop and mobile devices, where packaged media is ‘atomised’, where I can search for the precise information I want, where I can link freely to pages across any number of brands and websites, where I can participate as both a consumer and contributor and community member through comments, ratings and other interactive features.
The future for media doesn’t lie in trying to re-pack what’s been unpacked. It lies in rearranging information in new and exciting ways.
No, here are the 3 reasons I really need an iPad.
I did my back in a couple of weeks ago. It was so serious I couldn’t move out of bed for a couple of days. While I’m not certain what caused it, it can’t have helped that I was lugging a heavy backpack to and from my workplace. The backpack contained:
- My laptop
- A couple of heavy text books
- Some writing pads and pens
- Power leads for my laptop and iPhone
- A couple of magazines I kept meaning to read but never got round to
With my back continuing to give me problems, reducing my daily carrying weight is becoming less a matter of convenience and more a matter of necessity. This must have been around 7-8 pounds of gear I’d been straining my back with. The iPad could conceivably fit all of this into one small package that weighs just 1.5 pounds (0.68kg).
2. Form factor
Since the iPad launched I’ve started thinking how I actually use my laptop on the go, and whether that keyboard is really necessary. I’ve discovered that it isn’t. When I’m travelling by train, I’m usually taking my computer along with me to carry my powerpoint presentations, check my email and look at the web. I hardly every write documents on the go. Okay I’ll write the odd email, but that should be easily possible with the iPad’s on-screen keyboard.
I’ve also started noticing more and more scenes like the one below – people struggling to use their laptops while waiting for trains, buses, etc. This is clearly not comfortable, and surely not necessary.
3. The user experience
For me it’s all about the user experience, and I’m a big fan of Apple’s user interface (UI) design. Having lived with and loved the iPhone for over a year now, I’m convinced the iPad is going to feel even better, with a bigger screen and more exciting native apps
According to Apple the best iPad applications will ‘downplay application UI so that the focus is on content; present content in beautiful, often realistic ways; and take full advantage of device capabilities to enable enhanced interaction.’ Sounds great to me.
So what do you think – are those good enough reasons to need an iPad? Or am I just persuading myself because I merely want one? Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below.