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So far, we’ve been avoiding all of the iPad chatter here at 40Tech, choosing not to get involved in the sweeping web-wide hype that it’s generated. Admittedly, some of that avoidance is fuelled by the fact that we don’t own a single iPad between us – but we hear good things. Personally, the slowly withering anti-Apple in me is inclined to wait until version two of the iPad is released, hoping for an even better experience (and a self-facing camera for video chats), but this new piece of tech/giant iPod Touch (or iPhone) has taken the worlds of techies and reg’lar folk by storm. I know this because both my mother and my wife (mother of my child) have expressed an interest in getting one. So this begs the question: Did you get your mom an iPad for Mother’s Day?
I didn’t – but I’m Canadian, and Apple isn’t doling out our iPad stock until the end of this month. I think, however, that if I had the opportunity and excess $499-$829 (plus tax, of course) kicking about, I would probably have gotten an iPad for at least one of them – or maybe for the household, yes? The iPad has several features that draw the attention of the women in my life, not the least of which being that its apparent ease of use is literally second to none. As with the iPhone, the iPad does exactly what it is designed to do exceedingly well. What most naysayers neglect when discussing the tech is that the iPad is not meant to be a laptop replacement, at least in the “full scope” sense. It isn’t a computer. It’s basically a means to easily browse the web and quickly gather specific information – as well as play some lightweight games and engage in other entertainments.
A Practical Example of iPad Use by Mom’s – or Anyone
My wife loves to cook. She has a full keyboard laptop with a 17-inch screen, and when she is looking for a new recipe, she needs to haul out this monster, open it up, and wait; wait while it loads the OS, wait while the browser opens, etc. She then has to find her recipe and bring the thing out into the kitchen with her, clearing some counter-space so it will fit. We try to be environmentally conscious, so she avoids printing the recipes – and there’s no interactivity in paper anyway. In any case, her life would be much improved if she could simply pull out the iPad, press a couple of buttons (one hardware and maybe one or two on-screen), and then quickly find her recipe in an app like Epicurious, her Springpad app, or even on the web via Safari. The experience should involve nothing other than exactly what she is wanting to do, from start to finish, and wait times should be only a few seconds or less. I know this is possible, because it can be done on the iPhone.
Once the recipe is up, she can lean, mount or place the iPad (which is pretty much just the screen of the previous method) on the counter, easily interact with it by touch, put on a good tune, or even switch to a show she likes (yes, she could do these last couple things on a laptop too, but I’m going for flow and ease of interaction here – and no crazy-loud fans or hard drives, either). The whole set up and application of the iPad is (like the iPhone) easily described in a single word: slick. From everything I have seen or read, the thing is so hi-tech it’s low tech, if that makes sense – and that makes the iPad extremely appealing to people who want to get to the point of what they are doing without having to mess about, tweak or tinker. No hoops, just go.
I didn’t intend for this article to be a sales pitch for another Apple product. I still think the company is a bit too restrictive, with (at times) odd motivations – but they do what they do well, and the more I think about it, the more positive I am that my house will, at the very least, sport at least one iPad in the next year. Of course if one of the tablet competitors comes out with something equally as well realized, I may swing their way, but I don’t know how likely that is, to be honest. I am left with the distinct impression that the upcoming tablets had to be rethought to compete with the iPad — especially in the realm of price. Apple really set the affordability bar there, which is something the company is not generally known for.
So, how about it? Did you get your mom, wife or self an iPad for Mother’s Day? Planning to get one in the near future? Why or why not?