I just had the urge to sit down without my laptop and check out something on the net. And I thought, “it would be nice to browse in a space larger than a smart phone.” I didn’t want to code, type much on a keyboard+play with a mouse, or sit upright staring at my laptop.
It does seem like the iPad has gotten an unnecessarily bad reputation given that it’s exploring a rather different space of human-computer interaction than your usual PC or smart phone. I was actually less interested in the MacBook Air, which seemed like a slicker, lighter-weight computer that I would feel less inclined to run my code on because it’s significantly slower than my current 13” MacBook (which I payed much less for).
But the notion of a tablet that I use solely for internet and communication + some additional bonus stuff sounds not-so-bad. I’m tempted to get one just to see how much I would use it. I did this with a NetBook. I figured, being a computer-geek, that $250 is worth seeing whether the thing improves my life. It turns out I didn’t really find a NetBook that handy. Part of why I feel I didn’t benefit much from the NetBook is similar to the reason I wasn’t interested in the MacBook Air — it’s still a computer that I open up, type on, and use a mouse — so the weight/slickness benefit doesn’t outweigh the sacrifice in performance compared to my current laptop. The iPad seems to have some benefits over an e-Book reader in the sense that it allows a more interactive experience with the display that can show web pages like you would see them on your laptop. This, in combination with the fact that I lose the keyboard and mouse, might be enough to make it a useful secondary computing device.