Uh oh, it’s begun …

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.

2 comments

  1. Hank · February 5, 2010

    I think you’re right – if one wants to surf the web in a slightly better environment than an iPhone provides, the iPad seems like a good fit. But the whole thing seems a bit cumbersome if you have to carry around the little attachable keyboard to be able to take notes in class, vs. something like a PC tablet offering that has a keyboard and a folding screen, allowing you to use it like a laptop or like an iPad. Sure, you can type right on the screen, but I’m skeptical about how well that will actually work given the iPod Touch and iPhone’s performance. It will be great for hunt a peck typists, but for someone wanting to touch type, I’m willing to bet it will be frustrating.

    I sat and took notes in class on my laptop last night, and was delighted to be able to surf the web in Chrome, talk in IRC in a terminal, and take notes in BasKet all at the same time, and be able to see activity in Chrome and IRC while taking notes. Multi-tasking isn’t something I can give up easily, but maybe I’m a minority in that case.

  2. Geet · June 27, 2010

    So, for the record, I own a base-model iPad now (no 3G), and it’s awesome. I’ve been using it consistently for nearly a month and is a great substitute for my laptop when browsing the web, checking out news, and Flickr photos. Totally beats the netbook.

    One thing that still bothers me is the ‘minimalism’ issue. I really enjoy having one laptop on which I do everything. The iPad doesn’t change this as it isn’t a laptop, but it’s an added thing. I usually use the iPad as a ‘documentation supplement’ propped next to my laptop when coding.

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