Last week, I confessed to Slate readers that I hate my iPad. For some of you, this confession came as a relief—you'd been underwhelmed by the device and were pleased to learn you're not alone. Others thought my complaints were shortsighted and pointed out the ways in which the iPad has changed their lives. One commenter noted that I seem too immature to weigh in on the iPad's utility; another suggested my complaints were those of an insufferable old fogey. Three cheers for parity!
We've curated the best reader arguments, both for and against—food for thought as you mull how to respond to news of the forthcoming iPad 2. A few of the comments were edited for length.
I believe the innovation of the iPad is primarily ergonomic. For some of us, being able to compute in a relaxed posture is enough to make the product revolutionary. Some things my computer does best, some things my iPhone does best, and some things my iPad does best. Welcome to the multi-platform world.
I think the key is really that you're expecting it to be an augmentation to everything you already have, to do something different. For me, the key differentiator was that it brings together a lot of things I had or wanted to have into one light, powerful and long-lasting package. It's my definitive mobile device, especially on commutes, that gives me music, movies, books, news, email, browsing, maps, and games.
The iPad is a superb sketchbook and illustration tool. It has changed my workflow completely.
Previously: Haul out my heavy, fragile, 3 hour battery MacBook Pro, Wacom Tablet and find a horizontal surface to set it all down on, preferably near a power outlet. Plug it all in, wake up computer and wait for hard drive to spin up. Start painting in Photoshop if it's open. Otherwise, wait 2 minutes to begin working.
Now: Pull out light weight, non-mechanical, 10 hour battery iPad. Instant on, press Brushes app button, start painting. Standing, sitting, wherever. A stylus is nice to draw with (I use a Griffin) but not totally necessary. Titian was a finger painter too.
As for typist-friendly: it depends on how you learned to type. If you're a traditionally-trained, 10-finger typist, then you might not like the keyboard—it lacks the tactile element that you rely on when typing without looking. But if you are like me, someone who never learned to type and now does it all multi-fingered, then it is excellent.
I understand why some people don't like the iPad, but I couldn't live without it. It carries all the thousands of research documents I need for my book (the app is GoodReader), and even if I didn't love everything else about it, that would be enough.
I don't know how I used to do anything without it.
As a physician, I consider the iPad to be the most revolutionary tool I have ever used, and I have used and designed computer applications in medicine for more than 20 years.
This is not a laptop, not an E-book, but a highly portable, extremely customizable knowledge portal, which allows me to carry an incredible array of technical books, documents, calculation tools, presentation tools, etc.
It is not designed to be a tool for content creation, but rather to excel at knowledge retrieval. Physicians, especially hospital based physicians, are arguably the original knowledge workers, and the ability to have the right knowledge or calculation tool at your finger tips at all times is ultimately to your patient's advantage.
Would not trade this device in for any amount of money. The raw amount of technical data either directly stored on the device, or directly accessible by the device astounds and delights me every day.
What you're missing is this: the iPad's best use is doing stuff in bed. Movies in bed. E-mail in bed. News in bed. Bugdom 2 in bed. Start doing things in bed.
I find this article hard to believe. I do everything on my iPad. I connect to both work and home PCs, I log into my work data base wirelessly wherever I am, I connect wirelessly to view hundreds of security cameras at my facilities, I can switch between the WSJ and my local gazette at will and best of all I don't have to use @!&/$ MS Windows on my slow-as-molasses laptop. You obviously haven't tried connecting a keyboard or external hard drive to your iPad. The next big thing is already in your hands.
You know what would make you love an iPad? Having a new baby and breastfeeding. My baby often falls asleep on me, and even when he doesn't it can take 30 minutes to feed him. Nothing helps me not rush the process like having my iPad handy. It's easy to maneuver (unlike my laptop) and I can check my e-mail, web browse, read a book, watch TV (with ear buds), play games, blah blah blah. It definitely helped make me feel less isolated during my maternity leave.
The iPad can be ideal for some purposes. It's been a cheap way to add computer functionality to our house without having to buy more computers. We can all be surfing and checking email, Facebook, watching Netflix, and more without having to take turns on the computer. It fits our lifestyle. If it doesn't fit yours, that's fine. That doesn't make you less materialistic or more spiritual. If you were, you wouldn't be online reading an article about iPads.