Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and we got in to a discussion about the upcoming Apple iPad. He considers it to be an expensive toy while I see it as something that could become the command center for your entire house. He was quick to point out that as great as my idea may sound, that’s not the types of applications that are currently being developed. While I can’t entirely disagree with him, I’d like to point out that when gMail first hit the street, there was plenty of talk about how little functionality it had.
I won’t lie, I’m strongly considering getting an iPad. But before I do, I think it’s smart to consider a few questions before dropping the cash;
- Is it just a fancy toy?
- Am I just an Apple FanBoy who has to have the new shiny gadget?
- What do I expect to use it for?
I can pretty easily answer ‘no’ to the first two questions, but it’s that third question that gets me. What DO I expect to use it for? Well, let’s see…
The Ultimate Universal Remote
Remember the Logitech Harmony remote control? You plug it in to your computer, set up a profile with all the electronics you own, download the codes to your remote and you now had buttons for “Watch TV”, “Watch a DVD”, “Play XBox Games”, etc. Well, let’s take that to the next level. Imagine a central online database of all electronic devices with an IR receiver. Menu driven selections for picking your TV brand, then model, type in the first couple letters of the model number and an auto-complete list of matches shows up for you to select from. Once all your devices are stored, control them through a simple graphic interface. TV, Stereo, lights, disco ball… anything with a remote should be in there.
Yeah, I know this isn’t going to happen immediately. But tell me that wouldn’t be a kick-ass app.
I am currently loving my Netflix subscription and the ability to stream movies directly to my TV through my xBox. But there are definitely times when being able to watch a movie away from the house would be freakin’ sweet. For example, my recent 7 hour layover at an airport in Dallas. iPad + headphones + internet connection = a way less stressed traveler. Of course it would also be nice to download movies to it for watching in spots with no internet access.
Yeah, I know I could watch movies on my iPhone. But tell me it wouldn’t be nicer to watch them on a decent sized screen without having to lug around a laptop.
Web Browsing on the Couch
My Google Reader account usually hovers at about 500 articles to read. Kicking back on the couch and scrolling through some of the many RSS feeds and getting caught up on news and blogs sounds pretty great to me. “You could do that on your iPhone”, you say. I could, but honestly, the screen size on the iPhone keeps me from using it for reading any more than I absolutely have to.
This could really fall in to the previous category, I know. But, when listing activities I would use it for, this one is a biggie. I read a fair amount of emails from my iPhone already. I think the extra screen real estate on the iPad would be very helpful. Plus, I’ve heard that the iPad will support the Dvorak keyboard layout. This would make me a very happy camper.
Of course, with the good, there is also the bad… Huffington Post had an article a while back talking about the 13 things you NEED to know about the iPad. Some of the things they pointed out are definitely issues. Some, however, I think people are complaining just for the sake of complaining. I agree 100% that the lack of multitasking functionality is tragic. If there is a single deal-breaker to be found, that’s likely the one. But the fact that there is no camera or GPS, to me, I don’t really see that as an issue. I don’t usually leave the house without my iPhone which has both of those features, so not having them in this device certainly won’t stop me from buying.
I would love to tell you that I’ll be waiting for the second generation of iPads to hit the market before I dive in. But I likely won’t. I’ll probably hold out for a couple months… but then it’ll happen. Somebody will have one and let me test it out. My eyes will glaze over, my credit card will fall out of my wallet and before you know it my order will be placed.
How about you? You planning on getting an iPad? Leave a comment and tell me why… or why not.