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Do I need an iPad?

do I need an ipadEverywhere I turn today, people are talking about either the iPad® or Charlie Sheen.  I am not planning to go into where this is really a need or not. Food, water, clothing, sanitation and a roof over my head are all that I “need”. There is no question whether it’s a need vs want. It is a want, a luxurious one at that with prices starting at $500 for a very basic version. But what I am trying to address here is an iPad has a place in my long hierarchy of wants. Do I need an iPad? I would have answered half a dozen people today asking me whether I am going to get one. Apparently I “have” to get one. Umm… why? Let’s think about this for a minute.

What is an iPad?

Is it a bird? A plane? Superman?! Jokes aside, what is an iPad? Is it a tablet? A laptop replacement? A phone? A camera? I am not saying it is a bad gadget, I would love to have one… if someone gave it to me for free or even closer to the price of a higher end kindle. But if I am shelling out $750, I want it to do something unique. According to Steve Jobs, iPad fills the third segment which stands smack in the middle of the iPhone® and MacBook® market. iPad takes whatever is good about computers and makes them smaller and takes whatever is good about smart phones and makes them bigger. So what role does iPad fill in my life? eReader? Smart phone? all in one? My precious??!?

iPad as an eReader

Amazon Kindle dominates the eReader market. iPad has a Kindle app, a Nook app and a general ePub support, so iPad can be a versatile eReader, only a very expensive eReader. Why will I pay $630 with monthly fee from $15-$30, when I can get a Kindle for a $190 one time fee?

iPad as a phone

iPad can do most of the stuff that an iPhone can, except it is not a phone. You can’t replace a phone. Period. If you are a prepaid cell phone user and would like to get a smart phone, an iPad is a great companion.

iPad as a laptop/netbook

iPad virtual keyboardWith my current habits and work, I won’t survive if I replace my laptop with an iPad. Yes, my tablet is 3.5 lbs and this baby is only a little over 1 lb, but I use my computer (stressing on “use”) almost 14 hrs a day. I need a keyboard.  I know I can get a docking station and keyboard, but that would beat the purpose of an iPad. If iPad brings in a laser keyboard that I can beam when I want and switch off when I don’t, then we can start talking. And I need my computing power, 8 gb ram, 400 gb hard drive, optical drive, SD/usb port and the ability to write on the screen. I love my Lenovo tablet. iPad is not taking over any time soon.

iPad as an All in one super gadget

For a specific niche audience, who use computers just to check email and read news or who find computers intimidating, iPad really can be an all in one super gadget. But for the rest of us, it needs a little more magic to pull that off.

Who is the target audience for iPad?

If I don’t already have “an ereader and a laptop” or “laptop and a smart phone”, this might be a great starter device. Most people already have these, so might not find an iPad much more useful, except -

  • Media consumers : People who don’t do any computationally intensive or information/media creation are more suitable for iPad, I think. They can read their books, papers, watch streaming movies, listen to their music, read/reply to emails, read blogs… iPad is light and fast enough, faster than a computer to do all these things.
  • Road warriors : I can imagine how nice it will be to carry this around to catch up on emails, fire up a demo with one hand while talking to your prospective customers at a trade show or read a book while on a long plane trip.
  • People who generally love iPad : An ideal customer is one who can afford it and for whom it makes the day so much better and more pleasurable, I suppose.

iPad will bring the power of internet to a smaller-than-but-faster-than computer. For a casual internet user it might be fine -IF they don’t already have a netbook/laptop. I do not fit the bill. Do I need an iPad? No.

Its not you, its me

ipad gollum presciousYou are thinking about it all wrong… it’s not a laptop or a phone or an ereader. It’s a device that is not like anything else, its a work of art.. that’s what the iPad/Apple® fans will say. I am not disagreeing. It might be a great gadget, but I just don’t know what role it will play in my life and I don’t need another redundant electronic device. Definitely not a high priced redundant device. If my company buys me one for some reason or if I win one in a lottery, I wouldn’t say no to “my precious”. Or I will buy one when

  • Tablets get sophisticated enough to replace my laptop tablets- with very fast internet, enough computing power to get my work done, ways to easily access my files and/or the cloud technology gets easy/affordable enough for common users to do all the computing/storage online.
  • Android based tablets are in the market and I get to choose the better suitable tablet for my needs.
  • When the hardware for tablets get cheap enough like they have for laptops/netbooks, to bring the price down.
  • The early adopters have made all the market moves to fix all the quirks and perfected it.
  • If it ever replaces textbooks and brings in native handwriting recognition to write notes and annotate pages, I will buy it in a heartbeat.

Do I need an iPad now? No. So, I am sorry Apple, its not you, its me. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to work together in the future.

What about you? Will you be one of the early adopters? Do you already have an iPad and would love to upgrade?

[Oh, I almost forgot. First generation iPads have gone into clearance, meaning, their price is reduced $100 to make way for the iPad 2. If you bought the first generation iPad in the last 14 days, just take your receipt and your iPad to the nearest Apple store to get a price adjustment.]

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Barb Friedberg

I don’t want/need one. I wrote about it as well. http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com/personal-finance-help-why-i-don%e2%80%99t-want-an-ipad/
From what I can tell, it’s an entertainment “toy,” which is fine. But just not for me. I’ll stick with my laptop!!!


sandy @ yesiamcheap

I so agree with you on this one. And I am certainly not about to pay that much for a toy. I’d rather keep my money or pay a debt.


Everyday Tips

OK, we do have an ipad… (I bought it for my husband for Christmas, but I use it all the time.) I love the 3G aspect of it. I can write and such while my kids are on the soccer field where there isn’t any wifi. It is small and easy to take around. Keyboard takes some getting used to, and I prefer my laptop for big tasks. However, I do like the convenience of the Ipad.



Kris how cmfortable is it to write, say a blog post on this? I am not dissing iPad users at all, I just don’t know if I work well in that. Esp. as I have an ultra portable tablet (laptop tablet) myself. So just curious…


Everyday Tips

It is not super easy to write a post using the Wordpress App. I usually write it as an email post and send it to myself, and cut and paste. I am sure there is a better way, but I haven’t found it yet.

It is great to have if you know you will have 30 minutes with nothing to do. It loads super fast and it does have some great apps. My husband downloaded a book to it last night and really liked that.

The thing I hate most is the autocorrect. I am sure I could turn it off somehow though.



I want an IPad, but I don’t need one.

Over time, some of today’s wants become more mainstream and almost expected. I’m not sure the IPad is there yet, as a technological “staple” – rather, I know it’s not there. But who knows if this platform will be standard for households in a matter of time. At one time, computers in general were a luxury. Now, I’d rather have a computer than a TV without any question.

One thing I’ll say though, is that when you do take the splurge, it’s hard to go back to lower tech options. I’ve had a smartphone (Droid X) since last year, and it’s been great.


Suba @ Wealth Informatics

Squirrelers, I agree it is difficult to downgrade. I am not saying I will never buy one. I guess it is more like, not “right now”. It canbe improved a lot and it will be. I will wait for a couple more years. I am sure when I do, I won’t downgrade, but until it is replacing some ofmy electronic gadgets, I will hold off I guess.


The Biz of Life

I wouldn’t mind having an iPad, because I’m a technology geek, but I won’t pay the Apple premium. Someone will do it just as well but cheaper pretty soon. An iPad right is just a toy to me.



iPad and iPhone generate a lot of buzz because the apps. Some of which are quite intriguing. I am resisting it because I spend way too much time (11-12 hours) every day)in front of a computer as it is. If I traveled more, I think I could justify a notebook perhaps the Mac air. Perhaps as prices drop, I may be persuaded!


Money Reasons

I’m thinking about getting a tablet with android as the operating system instead. I saw a smart phone with android as the op sys., and I was very impressed.



I’m sticking with my laptop too. But I see “a lot” of parents at the sporting events my kids attend with iPads…. I think it is a convenience thing or maybe just a parent status thing – not sure.



I am not an early adopter on most tech. DVD players had to go sub $200 for me to buy one. My MP3 player was not Apple and looked like a small brick. Family bought me an iPod Touch as a gift. Over time I said I wished they would just supersize it. That’s what I wanted.
As the dad to a 12 year old, I’ve come to terms with taking her to places where my role is “driver” and guardian. To and from friend’s houses, I’m good at small talk with the parents, but when she’s at school late with no exact time coming out, or at a store where she doesn’t need my advice, that’s when I pull out the iPad.
Not to mix issues, but people waste a lot of money. I save more by brewing my own coffee than the monthly service is on the iPad.



Fantastic analysis. I couldn’t wait for the 3/2 announcement, thinking I would pre-order one immediately at the conclusion of the announcement. I did this for both the iPod Touch 2Gen and the iPhone 4.

However, once the announcement was finished, and I read all the reviews, I started thinking about how people I know are using their iPads.

I currently have a pretty powerful (although somewhat large, heavy) laptop, an iPhone 4 a Kindle 3 and a Sprint MiFi. An iPad would be something else to keep charged and updated, and I just couldn’t figure out where it would fit in my work day.

I spend a lot of time with MS Office apps on my W7 laptop and a lot of time with my iPhone 4. The iPad can’t replace either of those, since it doesn’t run Outlook or OneNote, two powerful pieces of bloatware that I depend on for my work productivity.

I love my Kindle for reading when I have long stretches for reading, and my iPhone is the best iPod ever.

I supposed it could be a note taking device, but from what I can tell, it isn’t 400 times better than the college-ruled notebook I’m using now.

So I completely agree; until it replaces something in my gadget armamentarium, I’ll wait.


First Gen American

I’m starting to see a lot of salespeople with it. It’s so much faster and easier to boot than a laptop. If you’re in a 1/2 hour sales call and it takes your computer 15 minutes to boot, then it’s pretty much useless. I don’t think I’d pay out of my own pocket for it (as I have a personal laptop that I like), but it would make a great sales aid.



If you have a computer that takes 15 minutes to boot, then you’ve either got a 1st generation computer or a virus…


Invest It Wisely

I wouldn’t mind having one, either, but I recognize that it’s value to me right now is basically as gadget/toy, so a bit harder to justify the price!



I have an iPad because I need it to test the iPad version of my Pay Off Debt app. I like it, but that and creating flow charts are all I use it for. I’m clearly not the target market; but on the other hand, the iPhone is perfect for me.


101 Centavos

I had a chance to test drive an iPad for a while when house guests came to visit and brought all their gadgets, including a top of the line version. My reaction was basically, “meh!”, I can wait. There’s other things that I can set the $500 to $800 aside for.


lovely leverage

I had an ipad. I love all apple stuff so I pre-orded it last year. I loved it, then liked it and never touched it for the last 5 month. So last week, after the announcement of ipad 2 I sold my ipad. I’m happy I sold it and I do not miss it at all. ipad is just not mobile. It is big and it is heavy. It’s not that good for writing blog. Too much glare under the sun. Battery power is really not that great…



My hubby has one I don’t see the big deal. I perfer a Nook aside from being way too expensive. A Nook is just more practical, and my ipod works just as good as the Ipad only smaller.


Andrew Hallam

If I could pick one up for free, I wouldn’t. That’s neither right nor wrong, it’s just the way I’m wired. If I don’t dream about a gadget before it exists, then I don’t really need or want it. But I’m an odd duck, I realize. If everything downtown was free for 24 hours, and you gave me the day to go nuts, I wouldn’t come back with anything (unless I could get a few things for my wife, or pick up a Ferrari so I could sell it and give the money to a Cambodian well buiding organization). Time is what I want more than things. If I could buy an extra 20 years of life. Now that would be an Apple product I’d line up to buy. (PS–No, I’m not terminally ill…well…no more than the rest of us)


Hans Fuller

i think amazon kindle is better than i pad…….you have to try it……….



I can’t help but compare the current buzz about iPads to the frenzy about Palm Pilots of the late 1990s. They were all the rage then, and to their credit, they no doubt are the precursors to the current day smart phones. But the Palm is now a footnote to the history of technology. The iPad looks cool and is cool to use, but it is not a universal tool. (And goodness knows it is not an inexpensive tool!) And therein lays the dilemma. Most businesses, when it comes to technology, have two broad types of employees: the power users (these are the developers, the number crunchers, the engineers) and the light users. Unfortunately for the power users, administrators are generally in the second category. CEOs, directors et al love to flit about with the latest flashy gadgets. They look cool but all they are doing is pulling up work done by others. The real work has to be done by the power users on more versatile machines than an iPad.
Don’t get me wrong. Like the Palm, the iPad technology will probably evolve into something more robust. Until then, my cheepo $400 laptop will do just fine.



I currently can have my laptop access the Internet using the mobile phones 3G data plan using data tethering over Bluetooth…Would I be able to do the same with the Apple iPad? That is will the Bluetooth capability in the iPad permit data tethering to another Bluetooth device for the purpose of getting access to the Internet?..Frankly Im not interested in having to buy two data plans one for the phone and one for the iPad!


Laura in Cancun

I was just talking about this with a friend 2 days ago! I’ve come to the conclusion that if you have a laptop already or need certain laptop capabilities (like larger memory and a keyboard), the iPad is completely useless.

However, my current laptop is on the brink of death. Since my husband and I mainly use it for watching online TV and Facebook, it might be cheaper to just get an iPad when it finally dies.



One more thought. This dialog is as much about tablet form factor in general as about this particular product. Think about this. The concept of a GPS is now taken for granted, but to me, it still seems magical. A tablet doesn’t just give you a low resolution map, it gives you the ability to see a street image if you wish, a satellite image, and add a real time traffic alert. If you drive a car, there’s value here beyond just getting you from one point to the next. I’ve caught major accidents, detoured on side streets around them barely losing 10 minutes when others have simply missed the meeting. Is a 9 in screen gps worth $500? Maybe not. But start to add the eReader, web browser, movie player, and it’s this combination that has value. I think “completely useless” is a bit of exaggeration. I don’t claim it’s able to replace a PC 100%, but it does complement it. I believe apple has eliminated the 10% return fee. I wonder how many they actually get back.



Well, after saying I didn’t need one, I kept reading other blogs and watching colleagues enjoy the productivity of an “instant-on, very fast and capable computer with a 10-hour battery.” Sure, I still can’t create content or use Microsoft Office OneNote, but it does so much else so capably, I’ve decided to take the plunge.

I’ve listed my Dell Mini netbook on eBay, and I anticipate the iPad will replace my laptop when I’m mobile for an entire day.


Edwin @ Cash The Checks

I have one but I won’t be upgrading to the iPad 2. I use it every now and then, I don’t regret buying one.



I don’t plan on buying one, but my brother has one and his 1 1/2 year old knows how to use it to watch movies. I think apple was going for the group of people that want to use the internet, but don’t really feel that comfortable using computers. (like my parents)
Maybe i’ll wait until the ipad 3 comes out i a month or two :)



I would like to have an iPad and I think that I will get one since I’m a graphic designer making magazines and lately there is a need for digital versions of magazines etc. They are much more interactive than print version. Digital Publishing is growing. But still I will do my work on my laptop since it’s faster, bigger screen, I can run programs like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop etc… If iPad or any other tablet will support Adobe programs and they will be to easy to use with no restrictions, crashing problems… I WANT ONE.


Donald Mcmurray

What does iPad do that my iPhone don’t ?? iPhone is so portable and I can surf all day on it and it not bother me when I’m at home I use my 350 dollar walmart laptop with windows 7. I been using windows so long I might become dumb if I get iPad and let apple control everything. Heck I am a cheap skate I do like my iPhone 4 jailbroken on my 45 dollar straight tAlk plan. Heck if I mess up the screen or battery goes to crap I might just have it repaired instead of buying a new one. iPad is not portable enough iPhone is perfect fits in my pocket.



my personal Laptop got nicked a few weeks ago…so I’m thinking why not get an I-Pad as a replacement…since I already have a work-place issued HP Laptop (Compaq 6710b)…but reading this article has got me thinking twice….I really do not engage in any of the activities that an I-Pad is said to be great with….


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