1 June 2010

What do you use an iPad for?

Since I started talking about buying an iPad about two months ago, people have been asking me what I’d use one for. I have a laptop. I have a desktop computer too. What would I need another computer for? And one without a keyboard at that!

I picked up an iPad 3G on Friday when they went on sale in Australia. So now, rather than hypothesizing, I can now share a few interesting uses I’ve found for it in the last three days.

  • reading a bunch of blogs over breakfast (as you’d expect)
  • showing some friends a slideshow of photos from the Gulf oil spill
  • playing “cooperative” Angry Birds with Liz for two hours
  • checking the prices on flights to Thailand this summer (still not cheap — how many civil wars do you need?!)
  • learning a song on the piano, by bringing up chords found on the web and playing the music in the background on the iPad
  • looking up Noah Taylor after seeing him in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to see if he was really Australian (he is, kinda) and what else he’d been in
  • checking the dates of Liz’s parents’ next holiday for them on our shared calendar.

It isn’t earth-shattering stuff. A lot of normal things you could definitely use a laptop or a desktop computer for. I’ve found it’s two small differences that make the iPad stand out. First, it really is very quick to pick up and use. Launching the web browser takes a fraction of a second and the browsing itself is really responsive. Second, the iPad is incredibly shareable. You just hand to someone if you want to share something with them. Interacting with it is intuitive and simple, even for someone who hasn’t used an iPhone or iPad before. These two things makes all the tasks above simpler and just more fun.

Apple has now sold over two million iPads, so there must be a few readers with one too. What do you use an iPad for?