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23rd December by Josh Janssen
When the iPad first hit Australia back in 2010, I was sceptical. There was an expectation that because I had a Mac, an iPhone and a tendency to be an early adopter of tech, that I would obviously buy an iPad. For this very reason, when the iPad did become available, I resisted buying the device. The reality was that I owned a laptop, I owned a desktop machine and an iPhone; where did the iPad fit into this equation?
Friends of mine had been preparing for the launch of the mysterious Apple tablet over 12 months before we had even heard a peep from Apple. They held off buying the Kindle, as they were ‘waiting for the Apple tablet’.
The Kindle is an easy sell. It does one thing and it does it well; it displays books. It’s clear that the idea of the Kindle was to replace the ‘book’ as we knew it. But what about the iPad? What was it replacing? The phone? The laptop? The desktop? None of them. Yet Apple has sold over 14 million iPads since it’s launch in 2010. What are people using their iPads for, and most importantly, do you need one?Before you run out and buy an iPad, there are some basic things you need to consider.
Are you a consumer or a creator? Do you spend most of your time reading articles and looking at Flickr photos or are you more inclined to write your own articles and take your own photos? The iPad is built for consumption. It’s minimalistic design is perfect for watching a movie or TV show on a plane, but don’t expect to write an essay on it.With the option of using a Bluetooth keyboard, there is the perception by some that the iPad is great for both consumption and production. In reality, the technology falls flat when you begin to try and do anything too resource heavy on the device. While the option is there for you to use a Bluetooth keyboard, you will have a much more enjoyable experience using a laptop for these types of tasks.
So who should by an iPad? If you travel, want a cool way to play games while sitting on the couch, or want to read your newspaper digitally, the iPad is for you. Being larger than the iPhone, the iPad provides an enhanced experience when surfing the web and reading text. It can be a great tool for business. Sarah Young, owner of Shine@Eve, a Melbourne based hair salon, has been incorporating an iPad into her business.
But iPads can be used beyond entertainment. In some cases, they have replaced traditional methods of business.“We often use the iPad to show our clients hairstyles as it is easier and much more current than the hair magazines.” Ms Young told Melbourne Geek.The iPad can also act as a great marketing tool. If you are a photographer, you can load your photography directly onto the device, giving your clients a portable interactive experience.With the growth of cloud computing, uses for the iPad are growing and any technology which requires us to print less is a good thing.On the other side of the business spectrum, local voice over artist Andrea Crook is using her iPad to make life easier, save money and help the environment.
The iPad provides an experience unlike any other device when it comes to gaming and social networks, but it doesn’t replace much. Magazines are still being printed (just), websites will look just as great on a computer screen, and you will find it harder to write a long essay on an iPad than a regular computer.Buying an iPad can be a fantastic business decision and it can also be a big waste of money.
As with any purchase, personal or business, you need to consider the practical side of the story.