I have spent a lot of time thinking about the iPad in the past week. After spending the past few months trying my hardest to ignore the rampant speculation, I have realized why this tablet was so highly anticipated. There is a need for a third pillar in computing that is smack-dab between the smartphone and the laptop. I like to call it “Bed browsing.” The iPad fulfills the need of a light-weight device that you can use in any position. When I visit a friend’s house for a day, I don’t want to schlep my MacBook Pro, so I just bring my iPod Touch. However, it is strictly for short-term personal usage. The screen is too small to use with two people. If you want to sit in bed with your significant other and look at Flickr photos, you’re going to need something bigger than an iPhone, but less awkward than a laptop. Enter iPad stage right.
Just like any Apple product, the iPad doesn’t try to be everything to everybody. It’s not trying to replace your MacBook. Your iPhone is completely safe from the awe of the iPad. It doesn’t make sense for Apple to make a product that would cannibalize the sales of their other popular products.
You should buy an iPad if you feel a hole in your computing needs. Maybe you’re in need of something to browse the web while you’re reclining in your favorite chair. Perhaps you need a device you can toss in your backpack, and just forget about. Whatever your specific need is, The iPad might fit the role. Soon, you’ll be able to head to your local Apple Store to play with one.
Don’t pretend like this is the magic pill for portable computing. It won’t detail your car or make you a sandwich. It will, however, take over where your MacBook and iPhone fall short. With a entry price as low as $500, you’re in good shape. Only two years ago, I paid $400 for my iPod Touch with a 16 gigabyte solid state drive. That dropped pretty darn fast. I would expect the iPad to evolve just as quickly.
What do you think about the idea of three-pillar computing? Comment on this post or hit me up on Twitter.