iPad as Computer

I’ve never been one to defend the position that the iPad, in and of itself, could truly replace a PC. At least, in terms of everyday use. I think of my everyday activities (email, Twitter, Facebook, coding, graphic manipulation, server management, blogging, etc) and realize there’s no way a device like the iPad can do all of those things and do them well. It’s just not built for that. In trying to do that, someone would have to result to a bit of hackery to get everything done. And even then, it wouldn’t be done without some unnecessary hassle.

But, you might say, “Wait a minute, Lee. You’re not a ‘normal’ user.” And you’d be right, of course. I mean, how many of you write code and create websites for a living? Probably not many of you. And server admins out there? Yeah, didn’t think so. So, I’ll grant you that one.

But how many of you during the course of the day need to open an Excel sheet and manipulate it? Make some edits to a Word file? Need to add a slide to a PowerPoint presentation (or as my Home Depot exiles call it, a “deck”)? Granted, those are all Microsoft Office situations, but what about really fixing up a photo in something like Photoshop or fiddling with your iTunes collection? The iPad can’t really do these things well right now. Will it ever? Maybe. Maybe not.

Something opened my eyes today, though. Something that I have been doing for a while and just not realized yet. I did not use my laptop at all when it was not sitting on my desk at work. And you know what? I still got a lot of things done today, mostly through my iPad. Here’s a list of the things I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Notes for meeting
  • Background material from email for conversation with mom
  • Twitter
  • Email after-hours
  • Display unit To show dad something at dinner tonight
  • Video device for cardio workout
  • Twitter check-ins (again)
  • Facebook (read and write/respond)
  • 2 Blog entries (written…even the one you’re reading right now!)
  • Article reader (via the insanely great Instapaper)

When you look at it, I did A LOT with my iPad today. (I will say that on some these, I’m cheating a little bit, because it was actually my iPhone that I was using, but all of these things are doable on the iPad. I just happened to have my iPhone at the meeting instead of the iPad). The fact that I have not opened my laptop or even felt the need to go open my laptop just shows me how much stuff can be done with this device.

I’m still not buying the complete PC replacement thing, but maybe this device is the first step to changing how we use computers on an everyday basis. Maybe instead of everyone having a different computer in the house, there’s one computer (as we know the term now) that everyone shares and each individual has his/her own personal iPad.

Could happen.

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