For those of you who know me, you know that I tend to be relatively anti-Apple. My argument has always been that I would rather not pay the premium for features I don’t care about (ease of use, customer support that doesn’t suck, etc). The iPad, especially, has had me baffled.
Tablets are undeniably cool technology. If you had told my 12-year-old self with a “new” Windows 95 machine that in 10 years I would have something lighter than my cell phone that could browse the internet faster WITH A TOUCHSCREEN, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. But that said, this cool technology is here. But, what do I do with it?
I never would have shelled out enough money to give a tablet a chance, but I recently had the good fortune to acquire one for free. It was an iPad 2 (naturally, this was two days before the new iPad was released). I decided to take this opportunity to see what the tablet craze was all about.
Right out of the box, the iPad is incredibly sleek and fun to play with. I paid $30 for a screen protector (!!), and immediately installed my favorite cell phone games IN HD. However, even just typing in my password occasionally was tedious with the on-screen keyboard. More than that, I had the idea that it would be nice to be able to use the iPad for programming, since I nearly always have some code to work on. So naturally, I started shopping around for keyboards. A decent one costs about $100 and more than doubles the width of the iPad.
After a few hours brainstorming the best way to make my iPad an indestructible beacon of productivity, I had racked up hundreds of dollars worth of assorted products and apps, which would have been combined about like this:
Then it hit me. I’d gotten a little too swept up in frenzy of consumerism (ipads have the BEST ACCESSORIES). Why would I spend hundreds of dollars on a silly outfit of gadgets and accessories trying to turn my iPad into a tiny computer when I can just buy a tiny computer? So, one Craigslist post and an IHOP rendezvous later, I had sold my “almost like new” iPad. Manhattan, being the wonderful source of instant gratification that it is, allowed me to be in Best Buy shopping for netbooks about 4 minutes later. Turns out, they only carry one, and it was no longer even on display. When I inquired about it, the sales guy asked if I was sure I wouldn’t prefer a tablet.
So here I am, writing this post from my new little netbook. I covered the cost completely with my iPad sale, AND it came with a keyboard (and a real OS)! To be fair, the battery alone weighs more than the iPad did. But, being the able-bodied young person that I am, I don’t find a 2 lb computer all that inconvenient to schlep around.
For me, having a keyboard that’s not an extra hundred dollars and an operating system that allows me to run basic, general purpose software to which I have become accustomed make a netbook infinitely more useful than any tablet. While I don’t doubt that others have found tablets to be productive and entertaining, I found that the only upside was being able to play Hanging With Friends without draining my cell phone battery. Goodbye, iPad.