When the iPad was first released—has it really only been 3.5 months?—I railed against it for being nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch. I didn't see the value of it, I didn't see where it could fit between a smartphone and a laptop (especially if the smartphone was an iPhone and the laptop was a Macbook Pro).
The screen was too small. There was no camera. The screen wasn't the right aspect ratio, wasn't true HD. No multitasking. Awkward to type on. Goofy name. You know the list. You've been hearing it since the device was announced back in January.
But then a funny thing happened. Apple sold a few million of 'em. People in the really real world, not the bizarre faux-world that tech journalists tend to inhabit, started to give their opinions about the iPad. By and large, people love this thing. The lack of multitasking that all the tech bloggers said would kill the iPad? Didn't matter. Remember how all the ‘experts' said this thing was going to be a disaster?
I was down on it for less common reasons. I didn't care that it couldn't multitask because I was used to that on my iPhone. I didn't care that there wasn't a camera because I can count on one hand how many times I've used the camera on my Macbook Pro. The main reason I wasn't sold on it was that I simply couldn't imagine where and how I would use it if I already owned both an iPhone and the aforementioned Macbook Pro.
When the reports started coming in from real world users, I started to change my mind. I started to realize that a 9.7″ device could work really well in my life; I could velcro it to the wall in my kitchen for referencing recipes, I could use it to read any book ever written to my kids at night, I could use it in the car for maps like I do with my iPhone, only larger. I could do all these things with my Macbook, but mine is the 17″ model – velcro is out of the question, it's awkward to read on while laying in bed next to the kids, and there's no 3g access built-in, so maps in the car aren't possible. These are only a very few of the many uses I came up with.
I started to really warm up to the idea of getting an iPad. Then I got the iPhone 4.
Now I'm back to swearing off the iPad… temporarily. You may have heard about the iPhone 4's “Retina Display” – the device has 326ppi (that's pixels per inch) and it looks amazing. It's got cameras. It's got multitasking. It's got a lot of things that people have been bitching about for a long time. What do you think the odds are that this stuff isn't going to be in the next iteration of iPad?
The display alone is worth the wait, to me. These things ain't cheap, after all. I'll wait until the announcements come for the next version of iPad – probably either before Christmas this year or early next year – and I'll make a decision then. If there's no retina display, no major hardware upgrades, maybe I'll just go ahead and get one then. But if those hardware improvements are coming, I'll feel pretty damn great about not spending my $700 on a first generation iPad. It's not like I need one… right?