So why, twenty-five years after I began work as an independent IT consultant who never subjected his clients to the bleeding edge, have I pre-ordered an iPad that won’t even ship until late April?
- Apple got the finger interface right. Yes, the finger interface. Other tablets required styluses in addition to the ten fingers we were born with. Apple built an interface for the iPhone from the ground up that worked better with our fingers than anything else anyone has ever made. The iPhone/Touch offers amazing usability on a 3” x 2” display—an incredible feat. I can’t wait to see what is going to be possible on a screen with over five times more pixels. It’s going to be fantastic, I can tell you that.
- I can write on the iPad. My right thumb doesn’t bend the way it should any more, and doctors have told me investigative/corrective surgery’s not worth the risk. And I never learned to touch type. (If I had, forty-five years ago, I’d have had severe carpal tunnel syndrome by now.) Anyway, I can’t thumb type on any small screen device. And even if I could, I wouldn’t enjoy writing long blog posts and emails on one. The iPad gives me the best of both worlds; a large virtual keyboard on which I can hunt and peck for quick text entry and a proper keyboard I can plug in when needed.
- I can stop lugging around my laptop for 99% of my trips away from the office. My MacBook Pro is a 7 lb. beast. Yes, I chose it four years ago and I’m glad I did. I wrote my book on it wherever I went, and its large screen upped my productivity significantly. But the book is published and I don’t need that big screen any more. An iPad and keyboard weighs a third as much. The case doubles as a wedge that props up the screen. Nice! Using iWork and the dock connector, I may even be able to run presentations from it (though the resolution may not be high enough for fancy speaking engagements).
- Application development heaven. If I still developed software, I would be dreaming up applications to run on the iPad. In fact, I don’t like to think about what could be done with this device, because if I did I’d be tempted to ditch my Conferences That Work evangelism and delve into building a killer app for this platform. (I’d probably make a lot more money too.) Well, I’m not going to develop apps for the iPad, but a lot of people are. And they’re going to create a second cycle of revolutionary applications that are an order of magnitude more impressive than the thousands of significant apps that exist now. Am I sticking my predictive neck out here? I don’t think so.
These four reasons, together with Apple’s track-record (yes, I know it’s not perfect) for quality products, are quite enough to convince me to pre-order an iPad, something I’ve never done before. By the end of this year, we’ll all know how this turns out.
There’s only one downside as far as I can see. My wife is under the impression that once I get my iPad I won’t need my iPod Touch any more. But honey, I will. We’ll work it out—her birthday is coming up. I’ll think of something…
What do you think about the iPad’s adoption? Do you agree with me that the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades? Or do you think I’m nuts?