Originally published in The Clarion | April 28, 2010
The ways we receive and consume information are not only numerous but ever-changing in the 21st Century. Gone are the days of our reliance on scheduled deliveries for our information. Today we live in a “right now” world – a world where if we want or need to know something, that something is only a few mouse clicks away. As a matter of fact, it is fair to say that we can even take the mouse of the equation. Wireless technologies have made devices like laptop computers, netbooks, smartphones and now tablet devices not only a convenience but in many cases the norm. The latest gadget in this realm of technology is the iPad from Apple – if you have a pulse and have absorbed any sort of information over the last couple of months, I’m sure you are familiar.
Tablet devices are not necessarily a new concept. I recall devices almost a decade ago that attempted to achieve what Apple’s iPad has seemingly done. Maybe you had a Personal Data Assistant at some point in time. If so, I would say you were the owner of a tablet device. There were even larger tablets available at select restaurants that patrons were able to use as a menu, allowing them to make their dinner decisions without the assistance of a waitress. Needless to say, these devices didn’t make the cut and seemingly disappeared as quickly as they arrived.
Now back to 2010 and the iPad. Rumors of a tablet device from Apple circulated for quite some time, and sure enough it has come to be. Sales of the iPad in America have been so good Apple has had to postpone overseas sales for the immediate future. So what’s the fuss all about you may be asking. Let’s consider what exactly the iPad is (and is not).
When I first heard of the iPad my first thought was that it was going to be a big iPhone – without the cellphone capabilities (the iPhone is Apple’s highly successful smartphone). In many ways, my speculations were right. The iPad, in the most simple of explanations, is an attractive tablet device that allows a user to surf the Web, send and receive email, play games, read ePublications and enjoy streaming audio and video. Its display is quite elegant which has become the norm when it comes to products from Apple. On the other hand, the iPad is not a replacement for a productive personal computer. Because everything is integrated into the tablet itself, there is no keyboard (a must for someone like me) – all typing is done on the screen itself.
If you fit the criteria of someone who must stay “connected” and have $500 (entry-level price) burning a hole in your pocket, odds are good the iPad is for you. For me, I’ll stick to my trusty desktop computer and keyboard . .. more on why in coming articles.