Below are my thoughts. Any help with some of the issues I have encountered would be appreciated.
My wife won an Apple iPad at a seminar she attended this summer. She has had her iPad for over a month now and she loves it. I, on the other hand, was skeptical from the beginning but am now warming up to the device.
My original concern about this device was the cost for what you get in return. I am a real “value for the price” type of consumer. In these times many of us are. The iPad she won has a list price of $599. Before she won her iPad, she was interested in buying one and we visited an Apple store one weekend in June to check it out. (This was my first time I had ever set foot into an Apple store) We were browsing separately and I was checking out Macbooks and analyzing the Excel for Mac application with an employee. After I lost interest, I found my way over to my wife who was fully engaged with an employee talking about the iPad. I came over to see what was going on and she immediately handed me the device and told the Apple associate to convince me of its value. He gave me a tour of the thing for a good 5 minutes and he showed me what it could do but I was still unconvinced that it was anything more than a toy despite his best (and patient) efforts.
Lo and behold, a few weeks later, her prize arrived in the mail and I dodged a bullet. She could play with her toy and after a few weeks I thought it would be sitting unused and I would be vindicated and 600 dollars richer. Well, no such luck. This iPad has become her replacement for her laptop computer when relaxing on the couch at night! She now uses it to access her Microsoft Outlook e-mail account for work, surfs the web, plays games, uses many cool free “Apps”, and has even used it to prepare notes for a training class she was teaching.
I would say that if you are an Apple user you will be able to get more out of this quicker than a PC user but she was up and running with the iPad very quickly and it does not even come with an owners manual. An owners manual is not needed it is so well designed. It is NOT a toy and if you get the 3g version, you can use the internet just like any other mobile device with a much larger screen. The touch screen concept takes a little to get used to but after a while is very user friendly. The screen resolution is also very impressive and slide shows of pictures are as good as any PC I have seen. I can’t recommend this as a replacement for a laptop for a person who uses spreadsheets and other similar software but for keeping up with emails and light memo writing it is very useful for business as well as for fun. The iPad has been described as a computer that has been stripped down to the things that people use most often. By doing so, it can be smaller, faster, lighter and cooler than a laptop could ever be. I would recommend it for the computer user who mostly uses email, photos, games, music and web surfing. My Mom and Dad would be good candidates for an iPad. Why go through the hassle of learning about a computer when you can hit the ground running with an iPad?
There are some things my wife dislikes about her iPad but this may be due to unfamiliarity with Apple products. She has not found out how to do anything else while music is playing. She also has not figured out how to minimize one thing so she can do multiple tasks at once (have several windows open at once). It would also be nice to have a USB port and it is very cumbersome to load music on the device using iTunes and your PC. She has heard many very positive things about the genius feature but despite following directions on how to turn the feature on it still does not work.
The bottom line? I would recommend buying one as long as you are aware of the limitations or do not already have a laptop. If you get the high-end model with 3g and 64GB, the price is $829 plus the cost of the 3g data plan. If I were to guess, the iPad will be a top seller this Christmas season.