I don’t have a smartphone; I have a 3.5 inch tablet

I’m 11 days into my billing cycle this month on my iPhone, and the data about my usage really shows how I communicate and live my life has changed a lot over the past few years. These stats really popped out to me (multiply by about three to get my monthly usage):

  • 17 anytime minutes used.
  • 653.5 MBs of data used.
  • 75 text messages sent.

When you look at this data, it’s clear that I use my iPhone more as a mobile computing device than as a phone. It’s no more of a phone than my laptop with Skype is. I have a phone app that I use every now and then, but other applications — Safari, Facebook, Twitterific, Mail, Reeder, Instapaper, The Weather Channel, ESPN, etc — are much more used and important to my life.

I’m not some crazy outlier either. This usage is increasingly becoming normal among my age cohort and increasingly other age cohorts as well. Smartphones and text are exploding, but phone calls are fading:

According to Nielsen Media, even on cellphones, voice spending has been trending downward, with text spending expected to surpass it within three years.

Smartphones are changing the face of computing and of communication. I communicate with people all day long — Twitter, Facebook (almost all my family and friends are on this), text messages and email.

But when you put this all together, it seems to be that calling an iPhone or Android, Windows Phone 7, Palm OS, etc a phone — smart or not — is selling the devices short. The idea of a phone is fading away. These touchscreen tablet devices are able to make calls, yes, but they are able to do so much more.

And so when people say, “who needs a tablet,” I’ll tell them they probably already have and love one.

Thoughts on Chrome OS and the Cr-48

Much to my surprise, I receieved an unmarked box containing a Cr-48 laptop from Google.

No warning. Just arrived. I’m not complaining.

I’ve been using the Cr-48 with Chrome OS a lot this past week. It’s been a pretty enjoyable experience. This is very much a beta, and this is why I’m posting thoughts and not a review. There is no way to review prototype hardware or beta software. Some things just don’t work. That’s why it’s a beta.

I’m not going to talk about the things that don’t work because this is a beta. The fact that the USB ports aren’t fully functional yet has nothing to do with what the final OS will be like. The performance of Flash does, however, because Flash has been on Linux for years (and Adobe never cared about Linux performance until a huge, mainstream company like Google started developing Linux-based products such as Chrome OS and Android).

Here are some thoughts and questions I’ve had so far:

It’s really not that jarring — Most of what I do involves websites: Gmail, Google Docs, WordPress, a few Drupal CMSes, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Google, ESPN.com, Google Reader, Hulu, Netflix, nytimes.com, etc, etc, etc. It’s really not that jarring to use a Chrome OS computer. Most of the time, you won’t even notice that you aren’t on Windows, OS X or a version of Linux such as Ubuntu (Chrome OS is Linux based). If you spend most of your time in the browser, Chrome OS feels very familiar.

Forget about boot times – Chrome OS boots in about 12 seconds, and unlike most OSes, it doesn’t take awhile from signing in until you can do something (I swear it takes about five minutes for my XP machine at work to boot up and be ready to use). When you can boot and have a website open in about 20 seconds, it changes your relationship with a computer. My main computer is a Mac Mini hooked up to two monitors. It loads Dropbox, Mozy, Alfred, etc, etc, etc on startup. All things that I need when I’m doing heavy-duty work, but it also means that I can’t really use my computer for a few minutes. If my computer is turned off, and I just want to play around on the Internet, I usually keep it off. With a device like Chrome OS, those considerations don’t come into play. This is a lot like the iPad where you can just leave it laying around your house and pick it up and use it whenever you want to surf around the Web (the Cr-48 also sleeps very well and can go about a month in standy-by mode).

But can you work on it? — The jury is still up in the air. Anything you can do on the Chrome browser — my main browser — you can do on Chrome OS, except for anything requiring Java. It’s unknown if Java will be coming to Chrome OS or not. I can use WordPress on it, as I’m doing right now. I can do light image editing and graphic design work with Aviary. I can use social networking sites, read ebooks and even do light programming on Chrome OS. Video editing, screencasting and some of the other activities that I do are out of the question.

The Cr-48 is slow — This is a prototype, so you can’t get too down on it. I imagine that as Chrome OS approaches version 1.0 it will get faster even on older harder like the Cr-48. Chrome 9 — the browser — and Flash 10.2 both would give Chrome OS a major speed boost. As of this writing neither has made it to Chrome OS. The computer itself is a single core Atom chip, which is not enough to handle Flash video, because Flash is resource intensive (Flash 10.2 promises to solve some of these issues). So, my slower iPad can easily handle 720p HD video at 30fps without any issues, whereas Chrome OS can’t even do 480p video properly. That’s an issue. I would think that just about all Chrome OS netbooks will ship with dual-core Atom processors and hopefully have hardware acceleration for video. My cell phone handles video better than my Chrome OS laptop. Every Chrome OS computer needs to ship with the ability to handle 720p video at 30fps. Beyond that, Chrome OS feels much slower than using Chrome on my Mac Mini. Let’s hope that changes.

Flash is terrible on Chrome OS (and Linux in general) — One of the major arguments against Flash is that Adobe controls how well it runs on a platform. JavaScript is the exact opposite. Chrome. Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc are all trying to see who can process JavaScript the fastest, which has led to JavaScript-heavy websites (think most Web apps such as Gmail and Google Apps) to render much faster. And they keep rendering Web pages faster all the time as new browsers with better JavaScript engines come out. Flash doesn’t work like that. There is no competition and until Apple stopped using Flash in many of its products and HTML5 emerged, Adobe had no incentive to improve Flash speed. Flash is slow on your computer? Just buy a newer, faster machine! That was essentially Adobe’s message for years. Flash has always run best on Windows, which has left OS X and Linux users out to dry. But OS X users have it much better than Linux users. Adobe has never cared about making Flash usable on Linux until Google decided to develop a Linux-based OS with Chrome OS. Flash makes the whole browsing experience slow on Chrome OS, even if you aren’t directly using a Flash-based site. Any site with Flash-based ads on it will be slower than expcted. The good news is now that there will be a version of Linux from a major company, Flash should get much better on Linux. Web pages without Flash render very fast and are a pleasure to use.

So, who would want this? — Anyone who just wants to get on the Web and not worry about viruses, security, system updates, plugin updates, browser updates, etc. Chrome OS just works. It can’t do anything other than the Web, but for an increasing number of people, that’s pretty much all they do outside of perhaps iTunes or some other media-management software.

Enter business? — Chrome OS really screams out for business use. So many employees don’t use the full functionality of their computers (or use virtually none). They use websites, occasionally open Word or PowerPoint docs, do some research and use some custom software. Most of those people could switch to a completely Web-based OS. But why would they do it? Simple. Chrome OS is a very secure platform that requires no IT management. The system updates itself without needing any input from the user and Web apps do the same as well. Would IT managers go for something that writes out much of their job description? Maybe not. But the smart ones — the ones you want at your organization — would realize that Chrome OS would free them up to do bigger thinking. It would allow them to spend more time investigating how to us IT more efficiently and how to makes workers’ jobs easier. Instead, much of IT work right now is tech help. Imagine a system that is very secure, sandboxed (even infected apps couldn’t affect other apps or the system itself), auto updates, and makes employees take care of their data by forcing them to save everything to a redundant and secure platform. How many of your employees save important documents to their computers hard drive instead of to your server? Far, far too many. With Chrome OS, that’s simply not an option. Chrome OS would save money and time. For many of your employees, they’ll need a heavy OS. But for the ones who don’t need one, why would you give them one?

The perfect parent computer — Chrome OS would seem like the perfect computer for my Dad. The only thing he does is surf the Web. He reads websites, checks e-mail and plays fantasy sports. I could definitely see him having a Chrome OS netbook on his desk. It doesn’t take up much space, can be easily powered on in seconds, lasts for a long time on each charge, is very secure, updates itself and requires no maintenance.

Can this work in a tablet world? — That’s the biggest question. Pretty much everything I have said about Chrome OS  could be said about an iPad or some of the tablets coming out. True most tablets don’t update their software in the background for you (I think this will be changing), but tablets are much less complicated to use than a traditional OS and should be much more secure. People who need a dedicated keyboard and trackpad will appreciate Chrome OS. I could certainly see Chrome OS receiving business adoption for employees who don’t need much computing power. Ultimately, I see a world where most households have one main computer that runs either Windows or OS X. After that they’ll have several other computing devices — smartphones, tablets and perhaps Chrome OS netbooks. It makes sense. Most people don’t really need more than one-heavy OS device per house. For students writing and researching papers, Chrome OS makes more sense than a tablet. On the other hand, a tablet makes more sense during class. I don’t know how this will shake out, but I do know the days of most households having multiple heavy-OS computers are over.

Google got the netbook right — Prior to Chrome OS and the Cr-48, netbooks were about taking a full-featured OS and mating it with simple hardware. The Cr-48 is about taking full-featured hardware and mating it with a simple OS. The typical netbook isn’t good at anything, regardless of how good the software could be. Anything less than a full-sized keyboard is worthless for serious writing or programming. Most traditional netbooks have cramped keyboards that are hard to type on (often harder than a touchscreen tablet). The Cr-48 comes with a fantastic keyboard. You don’t need a full-featured OS to do research or type papers, blog posts or news stories, but you do need a good keyboard. Netbooks currently excel at nothing. They are just small, cheap laptops. They are worse than tablets. The Cr-48 has some things that it genuinely does better than a tablet. It comes with a fast HD (SSD) that allows for quick startup, a Web cam for video conferencing and audio calls, a nice sized screen and more. Yes, the processor isn’t that fast, but Chrome OS doesn’t need a fast processor, and why spend money on something you don’t need? Finally, Google has found a way to give netbooks a niche beyond being cheap devices that people later regret.

So how does this fit into my workflow? — Too early too tell. For programming, video editing, screencasting and some other activities my Mac Mini will get the nod. It’s fast, has two monitors, can run a variety of development environments and more. For surfing the Web and lounging around, the iPad is king. The iPad is just fun. Using your fingers to navigate the Web and flick pages up and down is really a special experience. I also use my iPad at work as a note-taking device, as well as for e-mail, calendars and project management. It’s the perfect work companion. It’s also a fantastic device for my train rides on the metro and for going to coffee shops. The Cr-48 may eventually become my go-to writing device. I can take it anywhere I want, unlike my Mac Mini, and it’s great to type on (I love the keyboard), unlike my iPad (the typing is fine for notes, but not for longer content). I like to sit on my balcony with my iPad, but I missed having a laptop to do work on when it’s a nice day. Now I can do writing work on it with the Cr-48. I also think this will be a great device for when I have guests. When my family members visit, they eventually want to check their e-mail, adjust their fantasy lineups and surf the Web. Chrome OS is perfect that. You can leave the laptop in your guests room, and they can quickly sign in as a guest, do whatever and then their session will be destroyed upon log out.

So who would you recommend this for when it launches this summer? — My Dad (my Mom has a Macbook Pro that she uses for work) and anyone looking for a cheap writing and researching device. If a Chrome OS netbook comes out in the $300-400 range, it would probably be a better product than a comparably priced Windows laptop. I’ve seen far too many people buy cheap Windows laptops, only to have to replace them fairly quickly because they become so slow and unusable. Chrome OS doesn’t have those issues, and even a $300 Chrome OS laptop should be usable for years to come.

How I’m going to test the iPad and how you can help

By now, you’ve probably read glowing review after glowing review of the iPad by tech columnists, but I want to share my experiences with you when I get my iPad.

I will not have received an iPad for free, nor will I be testing it out as my job for  a news outlet or tech blog. Rather I paid for my iPad, and I want to see how it can help me in my life and with my work.

Can I stop carrying my laptop every day? Was this worth how much it costs? How is it as a work tool? How is it at home after working at a computer all day long? Is it light enough that just about every time I leave the house I’ll want to bring it with me, just in case?

With that in mind, I’m devising a way to test the iPad and would appreciate your help.

Here are some things you need to know about me and my life

  • I live in Maryland and work in Virginia. I do not own a car. You can guess how I spend a lot of my time. I’m often on trains, where I do work on my laptop.
  • I spend a lot of time walking around, often with a Macbook. It’s heavy and it doesn’t startup that quickly (at least not quickly enough that I would consider using it without thinking about it first).
  • My favorite past time is wasting time on the Internet. I often sit on my couch with my laptop or in a recliner.
  • I work on the Web for a living. Specifically I spend a lot of time on social networks and on my company’s custom social network for conservationists, RarePlanet.Org.
  • I receive a lot of e-mail.
  • I like to go to coffee shops and just hang out around town.
  • I like to blog in my spare time. I also blog for work, sometimes while riding on a train.
  • I do a lot of reading, particularly of Web sites. I also read books and magazines.
  • Netflix streaming, Hulu and TED more than make up for my lack of cable.

Why did I preorder an iPad?

I preorded the iPad before any reviews came out because I was not enjoying my current situation. My laptop weighs 5.2 pounds. The charger isn’s particularly light either. My Mifi is pretty light but with its charger and cable to hook it up to my laptop in case its battery dies, it starts to add to my already heavy pack. Then I bring a liter of water with me for my commute in an aluminum bottle. I also pack my lunch and usually have at least one book and one magazine with me.

I could replace all of that, except for the food and water, with the 1.6 pound 3G iPad. Instead of using a backpack, I could go back to using a messenger bag. And while my Macbook is fine for use on the larger Marc commuter train, it is too unwieldy to use on the metro.

And after lugging my laptop to and from work, I almost never want to take it to coffee shops or anywhere else. It is basically either used at home or on the way to work.

What do you want to know about the iPad?

  • Is it a better day-to-day experience than my laptop? Can I do real work with it on my way to and from work?
  • Can I unwind with it on my train ride home from work?
  • How is reading books and other long form content on it? I’m skeptical about reading a book on an LCD screen.
  • Is this a better pleasure device than a laptop or desktop? While I do enjoy reading Web sites and watching video with my laptop and desktop, neither is a great pleasure device. There is still a bit of a work feel to them.
  • And, of course, was it worth how much money I spent on it?

How will I go about figuring this out?

I’m going to test the core components of the device and see how I like them separately. How is watching video on it? How about reading? How about sufring the video?

My rubric so far (and I want your help)

  • Web sites — I frequent a lot of blogs and news Web sites (and I live in Google Reader). How is this experience? Is it a more immersive experience than sitting at a desk with a computer? How is it without Flash support? I’m going to try nytimes.com, bbcnews.com, nationalgeographic.com, economist.com, guardian.co.uk and maybe a few others. Those are my favorite news sites. I’ll also try blogs like TechCrunch and TreeHugger. Is the iPad better or worse for my favorite sites?
  • Video — I’m going to download UP in HD. It’s one of my favorite movies ever, and I have seen it in theaters in 3D, on DVD and on Blu Ray. I know what it can look like. How is the experience on the iPad?
  • Video games — I do play video games from time to time, and I do own a Nintendo DS. I haven’t really touched the DC since I purchased my iPhone about two years ago. I would imagine that the iPad is an even better portable gaming device than a smartphone. I want to test this hypothesis out. I don’t have any specific games in mind yet. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
  • Book — I don’t read books as much as I read news, but I still read a bit. And I am quite skeptical about reading on an LCD screen for extended periods of time. And I know you can’t really read an LCD in direct sunlight. I believe I am going to read Food Rules as my first E-Book on the device. It’s a shorter, lighter book. If I can get through that, I’ll select a bigger, denser book. But if 112 pages of lighter reading is a chore, I’ll have a good gauge on the iPad’s capabilities as an E-Reader.
  • iPad specific apps — I have no interest in putting the paces on iPhone apps on the iPad. I want to know how native apps behave. Are they materially better than iPhone apps? I’m eagerly awaiting OmniOutliner and OmniFocus for the iPad. Both are strong productivity apps. If they work well that will be big.
  • On the go — I spend a lot of my life outside of my house. How is it at the coffee shop? On the train? In a park? In a car?
  • At home — I have a desktop and a laptop at home. Will this make me want to use them less or will I want to put my iPad away when I am at home?
  • Will I want to cancel my newspaper and magazine subscriptions — I hate the clutter of newspapers and magazines, but like the experience (at least on weekends). Can the iPad inspire me to go print-free?
  • Can I sell an existing computer — Will the iPad allow me to get rid of my laptop? Or is this another device in my life?

What else would you like to see?

I want to put the iPad through every day use. Let me know what you’d like me to test, and I can let you know how that works.

Judging by the early reviews, I think I’m going to really like the iPad. But liking something and something being worth your money and time are two different things. Was this a wise purchase? Will I be able to leave my laptop at home? Will I be able to sell my laptop?

These are the real questions that need to be answered.

Why and how I’d use an iPad and similar tablets

Instead of pontificating on whether or not the iPad is a failure or how it will change computing forever, I thought that I would spend some time thinking about how I would actually use an iPad or similar tablet.

1. My commute to work and walking around the city

  • Doing work on the train — I do work on my Marc train trips to and from Union Station. I don’t do any heavy duty work. I’m mostly checking my e-mail and responding to messages before I arrive at work and getting a jump on our social media for the day (on the way home, I mostly concentrate on Twitter, Facebook and our own social network, RarePlanet.org). My Macbook + Verizon MiFi works pretty well, but there are some issues with the setup, mostly related to size and form factor.
  • Weight — The iPad weighs in at just 1.5 lbs. That’s a big deal for people who live in urban areas and take computing devices around with them on a daily basis. My Macbook weighs 5.2 lbs. and while that may not seem like a lot if you throw your laptop in a bag and then into your car, it is a big deal if you do a lot of walking. When I’m in my office in Arlington, I usually walk at least 5 miles a day. I don’t always have my Macbook with me the entire time, but weight does become a concern. A device as light as 1.5 pounds would be something that I’d consider taking a lot of places with me. On weekends, I could see going to a coffee house with a iPad and sitting around and reading it like a newspaper. I do not bring my Macbook with me when I go to Starbucks on weekends. Back to weight, even a 10.1-inch netbook (the closet screen size to an iPad) weighs in at 2.9 lbs. I’d much rather take something half the weight of a netbook around with me, especially as something I just throw into a bag and go.
  • Size – Along the lines of weight, size is an important consideration for many. My laptop barely fits in my messenger bag. Instead I usually take a larger book bag because I can fit other things like a power cord, lunch, papers, etc in it comfortably. A netbook would solve this issue, but the weight is still rather high, but more importantly the form factor of a notebook/netbook kind of sucks for on the go.
  • Form factor — One of the main reasons I have resisted the urge to get a netbook is the form factor. It’s not just the size of my Macbook that is an issue but also the form factor. Much like how broadsheet newspapers such as The New York Times are awkward to use on public transportation, so is anything with a clamshell design that all current notebooks and netbooks offer. On a bigger commuter train, one can get by with a clamshell notebook, but on the subway, it’s just not worth it. I almost always shut my laptop down as I’m getting of the Marc and don’t turn it back on until I get on the Marc at night. Using it on the DC metro system is just too much of a hassle. A smaller, lighter, non-clamshell iPad, on the other hand, could be something that I use all the time on the DC Metro. It’s something that I could hold in one hand, that doesn’t require my elbows to be poking into people next to me like I would be doing if I were using a notebook or netbook and it starts up lightening fast.
  • Start up and shutdown time – The iPad boots up in 10 seconds, and Google is promising very quick start up times for their Chrome OS. Start up time matters when you’re talking about a device that you’ll just pick up and use whenever. If I’m taking a 10-15 minute subway ride, I don’t want to bother starting up my computer. The same can be said of a laptop sitting near a couch that is turned off. If the hope is for tablets to be something that people just pick up and use on a whim like a magazine — but with the ability to surf the Web, play video games, etc — it has to be so quick and easy to start up that one doesn’t even half second thoughts about using it.
  • Battery life — This is paramount for any tablet. Any tablet that gets 3-4 hours of battery life won’t be particularly useful. Book reading is out of the window immediately, and it is really a hassle to always have to be charging a device or near an outlet. If the idea is to hold a tablet like a book, it can’t spend most of its time tethered to a power outlet like laptops currently do. There are days when I don’t carry my Macbook power cord with me (and I later regret this), but there are many days when I do if I think I might need more than 3-4 hours of battery life. Unless I’m traveling, it appears the iPad could get through an entire day of use without needing a recharge. This is big. Below I mention some uses that I could see for the iPad (such as a PDF reader for work) that would be less useful if this device had poor battery life. Ultimately, if you’re traveling around over the course of a day, carrying around and using a device like the iPad, battery life is going to be really important. A power cord is just one more thing to carry in an already crowded and heavy bag.

2. At the office

  • Notes — I usually take light notes with pen and paper in the meetings that I attend. Occasionally I need to take really detailed notes, and I’ll bring my work laptop,which is docked to a Dell docking station. It’s a bit of a hassle to undock and redock, especially since I have an external monitor hooked up to it. Undocking my laptop tends to mess up the resolutions of my monitors and causes some issues and wasted time. If I had an iPad, I’d just grab that and take it to most meetings. OmniOutliner — which many consider the gold standard in outlining programs — is coming to the iPad this year. For most meetings, that’s what I’d bring. The iPad starts up in 10 seconds and would do just fine for most note taking. If I needed to take heavy notes, I could still bring my work laptop, but otherwise a tablet makes a lot more sense. I don’t really like taking notes on pen and paper, especially since I often retype them when I get back to my desk.
  • PDFs — Like many people, I come into contact with a lot of PDFs at work. Some are from coworkers, others are guides and resources relevant to my work. So yes, I’ve printed out the most important ones and have them handy. The iPad would make a fantastic device for storing these PDFs, making them searchable and making them quite portable. My work laptop is OK, but it’s not really handy if I need to go somewhere with said PDFs. Having a smaller, lighter device that boots up much faster (my work computer with XP can take five minutes or so to boot) could be huge for office documents.

3. At home

  • Reading — I do a lot of reading of blog posts, news stories, magazine pieces, comments after stories and posts, message boards, etc, etc, etc. I either do this reading at my desktop computer in my home office or on my laptop, which is usually in the family room by the couch. Both work fine for much of my reading, but both have limitations. Laptops work fine when sitting up, but lying down with one is always an awkward experience. For longer reading, neither my laptop nor my desktop make an ideal experience. I’d much rather have something that I could lie down with. Eventually I — like just about everyone — will cancel all of my print subscriptions and go digital only. For something like The Economist, the iPad would could really be a great experience. The Economist is something that I often sit down with for hours. I’ve never done this with their Web site on my laptop, but I could see doing this on a lightweight tablet that I can hold.
  • Casually surfing the Web — Like many people in my generation, I often surf the Web, use social networks and chat while I watch TV. A laptop is fine for this, but it’s not a great couch experience. The biggest problem with the clamshell design is that it limits the different ways you can sit comfortable with it (or keep it from sliding around). A tablet would be much easier to recline or lie down with.

4. The car

  • I don’t spend much time in cars, but when I do, they are usually longer trips to either visit my family or my fiancee’s. I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have ever used a laptop while riding in a car. I have used my iPhone countless times under the same situation. I think with mobile Internet, I’d be much more likely to actually use an iPad than a laptop while in a car. This wouldn’t be a main reason that I would buy an iPad or similar tablet, but it’s something to consider.

4. What about the missing stuff?

  • Won’t you miss Flash? — Yes. And no. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Flash 10.1 on mobile devices to see how it performs. If it performs well, doesn’t suck down a lot of battery power and fits in well with how mobile devices work, I will miss it, at least in the short term until it is eventually replaced (proprietary technology is always being replaced on the Internet). But if Flash would cut the iPad’s battery life in half, I wouldn’t want it. Battery life is really important for mobile devices, tablets are much more of mobile devices than even laptops. Ten hours is the low end of what I think a tablet should get battery wise. Adobe has had a terrible track record on OS X when it comes to Flash’s performance and reliability. Simply put, it doesn’t run as well on OS X as it does on Windows. Apple doesn’t want to rely on an outside vendor, nor do they want people despairingly their products for something a third-party has created. But I’ll reserve judgement on Flash until I see it on other mobile devices this year.
  • But what about Hulu? — This is as close to a deal breaker as you can get for me. Hulu uses Flash and unlike YouTube, TED and Academic Earth, Hulu doesn’t serve up versions of their video in H.264 format that the iPhone and iPad can use. My sense is that Hulu will create a mobile friendly version of Hulu this year, unless Flash 10.1 really takes off on mobile devices (my guess is that it won’t). But Hulu is one of those experiences that can make or break a new device. All that being said, I mostly watch Hulu in 480p mode on one of my 22-inch desktop monitors. A tablet won’t be an ideal way to watch TV shows, especially ones that require the mobile Internet (I have Verizon 3G for my Macbook, and I have no faith that I could use Hulu reliably on it).
  • Don’t you already have two computers? — Well, yes, if you don’t count the two PowerMacs that aren’t hooked up right now. If I get an iPad, it would be with an eye towards selling my Macbook. My desktop with dual 22-inch monitors is a much better work environment than my Macbook (or for playing games or for watching video or etc, etc ,etc). On the go and the couch, the iPad could very well be the superior experience. The iPad isn’t a device that you can replace all your computers with, but I do believe that it can replace one.
  • So are you buying one? — I’m leaning toward yes. I believe an iPad would legitimately be a superior device to my laptop for traveling to and from work, walking around DC and surrounding communities, going to coffee shops, lounging around my apartment, in the car and while at work for certain tasks. It’s not about what the iPad can’t do for me but rather what it can do better. All that being said, I think I’ll try it before I buy it.