Why should I keep my iPad?
December 28, 2011 11:53 PM   Subscribe

Should I keep my iPad?

I just got an iPad as a gift and no one can give me a compelling argument as to why I need one. What does it do that I can't already do on my computer/smartphone?
posted by allfortheBoss to Computers & Internet (29 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Use it before you decide one way or another. That is what tipped me over: spending time browsing my favourite sites, reading off the kindle app and some of the geolocation apps. On paper the iPad didn't tick the boxes I wanted, but after using and then buying an iPad, my netbook has been gathering dust while my iPad gets more use than my home computer and phone combined. It's just a pleasure to use and it is so well supported that there are very few things I personally cannot do with it.

Warning: it feeds into any dormant ADD habits you may have. I'm writing this on my iPad while I'm watching tv.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:03 AM on December 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

My iPad is my favorite device for idle web browsing. Seriously, pinch-zooming and drag-scrolling on the big screen makes cluttered websites simply more pleasurable, and reading for sustained periods is easier. There's nothing extra an iPad lets you do; it is just a computer after all. But it is sure fun to use, and easy to carry around in a bag, and all that jazz.
posted by silby at 12:10 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh, it's highly recommended if you use public transport or fly a lot - the 10 our battery life plus light frame with videos, books etc. makes time go by quickly.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:15 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

What can you do with a food processor that you can't do with a wooden spoon and two hours? What can you do with an electric kettle that you can't do with a saucepan?

It doesn't necessarily do anything specifically unique, it just does them in a slightly different way that may be more pleasant or more convenient for you. If you'd prefer $500 cash to that (and many people would) then go ahead and sell it. I find it worth the money, for reading in bed, and on the bus, and on the plane, and taking notes in class (penultimate is beautiful, for those interested - I am now just agonising over how/whether to move my existing notes from NoteTaker HD).
posted by jacalata at 12:18 AM on December 29, 2011 [5 favorites]

I like that I can take one item with me but then have many options available to me. Pull the ipad out if my pocket and I can read a book, play a game, surf the web, do my banking, check my email, do some work.... it's the pure simplicity of having one item serve the function of many.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 12:43 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

My husband bought a family ipad for christmas last year, and I was furious with him for wasting the money. We both already HAVE computers! I even have a laptop!

A year later, I wish we had two. It's just so useful and fun. We do stuff with it that we absolutely could do with our computer, but never did. Give it two weeks; put Flipboard and the Netflix app (assuming you're a netflix customer) on it, see what you like.
posted by KathrynT at 12:57 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I got one through an organization with which I work instead of a laptop and I do not like it. It is good for consuming media such as viewing the web, watching videos, watching TV online, but for typing, downloading documents and saving them to directories (organizing them), it is severely lacking in my opinion. I am a pc user if that helps as a point of reference. It also means that GMail looks different than I am used to, and so does all my other email accounts.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:27 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hit post too soon.

If I were given one as a gift, I would likely keep it, but I would not buy one for myself at this point. I would use my pc and my smartphone. Since I use a lot of Excel spreadsheets, word docs, pdf, etc I am hoping that the Windows 8 tablet coming out in June (estimated) makes more sense for me.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:30 AM on December 29, 2011

I started with an iPad, then add an iPhone a few months later, and I honestly don't use the iPad much anymore. The small screen that is within reach gets used a lot more than the big screen in the other room. Like it's nice in bed, and it's nice when you're sitting on the couch, but it can't be in both places at once and carrying it around isn't very convenient.

I do still use it in place of a personal laptop, when I'm traveling, so that's why I kept mine.
posted by smackfu at 6:01 AM on December 29, 2011

No one's mentioned work-related uses yet. I travel quite a bit for work and have been able to wean myself successfully from having to carry a laptop for most trips now. For the moment, the iPad doesn't count as a laptop computer, so you don't need to haul it out of your bag during the TSA process. This may sound like a small thing, but it's one less bin to screw around with.

The Office-type apps (Keynote, Pages and Numbers) aren't bad, but I generally only use them to view documents sent to me via e-mail, as opposed to creating them from scratch. Keynote, in particular, has gotten a little bit better about converting PPTs, and all you need is the iPad-to-VGA adapter to connect it to any projector that's out there. I've looked at evernote, but am still (myself) very much a pen-and-ink person when it comes to taking notes. Friends and co-workers who use it, though, are head-over-heels in love with it. Dropbox is one of my essential apps for keeping docs in sync across many platforms.

Anyway, in a nutshell: portability, and 'just enough' to maybe leave the laptop at home. Traveling lighter is nearly always A Good Thing as far as I'm concerned. Other folks have covered the fun stuff, but I find that e-books are easier with a larger screen. I use the Crosswords app a whole bunch as well. Can't really see doing that on my phone.
posted by jquinby at 6:04 AM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love my iPad and want to be buried with it! It's convenient and I got the Brookstone case that has a keyboard with it and it can totally function like a regular computer (most of the time). Love it for games, email and all kinds of things.

Did I *NEED* one? No. Did I *WANT* one? Yes.

I love it. (Can you tell?)
posted by Mysticalchick at 6:06 AM on December 29, 2011

I was waffling on an iPad, then I was given one for working on a committee. It has reduced the amount of paper I produce by a shocking amount, and, while its weight isn't negligible, it is lighter than the 2-3" of paper I used to carry around, especially when I can also store some light reading on it as well. I like that the screen is roughly page-shaped and -sized. The constant scrolling on computer screens made reading online on a desk top too cumbersome, and iPhones are too small for anything except cursory browsing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:33 AM on December 29, 2011

Ten hours of reading is not to be sniffed at. Every PDF I'd have printed to read on the train, I load on the iPad instead. It's great for drawing e.g. mind maps for brainstorming, and it's not bad for writing on either.

Plus there's the videos, games, etc. AND the handy smartphone apps that work better on a bigger screen.
posted by danteGideon at 6:47 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have used friends' and coworkers' iPads a lot and decided not to buy one. I have an iPhone and a laptop and sit in front of a computer all day at work. I also have a HTPC hooked up to my living room TV.

The iPad is a really cool device. It's better than an iPhone or a laptop for browsing the web on your couch, it's better for reading than an iPhone (because you're not flipping a page each second and can look at larger graphics more easily), it's better for watching movies than either, and is mostly portable. It has a lot of really great applications.

This strength is precisely why I haven't bought one. Right now when I'm frustrated that my laptop or iPhone doesn't do something well, I put them down and do something else (read on paper, go outside, what have you). The iPad fills in the gaps where the other computers in my life are inconvenient and allows me to have computers everywhere and all the time. But I like having those gaps.
posted by benbenson at 7:39 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

At this point the equivalency of a netbook or laptop to IPad is still hinging on the available Apps that allow for the iPad to replace a normal computer in portion only.

As someone mentioned without the right apps the iPad will have issues being up to stuff. There are also some media related issues (such as printing) that should or could be addressed in future OS editions, but the big big key to making iPad a easy replacement to a laptop is the Office oriented apps.

Microsoft itself has only just begun to make apps for its Skydrive and its Onenote line of products... if an Office for iPad/Tablets appears. Netbooks may as well be making arrangements for the grave.
posted by Bodrik at 7:42 AM on December 29, 2011

Flipbook is especially great for following photostreams on Flickr and following people who tweet a lot of photos or links to videos. If you like to draw, then Procreate is a great app (the 3M Smart Pen stylus is the best I've used). For work, I can lay on thr couch and go through PDFs with iAnnotate, then mail my notes.

On the negative side...I don't find it all that great for general web browsing and the autocorrect feature is poorly implemented.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:11 AM on December 29, 2011

I finally broke down and bought one when over half of my readings this semester were digital and didn't display well on my Kindle (because reading 500+ a week on a laptop screen is pretty awful). It's great for reading & marking up PDFs (you have to buy an app for that, though). The camera's been great for taking pictures of figures and such in lecture and then adding them to my notes. I have an iPhone, too, which works in a pinch, but the screen is too small for me to comfortably spend much time on.

Some other uses I've found that I never expected: I keep all my knitting and guitar chord sheets in Dropbox. Now I can make stuff or play stuff wherever I am. I can have a movie playing on the iPad while working on my laptop (I don't have a TV). The music app is nice for playing white noise in loud spaces when I need to read (the Kindle can do this too, but PDFs). I don't regret buying it at all (and I spent some time looking over my budget before hand) and so would have loved it even more as a gift. Of course, YUMV (your usage may vary).
posted by smirkette at 8:15 AM on December 29, 2011

I love watching Netflix films on my iPad while cooking. Just put the pad itself in a Ziplock quart bag before you do so, so it doesn't get food on it.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:00 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got mine because I love gadgets so, and it has rapidly become essential to me. I recommend a few basic accessories, in particular a bluetooth portable keyboard, decent quality lightweight earbuds, a touch stylus, and if you like photography, an SD card uploader.

Here are some of the reasons I take my Ipad everywhere:

1. It can do virtually everything my laptop can, has an equally beautiful and almost as large a screen, and (because it is a 3g model) has internet connectivity everywhere I've been except China.

2. It holds all my newspapers and magazines. Often these include interactive Ipad features which make reading a magazine like The New Yorker especially wonderful. (E.g. listening to the poet read their poem.)

3. It also holds a ton of my books. I like my Kindle, but I love my Kindle Ipad app. (And the Ibooks app isn't bad either.) And all those articles I've "snipped" on the net with Instapaper. And all the documents I've dropped into Dropbox from any of my computers.

4. I am learning to draw on it.

5. I am learning guitar with it using guitar tuning and teaching apps.

6. It's the best device ever for watching movies and TV shows on airplane flights, bus rides, trains, or in bed.

7. It is my alarm clock. (It did this job even before I added an Ihome alarm clock dock to my night table.)

8. I cart any Groupons, Living Social coupons, Chinook Book coupons, or airport boarding info, not to mention travel guides, very easily with my Ipad.

9. It is a great device for sorting, dumping unwanted, and showing photos. It essentially carted all my pictures from China. I just uploaded from my 2 gig SD card on a regular basis. Then I transferred the pictures when I got home directly from my Ipad to my home computer.

10. It serves as a portable radio and mp3 player too.

11. It is probably the easiest and quickest device out there for handling email.

12. It is really fun to shop on an Ipad.

13. It is also the best device for doing the NYT crossword ever. (Crux app.)

The great thing about the device is that it fits anyone's interests. I'm not much of a comic book or graphic novel person, but if I were it would be a joy to read them on an Ipad. I am less music oriented than many, but the Ipad has tons of apps for musicians. If you want to learn a language, there are apps which will teach you visually, via sound, via games, and in any other interactive way that works for you. Basically, the Ipad tailors to you.

I wish you lots of fun enjoying this great gift.
posted by bearwife at 9:01 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Independent film producer Anthony Moody opted to ditch his three year old laptop and Kindle 2 for an iPad and blogged about it. Walt Mossberg used an iPad instead of his laptop on a "working" vacation. There's an incredibly prescient two-part podcast/interview posted on iTunes called iPad Possibilities (episodes 4 and 6, February and March 2010) that discuss why Anthony chose the iPad and the future viability of the touch screen gesture-driven iOS that has been successful on the iPhone/iPod touch.
posted by plokent at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2011

It's awesome at meetings and conferences, if either of those apply to you. No struggles to find an available plug. Super light and always on. In face-to-face meetings, it completely changes the dynamic for the better: instead of giant metal blocks in front of each person's body, there are unobtrusive screens *flat* on the table, or at a slight incline. I've found it has changed our face-to-face meetings in so many awesome ways.

Great for cooking. Learning anything - language, instrument, origami, drawing.

Playing games with family - scrabble, chess, any number of other digitally-designed games. At a moment's notice. In an airport. On the couch. In the doctor's office.

It has drastically improved my day-to-day experiences with technology, but it actually feels like I'm using *less* technology, or less encumbered by it.
posted by barnone at 12:02 PM on December 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I got mr. desjardins an iPad for Christmas. I have a shiny new laptop and new iPhone, but now I want an iPad. Most of my time on the laptop/iPhone is spent browsing the web, using social media, and reading email. These are much easier on the iPad - more screen space than the iPhone, and much less weight than a laptop. If I were doing a lot of writing or number crunching, I'd use my laptop, but for most anything else, I'd use the iPad (if I can pry it out of his hands).

Still not sold? Try the (free) Flipboard app.
posted by desjardins at 12:42 PM on December 29, 2011

Give it two more weeks, it will begin to fit into your life like a glove and find a place you probably have yet to recognized.

Once it is there, it is there to stay. It is my "go to" machine every morning- reading the news, metafilter, reddit, it is my library too. I recently started using iBooks. I tore through four book in December and use it next to my computer every day. I can read faster on the iPad and love being able to look up words within the app and search things using the search feature by highlighting the word or phrase. I take it to the allergist, where I have to wait 30 minutes after my shots, and read. I take notes on it using Bamboo and use its AIM chat app heavily. I also use it as the device of choice when I have to reference recipes while cooking.

I have no complaints about the device, it took over my love of the Kindle and makes my laptop stay in my bag. When I first got it, I had my doubts but that melted away after getting to know it.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:09 PM on December 29, 2011

Thanks for all the responses. They are really helpful!

Now, in terms of tablets...is the iPad the best option out there? Is there an Android or other device that is better or comparable? I love my Android phone and love the ability to be in control of all aspects of the device.

Any advice on which device is the best option? Is a kindle even in the running?
posted by allfortheBoss at 11:46 PM on December 29, 2011

Now, in terms of tablets...is the iPad the best option out there?


Is there an Android or other device that is better or comparable?

posted by desjardins at 11:57 AM on December 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am fond of Android (witness my smartphone and Kindle Fire) but yes, iPad is the best tablet option. Bar none.
posted by bearwife at 12:19 PM on December 30, 2011

It is not a stable market yet. I anticipate what is available in six months or a year will be quite different than what is out there now. So there is also a time component... Do you need a tablet now, or should you wait?
posted by smackfu at 7:13 AM on December 31, 2011

@smackfu I have the iPad2 in hand (won it in a work incentive contest) but don't know if I should keep it or get something else.
posted by allfortheBoss at 8:24 PM on December 31, 2011

My husband has an android, I have an iPad. He uses his occasionally, I use mine constantly.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:32 AM on January 3, 2012

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