This weekend, the day after the iPad was released in the UK, I went into an Apple store and had a play with an iPad for a few minutes. My first reaction was surprise was that I was able to get access to an iPad so quickly. When I tried the same for the iPhone I had to give up as it was taking too long to queue. That’s probably down to the time of day rather than the popularity of the device though.

Much has been made of the iPad being a jumped up iPod Touch, and when the iPad was announced I was disappointed that it didn’t run Mac OS X. Having played with the device though I’m inclined to think that it was a good move. When they release the upcoming version 4 operating system with its background processing capabilities most criticisms will no longer be valid.

The iPad is usually described as a content consumption device, rather than a content creation device. That’s not quite true, as I could quite happily type this blog post using an iPad. However, as a webdeveloper in both a professional and a hobbyist capacity it is impossible to imagine using the iPad to create anything that complicated.

At the moment I have a large, dual screen, pc which is on most of the time while I’m at home. I might be sat on the sofa watching the TV, but my pc is on an whirring quite loudly a short distance away. The reason it’s on is so that I can check facebook, my email or google reader without having to wait a couple of minutes for it to switch on. It is exactly this sort use that the iPad will excel at. It is also the what the vast majority of computers are used for.

With an iPad my main computer could be off unless I want to actually do something constructive with my pc. As the iPad turns on instantly and has a long battery life it can live on my coffee table and be accessed as and when it’s needed. This is greener and will save me money on my electricity bill, although just how long it would take me to save enough money to claw back the purchase price I’m not sure. You’re probably talking on the order of decades though!

I’m an almost complete cloud computing convert. I use GMail for my email. I read my RSS feeds using Google Reader and create documents and spreadsheets using Google Docs, and I store my photos online using Flickr. All bar the last of these are supported easily by the iPad. The inability to plugin in my camera and upload photos to Flickr means that even for my parents, their current computer won’t be going anywhere.

If this blog post sounds like someone who is trying to convince themselves to buy an iPad, then you’re probably right. Unfortunately my upcoming wedding means that I’ve had to put my planned iPhone 4 purchase this summer on hold. I’ll just have to tell myself that the iPad 2 will be even better…


Author: Andrew Wilkinson

I'm a computer programmer and team leader working at the UK grocer and tech company, Ocado Technology. I mostly write multithreaded real time systems in Java, but in the past I've worked with C#, C++ and Python.

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