I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single device that has had the impact the iPad has had, in such a short amount of time. It’s only been two years since the iPad was even announced and it’s impact on the world of technology has been astounding. Prior to Jobs walking on stage and announcing the iPad and the specs that go with it, all we could do was speculate, both on the device itself and the impact it would have.
I think it’s fair to say that nobody could have imagined just how big the iPad’s succes would be. It’s sales figures have been astronomical, way beyond the expectations people had of it. It single handedly created a new device segment in the market. It put computing power in the hands of many that barely even touched computers. Nobody can deny it’s success.
If you want to read about sales figures, babies and pensioners using the iPad, or what other tablets are now competing in the same device segment space, then there’s plenty of articles online you can read. That’s not what I want to write about here.
Let me be clear, this is not an Apple love-fest, although I’m a self confessed fanboy. What I simply want to write about is the impact the iPad has had on me personally. I quite literally can’t imagine not having this device with me at all times now. It moves from room to room around the house with me, and 90% of the time it leaves the house with me. In essence the iPad serves two purposes for me, it entertains me, and allows me to get away from sitting in front of the computer.
Let’s kick this off by talking about reading. I’m an avid reader and always have been. Prior to the iPad there were two issues creating a problem for me. The first is lighting. My eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and no amount of adjustment of reading lamps and body contortions to get the right spot was producing the ideal reading environment. The best option was always the lamp in the bedroom on the side table, but being a late night guy the light would often wake up my wife. Not a pleasant experience for either of us.
The other reading issue is that I’m slowly developing arthritis and prolonged holding of a book (and I love me some big thick novels) was producing aching hands and wrists. Being a heavy computer user I also get the occasional bout of carpal tunnel syndrome. Not pleasant.
Both of these issues have become a thing of the past with the iPad. I can happily read for hours on end, with good light and no discomfort. I know people may say that the backlight is an issue long term, but I always dim the screen so it’s not too bright and I love the new night feature of iBooks making the screen in negative. It allows me to read in bed without disturbing my wife.
So without a doubt, the hands down killer feature of the iPad for me is the way it’s reinvigorated my love of reading (I have a 2nd genration Kindle, but without being backlit it wasn’t a solution for me).
I’m also a huge movie buff, and the iPad combined with AirPlay and the Apple TV has been a godsend. You’ve got AirVideo, allowing you to consume video content in any format from your Mac to either your iPad or flicked to the TV using AirPlay. You’ve got Hulu Plus, Netflix and iTunes movies, the latter two also being accessible via the Apple TV. All of these solutions pretty much have everyone covered (and yes I’ll admit this is more true for people in the U.S). I love that with AirVideo I can start watching a video while in the kitchen cooking, then sit down in the lounge room, flick the video across to the Apple Tv via AirPlay, and continue to watch where I left off. Fantastic.
Now let’s talk about apps. There are so many out there now that you can find solutions for pretty much anything. For me, it’s all about giving myself time away from sitting in my office in front of the computer. I’ll break that down into five simple categories: communications, productivity, accounts, social and entertainment. Entertainment I’ve pretty much covered, aside from games, so I’ll spend a little bit of time here talking about the other four (and a bit of gaming as well) as they’re mainly my big plusses where it comes to getting away from in front of the computer and performing these functions anywhere.
Communications. With the iPad I’m able to keep tabs on all of my important emails accounts, I can receive iMessages, make Skype calls, Facetime calls, etc. Even if the iPad just performed these functions and nothing else it would be worth it. I said the iPad goes with me everywhere 90% of the time. The iPhone goes with me 100% of the time and while it performs the same functions, it’s not as elegant a solution for some things. Combine both and I can add in calls, meaning I have all of my communication bases covered.
Productivity. I’ll admit that the iPad is primarily a content consumption device for me, but I also use it for content creation as well. This blog post is being typed up on my preferred text editor (Simplenote) to be edited and published later. I also use Blogsy to publish direct to blogs, a variety of photo editing apps, Apple’s own Keynote, Pages and Numbers, and a variety of app creation apps I’m using to brainstorm some app ideas I have. Combined that’s pretty impressive on one mobile device.
Accounts. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Simple access to a variety of account information, be it Instapaper, Reeder, Dropbox, Simplenote (syncs in with Notational Velocity, my preferred text tool on the Mac), my Google Docs, flight information, my Foxtel account (cable/pay TV) so I can set remote recording, and yes, even bank accounts.
Social. Another obvious one. There are apps covering everything, but I only really access Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Path. I primarily access these social services on the iPad. It means I spend less of my valuable time in front of the computer being used to look at social networks, and more of the time being productive.
Lastly, a brief word on gaming. When the iPad first came out I went nuts with the games. I still have quite a few installed, but I’ve slowed down on how many I buy. Everyone has differing tastes here too, so what I like is less relevant. I do need to mention the iCade cabinet though. I love this thing. I have a page on my iPad dedicated to just iCade supported games and it’s damn fun to use. Hopefully it’ll get supported by more developers in the future.
So there you have it. The iPad rocks my world. My reasons for loving the iPad are simple. I f I was pressed to pick two things about it though, it gets me away from sitting in the office in front of a computer and it’s helped me rekindle (bad pun I know) my love of reading.
(If anyone is interested in knowing more about any of the apps I use for various tasks, hit me up in the comments and I’ll update the post with some lists of the apps.)