I wrote earlier about how I was underwhelmed by my Apple iPad after the first few weeks of use. With my iPhone and my laptop always handy, I just never had a real need to use it. Now I need to (slightly) revise that opinion.
I just came back from a two week vacation with my kids, my wife, and her parents, and the iPad was in constant use by all six of us. The USA Today app is fantastic (while its free) and we all used it to get our daily news (excluding the kids of course). The recently released iPad version of my iPhone’s “Reeder” RSS app is awesome and has finally allowed me to efficiently skim the 600+ articles that I receive each day on the iPad instead of using my laptop.
We used OpenTable to make dinner reservations. I downloaded a star chart to prove that the bright dot in the night sky was Venus. The kids played checkers, colored, read Toy Story, and practiced counting. I played the occasional game of HD pinball. And web browsing of course is easy – assuming you aren’t visiting a flash site (sigh). I actually didn’t take out my laptop once the entire two weeks (lesson learned: vacations definitely don’t require a laptop when you have an iPad).
But the experience is far from perfect. We own dozens of kids DVDs and should be able to easily get those onto our iPad. I still don’t like typing on the iPad – I actually think typing on the iPhone is easier. I’m still not using the iPad as an e-book reader (the thing is just too heavy). I tried streaming a Netflix movie using the property’s wifi, which was too slow. Some of the websites I visited use Flash. And while Reeder makes it easy to skim my daily articles, there isn’t an easy way to copy an article that I want to keep into Evernote. (With my laptop: highlight, copy, click, paste, done).
So the iPad is still a great device for kids, and is still a pretty good way to consume media. But tablets will continue to have their limitations, and while the iPad was first to market I don’t think that it has the defensibility that the iPhone has.
Rocco Tarasi was an accountant, investment banker, and CFO before becoming a technology entrepreneur.