I bought an new third generation iPad because I really wanted to have the latest and undisputed greatest tablet on the market. I liked it, gave it a good review and couldn’t help but notice the dazzling Retina display, but I wound up taking the device back to Apple because I found myself hardly ever using it. I’m not an Apple hater. It was other Apple products that sold me on the idea of returning the iPad. I own an 11-inch MacBook Air and an iPhone 4s in addition to the first generation iPad (along with a Kindle Fire) and I simply didn’t need another tablet.
MacBook Air and iPhone used often
Even though I have a killer desktop PC with two large screens, more than a terabyte of storage and plenty of processing power, the MacBook Air, which I bought for travel, gets used several times a day, even when I’m at home. And the iPhone is used constantly. But that new iPad, along with the original iPad I still have, hardly ever got much use. It’s not that it didn’t do all the things it’s advertised for, it’s just that it’s kind of unnecessary compared to an iPhone that fits in my pocket and the MacBook Air which not only has a keyboard but is capable of running any Mac (and optionally Windows) software.
Admittedly as a writer I’m more keyboard-centric than a lot of iPad users and even some some writers, including Time tech commentator Harry McCracken, have productively attached a wireless keyboard to the iPad to use as if it were a general purpose laptop. But I still fall into the camp that prefers a full-featured laptop.
iPad is light & thin but doesn’t fit in pocket
Sure, the iPad is light and thin but at 1.44 pounds ounces, it’s only 15 ounces lighter than the 2.38 pound MacBook Air and even though it’s really thin, so it the Air.
The problem with the iPad is that — for me at least — it doesn’t have what it takes to replace my laptop and because it doesn’t fit in my pocket, it’s not going to be with me 100% of the time when I don’t have a laptop nearby.
I’m not saying that I have no use for an iPad. I love watching movies and reading books on it but my old iPad and my Kindle Fire are also great for those and other media consumption tasks. I like being able to run all those great iOS apps but most apps that work on an iPad also work on an iPhone. And, believe it or not, I’ve even find myself using the iPhone to read or watch video, not because it’s as good or better than an iPad but because it’s always with me. When I’m at the gym or sitting in a restaurant waiting for my companion to arrive, I can pull out the iPhone which is more than I can say for that iPad that I probably left at home.
I know I’m not alone. I haven’t done any formal surveys but I’ve asked a number of people about their us of smart phones, tablets and laptops and most (though clearly not all) say that they use the tablet a lot less those other devices.
The Samsung Galaxy Note is sold as a phone, not a tablet, but with it’s 5.3 inch display, it’s the closest thing to a combination tablet and phone. The 7-inch Kindle Fire isn’t a phone but it’s almost small enough to fit into a pocket. Rumor has it that Apple might be building a larger version of the iPhone, a smaller version of the iPad or both. If so, that could also fit the bill of a “phablet,” — combination phone and tablet.