Despite its sleek shape and glossy screen, I can’t help but think of my iPad as a “fluffy computer.”
Fluffy as in lots of chrome. UI effects that go beyond the necessary. A slick, packaged experience as comfortable and unnecessary as a pillow-top bed in a top-end hotel.
Fluffy as in distracting. I long for the day when iPads, or other tablets, are commonplace. That way I can get work done instead of discussing how I might or might not get work done with the iPad.
Fluffy as in what can I do with this thing? It’s obviously the greatest computer in the world for reading the Internet while on the couch, and an excellent if pricey replacement for both portable DVD players and eBooks like the Kindle. But it’s not clear to me, yet, what I can do with an iPad that I can’t do with anything else.
Like others, I’ve begun to notice that my iPhone now feels like a miniaturized light-on-features iPad rather than the pad feeling like an overgrown iPhone. That’s a good sign. But if replacing portable DVD players and eBooks, and replacing laptops for light business trips is the sum total of its use, it’s not going to be more than a niche player. I’m going to prefer it to laptops for short business trips, but if I’m on the road long enough I’ll probably need to bring a “real” computer with me.
Most of all, though, the iPad is fluffy as in clouds. All of my contact and calendar data comes over the Internet, from Mobile Me and my work’s Exchange server. The mail lives at Google and on Exchange, too. It’s a great platform for blogging to WordPress, but saving local drafts doesn’t count for a whole lot. Evernote works well, though I wish that there was a way to use and sync VoodooPad from the iPad.
GoodReader, 1Password, WebEx, YouTube, Maps — everything on the pad relies on, or at least syncs via, the cloud.
I’m not yet sure what the real “killer app” for the iPad will be, but I’m pretty sure it too will rely on network services.