Do we still need the iPad?

by Brad Fein

Be honest, when’s the last time you used an iPad or tablet device? For me It was a few days ago, helping my dad troubleshoot his AppleiPad Air. It turns out, I should have troubleshot my dad instead. Before my run-in with angry dad and his perfectly functioning iPad, I hadn’t used one in years. 

The original iPad featured heavily on everyone’s Christmas wish list, and it really did seem like it was going to revolutionize the way we used computers. Except, it didn’t. iPads burst onto the computing scene and threatened to snatch away laptops’ market share, but they instead carved their niche and then quietly took a back seat.

Are we still in love with the tablet form factor?  What caused them to decline in popularity sharply? Funnily enough, I believe it was the very devices the tablet threatened to destroy; smartphones and laptops. Who uses tablets these days? Will we see a resurgence? Do we still need the iPad?

Jack of all trades, master of none.

The biggest problem I see with tablet PCs like Apples’ iPad is they lack focus. There is nothing an iPad can’t do that a laptop cant. With the release of the first iPads, touchscreen technology hadn’t hit mainstream popularity; now, every second laptop has a bigger, more versatile touchscreen.

iPads have been blessed with some pretty impressive performance, but it just wasn’t enough to play games, edit video, or perform heavy tasks like a good laptop could. Apple and Samsung tried to remedy this by launching “pro” tablets; these weren’t exactly resounding successes.

When it came to work, a laptop was superior as well, with better inputs ( a keyboard and mouse), better battery life, and more efficient cooling. If you wanted to downsize from a laptop, why wouldn’t you just go straight to a large smartphone?

Still kicking.

While it seems that for most of us, a laptop or smartphone offers everything that an iPad can, they still have their uses and fans. A large screen coupled with an easy to understand interface makes the perfect device for those not technologically inclined. People like my dad, who studied at a university level, who can read a book in an afternoon but are somehow thwarted by a simple computer screen.

Apples iPad is the best tablet device on the market for those who want an elegant, simple, and long-lasting device to read emails and connect with their friends and family in today’s “always-on” world of social media. Introducing granny to Facebook has never been easier, thanks to the iPad.

Tablet devices have found commercial application, with iPads being adopted into some hospitals to help staff manage patient information. The ability to use an iPad or tablet offhand is vital in some industries, and as such, the tablet form factor will remain with us indefinitely, maybe just not in our homes.

Do we still need iPads? Let me ask you a different question, do you NEED your smartphone? Technology is only as useful as we allow it to be, for me, I have no use for an iPad; I can safely say I don’t need one. The argument can be made that we don’t need any computer or smartphone, but I find this argument invalid.

In the modern age of the world wide web, we don’t want to be left behind while our friends and family connect. We need a device to access Facebook and emails, to keep us in the loop and keep our chaotic lives organized. You and I might not need iPads but there are many people who do.

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