iPad again

Yet another “what do you do with your iPad” post has got me thinking about how I use mine.

It’s not really reduced use of my mobile phone. It might on some mid-length trips where it’s enough to carry the iPad but not a laptop.

I still use my iPod Nano for media rather than my phone. And I’m still figuring out how best to interface that to a 2004 model car.

It’s totally supplanted the Creative Zen Vision:W media player that replaced my original iPod. That’s going on eBay.

It’s become a new category of amusement as a eBook reader. I’m a bit late to the eBook party, but on the other hand I still think I’m here as an early adopter dealing with a fragmented marketplace and lots of competing and incompatible devices. I think I’ve largely seen the end of me buying paper books, but I want to know there’s a way out of the DRM before I really commit.

The other change is a bit more complex. At the start of this year I had a desktop and a netbook as my personal computers. The desktop died and got replaced with a laptop. The netbook was intended as a travel computer, and that role has been largely supplanted by the iPad. I’ve not sold it yet for one simple reason – I’ve done so little travelling that I’ve not had chance to confirm the iPad as the replacement. But the iPad has definitely taken over the “consumption” role of the laptop. When I want to sit back and read – be it forums, blogs, RSS feeds or books, the iPad is the tool of choice. And with a Bluetooth keyboard, it’s also a creation tool. But not a serious one. Because there’s no way to paste the link I copied inline into this post. So it will remain a drafting, tool, a place to make notes and write blog entries from a comfy chair. It certainly won’t replace the laptop. The jury’s still out on the netbook, but probably that’s out too.

The game changing features of the iPad are the fact that it’s “instant on”, it’s a “like a book” way to read books and the internet, and that it turns the web into something you can pass around like a book.

These sound like subtle changes – and from a technological viewpoint they are. But from a usability viewpoint they are game changing.

The iPad is indeed a third device. More portable than a laptop, more useful than a smartphone, and more cool than even an iPhone 4.

It’s also interesting that Mary Foley who writes the All About Microsoft blog also categorises the iPad as a “consumption” device. It’s something for reading, for watching, for sharing.

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