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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I’m quite confident I will be saying something said by a thousand other people today. I’m sure my opinions are not unique, original, or inspired. I want an iPad. It’s perfect for me.

The first question I had when I saw the iPhone was “can you use a keyboard with it?” I waited a while, and finally got an iPhone 3G. It was life-changing. I’m wearing, now, and constantly connected. I’d had phones with Internet before, this was something completely different. Browsing the web wasn’t a hassle, it was the norm. Apps are enabling, and it’s just the best phone I’ve ever used. It’s the best mobile computer I’ve used.

Unfortunately, the iPhone is not good enough if I’m on the road and want to hack on something (usually in a terminal). Or if I want to take some photos and post them on the Internet after some minimal editing. Or if I want to do extensive amounts of correspondence, writing, or other nonsense. In each of these cases, I find the iPhone to be either incapable or irritating. I can only bend my neck over staring at it for so long. The screen is small, my hands are large, and my eyes aren’t as good as they once were. I’m happy using my iPhone for an hour or two. It’s the ultimate tool I want to have with me all the time, but it’s not a general purpose computer.

On the other hand, I hate traveling with a laptop. They’re heavy, they take a lot of space (by the time you add a mouse, power strip, enough padding in your bag, etc), and they’re big. Netbooks aren’t compelling to me. They’re small, slow, and a compromise in at least one way, in every case. For one thing, I can’t stand the thought of a widescreen display with 600 vertical pixels! What a joke. I can’t read shit on that, especially with user interface junk in the way.

Mostly unrelated, the Kindle is somewhat interesting to me, but not compelling. My problem is I have more needs for a mobile device than a book reader, and a single-tasker isn’t going to make it into my bag.

What I want is something with a great web browser, good screen (1024×768 is less than I hoped for, unfortunately, but still better than many netbooks), Internet, the ability to transfer photos from a camera, and the ability to connect an external keyboard. A laptop is too much; I don’t need everything it offers and all of the hassle that comes with it. That I get extra apps, games, and book reading is nice, but not really my criteria.

The iPad is exactly what I want for a travel device that’s heftier and bigger than an iPhone, but not as competent as a laptop. It won’t replace my computer at home, where I still want a workstation and several TB of attached storage. It won’t replace my iPhone for casual and ubiquitous wearing. It won’t be with me all the time. When I want it, though, it’s the device for me. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t have any desire for the tablet initially. $30 a month for unlimited data, a decent screen, high portability, and a keyboard makes it a killer device.

I don’t know when I buy one; I don’t think I’ll be an early adopter, but I’ll be an adopter.

Incidentally, I think the MacBook Air is dead.