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I am a full-stack Web Application Developer and Software Developer, currently living in Austin, TX. I have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Austin University, and my primary focus and inspiration for my studies is Web Development. In my free time, I study astronomy and the psychology of human computer interaction.


What Is An IPad Really For?

6 min read


What Is An iPad Really For?

I won a locally sponsored NCAA Tournament Bracket this year (Thank you UConn!), and the grand prize was an iPad. Needless to say I was pretty jazzed, because frankly I do not have the coin to run out and buy one of these things.

I knew the following things about this product before I picked it up:

  1. It was a larger version of the iPhone and iPod Touch, but had it had no phone capabilities.
  2. You could buy “apps” for it to do a variety of things.
  3. It was an incredibly hyped product.


That’s it in a nutshell.

I picked up my “major award” and found myself sitting in the car holding the box for a 16GB iPad. At first I was a bit disappointed as it was only the 16GB model, and not the 32GB or 64GB version. Additionally, it was only the “1st Generation” model and not the new iPad2 model that had come out in the very recent past. But then I decided I couldn’t complain at all because this sucker was FREE, and I wouldn’t have bought the thing to begin with. The only real tragedy was that any chance at a quick re-sale on eBay or Craigslist at the “suggested retail price of $500″ was not going to happen either due to the iPad2’s recent arrival.

When I got it home, the wife and I excitedly opened it, read the simple instructions, and plugged it into my computer to link it up to iTunes. About 40 minutes later we were up and going on the thing. We had it hooked into our household Wi-Fi within minutes, and the rest was smooth and easy. We checked out the free apps, checked out the internet, played on the pre-installed YouTube app, and logged into Facebook. Yep, this is a pretty cool toy.


But what is it for? What is the purpose of an iPad? Seriously.

I kept asking myself that again and again. “What is it for?” It really bothered me. I had in my hands an item that has had more than its share of publicity and media hype. The reviews I read were nothing short of glittery and positive. The few criticisms out there weren’t even criticisms. They were “suggestions” at best. The only reason for the lack of criticisms was basically because there is nothing to compare it to. Almost every review made it sound like the $500-plus price tag was insignificant in relation to the power of this machine. Apple had outdone itself once again it appeared. But what have they outdone?

Like an idiot, I found myself doing internet searches asking “What is an iPad for?” and things like that. The really sad part was that I found searches where other people were asking the very same thing. The search for answers provided little to no help. In fact, one site even said that Apple itself can’t tell you what the purpose of this machine is, but they had an ingenious marketing campaign to make people want it and need it. Nice work Apple, you succeeded.

Further reviews basically told me what I came to discover on my own. It was not made to replace your standard computer, but was meant to be a “go-to” machine for quick information and reference. The “apps” were meant to facilitate obtaining information while on the go, as opposed to searching on a clumsy laptop. Additionally, the larger screen provided much more visibility than an iPhone or other “smart phone” devices. The product definitely filled that job, as I did find myself using the iPad instead of my laptop to quickly look up things on the internet. Games and YouTube viewing are still the major uses with my family members, but I am trying to branch out into other areas.


iPad is quite a versatile tool

As I have gotten more familiar with the tool, and looked at the “apps” available by Apple in their “App Store,” I have learned that the iPad is quite a versatile tool. Many companies have issued iPads to certain ranks of their web app marketing employees, and they work solely from them instead of using laptops. New “apps” are added everyday that are enhancing the capabilities and versatility of these machines. If you look under the “productivity” category in the App Store, you find hundreds of things to help the business person and regular person alike. Print capabilities and reporting functionality are becoming a reality, and making things more possible. Other “apps” make it possible to do almost anything you can think of. Instead of a saved “favorite” on your PC, odds are good there is an app for that – just like they say in the commercials. Target, Amazon, Netflix streaming, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, and all the news sites like CNN and Fox News are all there at your fingertips via separate apps. It is even possible to forego purchasing a Nook or Kindle to read your favorite books. The iPad is friendly to both of those services and has Nook and Kindle apps available so that you can purchase and read books right there. When it comes down to it, the possibilities do seem endless.

While it seems like Apple lets you do everything, there are still those who want to do more than what Apple allows. The super-computer-savvy have discovered how to “jail break” their iPads, and obtain unofficial software not authorized by Apple. Steve Jobs and Company do not like this and do their best to thwart the hacking community, but to no avail.


The “tablet” format has become more popular as all of the computer heavy weights are throwing their versions into the marketplace.

The iPad is by far the most popular, and according to many reviewers, still the best.

As time has passed, I am very glad I have this device. Having said that, knowing what I know now I still doubt I would run out and spend $600 to get one. It sounds like many people would, and do though. It is definitely a great gadget to have, but it can be easily argued that the iPad does not replace the standard functionality of a personal computer. Many people are trying to make it work for them though, and new apps come out every day that bring that functionality closer to everyone.

If you don’t have $500+ to spend, I would say stick with your trusty PC for now. However, if you do have the discretionary funds and are looking to branch out into the “tablet” world, I’d say go for it. It is a pretty fun toy.