I use my iPad like an iPad, not like a PC

People keep talking about the iPad and if it can replace their PC. The truth is, for a lot of people it can replace the PC, but I think many people are looking at this the wrong way.

I use my iPad like an iPad. When I pick up my iPad I don’t think that I’m missing out because I’m not using my Mac. I chose the iPad because it fit the task I’m doing at the time.

The PC industry has certainly changed over the past few years, but what’s changed more is the way we consume information and what we expect from our devices. That’s where Apple nails it.

The PC industry has spent an incredible amount of time and money trying to convince us that computers (netbooks or ultrabooks) are what we really want to use. The problem is, that’s not true.

Apple adapted its products so I can choose which device I want to use. I can do a lot of things with my iPad, but I don’t consider it a replacement for my MacBook Air. Different products, different things.

The great thing is that Apple doesn’t make me choose. I can have my iPhone, MacBook Air and iPad, and use them all. With iCloud my information is on all my devices, so I’m always up-to-date, so it doesn’t matter where I work or casually browse.

The right question to ask is “does the iPad fit my lifestyle?”

  • Greg

    Nobody else makes you choose, either. 😉 It’s not “All Apple or nothing!” Nobody made me choose my self-made PC Tower as my main machine, my HP Pavillion as my laptop, or my iPod Touch as my portable media consumption device. However, I do find that Apple actually DOES want to force you into a choice. The way they approach interconnectivity, sharing, etc., they’re actually saying “Use whichever device you want! As long as it’s Apple.”

    It didn’t used to be this way with the computer itself… the Mac had no REAL ties to the iPad, they were both just great machines. But as time goes on, and especially with applications like iTunes and Apple-specific cloud storage, you’re going to feel the pressure more and more to marry Apple all-in. Currently this all-in mentality is a subtle cultural thing (“I frickin’ love Apple, so why WOULDN’T I just get their products?”) but it’s already at the point where if you didn’t buy into it culturally, you’d find yourself buying into it from a tech point of view (“I love my Mac, and although I really like this Samsung tablet, I only like it a LITTLE bit more than this iPad… not enough to have the hassle of figuring out how to ditch or export my iTunes library.”)

    All that to say, “The great thing is that Apple doesn’t make me choose” is true, but it is true of every manufacturer. Nobody’s forcing a choice anywhere. But Apple is sure trying their best.

    • Glennonrp

      Apple wants to keep you as a customer, that’s true. This is also true of every company that makes multiple device. I am sure Samsung would like me to buy their 55″ TV, their phone, and their tablet. But, Apple built an ecosystem to encourage me to use as many of their products as possible. I don’t see how that is wrong or bad. One thing I like is how well my Apple products work together. The same cannot be said for my Dell PCs, my HP printer, PS3, Roku, and my Linksys router. I have more troubleshooting issues from one to the other than getting my Apple products to work together.

  • I read alot and used to do much of it from my laptop, a good portion of what I read did not render well on ereaders. 

    Longform reading from a laptop is awkward at best, it’s not a natural way to read.

    With an iPad or any tablet, I can read what I did from a laptop like a book and my back and neck thank me. So that’s one thing previous form factors could never accomplish the iPad did.

  • I agree with the post, although I still think the “does an iPad replace a PC” question is relevant. If someone needs mobile computing, they need to decide whether or not they want an iPad, a notebook, or buy both and use for different tasks (which is beyond the budget of many).

    A lot of people write that an iPad will never replace a PC, but I think the people that write this are largely heavy computer users and need to have a “truck” as Steve Jobs put it.

    I’m a software engineer with a Mac Pro and 3 30″ displays, and for me, an iPad does almost everything I need when I’m mobile, and any limitations are overridden by the much more pleasant experience of using an iPad.

    I also watch my Mother use a computer, and the iPad does pretty much everything that she does with a computer, and does it better for her. I also expect that my Mother is a fairly typical PC user.

  • Many gadget enthusiasts are quick to boast how much more they rely upon their beloved computers for “serious” work than upon the iPad. What few of them seem to understand is exactly how many non-enthusiasts have realized they never truly needed a PC for the things they did with it.

    • His Shadow

      Bingo. Which reminds of the regular slam against Macs by people doing “real” work; that the Mac had no games.

      “This device doesn’t work for me in my use scenario. It therefore cannot work in ANY scenario.”

      • “For anyone, whether they’re in my little circle or not.”

    • RBiggs2345234

      Yes.  My wife has never had her own personal computer – just the family computer that she uses to check email and surf the web. The iPad is her first personal computer, and she’s actually using it for more things than she ever used the desktop for. Ex: when you don’t work in front of a computer all day, a computer isn’t the best place to keep your calendar.

  • I think the post nails it. Brand message aside, the right device for the task seems to new where I like to go. Sure, I haver a text editor and ftp on my iPad, but I prefer to work on my laptop. And, last I checked, no one forced me to do anything other than what I want to do.

  • When I eat I have a spoon, a fork and a knife. When I use my fork, I don’t think: “will my fork replace my knife”. No, I simply use the utensil that best suits the task at hand. 

    When I work I have a phone, a tablet and a notebook. When I use my tablet, I don’t think: “will my tablet replace my notebook”. No, I simply use the tool that best suits the task at hand.

    • Great point, sir. How many of us use sporks? Almost none. So why would we want a pcPad? Microsoft is now trying to build a spork with Win 8 – good luck with that. It’s cool when it comes out, but soon enough we’ll find that spoon and fork separately are much better. Just my opinion, of course, I’m no crystal ball, could be wrong 🙂

  • His Shadow

    My iPad was an unexpected gift fom my wife, and at the time I honestly worried whether I would make good use of it. There were obvious uses out of the gate, of course. With the right accessories it became an entertainment device for long car trips. It was good for browsing and emails.

    But I admit I was shocked at how completely the iPad eliminated the need for my laptop for everyday tasks. When it wasn’t at work or a customers site, my laptop spent all it’s time turned on sitting by the couch to be deployed at a moments notice to look up some information, browse the web or answer emails. That task is now performed exclusively by the iPad. My laptop stays in the van or even on customers sites or at work because it can’t compare to the mobility and ease of use of the iPad.

    At work, I use the iPad every single day to take notes at meetings, write and respond to emails and read PDFs from manufacturers or look up data on websites. In a pinch, I can use an RDP app to log in to our companies project management software on the remote server. I can view and markup photos, and our company now makes it a point for all project documentation to be in PDF format. With Dropbox, I can have access to tens of gigabytes of wiring diagrams, floor plans and rack layouts from wherever I have access to wifi or if I need to, tethered to my iPhone.

    These tasks can all be performed by a laptop of course, or maybe even a netbook. But after months of use, no laptop or netbook can possibly compare to the portability and more importantly, the instant on nature of the iPad. And it’s speed is remarkable.

    It isn’t so much that the iPad has to be as useful or as good as a desktop/laptop. As Moeskido notes in his post, it’s that so many of our day to day digital tasks simply don’t require a desktop or laptop to be performed effectively.

  • Deborah M. Budd

    Glad you’re enjoying all of those toys, gentlemen. But buying multiple devices to fit a wide range of utilities is not in the cards for most consumers, including me. The iPad is so attractive because of its lower cost, and iCloud offers a tempting alternative to expensive software packages. I appreciate that in the tech world, having multiple devices is a given. But most consumers have budgets big enough for just one, maybe two devices… probably a computer and a phone. Hence the question, “Can I replace my laptop with an iPad?” It’s about economics as much as utility.   

    • “the question, “Can I replace my laptop with an iPad?” It’s about economics as much as utility.”- Deborah M. Budd

      You’re asking the wrong question. Of course you can’t replace a laptop with an iPad. What you should be asking is if you can do everything that you need done with an iPad. To that question, the answer for many – even for most – is a resounding “yes”. 

  • Ahardyal

    The iPad is a tablet !apple never said it was anything else .for the average user the iPad is perfectly fine when it comes to videos,web browsing ,email ect.i do think a desktop or laptop is needed to get all the benefits from the iPad but it’s still a great tablet.i use it more than my laptop but it isn’t a replacement it was never meant to do that.