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I don’t have an iPad. Am I alone?



So we’ve heard from Chris about how he’s no longer using his iPad, and from Warner about how he’s using his iPad more and more. Seems like a straight point-counterpoint, right? Well, don’t count the third parties out yet. I don’t have an iPad. Am I alone?

Sorry if this seems a tad delayed. I meant to write this up last night, but you know, something more urgent came up. Also, let me make clear, I’m not against either view of the iPad, nor am I in the iPad-hating crowd (I’m usually accused of being the opposite). The iPad has a purpose. It is useful. It would fill several of my needs as well. I just already have things to fill those needs.

Mobile computing: even before my recent spate of upgrades, my mobile computing needs were filled by my Tablet PC. They don’t match the battery life or lightness of the iPad, but I’m usually more nomadic than mobile. Like today, I was in a meeting for an hour taking notes, but now I’m back at my desk until lunch. I need mobility in spurts, not all-day, and I also need full computing power when I’m not mobile. In this area, the iPad offers more mobility than I need but not enough computing punch.

Full mobility: When I need to go fully mobile, I have my iPhone. It does more than the iPad but on a smaller screen. Unlike the iPad or Tablet PC, the iPhone is a one-handed device, at least the way I use it. My one-thumb style allows me to perform most tasks while holding it in one hand. From Warner’s list, it covers stall surfing, lunch time, feed reading, and email (to the point that most of my personal email goes through it). The iPad simply does not offer me any advantage on this front.

Pen input: I am a pen addict. I don’t hate touch (though I hate when it’s poorly implemented), but after years of using active pen input on Tablet PCs, I’m so well trained with pen that anything less is clumsy by comparison (pen + touch is more).

Web browsing: While the iPad delivers a fine web browsing experience for most people, it’s a big step backwards for me. As I demonstrated in my Shortcut on small-screen touch optimized Firefox, I’m big on gesture control for web browsing. What I showed with touch-only is kid’s stuff compared to what I do with pen + touch, which combines multi-touch gestures, precision pen control, and handwritten shortcuts via ritePen. Remind me to do a Shortcut on that some time.

So I could slice it out thinner, but basically, any needs the iPad would fill are already met by my existing gear, much as Chris has found firsthand. Had I not already spent five six (ugh, I’m old) years tweaking Tablet PCs to fill some of those needs and not already owned an iPhone, I’d snap up an iPad and use it just like Warner. Really, I’m on board with both their views on the iPad. At the same time, being iPad-less, I’m not in the same boat as either. Am I alone?



  1. Larry Telfor Jr.

    10/22/2010 at 4:02 pm

    I’m with you. I use my iPhone for lots of stuff, and have a laptop for use at work and my laptop at home takes care of any other need. If I were to be given or win an iPad, I’d find a use for it, but my needs are met by other things. I do think I may try to add the Slate to my inventory, perfect form factor for mobile needs not met by my iPhone and a fully functional machine to boot.

  2. Stéphane TORRES

    10/22/2010 at 4:31 pm

    Like you: no Ipad, no Iphone, just a TEGA v2 :)

  3. Anonymous

    10/22/2010 at 4:37 pm

    I’m with you, at the moment. For me, the iPad was just too big. For Warner’s lunch (not to mention stall surfing) I like a device I can put in my shirt pocket so I have an Archos 5IT (5″ Android WiFi only). I also use that where you use your iPhone since I balk at smartphone data charges.Since my OQO died, I’ve been using a convertible laptop for mobile computing. I can’t imagine using something as limited as an iPad (not to mention that I need to run some corporate software that requires a real OS).However, as you mentioned, something urgent came up. Like you, I love my pen, and the fact is that all the tablets coming down the pike, even the wow inducing W105 and the Tega V2, were touch only. When I heard yesterday that the Slate 500 had an active digitizer I ordered it. I’m hoping it can replace my laptop, since I use memory more than CPU cycles.I think the small and light tablet has a place in my world. It’s the iPad, not the iDea that’s a failure.[P.S. I do feel bad for Hugh. I wish he’d used an active digitizer. I might have bought the V2 even with the slower processor after all he’s done for the UMPC community.]

    • Roger J

      10/22/2010 at 6:06 pm

      @daveepp: and I’m with you!

      As I’ve responded elsewhere: my ideal setup is a notebook/desktop/all-in-one at the home office AND at the project office. In between, carry just an iPad type of device that will synch with both via NAS and also, for current critical data, Dropbox.

      BUT, I would also use the slate at work for meeting notes and during travel in long-haul cattle class flights.

      Up to now, only the Fujitsu T580 has intrigued me enough, until the HP Slate 500 news broke. Hmmmm.

    • Roger J

      10/23/2010 at 5:27 pm

      @davepp: please drop me an email to roger.jones AT when you get your HP Slate 500, I may get one if available in the UK when I go back from the Middle East for my Christmas break.

      • Anonymous

        10/23/2010 at 7:16 pm

        I’ll try and remember but if all goes according to HP’s plan it won’t even ship to me until a month from now.

  4. Alslayer

    10/22/2010 at 4:47 pm

    I feel the same way. I use flash too much to switch to ipad. Kinda hard to watch Engadget, laptop mag, and other non youtube flash videos. I love my tc1100 and hopefully soon I will have a galaxy tab

  5. freespirit

    10/22/2010 at 5:36 pm

    You dont make any sense. You try hard to find arguments to not get an ipad. Buy one and THEN make your conclusions. There is no rational reasons to buy one. But when you’ll get one you will then understand.

    • GoodThings2Life

      10/22/2010 at 6:32 pm

      On the contrary, he makes perfect sense and obviously many of us agree. He’s explaining why there are actually– gasp!– better or alternative products out there that meet our needs BETTER. :)

      • Anonymous

        10/22/2010 at 6:40 pm

        Dude. Irony.

      • Anonymous

        10/22/2010 at 6:40 pm

        Dude. Irony.

  6. JOE Houde

    10/22/2010 at 5:44 pm

    Not at all, Sumocat. I haven’t gotten an ipad for much the same reason you haven’t – I need the pen to be able to use the product. I’ve considered the capacitive stylii, but still need something that can integrate with my onenote catalog I’ve been working with for years.

    I hope the HP Slate can be a good device for me, it seems to fit the small, digital ink niche. My only concern is battery.

  7. jondrew

    10/22/2010 at 5:51 pm

    The iPad is not a laptop replacement. My guess is that it would not be an adequate tablet PC replacement. I find myself using my iPad more and more in the office for note taking, GTD functions etc. I take notes with a capacitive stylus using Note Taker HD. I then email pdf versions of the notes to Evernote where I can then access them on my iPad, iPhone or via Evernote’s web page on any computer. Now, keep in mind that Note Taker HD is not a handwriting recognition application. And that’s fine with me. I’ve had no luck with any handwriting recognition programs I’ve used (probably because I’m left-handed and have horrible handwriting). When using the iPad for productivity tasks the most frustrating thing me is the lack of multitasking/fast app switching. We’ll see how it goes after iOS 4 for the iPad launches (whenever that is). Work email is a bit of a problem because the only way to access my business email is through corporate outlook web access which requires signing in, passwords and tokens and stuff. So while its doable, its not as easy as it could be if my iPad were attached to my corporate IT system (which won’t happen).
    So for me its a mixed bag. I still absolutely need my laptop for work. I have my iMac at home. But I really use the iPad for tons of stuff that I’d never do if it required carrying something heavier around.
    I bought the iPad on impulse the moment it was available. A gadget that seemed to have potential but needed to be tested. For me its a hit. It probably gets 3 to 5 hours a day of solid work/leisure use. I don’t need cameras or card slots and now that “Farmville” is available for the iPad its clear that no one will ever need Flash again. Your mileage may vary and isn’t it a great world we live in that you can buy any size or manner of mobile computer/pad/slate/tablet you feel meets your needs?

  8. Sfwrtr

    10/22/2010 at 6:22 pm

    My iPhone 4 handles most of my needs, though I have to use reading glasses. My X61 tablet is my traveling companion because I need to import and process RAW images from my cameras. The iPad could be perfect with a solution for RAW workflow that includes CF cards and an iPad iPhoto, Aperture, or Phtoshop that includes RAW. I’d need to be able to copy the images to external storage, but a 128GB iPad might help. Yes, I like the pen for working with Photoshop on the X61T, but I could dispense with that.

    I really want an iPad, but it just isn’t useful enough. And a Macbook Air isn’t compelling enough to jump from the X61T, though MBA would probably be just a bit faster.

  9. Chris Leckness

    10/22/2010 at 6:23 pm

    I think more are with you for sure man! :)
    Nice article. Love it.

    • Anonymous

      10/22/2010 at 6:33 pm

      Sometimes you just gotta pander to your audience. ;P

      Just kidding, guys. I would never pander to you wonderful people. You are far too intelligent and dignified for that.

  10. GoodThings2Life

    10/22/2010 at 6:37 pm

    @Sumocat, I’m right there with you, although I’m not afraid to say I despise Apple products and Apple as a company (to each their own on that view).

    I’m certainly more nomadic than mobile, and less and less of both as I move farther from end-user support in my job to more administrative. So when I need mobility, I need it more for meeting notes and quick tasks than I do for heavy duty work, but that note-taking capability is critical, and no other platform can match Outlook+OneNote for my usage.

    • Chris Leckness

      10/22/2010 at 6:42 pm

      I don’t despise Apple products, just Apple. Even though I have bought many Apple products out of need and/or want. While I am still a little bit of a MS fanboy, I am becoming less and less dedicated to their products. When I ran mobilitysite, I decided to widen the coverage and tried to become more platform agnostic. It’s hard to do when you have personal bias. We all have biases though. It’s human. Can I buy Apple products but think Jobs is a pompous jackass? Sure. :)

    • Roger J

      10/22/2010 at 7:40 pm

      @GT2L: agree with your 100% re note taking ability, OneNote, Outlook etc; I’m also nomadic, currently in Damascus, Syria

      Which is why I won’t shell out for an iPad or similar device UNTIL I know it can handle Outlook and OneNote.

      Now that new HP Slate 500 or the Fujitsu T580 . . . . ?

  11. DNel

    10/22/2010 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t have an iPad, but it isn’t because I don’t think I could find plenty of uses for it (fun and productivity). I’m on a very tight budget and can’t justify purchasing one. I usually purchase tech items and run them till they die before replacing them. I do own a Fujitsu T2010 and love the active digitizer but the fan drives me nuts. I can wait for the competition and future iPad models to come out before I make a dive for a pad device.

    • van556

      11/15/2010 at 3:35 pm

      Try Motion Computing LE1700 or the LE1700TS if you want finger touch capable along with pen input.

  12. acerbic

    10/22/2010 at 7:39 pm

    Yes, you are. You’re the last one still human, not infected, trying to find a cure for the iFad zombie plague, while they are all around you, howling, hunting you…

  13. Anonymous

    10/22/2010 at 8:26 pm

    I’d have an iPad if I had the disposable income for it, but I don’t so I have to wait for a product that I can really justify spending the $$ on. HP Slate comes VEEEERRRY close, but I just want to wait until after CES before I really start to make a decision.

    I LOVE the tablet form-factor, though. I pray its here to stay.

    • van556

      11/15/2010 at 4:33 pm

      Are you trying to keep up with the Joneses? I am on a limited budget like you too but after learning about the ipad limitation for being “all-in-one device” for computing; I decided to get a used Motion Computing LE1600 for less than $350. I don’t browse the web for more than 8-hours but I do surf the web while listen to my music via my BT headset and switch between browsing and doing my work (VPN); not to mention less than complicated printing so the LE1600 is just the perfect choice for me. It has three batteries; one main and two extended batteries plus an external battery charger; potentially all I have to do is swap out the extended battery and I shall have virtually all-day computing with no interruption.

  14. quillaja

    10/22/2010 at 10:02 pm

    I think between an android phone, laptop, and e-reader, I have all my use-cases covered. (1) If the phone was more capable as a computer (ie docks into a full desktop setup with real productivity software (for me, visual studio, other programming tools, photoshop-like programs, etc)) or (2) the laptop was more mobile or pad-like (good pen + touch (+ voice) + real OS with a proper gui + good battery life) then I could probably eliminate the phone or the laptop too.

  15. dstrauss

    10/22/2010 at 10:36 pm

    The talk about “nomadic” vs “mobile” caught my attention, because that’s what I tried to cure with an iPad. In fact, I call my needs the search for an “electronic” yellow pad. The iPad takes too many steps to produce usable notes, even with the excellent Note Taker HD.

    I don’t need handwriting recognition, just the real inking experience of my HP 2730p and OneNote. However, the 2730p is my main computer, and trying to use it in tablet mode and a big screen with keyboard is a real hassle. Then when you get called to a meeting the undocking, re-docking, and reetting experience is a drag. Failing with the iPad, I hit on the idea of two notebooks sharing OneNote notebooks on the desktop. It worked great, but for the need for two, as well as the desire to have a much more mobile (iPad-like) solution.

    I sure hope it is in the Slate 500 I have on order. Don’t HAVE to do heavy computing (just Outlook and OneNote most days) but it’s great to know it can do the heavy lifting and is fully compatible with Office attachments. Here’s to crossed fingers…

    • Anonymous

      10/23/2010 at 3:37 am

      OneNote on that HP Slate 500 could be killer. I’m waiting to see how well the Inking does though before I get too excited.

      • CStevens

        10/23/2010 at 7:39 pm

        If MS is serious about the Tablet market, they should include OneNote free with touch/pen devices.

        OneNote has the potential to be a killer applicatione for pen/touch devices. It is certainly the only mainstream MS product that makes signifgant use of the pen/ink/touch capabilties of Windows vs iPad. (Sadly, Office is as pen-Unaware as any non-MS program.)

        The cost to MS would be minimal; providing an image to OEMs and revising the Licence paper work. OneNote is such a well kept secret, that giving it away would not canibalize OneNote sales. IF it incresed Win 7 Tablet sales that would increase MS revenue.

        Good reviews and acceptance of OneNote could motivate (embarase) the rest of the Office team to embrace pen/touch/ink. Then there would be some real applications that made Win 7 Tablets look like more than iPads with limited battery life.

      • GoodThings2Life

        10/24/2010 at 9:23 pm

        Agreed. I’ve posted on the Windows and Office blogs all year trying to poke and prod them into writing more about OneNote and inking with it, but they haven’t taken the bait so far. Pity, since it would easily put them on top of this equation if they’d just put their strength to good use.

    • Roger J

      10/23/2010 at 5:35 pm

      Those who’ve already ordered the HP Slate 500 across the Pond: when is shipping due? Mention of HP Slate 500 a bit scant in the UK media which seems to have SJ & Apple still up on a throne, can do no wrong etc. They just keep missing what many of us are saying here: we want a Pad/Slate for WORK FIRST, then a bit of play and infotainment maybe.

  16. ChrisRS

    10/23/2010 at 4:16 am

    No iPad, just a 3 year old TabletPC. Four (4) kids limits disposable income. iPad is OK, but not needed. What ever comanion devices we get will need to do signifcant double duty as production devices as well.

  17. Will

    10/24/2010 at 12:06 am

    For me, the Itouch is more compelling. I go back with pocket PCs to the original pocket HP Jornada. The tablet form factor is very awkward for mobile use. I had a Motion Computing tablet, either required a stand or knees on a counter or table to prop it up. An Ipad is great for a couch.

    • van556

      11/15/2010 at 4:38 pm

      What’s model of your Motion Tablet? I have the LS1600 and the LS800 (both used of course) and the LS800 is great for “couch” device :)

  18. LeeN

    10/24/2010 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t have an iPad, and I was tempted to get one, simply because I want a good cheap data plan. I jail broke my iPhone so I could use it with T-Mobile prepaid, since I am usually in front of a computer I don’t use my cell phone that much (on average about 6 minutes a month, with a peak month being 25-50 minutes of use), I would use it primarily for data but then paying $70/month for mobile data (forced to pay for minutes of voice I don’t use) is ridiculous. So having an alternative for mobile data would be great for me and that is why I thought about getting an iPad and its cheap data plan.

    What has changed this plan for me though is the Galaxy Tab. I prefer it’s form factor, it makes me think of holding my iPhone with one hand vertically but stretched out top to bottom. Not having to sync the device through iTunes is another plus. It isn’t as mobile as my iPhone but it is more mobile than the iPad.

    The iPad, from what I have seen from others at my work who use it, is a more collaborative device. It is easier to show other people things like emails, pictures, documents, etc, than it would be on something like a smart phone, simply because the display is big enough. But then the iPad is limited in several ways, it’s basically not a real PC. None of the iPad guys at my work for example have done a presentation from their iPad, so I have no clue as to if it can do that or not, or how you would get a remote to work with the iPad.

    I think the Galaxy Tab would fall more in the category of being a personal device, like a smart phone.

  19. Anonymous

    10/26/2010 at 9:20 pm

    I had significant hands-on experience with an iPad, and even made a crude capacitive stylus for it with loose things I had at home (mostly a chisel-tip marker with a dried-out tip and a strip of anti-static bag material). It just wouldn’t have worked out for my uses, which is a shame given how much else they got right.It’s light. It feels solid. The IPS LCD is nothing short of excellent. Battery life is practically a non-concern.Too bad Steve Jobs is apparently allergic to writing implements and thus neglected to add Wacom or N-Trig pen support for the app developers to capitalize on. All those note-taking and sketching apps would be so much better with one, thanks to pressure sensitivity, greater accuracy, and-even more importantly-better palm rejection.The very segment that the iPad could have occupied-the segment of a pen-and-paper alternative-is about to be displaced by the Kno. If that thing does note-taking even half as well as I think it will along with being quite the digital textbook reader, it could even cannibalize my incentive to stick with Windows Tablet PCs (though I’d still need one for Photoshop, 3ds max, and other production programs eventually).

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