Is the iPad just a Big Ol’ iPhone or Is There More to It?

Believe it or not, I’m not an early adopter. I’m pretty tight with my purse and I don’t buy the “next big thing” as soon as it hits the market. I’m interested, yes, but I like to see how things shake out before I buy. Invariably, the first edition of anything is just aching for some quick updates so I like to spend my money after those updates are made.

Yesterday, Steve Jobs and Team Apple rolled out the new iPad. And, although I’m not interested in owning one, I’ve been interested enough in the buzz to pay attention. As soon as it was rolled out, everyone posted about how wonderful, futuristic, and game-changing the iPad is. Then the jokes about feminine hygiene started. Finally, the posts started coming about how iPad isn’t that great after all because it’s really just a big iTouch. I’ve been surprised, not at the circle of praise and insult, but at the short-sightedness of comparing it the iPad to the iTouch.

The complaint I hear from most people is, “but it’s just a big iTouch/iPhone, why would I need that if I have a laptop?” What I think they’re missing is the fact that the iPad bridges the gap between the iTouch/iPhone/laptop by incorporating iWorks (Apple’s suite of professional tools that includes Keynote (equivalent to PowerPoint), Pages (equivalent to Word), and Numbers (equivalent to Excel). The iPad is smaller and lighter than my laptop, but can have the same basic software — it’s more portable and it allows me to do my work. If I’m a road warrior, that matters.

Also, I think the iPad is going to be much more popular with the teens/college/20-something crowd. Those are the people who are already watching TV and movies on their computers instead of the actual TV. They can research their papers, download textbooks, and write their papers all on one device. That would have been indispensable to me at that age (if I’d known how to use a computer then). I think it’s harder for us codgers to be on board when we’ve already spent the money on the laptop, iPhone, Kindle, etc. We see one more device, those “kids” see a consolidation and more portability.

What are your thoughts? Is the iPad just a big iTouch? Or is it the next big thing you have to have?