* Hopefully, as that depends on whether I get into line early enough.
On Saturday morning, I'll join the throngs of folks lining up outside of Apple stores in the hopes of procuring their latest product, the much hyped, tablet-sized version of the iPhone, iPad. No, I wasn't smart enough to pre-order an iPad, but in the last 24 hours, I've been convinced the iPad can fulfill a desire I didn't know I had and scratch a multimedia itch I wasn't aware was even there before.
(FYI: it's also the future of computers.)
This is why I'm buying an iPad tomorrow.
iPad is a means to a end that's not viable financially for me. My MacBook Pro is a few years old but works just fine. It's busted around the edges, but I don't expect this machine is going anywhere for a few years yet. It's hot as hell, though, and heavy. Purchasing another MacBook Pro isn't an option. I don't have several thousands dollars sitting around for another work horse and that's going to change anytime soon (convincing my girlfriend I need that over a vacation would be especially difficult), but I can find a way to fork over $500 for a device that's engineered to be something in the middle.
I use this same laptop at work and, honestly, it's the last thing I want to stare at for a few more hours when I'm on the couch, reading RSS feeds and message board rants. After the iPad was announced, I envisioned sitting on my couch and doing the things I already do with my heated laptop with Apple's brand-new device. I call it the couchtop -- a couch laptop. Sure, every other laptop out there is Couch Compatible (tm), but iPad is designed from the ground up for such a leisurely web experience.
There are plenty of reasons to not purchase an iPad. You already own an iPhone, which is more or less a smaller version of the iPad. You don't believe in being an early adopter, learning from previous experience with new technology. Your laptop does more than what the iPad is capable of (read: multi-tasking). Netbooks are cheaper. A Kindle is a superior way to read books because of e-ink. There's no camera. You don't want to use AT&T's unreliable network because it is guaranteed frustration.
You know what? Those are all valid reasons. There's plenty of argument for sitting this out.
But I still want one. It all comes back to the concept of an in-between device. The iPad is a bigger iPhone or iPod Touch, but the criticism doesn't hold much water because that's entirely the point. There's a whole host of software that's not possible, or unable to reach it's full potential, because of the smaller screen size. Comics, for example, have been made available through the iPhone and while they look gorgeous on the screen, it's hardly the same experience as flipping through a whole page of a book. Now, take a look at what Marvel's done with comics on iPad. It summarizes my desire.
iPad represents the future of mainstream computing. Try to remember the last time you explained how something works on a computer to your mom or dad. They don't understand file structures and folders. My mom still believes there's a secret button on the front of the computer that will magically delete everything, but she's learned quickly about how a computer "works" and what's possible since getting an iPhone. These people are never going to understand computers the way we do, so rather than expecting them to finally get up to speed, computers need to change for them. That's going to be where the real arguments take place, as we move towards a computing model that's more of a walled garden.
But that's an argument -- and it's going to be a big one -- for another day.
An iPad makes sense to me. An iPad seems like it would improve my life, at least insofar as having faster, slicker access to media consumption improves my actual life. Applications that don't exist will create the true future of the iPad. That future isn't written yet, but I want to be there as it happens.
Are you with me?