Smart editorial from Tap! magazine editor Christopher Phin on why people buy iPads. His arguments are in part a rebuttal to a piece on Engadget that bangs the ‘tablets have no obvious use-case’ drum:
But there’s something I see time and again with the iPad: people often don’t have, as Darren implies, a clear practical use in mind when they’re buying one; but over weeks and months, they start using it more for all kinds of both predictable and unexpected tasks, and using traditional computers less.
I fully admit I’ve so far bought two iOS devices for purely work-related reasons: my old (since sold) iPhone 3G and my iPad. I bought them because I figured I could write about them, not because I thought they would become devices used for anything other than testing the odd app and then writing about it. In fairly short order, the iPhone became my primary games machine, a mobile web browser, a musical instrument and a pocket book. The iPad did similar tasks but was also handy for comics, creating artwork, messing about with photos and for writing articles. And, yes, I use computers less, very rarely bothering with a laptop at all these days.
But while this is a fine argument (and Phin adds that a tablet is more suitable for a relaxing environment than a ‘proper’ computer, and notes that apps can rapidly enhance an iPad’s abilities), I was more drawn to the editorial’s conclusion:
[W]hat kind of joyless monochrome world would this be if we all made decisions based solely on the grounds of practicality and productivity?
This can be read two ways. I suspect detractors will yell: “SEE! I knew Apple fan-boy idiots just liked the shiny shiny and don’t care about anything else, the dolts!” But it can also be read that sometimes it’s fine to be drawn to something that seems exciting, even if you don’t know exactly why.
Only by embracing new technology and then seeing what we can do with it can we ensure we don’t remain stuck in the past. And for everyone moaning about the lack of obvious utility in tablets, people once said the same thing about computers—and look where that got us.