The annual Wiggin UK entertainment survey – see a bit of it here – has a new section this year taking in the public's attitudes to fondleslabs. It brings good news to Apple and a clutch of rivals. The iPad 32GB tops the list of desirable purchases, should the punter be hypothetically given £1,500 to spend. More people would get …
I'm going to pick one up myself today. Yes, I already have a desktop and a laptop, and no, I'm not even sure if I'm going to use it all that much, but I have a lot of eBooks and I think that alone is well worth the price of admission.
The slippery slope
That's how it starts.
Before you know it, it's your primary device (at home) for email, web, streaming video, facebook/twitter etc.
Agree with AC on the slippery slope
I hardly use my laptop anymore -- only for heavy lifting really (RAW photo editing and video editing).
Can't imagine not having an iPad now.
Tablets are supposedly great for consuming information, though I can't see why a well-endowed/proportioned smartphone can't do the trick. Producing or manipulating info on a touch keyboard is at best tedious and at worst suicidally moronic.
With this in mind, I'd love to see what use there is for one. As for the Post-PC era, don't get me started. It's the bloody post feature-phone era ffs. It's those "dumb" phones that got obliterated and substituted. Not the computers, much as everyone would like it to be so.
Producing info on them is great... in the right circumstances
If you're in a meeting or a lecture fondleslaps are great. The touch keyboard works almost as well as a normal keyboard, you don't have a big screen in front of you, and you can easily draw diagrams/take photos. Way better than a laptop.
I think tablets may displace laptops for users that buy a laptop to use in their own home, primarily for the web and email, tending to keep it in the lounge or some other socially oriented room. A tablet usually betters a smartphone for the same reason that A4 is what most people put content on rather than on till receipts — reading a web page at approximately the size of a full piece of paper is just easier and more comfortable.
I'm aware they also act as media centres, but I don't see that being a big use. For music you want something that'll fit in your pocket and video content tends to want as big a screen as possible, with the average TV now being probably about 30".
I'll bet that within ten years you get a tablet with your broadband just like you currently get a wireless router. People will plug the router into the wall, put the tablet in the lounge and for 90% that's the home Internet sorted.
I can understand why you don't like the phrase "post pc" era, but you or I don't get to choose if a meme takes off. Given it has taken off, it's important to look at why. The answer isn't in all the negatives "tablets can't do this but PC's can" but in the out the box simplicity, convenience and ease of use they provide. Look to compare for things a PC doesn't do and tablets do you won't find anything. But that isn't what defines this new era. Amongst the things they don't do is catch viruses, have hdd drive crashes slow to a crawl over time and/or end up in an inconsistent or bad state. As this article underlines, currently they looking set to be the primary "go to" device for most adopters.
The problem with smartphones...
is the battery life.
I have a "well-endowed/proportioned smartphone" - the HTC Desire HD - and the battery life is frankly pants; I tend to use it as an ebook reader during my daily commute (with wifi/sync/GPS/etc disabled) and without a topup during the day, I can guarantee it'll be flatter than a pancake by the time I get home.
To be fair, I suspect that if the DHD was switched into airplane mode (i.e. wifi/3G/2G/etc disabled) and used purely as a PDA, the battery life would probably rival that of the iPad - I carried an Orange SF around for over a week in airplane mode without it noticably losing any charge. But then I'd have to carry another phone around to make calls on!
Thank you all
Some very good and enlightening posts here (well, for ignorant me, anyway).
I can now see how a handy, reasonably sized device be a better alternative to a laptop.
And I guess, I should agree that if I just had a nagging question to look up on wikipedia, I'd rather fire up a tab and get my answer than waiting for the entire boot sequence of a laptop.
Also, having an overview of one's mail/social not working situtation is also ideally suited to it.
As a non-user I'm not entirely convinced about the merits of the larger screen but I withhold judgement until I use one for a while and compare with my smartphone.
I'm tempted to side with user who argued over "post-pc" eras. Well, if some casual browsing, light emailing and similar activities is 90% of most users' needs then I'd agree that a PC (or a laptop) would be overkill. Yet I constantly find myself having to fire up "the beast" (aka my PC) for things that a tablet/smartphone couldn't handle.
P.S. Sometimes, the comments are even more educational than the articles, go go Register.
Tablets are supposedly great for consuming information
Lol - I can see what you mean, but am I the only one who's amused by the concept of "consuming information"?
Only 29 per cent use theirs for work ...
Anecdotally, this figure would seem to be borne out by all the useless twats in my office that carry their iPads wherever they go.
(not Apple bashing, I just don't know anyone with another tablet. We did get a couple of the original Galaxy Tabs in to test but they were rubbish and nobody wanted to be seen with them)
Anecdotally, a useless twat is either one that is too large or too small. In my book, 10 inches would be about right. Though it may be a little large for you. My hat off if it's too small :)
I'm in the don't see the point camp.
I have a smartphone, ereader, laptop and a box so I have absolutely no use for a pad.
I had a play about with one and I have to admit they are great fun at first but I soon ran out of things to do on it that couldn't be done easier and better on one of my devices.
No point yet
"Sixty-one per cent of those with tablets use theirs in bed"
That's sadness encapsulated in a statistic.
The main thing that's lacking in the iPad is the multi-user aspect. If I set it up with my email/passwords etc I then don't want to be sharing it and I'm certainly not forking out for one-per-person.
This is getting a bit like kids arguing...
Reg Post 1 - "IPADS are taking over the world!"
Reg Post 2 - "Nah tablets are a bit useless"
Reg Post 3 - "NEW IPAD OMG fanbois foam at the mouth"
Reg Post 4 - "actually these tables haven't hindered PC growth at all?"
Reg Post 5 - "survey shows fanbois love what they spent money on"
To be honest i am bored with these tablet devices, it reminds me of Yo-Yo's in school! "yeah i had a Pro-Yo it was the shiz"
I will stick to my desktop.... no i wont, yes i will, no i wont, yes i will, no i wont, yes i will, no i wont, yes i will, no i wont, yes i will, no i wont, yes i will.....
I was sceptical before I tried an iPad borrowed from work, but since using one for a few weeks at home, I'm quite impressed. It makes casual web browsing a more pleasing experience than sitting at a laptop. It's hard to tie down, but it's enjoyable to use.
I've used it on the train too - and battery life is very good - it used under 10% on an hour's journey using WiFi and a few games.
I honestly think it could be the future of computing, for a lot of users (probably not the people on here!) and certainly have a use for everyone else.
I think suggesting that a smartphone can do the same thing is missing the point - the extra screen space makes _all_ the difference - it changes how much apps can show and it changes the way you interact with it.
Given that email and web browsing are such important uses for fondleslabs (love that term!), I'm perpetually amazed at how useless the iPad mail client it. The simple lack of a "Select all" option makes such a difference. Google's mail for tablets is a lot better but still lacks features compared with proper mail clients.
Of course, most of these folk are probably using webmail, which works just as well on any browser. Mostly. My personal greatest annoyance is that Lotus Notes (which my company uses) refuses to work at all on the Android tablet browser ("Your browser is not supported"), and offers up only its Lite version on the iPad, which is designed for phones, not tablets.
By all means, offer us what you think will work, but let us make the choice. Just because you haven't heard of our browser doesn't mean it won't work.
I would have thought that your biggest problem is that your company uses Lotus Notes. As is well-documented, Lotus Notes is not compatible with rational human beings. My last experience with it included a modal dialog which asked "Are you sure you want to delete XXXX?" and featured only a "Yes" button.
I understand that pre-1989 Ladas are now collectors' items. You should keep your copy of Lotus Notes.
What's the point?
Maybe there isn't a point to a iPad, in the same way that there's no real point to HDTV, or 3D, or even caravans come to that. But just because there's a perceived lack of point to these things and a whole lot more, doesn't mean that large numbers of people shouldn't buy and enjoy them.
Like we keep saying here, apparently there's a recession going on. As one of the very lucky ones who's not been troubled by it all it's worked in my favour; prices dropping on some stuff, no drop in disposable income (went up actually do to additional responsibilities) and therefore when I can next be ar$ed to drop into the Apple shop next time I'm out that way I'll probably get one. Just as a toy. No need to justify it, or worry that it won't be used after 6 weeks. I just fancy one. Can't be bothered to queue or be online at exactly 21:00 trying to get one before they disappear, but I'll have one eventually, when I get round to it.
@What's the point?
You are Loadsamoney, and I claim the 10 thousand quid you're carrying in your back pocket in case you need to get it out and flash it around.
Finding the right one for me
My wife won't let me near her iPad! I bought one for a giggle for her birthday last year and to her credit she's it almost every day for odds and sods, mainly videos. My little girl is allowed near it but given my tendency to play too much and jailbreak devices I am forbidden to use it!
I find the size of the iPad a little bit bulky for me personally, plus I am pretty cack-handed and have habit of breaking things by accident, so me, an iPad and a tube-train full of people is not a good mix! I have a second hand iPhone 3G and I find that size of device good for my needs most of the time while on the move. I do like the size and feel of the Galaxy Tab I must admit, seems small enough to safe in my hands on a packed train but big enough screen for vids and books.
A lot of traipsing around high-street places trying them out I suppose is my only option.
Work AND play user...
I've got the iPad doing a whole host of things now, some of which the laptop does better but I can do them wherever I want now without carting a laptop about.
- Web site maintenance (note, I know CSS and HTML, it's not a WYSIWYG job)
- Documents (DOC / basic excel)
- Cloud server admin via browser
- trend research and tech updates via twitter, etc
- custom google RSS feeds for job related news
- satnav(!) when required
- kindle and iBooks
- SugarSync for online shared storage
- RDP access to machines via PocketCloud (this works REALLY well)
- Network diagnostics (PING, traceroute, etc plus speedtest.net)
- music production with MIDI / live audio using NanoStudio and GarageBand, plus iAmBeatBox, Soundprism, ...
- A million messaging accounts
- Google analytics for the websites I look after (another excellent app)
- Google tasks via GeeTasksPro (excellent)
- Meeting notes via Infinote (another excellent app)
- Weather and traffic
If you want it to, the iPad can do a serious amount of work. A lot of these applications have had their touch interface interaction thought about really deeply, and as a result they work beautifully, doing a fast job well and with simplicity.
I can't recommend the iPad enough. I've had a brief play with a Galaxy Tab, which was pretty good, but I don't have a lot of experience of other fondleslabs. I'd say they do genuinely have a job to do - like a lot of good new tech (especially during the early adoption phase within society), there's a lot who don't see the point (remember when they said steam trains would asphyxiate people!).
I think the fact that touchscreen single-unit devices have been trying to get a foothold this long and have suddenly taken off is an indicator of a few things - mainly cheaper, better controllers and screens and battery life enhancements, but in the main I suspect the emergence of better UI engineering has much to do with it. This is one area where tablets are kicking the crap out of the old WIMP ideology. Long may it continue.
If you want it to, the iPad can do a serious amount of work.
If you want it to, the ZX81 can do a serious amount of work.
Post PC era my ass.
Slabs are handy for web browsing on the sofa, and a bit of light gaming, but are we *really* going to replace devices with proper input mechanisms across the board. No.
RTFM ^H Article
Which is exactly what the article (and Horace) says.
Never without it
I received my iPad on the day of launch in 2010. There hasn't been a day since where I haven't used it, sometimes for hours, and I spend all day in front of multiple monitors at work.
I don't play games, but I read. A lot. Plus with the iPlayer and web browsing, AirPlay, I can check my security cameras wherever I am ... brilliant. I could do all this with a laptop of course, but I don't need the added weight or the keyboard. The battery life and compact size and weight of the iPad makes it more convenient.
In a meeting last week, the guy next to me offered to look something up on the web. He had an Asus Netbook. While he was waiting for it to book, I whipped out my iPad and had the information to hand before he even opend his browser!
"Post PC" - but does an iPad require a PC?
So does an iPad require iTunes (and therefore the PC/Mac to run it on)?
I.e., could I give an iPad to someone who has WiFi internet access but nothing capable of running iTunes? (Long story.) Is the device manageable completely on its own after I set it up on my PC first? Presumably firmware updates are done via iTunes, but other than that, can most day-to-day operations be done independently? Apps can be downloaded and installed without access to iTunes?
Thanks for any answers!
Same situation here.
As of right now, you need a PC (well Winbox or Mac) to activate an iPad and update the firmware. That's it. Everything else can be done via the device or OTA using tools like DropBox. Music, videos and apps can be downloaded (and updated in the case of Apps) via the iTunes and App Store, er, apps on the device.
I've set up an iPad for my mother-in-law this way. She's never used a computer before, but reckoned she could get round an iPad having seen my 2 year old son turn it on, browse to his cartoons/games whatever quite happily.
Rumour has it that iOS 5 will remove the dependency for iTunes for firmware updates (and possibly therefore the original activation).
Finally, remember that Post-PC does not mean no-PC. The iPad is not going to replace the PC, in the same way that PCs have not totally replaced big arse servers (minis) or mainframes.
Still can't figure out how an iPad is a replacement for a computer if you still need that computer to tether to. If it's to use on your lap, then a laptop works great (it's all in the name you know). If it's to use 'in the kitchen' then a smartphone seems to do just fine already... erm, I've run out of possible ways to use a tablet where you couldn't use existing tech more easily.
Until there's one of these 'tablet' devices with a decent amount of processing power to rival the laptops they're supposed to be replacing (and without the need to tether!!!) then they still seem like a very expensive toy to me.
Once they reach that level where they're sporting equal number-crunching abilities to a decent lappy then I'll understand why everyone seems so excited about them. As it is right now, I can always just flick the telly over to the input my media-server machine hooks up to and control it from my phone, or sit there with the laptop or indeed just the phone and do all the same stuff. I already have far far far too many devices, what I really want is FEWER, not more - something to, you know, actually REPLACE at least one or two of them.
4.5 out of 10. Nice try Apple - too early to market for me (a bit like the Newton was... only with better marketing and a more gullible audience this time). I'll come back when I can use it like a computer :)
"Until there's one of these 'tablet' devices with a decent amount of processing power to rival the laptops they're supposed to be replacing (and without the need to tether!!!) then they still seem like a very expensive toy to me. "
Presumably you missed the fact that the iPad has optional 3G built-in, as do many other tablets. No need to tether those. Or the fact that Android 2.2 and jailbroken iPhones have the ability to create a mobile WiFi hotspot which shares out their 3G connection.
On the subject of performance, I'd point you in the direction of Intel Atom Netbooks. I have a Dell Mini 9 netbook, which runs a single-core 1.6GHz Atom processor; I also have an Advent Vega tablet, which runs a dual-core 1GHz nVidia Tegra ARM chip (though it is overclockable to 1.5GHz). I bought the netbook to perform the same sort of tasks as my tablet: web browsing, email, occasionally watching videos, etc - you know the score. Let's say I want to watch something on the iPlayer: my netbook chokes on full-screen flash, whereas my tablet won't even bat an eyelid - it'll even play the HD version in full-screen.
Unless you're buying a £50 Chinese POS, performance is not a problem for tablets. You can't simply compare clock speeds any more - that comparison doesn't work between ARM and x86 (and in some cases doesn't even work between different breeds of x86). x86 is optimised (primarily) for the desktop world: large instruction set, compatibility with a wide-range of devices, backwards compatibility, clock speeds so fast that it's verging on ridiculous, etc. ARM is optimised for mobile computing: smaller instruction sets, not so much emphasis on backwards compatibility, lower clock speeds, lower power consumption, etc.
This is the same argument as previous generation RISC chips like the PowerPC: just because tablets don't have 5-bajillion gigahertz processors with blazing graphics processors and umpteen gigs of RAM doesn't mean that they're inferior.
So not Photoshop then?
You've made my point exactly. Thanks for that.
I use a laptop or desktop machine for productivity - and psuedo-tablets like the iPad just don't do that. Power IS everything when you're retouching a 1Gb Hi-Res image.
I use my media server for video - fullscreen HiDef and surround sound (or to watch on any of my existing devices around the house) - iPad doesn't do that.
I use my phone for tinkering when roaming about and it sits in my pocket when not in use - iPad doesn't do that. In fact, iPad would require MORE tariffs/charges to perform the same tasks. Actually, come to think of it, an iPad wouldn't even take my SIM so I'd have no choice of operator. My unlocked phone doesn't hinder me in such basic ways.
I use my iPod to carry my music collection about with me, - iPad barely manages to do a small part of that (come on, I mean, just who has less than 120Gb of music on them at any one time anyway?). iPod fits in my pocket meaning I don't need to be holding it to listen to and control music - iPad doesn't do that.
All the scenarios you pointed out are already better catered for with my existing devices. It really is a very very expensive toy to anyone who already has any number of the gadgets that it supposedly replaces. If they'd made the MacBook Air as a tablet, then it really would have replaced at least one of those bits of tech ;)