What's the point of the iPad? (honest question)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by motulist, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. motulist, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    A lot of people seemed to somewhat misunderstand what I originally wrote (which can still be seen below), so I'm rewriting the question to be very clear:

    1) EXACTLY what situations/jobs/roles/uses does the iPad perform better than other devices such as the Macbook Air?

    2) EXACTLY what aspect/ability of the iPad makes it better at that job?

    Here's an example of a response that DOESN'T answer the question:

    Here's an example of a response that DOES answer the question:

    ------------ original text below ----------

    About a month ago I got an ipad for free, and I've been playing around with it, but I honestly don't see what the point is. I already have a laptop (macbook pro) and it's totally light enough for me to carry around everywhere I go without giving it a second thought. And my laptop is **SO** much better to use than the iPad.

    The laptop's screen stays up by itself at any angle or position I like, the physical keyboard is obviously vastly superior to the iPad's on-screen keyboard, the laptop can play flash (hulu etc., as much as flash is obviously at the end of its life, today it still is used by a lot of sites), the apps on the laptop are MUCH more powerful and full-featured, the speaker sound coming out of the laptop is MUCH better (ooo, stereo sound, how modern!), the screen is larger, etc. etc.

    For people who often need to do computer stuff while they're standing (like doctors, managers working the floor of a business, etc.) I can totally understand how a tablet is very useful for them. But for the vast majority of people who have iPads, I just don't see how it's any better than a Macbook Air, and I see many ways how the iPad is worse.

    So as a decades-long Apple fan, and happy owner of MANY Apple products (including the iPad), I'm asking an honest question here:

    For the typical consumer, what *exactly* is the iPad better at doing than other devices? And why do you think it's better at that task?
  2. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    I think for the average consumer, surfing the web, checking email and playing some games is easier to achieve on a device that is a 3rd the cost of a macbook air.

    - smaller to carry around

    - better screen (so far, we know all macs will have retina sooner than later)

    I personally believe the iPad needs MS Office (rumoured for later this year) and will suffice the needs for a large majority of consumers out there.

    Sure, I know Apple's productivity suite is out there, but MS would blanket far more users. The majority of clients would be better off with an Office equipped iPad.

    For me, I still need a Macbook Pro for video and photo editing.

  3. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    The macbook air starts at $999, the iPad starts at $399. It's a significant price difference, but it's not a 3rd. And if price is a big factor in your purchase plan then you should just get a cheap knockoff device. i.e., price isn't really a large factor in what would make the iPad better than a laptop.

    Smaller to carry around where? The macbook air is already tiny and featherweight. I'm not looking for spec differences like weight, I'm asking for *EXACT* situations/roles/jobs that the iPad is better at performing. The iPad is relatively a little bit smaller than the MBA, but it's still too big to fit into pockets or purses or anywhere else that an MBA couldn't already fit into. So I don't see any specific situations where its smaller size actually leads to it performing any additional uses for the average user.

    In what way? Higher pixel density, sure, but what function does that make it better at doing? People aren't gonna be doing professional photo retouching on a 10 inch tablet, and to get that higher pixel density the tradeoff is a smaller screen size, and the macbook air screens are already very very good anyway.
  4. takeshi74, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Then sell it or give it away. The point is subjective. No one's going to be able to justify it for you. One person's point isn't necessarily the next as you've evidenced in your own reply above. Those are valid reasons for people whether you get it or not, whether you agree or not.

    There isn't *exactly* one answer for all people. There are, however, many reasons covered in prior threads on this topic. It's you burden to determine the point for yourself. It's not our job to hand pick reasons for you to shoot down one by one.
  5. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    Your question is based on self-centered thinking, and I don't mean that in a negative way, just that you are basing your opinions/thoughts on your own personal needs. It's quite obvious that an iPad is lighter, thinner, and smaller than most notebooks, just as capable on many if not most functions, and a touchscreen interface is for many far easier. For me personally, the iPad was absolutely perfect for my needs as a disabled person. A touchscreen device is far more convenient than a notebook with a separate physical keyboard, more ergonomic, easier to manipulate, and simpler to operate.

    So it's rather obvious why a tablet device like an iPad has its extremely useful place in a lot of people's lives. It just does suit your particular needs.
  6. motulist, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    I'm not asking for any justification for me having it, it's a matter of being interested in the world around me. I want to know simply because I want to know.

    Of course not, that's why I'm asking for examples of ANY answers for exactly WHY it's better for ANYONE out there in consumer land.
  7. emvath macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    iPad for media consumption. Laptop for media creation. That's how I've always viewed them. Of course there is a lot of crossover and this is a very generalized statement.
  8. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    Honestly OP the iPad or a Tablet is a device that you can justify using or not and you made some very good points as to why laptops are a better fit for you. There's nothing wrong with that. :)

    I own several Tablets and laptops as well. I think both serve their purpose quite well. For sheer productivity the laptop wins. As a content device that doubles as an expensive toy, Tablets win.

    Going to Taco Beel or any restaurant with WiFi access, all I need is a Tablet and I can easily do what feels like a grind on a small smartphone screen. Battery life is usually better on a Tablet and it's a go anywhere device. Laying in bed, on the Lou you can kill time with a Tablet. I also find reading more enjoyable on a Tablet than on a laptop. But no one can justify why using a Tablet is a good fit for you.
  9. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Again, perhaps I phrased the opening of my introductory paragraph poorly. Take me and my iPad out of the equation entirely, I was merely describing the situation that got me to thinking about this.

    **THIS** is the type of answer that I'm looking for. Specific situations/jobs/roles that the iPad performs better than other devices, AND WHY you think it's better at that job. That said, I imagine that disabled people aren't the majority of people who are buying iPads. I would consider disabled users to fall into the same category as doctors and floor managers, meaning its a niche part of the market.

    But yes, this is exactly the type of specific answer I'm looking for about specific situations/jobs/roles/uses that the iPad performs better than other devices.
  10. ZBoater macrumors G3


    Jul 2, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Instant on, more portable than an 11" Air, quick and convenient access to the web, email, and a ton of functionality and games via apps

    What's the point? To give you an option to carrying around a laptop and holding it with one hand while you type with the other.... :apple:
  11. Manzanas macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    I just bought an iPad. Anything I, personally me and no other person, would do with a laptop/netbook I can do better, and in a funner way with iPad. For anything that the iPad can't do, I have a fullsize PC.

    Also, portability. I thought there are good enough cases out there that would protect my laptop like they protect my iPad. If you use children's apps for your kids, an iPad is easier to let them use instead of a laptop.
  12. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    I appreciate the input, but that doesn't answer my question. The question is:

    EXACTLY WHICH situations/jobs/roles/uses does the iPad perform better than other devices?

    and EXACTLY WHAT aspect/ability of the iPad makes it better at that job?
  13. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    I think you're overthinking it. You keep summing up the people who would have specific uses for the device as niche users, but the bottom line is that it that in no way discounts the fact that "regular" users might find the same benefits just as useful to them.
  14. mlmwalt, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    mlmwalt macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2010
    Philadelphia, Pa, USA
    My the New iPad is my new travel computer. I use Pages, Numbers & Keynote. The touch screen keyboard took a while to get used to but now it's second nature. I only use my MBP as my media server now. I do 80% of my web browsing, Facebooking & other web based waste of time stuff on it. Btw this was viewed & written on my iPad.
  15. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    No, I'm really not. I'm asking a REALLY simple, basic question. Presumably the vast majority of people who buy iPads are able bodied people who already have another portable computing device in their life. This is just pure statistics - most people aren't disabled, and most people own a computer, and laptops make up the large majority of computers that are sold to consumers.

    So I'm asking a super simple question: Exactly what is the iPad better at doing, and exactly what aspect of the iPad makes it better at doing that?
  16. c.hack macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    I have a quad core desktop, gaming laptop, 12" Win 7 laptop, gaming laptop, MacBook Air (2012) and the New iPad. The iPad gets used as much as all the other devices combined because:
    - It's by far the most portable (think treadmill, video podcasts while ironing, carrying everywhere)
    - Longest battery life
    - The best Kindle reader
    - The best collection of news apps like Zite and Flipboard
    - Excellent built in camera ( for eBay and Craigslist )
    - Lightest weight
    - Effortless to use

    My question is, what's the point of a laptop anymore?

    Sent from my new iPad
  17. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Okay, that's a good starting point, but what is it exactly that makes you feel like the iPad is better at doing Pages, Numbers & Keynote on instead of for instance a Macbook Air?
  18. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    Yes, but your question precludes the most obvious and simplistic answer...its just generally more convenient than any other device. People don't generally buy on the analytical level that you seem to expect in an answer. So yes, I really do believe that you are over-thinking this question. You're just not going to find the kind of answer you're seemingly expecting because the reasons for purchase will be as varied and non-specific as the possible uses of an iPad.
  19. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    I use mine mostly to read books and surf the web. I occasionally watch movies but if I need to do any work I just use my MBP. The larger screen makes reading much easier, that's the big reason I have one.

    Not everyone has a use for it, depends on the person. I don't use mine a ton but love it for what I use it for.
  20. motulist thread starter macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Okay, finally, these are some good specifics. Though a couple of them could use a bit of explaining.

    Isn't your 12 inch notebook able to be used just as easily on the treadmill? If not, why not? And it seems like video podcasts while ironing would be better with the 12 inch because you can simply set it down on any surface and set the angle of the screen to whatever angle offers the best viewing.

    in what way are they better than the vast amount of great news websites?

    the iPad weighs 1.44 pounds and the Macbook Air weighs 2.38 pounds. I believe that's not a meaningful difference in terms of how long an able-bodied person would feel comfortable holding it for.

    In what ways is it more effortless to use than say a Macbook Air? Are talking about not having to manage folders and files and that type of thing?
  21. cfs macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    I have a Macbook Pro, iMac, and a New iPad. Here are the specifics I prefer to use an iPad for because I feel it is more convenient than a laptop:

    -Reading books and PDF's.
    -Marking up PDF's.
    -At work I have no desk and type in many different locations. I also need to take photos of what I am documenting. The iPad is great for this.
    -Doing work on the train. It is easier to pull out the iPad and get work done.
    -The tablet is great when I travel and need info on the fly, for example gps.
    -Keeping audio and handwritten notes.
    -Typing rough drafts. I can type fairly quick on my iPad.

    With these being said, I've never used a MacBook Air. Maybe it would be a better fit for me but the iPad is the max I am willing to spend on a secondary computer.
  22. Gutwrench Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011
    Op, my wife feels about the same as you do. She loves her Air and returned her iPad.

    I, however, mainly use the iPad to surf, email, and read books. My wife's Air cost about $1500 or $1600 with upgrade and without adding more she can't get online unless she finds a wifi --- and trusts it.

    I like the price I paid for the freedom I have and my user habits. I don't want to drop double or triple the money on my wife's Air and not get the return for my investment.
  23. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    Built For Old Folks

    Here's an interesting take on the subject.

    "Tablet Users Are Geezer Couch Potatoes"

  24. Aspasia macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2011
    Halfway between the Equator and North Pole
    1. Convenience.

    2. Size, weight, and speed.
  25. Geekbabe macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2011
    Am not sure if you realize this but your tone is coming across as angry & demanding here.

    My iPad is smaller than my 13 inch Air & is more comfortable to use on the sofa or in bed, it is also much easier to use on the subway. When I fly I don't have to pull the iPad out of it's case for screening.

    The iPad 3 screen is flat out gorgeous, text is crisp & clear, the voice dictation feature is very useful & means I can respond to work emails & deal with projects while BBQing in my yard. Oh and last but not least, the apps! I am amazed by the staggering amount of games, books, magazines, music & productivity tools available via Apple.

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