An iPad is a computer and is not a computer – at the same time

I have gotten asked this question by you in the past and believed I sent out an informative e-mail to you on the topic of "iPad as a computer". However, I recently got asked about the iPad again and had an excellent discussion with a client.

Allow me to give a little background: It was 2009. Netbooks were extremely popular. They were cheap 9 to 10 inch laptops that sold for about $300. Everyone was selling them. They were slow, often didn’t sport a lot of features, overheated and often died a miserable death. None the less, people grabbed them by the fistful. They were very portable – a very appealing feature.

At this time Apple was already working on a tablet companion to the iPhone. They saw how people liked the small size of netbooks but didn’t care for their performance. The first iPad went on sale in April 2010, a well equipped base model starting at $499. The rest is history. Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads to date. No one even talks about netbooks anymore.

When Steve Jobs envisioned the iPad, I don’t believe he was aiming for people who were buying a $400 – $500 Windows laptop at a big box store. He wanted to knock out the netbook market and CREATE A NEW PRODUCT CATEGORY. An iPad, or a fully functional full size (9 to 10 inch) tablet is not something any of us needed before. Many of us still don’t need one but the people who have purchased them have found a use for them in their lives.

Mac laptops run anywhere from $999 to $2500. Windows laptops, that a consumer would buy, generally run from about $300 to $1700. Laptops in both of those ranges can perform the same functions. The things that set them apart are speed, weight, visual appeal, build quality, expected life, how hot they run, and so on.

The iPad did not set out to be a low cost Mac laptop. However, you can lookup websites on it, you can check e-mail, and you can probably even do some shopping as well. You will need to buy a keyboard accessory (approx $99 – ZaggMate) to give you this added functionality. The iPad is great for watching your Netflix movies.

However, you cannot access files and folders with the iPad. Editing documents is not as smooth as on a Windows or Mac computer. You might get an iPad and think, why can’t I do this? I can do this on my computer. There has to be a way….. My answer is — probably not. You have do things the iPad’s way. While a traditional computer is very much like Burger King — have it your way, the iPad is not. We all have things we like to do OUR WAY on the computer. With the iPad, we have to adapt to its way.

So there you have it. An iPad is a companion to a computer for most of us, but it could be like a computer to some if all you care about is reading e-mail and checking an occasional website, enjoy book reading, media, and games. Because it is a controlled environment – iPads aren’t getting viruses!

Questions, comments ??