All the media craziness aside, I’ve been thinking a lot about the iPad in the last few weeks. I’ve naturally been trying to make up my mind whether I actually need one and if I decide that I do, which one I should get. I’ve also observed how this particular device starts to live up its hype by attracting people from all industries and all verticals.

At work I’ve seen how our customers (airlines) start asking whether we will make our applications available for the iPad in their cockpits and when. They, as other chosen companies in every other realm of activity, want to be innovators and follow Steve Jobs’ lead to change the future of portable computing.

This is the very first time I saw an iPad

I’m also constantly inquired by friends and family about the reality of the iPad: do I really need it? is it really THAT awesome? I always have to say first that I’m biased because of my long-time affiliation to the Apple fanboy population.

That made me realize that there’s a lot of confusion in consumers. Some people are wondering if they should give up buying a MacBook to get an iPad instead. Others don’t see the point in spending around 799 bucks in an iPad if for an extra 200 bucks they can get a white MacBook. In the midst of all this confusion and conflicting points of view, here are some arguments I’ve been using after reading a lot of and playing one week with the device:

  • The iPad is not supposed to be a substitution of a laptop (for the majority of users). The iPad works great to consume content (movies, music, news, web, YouTube, pictures, games) but is definitely not designed to generate content. This obeys to Apple’s goal to own strong and profitable media channels like iTunes and now the iBook and App Stores.
  • This device is not revolutionary because it’s not changing the status quo in an existing category. It was not created to compete with other tablets or with NetBooks or with Smartphones. It’s a new category, pretty much like what the iPod was in the year 2000.
  • For me, the iPad works best in specific locations like the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedside table and most importantly: the plane. There’s where the iPad is a game changer in my case. I don’t have to take my MacBook with me on short trips to watch movies, read my Kindle content or browse the web at landing or answer emails at 35,000 ft. The question here is: do I want to invest $600 USD to have a device that will only really benefit me in these specific locations? That takes me to the price argument:
  • The price point Apple chose was very adequate. I bet that the 500,00+ people who have bought an iPad as of today were not very sensitive to the price range. For them, this amount of money was not big enough to give it a lot of thought or struggle to make a purchase decision. It’s cheaper than the cheaper MacBook and slightly more expensive than the most expensive iPhone or iPod touch. It’s right there in that sweet spot. Perfect pricing.

This is what I think so far. And in a less objective note, after spending a week with the device in my possession, let me say that it is indeed a very beautiful piece of electronics, with a sleek design, the OS simplicity we’re familiar with and fast web and YouTube browsers.

Hit me with your (hopefully nonobjective) comments and iPad thoughts. Here and here are 2 excellent pieces I read about the iPad.