Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The case for an iPad

Ever since Apple released the iPad I’ve had to restrain myself from running out and buying one. Months ago when I was shopping for a laptop, I needed something that was powerful and portable (light-weight) so I could travel with it. Previously I had a Dell D820 laptop which wasn’t exactly portable, at least not in today’s terms where iPad’s and netbooks are the norm. The field of candidates wasn’t very large. It was either a light (read expensive) laptop or a netbook, the latter which I despise just about everything about. Less than six months after my Macbook Air purchase Apple debut the iPad.

Am I happy with my Macbook Air? Yes. I have one of the slimmest, lightest laptops on the market with a brilliant screen and Windows 7 – which kicks the crap out of OS X. (What can I say, I’m a Windows fan boy!) The only drawback to all the laptops I was shopping for was the fact none of them offered touch screens or tablet features. I’ve had a tablet (a Gateway m275) in the past and I loved it. I’ve also had a touch screen device (Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC) which I loved. Now comes the iPad which has a better design and screen than any other device like it on the market, the only drawback is it’s for consuming content, not really creating.

Aside from that drawback I’m convinced I could get a lot of use out of it –without throwing out my laptop. First I need to wait until iOS 4.0 software debuts later this summer which will officially bring multitasking to the table. I can stream Pandora while checking stocks or reading a book or newspaper (one big reason I want one). I want a better way (digital way) to read my magazines, books and newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Moreover with Dropbox I can share documents between devices and as soon as Google Docs or Office Web Apps support Safari Mobile, I’ll be able to do basic word processing.

Those uses aren’t are appealing but the possibilities become greater when you consider Jailbreaking the iPad. Jailbreaking for the iPhone has been around for a while but I’ve never had much desire to Jailbreak my phone since I’m already on AT&T, I don’t care about a multitasking phone (for the most part), having access to the file system or being able to get some of the more advanced apps (like Firefox, etc.). It’s a “phone” after all. Phones are used for games, listening to music, browsing the web and the occasional phone call. Not for hacking. =)

A Jailbroken iPad could offer a way to install a fuller operating system (like Windows 7 or XP) and give access to the handful of applications I use on a regular basis – Scottrade streaming quotes, Microsoft Office (Word and OneNote), Zune Marketplace, Keepass, etc. without relying solely on Web Apps or iOS Apps. It would also give me the option to install a different browser and browse sites that use flash. With Windows I could use the built-in handwriting recognition features with a stylus for a notebook in meetings. Jailbreaking has existed for years for iPhones and will hopefully extend to the iOS 4.0 software contained in iPad’s being released later this month. Once that happens I will stop restraining myself and get one too.

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