Not even one year ago, I gave up my first iPad, and gained a certain amount of notoriety for doing so. In some circles, I’m known as a device junky, and here was a clearly superior device. My problem with it was two-fold — first, it was a bit of a platypus, a little bit of this and a little bit of that; second, it was a bit too bulky and a bit too heavy, so reading in bed and carrying it crossed my threshold of inconvenience.
I guess I’m learning I’m a bit finicky about devices. I won’t buy an iPhone 4 because it’s boxy. I like the pebble shape of the iPhone 3 and 3GS, which flips around in my hand much more easily. Finicky.
But the new iPad 2, which my family received late last week, is a far better device than the first iPad, at least for a finicky user. Just the small reductions in thickness and weight, the addition of the clever magnetic cover, and the improvements in speed and responsiveness have completely changed the device. It’s now easy to carry, easy to hold, and much more pleasant to use.
The iPad ecosystem has also improved in two important ways. First, apps like Flipboard have come along. Second, the role of the device as a shared device has become very clear to me. This isn’t a personal productivity machine as much as it is a shared machine for a small group. With the first iPad, my family was cool to the notion of a tablet computer, so it became a personal device, and its deficiencies (weight, thickness) overcame any benefit. With the iPad 2, my wife and kids — who now have iTouch and iPhone experience themselves — have internalized the tablet model, and now view a tablet device as a natural occupant of our computer family, right there along with the desktop, the laptop, and the palmtop.
In fact, it was my wife who wanted the iPad 2. She’s a definite “late adopter” when it comes to technology devices. The improvements Apple has made to the iPad with the iPad 2, along with the fact that more late adopters want and will use the device, it seems clear that Apple’s aggressive sales projections might prove quite correct. Or even a little bit conservative.
I think we’re keeping this one.