SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 02:  The new iPad 2 (L) ...
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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.

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


3 Thoughts on "The iPad 2 — This Time, It's a Keeper"

Thanks Kent, interesting to hear your views, what about the challenges of editing and even creating Word, Excel and PPT files, that’s the biggest let down for me … although I suspect there will be solutions out there, last time I looked they were clunky at best …

I view it as an ancillary information/entertainment device, not a work device per se. At an even more basic level, I can’t type on it as quickly as I can on a tactile keyboard, so that precludes a lot of Office functions and writing activities for me. I should have made that clearer. I think one mistake I made when I first saw it was to compare it, even subconsciously, to something that might serve as a replacement device for something else I had. It’s not. It’s additive, but it’s now, for me, a worthwhile addition. The ecosystem is better, the device is thin and light enough, and my expectations have shifted to accept it as a social device, not a personal device.

I wonder if Apple purposely held back certain improvements so that they could market an upgraded device within a relatively short period of time? Rather like a dissertation-writer holding back some material that can be added to a revised version to publish as a book. Hmm…

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