I finally stopped resisting getting an iPad and picked up an iPad 2 earlier this week and I am, for the lack of a better word, regretful that I did not get one sooner.
Back tracking a bit, I did want to pick one up, but minor details like the lack of the retina screen kept me holding out for the next iteration (e.g. iPad 3). Then the past weekend I was at a family gathering and a couple of my cousins had tablets with them and I realized how handy it is to have a device for web, email, and other Internet media with a much larger screen and better battery life than a smartphone, yet without the bulk and overhead of a laptop.
I have only had my iPad 2 for a few days now and it has already changed how I use a computer at home. I hardly touch my Macbook Pro at home anymore. Before the iPad, I would rely on my iPhone for email checking and minor web use, but whenever I needed to compose a long email or consume web content for any length of time, I would grab the laptop.
With the iPad, I can do basically 95% of all my home computing tasks: web, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I anticipate that all I will be using a computer at home for anymore is photo editing and long term web work and development.
This change in my computer usage outside of my day job made me re-evaluate what computer I should use for personal use. For the past two laptop iterations, I relied on the 13″ Macbook (Pr0) line because I wanted portability at the sacrifice of screen real estate (15″ or 17″ MBP). Now that the iPad has given me true portability, I will most likely ditch the idea of refreshing my personal computer with a 13″ MBP (or a Macbook Air) and get the 15″ or 17″ MBP. I am even pondering ditching laptops altogether and simply going with an iMac (or Mac Pro).
Also, the fact that the iPad battery life is very lengthy under what I think is heavy continuous use is a great advantage of a tablet. Yesterday when I got home from the office, I was using the iPad heavily throughout the evening and went from 100% to 70% charge in just under six (6) hours (used only 30% of the charge). Far better than a laptop.
Whenever I travel, I also anticipate not even bringing a laptop with me anymore. It’ll be simply an iPhone and iPad with chargers for both. If anything, I will most likely get the Apple Bluetooth Wireless keyboard to use with the iPad for when I need to do some real work (e.g. documents, SSH to remote into work).
The one task I am concerned about with opting for an iPad over a laptop is the ability to pull photos off of my Compact Flash cards while on a trip. There is a camera connection adapter to import photos to the iPad and supposedly handles Canon RAW files, but this isn’t what I consider a true safe backup. I need to be able to copy photos off my CF cards to at least two hard drives (e.g. laptop hard drive and external USB or FireWire drive).
That said, I am very enamored with the iPad. I can’t wait for the iPad 3 and assuming it has the retina display, I will be getting one.
For all the tablet holdouts, I highly recommend you try using one for a few days. Perhaps borrow one from a friend or buy one and return it if you don’t like it. But use one for a few days and see how it fits your lifestyle. I feel that you will discover the great utility of a tablet, especially if you are an everyday laptop user.