Gartner Blog Network

I am a tool

by Mark P. McDonald  |  April 7, 2010  |  4 Comments

That was what my daughter called me when I went ahead and purchased the new iPad.

When the iPad was first announced I wrote a blog post that this device could be a game changer in the consumer adoption of cloud services. Now that I have one in my hands and I am typing this post on it, I am more certain than ever that this is more than something that sits between a laptop and a smart phone.

First here is the down side of the device. It is for many a baby Huey version of the iPhone without the phone. It is true that many of the apps and features are the same as the iPhone but with a larger form factor. That is ok because with his bigger format you see the innovation of those apps.

The device is rather expensive as you could get a fairly capable PC with more storage for the same price or less. It is definitely not a PC replacement as it lacks many of the things that PC users take for granted. Things like storage, printing and managing files are complex and counterintuitive right now – something surprisingly non-Apple. The integration with other Internet applications is not as strong as you would hope. For example I could not copy and paste this post into the blog software directly on the device – or I could not figure out how to do it quickly. I will still need my PC, in this case a Macbook.

However when you stop thinking of this as a PC you recognize these things are not as critical particularly as more of the applications live in the cloud or on corporate servers, like my business email. There are also all the other things that this device does not support like flash and printing etc. I am not sure that this is really the point, as I did not get this device to be a replacement or to augment my PC.

This device does replace a net book and i can see using this to surf while i watch TV far more than holding a hot laptop in my chair.

It is easy to say that this is all new and therefore you should value it because its new, but that is too simplistic as well. So, here is what I have found after having the device for less than 24 hours.

If you want to use the iPad as nothing more than a big iPhone you can but you will miss much of its value. If you are thinking about the device from that perspective I would suggest saving your money.

If you are considering it as a fashion device you will be pleased and it will have some wow factor. You also need to be aware that walking around with one of these prominently displayed tell people that you not only have some disposable income but it may make you more interesting to petty criminals. I guess writing a blog post about one would have the same effect so I will need to be on guard.

If you are getting the device to show it off and make yourself look good, it will do that but it will cost you and it’s a little heavier than other fashion statements.

Me? I got it as a business tool. That may sound funny as I have a computer and all, but I can see how it will help me be more productive in many ways.

First I read a lot of books, so I was looking at an eBook reader, this device not only has a great screen and Amazon’s kindle reader but for a little more money you get the color the web browsing, the email and all the other pieces. A note to Amazon, they were brilliant in creating a kindle reader for the iPhone that translates to the iPad. I strongly suggest updating that app as it is more profitable to sell the books than the reader. Having a viable Kindle reader on this device will keep me as an Amazon customer.

Second there are lots of time when you travel and you have 25 or 45 minutes free. Enough time to do some work but not necessarily going through the bother of booting up the computer. This device is great for that. In many ways this is more like a really functional planner than a pc replacement or substitute.

Finally I am showing presentations one on one with animation in meetings and it’s proving to be very impactfull when working with members.

I purchased the wifi version and did not wait for the 3G version because I have a smart phone with a data plan already so I can check my mail using that device when I do not have wifi. I also bought the iWork package for the device so I can do some light work like writing this post. Finally I am at home, airports and hotels with wifi so I do not anticipate being disconnected some time as being a major issue. If it is I will let you know.

So I guess I am a tool after all.

Category: personal-observation  technology  

Tags: ipad  personal-musing  personal-observation  

Mark P. McDonald
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on I am a tool

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by ToshioMatsudaE: [Gartner] I am a tool: That was what my daughter called me when I went ahead and purchased the new iPad.
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  2. danny g says:

    since when is a netbook too hot to keep in your lap? granted, you contradicted yourself by saying the ipad “replaces a netbook” and then easier to use than a “hot laptop.” yes, i’ve seen laptops that get hot. i haven’t seen a netbook that gets warm.

    but my real quandary is – how is an ipad easier to use when sitting on a couch than a netbook? the keyboard/base of the netbook sits on my lap, making the screen perfectly visible, with an easily accessible keyboard. if i’m sitting on a couch with an ipad, i either have to 1) prop up my knees and lean the ipad against my thighs, and hunt and peck to type, or 2) hold the ipad with one hand while using my free hand to type/navigate. how is that easier again?

    tool. definitely.

  3. […] for example, the high praise Gartner analyst Mark McDonald gives to theiPad. He spends more than half his post talking about all the great things the iPad […]

  4. Brian Hellauer says:

    Mark, how do you like the iLife apps?

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