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What is your Shoe Size? A Pretty Fool-proof Technique for Buying or Adapting Any New Piece of Technology (or Should You Buy an iPad?)

So the iPad is out. It will be an amazing device for certain people. I have had to talk to folks about whether it is something for them to buy. I have ONE response now for all these folks: "What is your shoe size?"

When asked, "Is the iPad for me? Should I buy it?" I come back with, "What are your use-cases?, What do you do with the computer? Or what would you like to do with your computer?". This question throws many off. But it's common sense. We buy shoes for a purpose (albeit, some purposes might seem less purposeful than others). Everyone has criteria. This criteria usually floats beneath the surface of our consciousness, but it's there making decisions. We need to apply this to tech stuff.

"Should I buy an iPad now?"

My criteria:

  1. I have an old Intel 2006 white Macbook running Snow Leopard. It still works great. My primary mobile machine is not broken. Don't buy.
  2. I do video editing. iPad doesn't. Don't buy.
  3. I need a keyboard. iPad has options for this. Buy.
  4. I need documents, mostly text, to sync with my documents I create on my notebook. The iPad's file management system is a at best confusing, at worse a nightmare. Don't buy.
  5. I has 10+ hours of battery life. Buy.
  6. Instant on, instant off. Buy.
  7. The GUI and the applications have great potential. Buy.

I could go on. The list of criteria above is not exhaustive and it's not equally weighted either. Frankly, number 4 is critical for me, but number 2 is not.

Conclusion as of 4/19/10: I will not buy an iPad (in it's current form now).

It is good to know the size of my shoes.

Extra Warning to those universities and colleges thinking of giving an iPad ($499) to incoming freshman instead of a Macbook ($999): You still need a computer (a PC or Mac) to 'activate' the iPad. So freshman who don't already have a primary usable computer will find the iPad to be a beautiful, glassy expensive paperweight.

Extra Warning 2: Make sure you really understand the iBook functionality in regards to e-textbooks. Annotations are not possible as far as I know. Bookmarking and highlighting is. For the iPad to really take off in the e-textbook market, this needs to be addressed.

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