The iPad Niche

A little bit of background: I currently have a MacBook Pro that is my primary personal laptop and an iPod touch that I use a lot for various things.  I use it in the car to listen to NPR podcasts, play Sudoku when I’m waiting for an oil change or am in a socially awkward situation where I want to avoid talking to people, and occasionally check email when I’m on the road.  While the iPad is really cool, I was curious to see if it was actually something I would use.  At home, my laptop stays on the coffee table and is used every night to finish up leftover work or play games.  My iPod stays in my purse and goes with me when I leave the house.

I think I’ve found the iPad niche within my daily routine.  First, it’s replaced my usual book that I read in bed.  It’s so nice to be able to change the Kindle app screen to black with light blue letters and read without keeping a light on to keep my husband awake.  Second, it’s become my quick email checker.  Instead of waiting for my laptop to turn on or wake up and sit down to check my email (or even Facebook or Twitter), I can grab my iPad and do that on my feet, in the kitchen, while I’m waiting for something to boil on the stove. Third, it’s become my favorite movie viewer.  While I’ve not synced my music or podcasts to my iPad (since I mostly listen to these in the car), I have synced movies to it.  It is so easy to watch movies and if I don’t have earbuds handy, the iPad’s built in speakers are easier on the ears than those of the iPod.  However, the iPad has primarily been an at-home device for me and is not something I’ve used much on the road.

The real test is going to be taking the iPad to ISTE in Denver in June.  I predict that the iPad will be my primary in-flight entertainment, thanks to its really long battery life.  And it will make checking my email at the airport during my layover very simple and quick, also something that is much welcomed.  Also, I plan to post to the Twitter backchannel and the ISTE live blog using the iPad.  I hope my iPad typing skills are up-to-snuff by then.

I’m interested to see how I change my iPad use and if it will replace some of the functions that my laptop and iPod currently serve.  Maybe this is something interesting to revisit in 6 months.

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3 Responses to The iPad Niche

  1. Leslie says:

    I, too, wondered the role my iPad would play in what Mary Elizabeth has called a personal technology “ecosystem.” I have a macbook pro as well as an iPhone. I take my laptop everywhere. Recently I took both my iPad and iPhone on a trip and used my iPhone rather than my iPad because I could be online in the car. I think if I made the iPad as a personal purchase, I would get far more use out of the 3G model. Right now I’m still experimenting, but haven’t used it as much as I had hoped.

  2. I have been trying to use my iPad for just about as much of everything I can possible do including a few games and education activities I share with my grand children. It really does so many things so well and so fast that I kept pushing to see where the boundaries may be. I did not find the boundaries but I did start to find that there are some things I just prefer doing at my laptop and some things I prefer tracking on my iPod Touch. I think it is a matter of style and learning to use the right tool for the job.

    • Hi James!
      I too am now starting to find the iPad has its proper place. Today I was out in one of IU1’s district high schools and took out the iPad to share with two of our project participants who work there. While they were interested, the high school art students were far more curious! It was fun talking with them about what I’ve tried so far. One was particularly interested in my thoughts about whether he could take an iPad to college in the fall and not have a computer. I told him I wasn’t sure I’d do that. He got me thinking though… I wonder if anyone will attempt that?


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