Should I get an iPad?

A friend of mine was recently extolling the virtues of his iPad.  I am toying with the idea of getting one.  I would welcome readers’ advice.  Is getting one a good idea?


About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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13 Responses to Should I get an iPad?

  1. Alice Stretch says:

    I think there are plenty more tablets out there that can do more than the iPad, I don’t have one myself but I do have an amazon kindle, which I would definitely urge you to buy. It really depends what you want it for, if you want to read books, newspapers and documents, combined with a web browser then get a kindle. Whereas the HP ‘palmpad’ has windows 7, making it easier for use like a computer, and the viewsonic viewpad is cheaper than the iPad and basically does the same things. Then there is the Toshiba Folio which is bigger than the iPad and has a larger storage. I’d have a look around if I were you. Although the iPad is the most well-known it doesn’t make it the best one.

  2. Dave H says:

    It depends on what you want it for. I much prefer a small netbook with a keyboard, that will fold up and protect the sensitive face. I don’t like touch screens because they inevitably get dirty in use and you then can’t see what’s on the screen. I have an Aspire One running Linux and it does all my portable stuff, and if necessary can be connected to a standard keyboard, monitor and mouse. I wouldn’t want to use it for full-time work, but it makes a good compromise when size and weight are limited.

    Being a Linux fan, I don’t like the Apple Walled Garden where they have final say over what you can or can’t install on your machine. I fully understand why they do it, and if you’re not technical it may be ideal, but I prefer to fiddle.

  3. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,
    I really must introduce you to my youngest brother who could be very erudite in this matter. I learned to use a computer on an apple and most newspapers where I worked were Apple driven. It is a fine company but unlike my youngest sibling I find that there are a range of gadgets that usually do what one wishes to have done and have good qualities as well. Apple usually makes the best of something if you want that thing as they set out to make it. I often do not buy the best. But perhaps, I would if I had more money. I am mostly limited to a semi-smart cellphone, a PC and a laptop these days and none of them are Apples. So perhaps I think it a good purchase one can do with out.

  4. ladytizzy says:

    To be more useful than the traditional formats I would suggest checking how many of the books, papers, and magazines you currently read are available online. Then, how much it would cost to re-purchase the ones you access the most, though this might be offset if you no longer have to buy multiple copies for use in Hull and London.

    It will be useful to first check with the Secretary of the University and/or HoL and see what deals exist with whom. If you are using it for office use you may wish to buy at least one back-up in case of loss or breakage.

    I have no idea how these things work – I may have mentioned that the broadband service is next to zero in my area – but would anticipate some changes to the way you work now, for good or bad. For example, you would not be able to lend someone your copy or wrap fish and chips with it, but the dusting would be even faster at Chez Norton.

  5. Chris K says:

    When it came out my first thought was “too big for a ‘phone, too small for a laptop”.

    I still think the same. I’ve only ever seen one person with one on the underground, and he nearly dropped it.

    Does no-one else find the idea of reading a book on a electronic device rather offputting? I spend enough time in front of a computer screen as it is!

    • djb13 says:

      I often print out journal articles to read them. I find that I can read about 3 pages of text of a pdf on a computer screen before I start to lose attention. I really can’t imagine anything worse than a Kindle or iPad for reading books.

      • Dave H says:

        E-Ink displays are actually quite good because they’re reflective, in the same way that paper is. Anything LCD-based is going to be a bit more stressful on the eyes.

  6. Carl.H says:

    Personal point of view:

    They are a fashion accessory and are not the type of robust item one would even dare to take on a journey to make good use of the 3G and GPRS. Use around the home linked to your wireless is fine though in general they tend to be used for Facebook etc.

    Applications can be good but tend to be of the amusing type or gimmicky.

    For access to the internet on the move for someone more used to windows I suggest a 3G Notebook or a small laptop. The price you will pay for an ipad will buyer you a higher spec notebook, you do pay a premium for the nametag as in any fashion item. Expect to see many on sale secondhand on ebay over the course of the next year.

    Amusing gadget, with kudos as a fashion item. Not a serious tool and at £500 plus a tad expensive for an overgrown smart phone.

  7. djb13 says:

    The main problem with getting an iPad is that you’re the sort of person who gets an iPad.

  8. Alex Bennee says:

    iPad’s and their ilk are great if you want to consume media. Certainly for surfing the ‘net, checking the news or watching something on iPlayer by yourself they server a need. You wouldn’t however want to work on them for anything other than short emails.

    If you want a portable device that you can use to do all the above and type at a reasonable rate then get a netbook. Really you need to ask yourself the question of what would you want it for?

    One thing is certainly true, in 6 months time there will be shinier and more capable devices. And 6 months after that ever onwards. Personally I’m waiting for the open source Android tablets which are coming.

  9. Jonathan says:

    It depends what you want to do with it. As others have suggested, if you want to read books, a dedicated e-reader is more suitable as it is easier on the eyes than a backlit display. If you want to watch videos on the move, a tablet might be OK, but then I’ve always imagined you are too busy at work when you are on the train, and if you are at home, you may as well watch things on a decent-sized TV screen or monitor. I would also assume you have a laptop already, which can do all an iPad can.

    I’m with Dave H when it comes to Apple and their approach to restricting customers and telling them what they can do with their devices. But perhaps this doesn’t matter so much to someone who isn’t a geek!

    You could always ask David Cameron if he had any iPads he could sell you. Apparently, he has been given quite a few as gifts by foreign dignitaries since taking office.

  10. Craig Prescott says:

    I would simply say definitely. I’ve tried the Kindle for reading books, which it does brilliantly, however for going on the internet and email, podcasts etc the iPad is the best package. Considering the amount of travelling from Hull to Westminster you do, I would look at getting the 3G version.

    My friends who are PhD students say they are fantastic for researching, you can keep all your articles on them, which is considerably easier than using lever arch files!

    I’ve heard that Apple are due to announce a new version very soon, so it maybe best to wait and see what improvements iPad II will offer! That’s what i’m doing.

  11. Lord Norton says:

    Many thanks for all the comments so far. If I had known how technical the issue was, I think I would have classed it as a domestic chore! So far, the overwhelming advice – with one exception – is not to get one.

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