iPad Mania!

Photo courtesy of PC Advisor.

Somewhere a college student has just defeated a level of Candy Crush Saga.  This student is gaming, using social media, navigating web pages, listening to music, watching movies, reading books, and taking pictures, all from one device—not their iPhone or any other smart phone, but their iPad.  Like a large touchscreen computer that can be held in one hand (but is bigger than a phone), this portable electronic device, known as a tablet, has revolutionized how we use and interact with our electronics.

Apple is not the only company to jump on this trend.  Microsoft has produced a tablet, as have Google, Samsung, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Why have so many companies developed a tablet? Tablets are very popular among many age groups right now, including college students.

At first I was skeptical of the iPad, and tablets in general. Why did I need a tablet? I had a laptop computer and a smart phone.  What could a tablet possibly offer me that I did not already have? I was asking the wrong questions.  What I should have asked was, “How could a tablet could make me more efficient and productive at what I already do?” In short, “How could a tablet make life more awesome?”

To those who are still unsure, let us put those thoughts to rest.  First, one has to accept that a smart phone is not a computer.  Imagine this situation: Peter is in the middle of writing a research paper for class. I know, not so difficult to imagine. As Peter picks up his morning coffee and heads to class, computer still charging in his dorm room, he has a brilliant thought about his research. He wants to log on to the online database and do a quick search. Now he is stuck. He has a smart phone, but no easy way to execute his idea.  He needs to download long articles, which is simply not possible on a smart phone.  He thinks, “Well, at least I can write a few notes about this idea in the paper.”  In fact, he cannot do this either.  It is not possible to write a paper on a smart phone.

If Peter had been carrying a tablet, he could have done his online search and even added notes directly to his paper. Why would Peter be carrying a tablet, but not his computer? A tablet is much more portable.  It weighs less than a computer and would easily fit into a backpack.  Of course, a laptop is heavier because it has features that a tablet does not have, such as a disc drive and a full keyboard. But the research Peter needed to do could easily be done on a tablet.  He did not need to listen to or watch a CD-ROM, and the touch screen keyboard would have perfectly suited his needs.

Combine portability with the long battery life of many tablets, and Peter is able to work for many hours without charging his device. All of this work is possible while Peter’s laptop charges in his room.  He is now much more productive.  The time he saves can be used to finish other homework assignments.  In the end, Peter will have more free time to enjoy his hobbies and catch up with friends.

Most importantly, tablets are customizable.  If someone is an aspiring photographer, they can use their tablet for photography by buying a device with a great camera and then downloading apps or software to enhance their photos.  If a student likes gaming, the tablet can be utilized as a portable gaming device. Tablets can suit a plethora of specific needs and can easily be personalized. Phones and computers only allow for minimal changes, such as updating the hardware or buying an add-on accessory.

With the use of a tablet, our smart phones and computers work better. The phone is the primary way to connect with others, the computer is the primary way to write papers, but the tablet can be used for anything in between.  I like to think of a tablet as an updated iPod. The iPod is great.  It is portable, has a long battery life, and holds music, movies, and games. The logical evolution of the iPod is the creation of the iPad. It has a larger screen and does everything an iPod does, plus much more.  The addition of Internet allowed the iPad to be a device people can use in everyday life, unlike the iPod, which is primarily used to listen to music while exercising or on long rides. In today’s society, tablets are ubiquitous and can be easily transported from the subway to the coffee shop to the college lecture hall.

For those who are still skeptical about tablets, speak now or forever hold your peace!

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