The Pros and Cons of the iPad

Yup I’m finally getting round to doing an iPad review, its actually come to that. I’m going to have to admit right from the get-go, I love the iPad. And yes, one day it will replace your laptop to be your main computer with your smart-phone being your pocketable device. Get used to it.

I say ‘one day’ because let me tell you something, as an iPad owner I can confirm that that day is not quite here. For someone like my Mum however, who has never owned a computer apart from her iPad, it is an ideal device as it’s simple and easy to use. It allows her to do things like email, catch up on TV using the iPlayer and surf the web to buy copious amounts of crap from online retailers with little to no fuss. But the very things that allow it to be the ideal computer for someone who has never used a conventional PC before are the very things that hold it back. It’s too simple.

You will often feel like the device is treating you like a child by either limiting or removing simple functions. Things like manually adding photos to ‘Photo Stream’, acquiring songs from sources other than iTunes and things like playing a YouTube video in one tab whilst looking at another tab in Safari just can’t be done without knowing the workarounds. These are things that if you’re used to either OS X or Windows you will feel extremely restrained and confined if you are planning on having this as your main machine.

However, and it’s a pretty full-on however, if you’re planning on having this as an addition to your main machine then you will absolutely not be disappointed. The main advantage of the iPad is that it is infinitely more portable than any laptop, and indeed any desktop. Even compared to my MacBook Pro (which for a laptop is pretty svelte) it feels so much lighter in the hand and can easily be slipped into a bag and forgotten about. Ever carried around a laptop? I have an arm strap on my bag and it isn’t quite in the same health as it was before I carried my laptop around in it.

The software is also quite nice. I honestly prefer editing photos on the iPad version of ‘iPhoto’ over its Mac counterpart (though when Photo Stream doesn’t want to play nice, I have no way of manually adding my photos like I would on the Mac, as mentioned previously) due to just being able to brush in enhancements with a few gentle swipes of my finger. Looking at photos and playing movies is by far and away better on the iPad than it is on any laptop. Email is also at its best when using the iPad, being able to flick through your messages, delete them with a swipe and quickly reply using the pop-up keyboard is an absolute breeze. Then there’s the killer app: Safari. On my Mac Safari feels like a well rounded web browser, but on the iPad it honestly feels like you are holding and flicking through the entire internet. Once you’ve used Safari for the iPad you really do see the whole point and purpose of these tablet devices.

As well as being able to read articles and ebooks on its gorgeous screen, when presented in the landscape orientation the virtual keyboard is incredibly easy to type away on, being nearly the same size as my Macs keyboard. The virtual keyboard is fast and responsive and great for writing quick articles or making edits, perfect for any budding young blogger. The auto-correct is sorely missed when going back on the Mac, largely because you never need to worry about manually adding in an apostrophe again. With that said you certainly wouldn’t want to write your 7,000 word dissertation on it, everything has its limit.

There’s also the wealth of Apps available from the App Store. Be honest, how many third-party apps do you own for the desktop? I can’t remember the last time I downloaded one for my Mac but with the iPad I’m constantly downloading new apps and seeing how they can improve my computing experience.

I haven’t even begun to dig deep into the wealth of content that the iPad provides but to be honest, there’s nothing I can add that you won’t have heard before. The iPad is far from replacing your main PC but as each new version of iOS brings new features that increase its functionality, that day is getting closer and closer. Plus it’s damn shiny!

Next time I’m going to talk about whether this and the iPhone are true gaming machines and whether they can take on the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. See you then.

Ian Dutton
Twitter: @idutton91



  1. Photoshop? Acrobat? Framemaker? There are no “apps” to replace them. If you’re a snap shooter and all you do is crop your photos, fine … but if you have anything serious to do … and heaven forbid you edit video… how do you do that on a tablet? I have a tablet and it’s a nice toy and fun …. great for playing videos, reading books, playing all kinds of audio … but it sucks for formatting a document, editing a photo or running a spread sheet. By the time you add on enough functionality to your iPad to allow these functions, it’s not an iPad, it’s a touchscreen computer … and I have two of those already — laptop and desktop. Yes, they are heavy and I can’t tuck them in my purse, but I can actually accomplish something on them … not just do email or watch a movie.

    Take an iPad. Add the cost of a cover (you need one), a keyboard (I use 10 fingers, not my thumbs), add a BIG external hard drive and the $$$ starts to exceed a high-end Dell desktop or laptop that will do all of that stuff and doesn’t need add-ons.

    I understand many people think a computer is an advanced toy with communications capabilities. For them, a tablet or Chromebook may be enough and a lot of fun, … but it is not a computer. It’s a gaming box cum media player with benefits. It won’t do any work and some of us work.

    I have grown weary of hearing how computers are obsolete. Maybe for my husband (though even he relies on real software to manage his calanders and documents, even though he doesn’t even know what he’s using most of the time since I’m IT around here), but unless Photoshop, Acrobat and Framemaker are transformed into “apps” or available apps become a heck of a lot better than they currently are, none of these cute little devices will be a primary machine for me or anyone who cares about the quality of the work they do. Not even when I travel because even on the road, edit film and photos and write stuff. The odds of there being apps capable of doing these jobs on a professional level is nil.

    And finally: I need a keyboard and a screen large enough to see details at the pixel level. Sorry, but portable tablets and phones do not have the physical real estate to do what any serious graphic artist or photographer needs to do … and by the very definition of their design, never will. Make them big enough to do that, and they aren’t light, portable devices.

    I appreciate how adorable and lovable tablets and other little devices are. I have my own and I enjoy them … but they can’t replace bigger machines. They are too small!!

  2. […] The Pros and Cons of the iPad ( […]

  3. […] The Pros and Cons of the iPad ( […]

  4. […] going to pick up on a theme from two of Ian’s article on the iPad. One where he considers whether the iPad can replace a desktop computer and another where he thought about whether the iPad can replace a games console. I’m by no […]

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