Apple’s iPad: Entrepreneurs Will Love It – When They’re Not Working

If you keep up on technology news even a little, you know that Steve Jobs recently announced the late-March launch of Apple’s new tablet computer, the iPad. The buzz about the device is in full swing, so we scanned reviews and public opinions from all over the web, to answer the one question we’re most concerned with: Will entrepreneurs want to be first in line at the Apple store on release day?

The short answer is, “probably not.” Don’t misunderstand – this is a very cool device. It does all an iPod Touch does and gives you more room in which to do it. Several apps, such as email, the photo app, and maps, have been revamped for the iPad as well. And there is no doubt developers are by now feverishly working to tweak their already-compatible 140,000+ iPhone apps to look great on the iPad’s larger screen.

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So it’s not that the iPad isn’t useful or exciting; it’s just that (priced between $499 and $829) it is very unlikely to take the place of your comparably-priced laptop or desktop, for work purposes. By nearly all accounts, this is more of a device for home and fun than for work. In fact, it seems the reviews of the iPad can’t help but refer to lounging at home: “…seems like it would be a great way to read a book, curled up on my couch,” (SF Chronicle) and “…a casual computer for the living room couch.” (CNET)

Now, if your business involves reviewing websites or HD YouTube videos, or reading books, the iPad might be an additional tool for you. There’s no denying the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen offers a great web experience, and the included new iBook software makes reading books on the iPad a pleasure. But if you’re looking to do the kind of work most of us in business need to do, you won’t be pitching your laptop for the iPad. Even with the available iWork suite ($79 extra), a lack of multitasking abilities, no SD or USB slots, and a smaller-than-standard on-screen keyboard might make serious work a challenge.

Based on feedback from several reviewers (Macworld, PC Advisor, and Gizmodo for instance) and scores of laypeople (example), the Apple iPad is seen by most as a larger version of the iPod Touch/iPhone. If you consider those devices business tools, and you like the idea of an enlarged version, have a closer look at the iPad. If not, stick with the solutions you use now for business and think about getting an iPad for fun.

What do you think of Apple’s new iPad? Is it something you think you’ll buy when it is released? Share your opinion below.

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