iPad 2. Justification.
On Wednesday, March 2nd. Apple will unveil the second incarnation of it's tablet computer, the iPad. Although I went through a period of irrational lust for the first one, I resisted the temptation to buy one, even though I had all the justification I needed. Well, almost.
There were actually several things holding me back. I was concerned that the duplication of many functions I already used heavily on my iPhone would mean that an iPad wouldn't be used enough. I also didn't want to commit to another 3G contract - I felt that £35 a month for the iPhone was enough.
So, why do I feel that I can justify buying an iPad now? What's changed?
Recently, I upgraded my copies of Pages and Numbers (the Apple word processing and spreadsheet applications) on my Mac. I had been reluctant to buy the whole iWork suite because I never had the need to use Keynote (the presentation generation application). However, since the individual apps became available from the Mac App Store at reasonable prices, it made the decision much easier. I've begun the process of learning how to use both Pages and Numbers with the intention of transferring all of my business documents out of Microsoft Office.
With Pages and Numbers also available on the iPad, I should be able to centralise my documents "in the cloud", on either Dropbox or Mobile Me, so that they remain synchronised whichever device I'm working on. I spend a lot of time working away from my office, so the ability to work on documents wherever I am would be a huge plus.
I also rely heavily on calendar, address book and several other time management applications on my iPhone, but, to be honest they are not great. Particularly the calendar. The screen is just too small, and when I'm arranging a job with a customer I find it awkward to set up an event and see where I have gaps in my schedule. I've been using Calvetica from Mysterious Trousers LLC, for a while. It's a much cleaner and more functional calendar application than the Apple equivalent, but it's still awkward on the small screen. (Not helped by my ageing eyes).
As far as the need for a second 3G contract, because there simply isn't enough free Wi-Fi in the area where I live and work; there should be an acceptable solution to this, with the new personal Wi-Fi hotspot functionality due to ship with the next iOS release. This would enable me to use my iPhone as a mini base station connected via 3G and to connect an iPad to this personal network. Based on my current usage, I shouldn't have any problems with exceeding my data limit. I would, however, buy a 3G ready iPad, should my needs change in the future.
I'm due to buy a new iPhone when the next version is released in the summer, and that decision won't change. I will have kept my 3GS going for two years and it's time for a replacement.
I think I've enough reason to buy an iPad purely from a business point of view. It will also make typing blog posts so much easier and quicker, not to mention the occasional game of Angry Birds.