The gift of iPad: It's better than a sweater, but...

The iPad is definitely cool as a gift. But what happens beyond the cool factor can be a challenge.

The iPad is easy to get excited about.  But after the euphoria of unboxing, there are a few things to consider.
The iPad is easy to get excited about. But after the euphoria of unboxing, there are a few things to consider. Brooke Crothers

Though the iPad certainly trumps a sweater as a gift, its utility can get lost on some people.

Why? Apple's tablet doesn't fall neatly into the well-worn parameters of personal computers of the past. So, here are five things to consider when giving and receiving the cool, new device.

iPad gift-giving--a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stump the user: I was pretty clueless when I first started using the iPad. I was convinced it was a solution seeking a problem. That changed, but it took time. Don't expect to find the iPad as an eminently useful device right off the bat.
  • Writer's block: After I started using the iPad more and more, I naturally wanted to use it as a productivity tool. You know, just like a laptop (that has true multitasking). Wrong. Though I do some writing and other light productivity, it ain't a laptop. That's what my MacBook Air is for.
  • Flash fan (not): So, how's that lack of Adobe Flash support working out for ya? That's what I always want to ask other iPad owners, to see if it's as big a non-issue as Apple claims. Generally, it's not a giant issue for me, though I know that some people see it clearly as a deal breaker.
  • 3G for me: Maybe it's just me, but I think an iPad without 3G is like, well, an iPhone without 3G. I use my iPad when I'm on the road constantly. I just can't imagine using an iPad to its full potential without it.
  • Safari light: Remember that the iPad's Safari browser is not the same Safari that's on the Mac. Because of the iPad's relatively large screen (compared to the iPhone) I forget sometimes that it's really just an oversized smartphone and that it has a smartphone's stripped-down browser.

And I will sneak in one more piece of gratuitous advice. The iPad 2 is coming, probably fairly early next year: thinner, lighter and all that good stuff. So, buyer's remorse might rear its ugly head sooner than you would like.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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