The iPad evolved: Four killer features

At first somewhat of a mystery, the iPad's utility is now clear.

At first a bit of a utilitarian mystery, the iPad has evolved, for me, into a practical device.

The iPad 3G has become an eminently useful device
The iPad 3G has become an eminently useful device

A previous post notwithstanding , the iPad 3G has finally become, practically speaking, what it is: a tweener device, but one staking out distinct territory between a smartphone and a laptop.

3G and weight: these, I have come to realize, are two of its best features. Thanks to 3G and its gossamery 1.5-pound portability, I can whip it out anywhere and work, navigate with the GPS, or just relax. And I am doing this with increasing regularity sans laptop.

Always on, always connected: The fact that it's always on, always connected--like a smartphone--makes it the device of choice to grab when moving from room to room inside the house: for watching movies, reading, shopping online, or using it as a phone via Skype. (And another reason why it's great on the road, too.)

Battery life: Typically, the iPad lasts on one charge for more than one day, often two days (sometimes three) with regular use. That is amazing. My MacBook Air lasts little more than an afternoon. That alone makes the iPad more practical than a laptop, at times, when I'm on the road.

All of the above also poses an interesting philosophical question about the merits of traditional laptops versus tablets/slates. But I'll leave that discussion for another day.

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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