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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.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
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.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
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.