On Sunday I finally gave in and bought an iPad.
I’d been thinking about it for almost a year. Since my iPhone has retina display, I knew I didn’t want an iPad until it had retina display as well. So when the new one finally came out a couple of months ago, I realized I no longer had an excuse not to buy one.
But I still waited — one, because I like to let other people be the guinea pigs when it comes to new products in case there are any glitches; two, because after the initial launch, I wanted to wait until they were back in stores so I could get the instant gratification of buying one and bringing it home…
And three, because of this nagging feeling that I didn’t really need one.
See, even though the iPad is just so cool, and even though I’d played with other people’s iPads before, I just didn’t know what I would actually use it for. What could I do with it that I couldn’t already do with my iPhone? How could I justify spending all that money?
I knew I wouldn’t be reading books on it; that’s what my Kindle is for. One thing I love about the Kindle is that it’s not backlit. I don’t like staring at a backlit screen for too long, especially right before I go to bed; I deal with occasional insomnia, so staring at a big glossy screen late at night is something I try to avoid. And the size and weight of my Kindle make it perfect for my long train commute to work and for reading on the subway.
Also because of my sleeping issues, I don’t like to hang out in bed if I’m not actually planning to go to sleep. So I wouldn’t want to wake up in the morning and instinctively grab my iPad from the nightstand and start distracting myself with it. If I’m ready to wake up, I want to just get out of bed.
I also don’t like paying for apps. In more than three years of owning an iPhone, I’ve paid for just four apps. (I just checked: Doodle Jump, I Love Katamari, Pac-Man, and Scrabble.) I don’t know why I hate paying for apps; I have no problem spending an extra 3-4 bucks on dinner or $13 for a two-hour movie, but buying something intangible just seems like a waste to me unless I’m going to use it a lot. I figure I’ve already paid enough money for this device; why do I have to spend more money to do things with it?
Speaking of paying extra, I also knew I wasn’t going to buy an iPad with 3G (or now, with 4G LTE). In addition to spending $130 more for it, I’d also have to pay for a monthly data plan. Because the iPad is so big, I wouldn’t plan on taking it out and about with me too much, and if I really needed internet access on the go, I could just pull my compact little phone out of my pocket.
So the main thing I figured I would do with an iPad is surf the web while sitting on the couch without having to strain my eyes while looking at my phone. But again, I wouldn’t want to use it too much at night.
So would it really be worth spending so much money on it?
Should I just wait until the rumored mini iPad comes out later this year, as expected?
The thing is: sometimes a pro/con list only takes you so far. I could afford it, and it just seemed so damn cool.
So on Sunday I bought one.
I chose a black, 32GB, WiFi-only model, as well as a $40 smart cover. I decided on 32GB because I figured it was only $100 extra for twice the storage space of the 16GB, and if I have this thing for a few years, there might be now-unconceived uses for it that will require lots of storage space.
So I bought it, and then that night I couldn’t fall asleep because I kept wondering if I’d made a terrible mistake. Great, I’ve spent almost $700 (including tax) on something I might rarely use. And if I do use it too much, I’ll turn into yet another 21st-century electronic zombie couch potato.
It’s been a few days and I’m still not convinced it’s worth it. There’s a two-week return period. I’ll probably keep it, but I’m still wondering if I should wait for the smaller one. I guess if I decide I want the smaller one in a few months, I can just sell back this one.
Those of you who have an iPad: What do you mostly use it for? Are you using it in ways you didn’t expect? Are you finding it more useful than you expected? Or is it just a cool toy (which is not necessarily a bad thing)?