iPad: Great Consumer Luxury Item, But No Business Tool

I've now spent enough time with my iPad — and read many tens of thousands of words from other users and reviewers — that I think I can safely hone in on the Real iPad Story for me and users like me. Used for what it is good at, the iPad is wonderful. Borderline revolutionary. But it is not a necessity. It is and will remain for the foreseeable future a luxury consumer item.

WHAT THE iPAD IS

1. An excellent device and experience for consuming multimedia, including most (but not all) of the Web (there is that pesky Flash thing)
2. An extremely convenient and useful note-taking appliance which is less obtrusive and more easily used in workshops, seminars and meetings where there is no table on which to rest a laptop
3. A marvelous way to capture ideas, todo items, and other fly-by data (which you can easily voice-record or make a quick text note about)
4. A captivating educational toy, particularly for very young children for whom there is a growing number of good diversions
5. An efficient way to review and mark up documents in situations where a laptop would not work or be sufficiently convenient

WHAT THE iPAD IS NOT

1. A business productivity tool due primarily to difficult connectivity and file storage/sharing capabilities but also due to the virtual keyboard
2. A device for entering anything more than very modest amounts of data in a sitting
3. A laptop replacement (unless, of course, you don't need any of the things it is not particularly good at and can be satisfied with the things at which it excels)
4. A smartphone replacement
5. Sufficiently open from either a hardware or a software standpoint to be something on which I'm willing to rely for any important or essential activity

I'll probably expand on some of these points in coming days but since I'm still getting a fair amount of message traffic asking me what I really think of the iPad and since I haven't seen anyone else lay out the answer succinctly (let alone articulate an answer with which I could completely agree), I figured I'd pause for a moment here and share these basic thoughts with you.

As usual, I'm interested in what you think.

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