It depends on the user, right? Well, sort of… I spend the majority of my time on the road giving talks, meeting with clients and traveling, so for me the iPad is my mobile office. I use it for correspondence, writing blog posts, keeping up to date on social media, and the articles and books I read to hopefully become a better writer (I was an Econ major, not Journalism). I also play games.
The reason I brought up playing games is who are we kidding? The screen is large and beautiful and there’s a lot of real estate to play Angry Birds or in my case 9 innings of baseball. My question, however, for everyone is – do you see the iPad solely as a fancy gaming device? I was at Starbucks recently trying to get unburied in a mountain of unanswered emails and I paused to look around. It was fairly busy, but I could make out 5 iPads and 3 laptops actively being used, two of which were MacBooks. Looks like Apple has that Starbucks covered. In my not so ninja-esque manner (I’m 6’3), I decided to casually walk around the store to take a quick glimpse at what everyone was actually doing on their iPad. Okay. Okay. I know, invasion of privacy – sue me. It was for investigative purposes only and not to steal valuable information from the unsuspecting users (ahem…Facebook). Actually, this brings me right to the issue. There was no information to collect. Out of the 4 people I saw: 2 were playing Angry Birds, 1 was on the weather channel looking up storms blowing into what looked like the Midwest (I was in Newport Beach, CA) and the last was chatting on Instant Messenger.
So what did I learn from these 4 (and admittedly numerous other unsuspecting Starbucks aficionados I have glanced upon unsuspectingly)? I learned that I need to work in whatever field they are working in! These folks were dressed in suits or at the very least, business casual attire. It looked like they were between meetings or waiting for someone to arrive, and not just relaxing with a cup of Joe and goofing off in their free time. In hindsight, I wish I had just asked what they use their iPads for OTHER than games, IM chat and the Weather Channel, but I didn’t. So now I am left with this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that these folks and many others only use their iPads for play. I should have asked them if they knew about cloud storage or app integration. I should have showed them how to sign documents with a Pogo Sketch or take notes and send them to a virtual notebook. I should have showed them how they could be totally plugged in, running their desktop at the office or home not working at the address on their business cards. But then again, just because I use it for business does not mean they do the same. The beauty of the iPad is that it is multi-faceted. The iPad is not the ‘best’ at doing every individual task, but it surely is the best at doing every task in one: go anywhere, always on, always plugged-in device. Even if all you use it for is slinging birds at scared green pigs.