Apple’s latest magical creation raises the debate between tablets and netbooks. While intended use versus real world usage will vary, it comes down to user experience and preference. So which one am I going to stick with?
One of the few things I’ll have a hard time transitioning to will be the form factor. It has it’s positives and negatives. While a tablet opens up your day to ultra portable computing a netbook functionality is limited by the need to type. The intuitive touchscreen makes walking, talking and computing a big checkmark next to a tablet computer.
While the keyboard may be a limiting factor for the netbook, it is also one of it’s biggest features. Being able to sit down and type out a long and detailed email or document is a significant advantage over a tablet. While typing on a virtual keyboard is an option, it certainly does not compare to a physical keyboard.
Battery life. The iPad reportedly will run full HD video for 10 hours and have standby for a month. A netbook will maybe get you 4 hours (maybe 8 with a bulky battery).
Input ports. You absolutely need a USB port and not expensive fancy adapters. Video out for presentations. The bluetooth option opens up keyboards and mice and other devices.
Screens. While the 10″ screen on a netbook is adequate it simply does not compare to a device that can display HD quality video. Tablet computing here excels.
Navigation. Touchscreen navigation for the win. A tiny touchpad just doesn’t compare. While some touchpads are more user friendly, generally the larger the pad the better the experience. Hence a fullscreen touchpad device is a dream to navigate.
I’m really surprised how much more productive I am now, while I’m on the move. While a table will never completely replace a laptop/netbook form factor it certainly adds another dimension to mobile computing. Heck it even redefines mobile computing. We’re on the cusp of a new user experience.