It’s Officially the iPad

The Apple tablet/slate computer is out as of yesterday and it’s called the *iPad* — despite all the terrible [jokes][] using that exact same name. It’s a sweet looking bit of hardware, and the pieces of the presentation I caught reveal some terrific software, too.

I’m going to leave to others to work out all the various ups, downs, ins, outs, and assorted other debating points that emerge after any Apple product release or upgrade. One thing and one thing only strikes me as immediately worth thinking about and which yesterday’s presentation flirted with: the iPad as one’s only computing device.

This question popped into my mind because while the iPad intrigues me as an addition to my own setup, it is even more interesting to think about it for someone like my mother. Everyone talks about “typical users,” and I suspect that a fair percentage of those “types” are really parents. For me, it’s my mother. My mother does exactly all those things everyone talks about being 90 percent of “typical computer usage”: e-mail, web browsing, some digital snapshot work, and … and that’s about it.

Say … those are all things you could do with an iPad. Why exactly do you need another computer if that’s all you do? In the case of the iPad, the other computer becomes a fairly large docking station. My guess is that Apple already knows this and is working on a more full-fledged docking station where users will manage the contents of their iPad *from* their iPad and not from iTunes on the docking computer.

That makes a lot more sense. Imagined this way, [Jon Gruber’s concern][jg] about packing a keyboard with his iPad when he travels is exactly the wrong direction:

> I can totally imagine traveling to conferences (or events like this) without a MacBook, but rather with an iPad and a keyboard.

The keyboard is for home or office, the iPad’s built-in keyboard will be what you use when you are away.

[jokes]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eF0y0IfpPU
[jg]: http://daringfireball.net/2010/01/various_ipad_thoughts

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