Yours truly, seven years ago:
Where the iPad shines is that it is the appliance computer idea that the Mac was supposed to be all those years ago. You buy one, you start using it, and there’s little maintenance. I have a TiVo and just about anyone who comes and visits can use it without any explanation. Computers aren’t like that—if you’re familiar with Windows, Mac OS X may take a bit of getting used to. The iPhone OS doesn’t need that adjustment step. You pick what you want to do and you go about your business. For those who aren’t familiar or comfortable with computers, there isn’t the confusion of when to click, double-click, or right-click. There isn’t much to really worry about as far as where things are stored or keeping track of your file system. The iPad is the computer that gets out of your way.
While iOS has gotten more complex and one iPad model and size became multiple, this philosophy continues. While it hasn’t been able to replace traditional desktop computers for everyone, some of my earliest concerns were fixed by iOS 5:
Unfortunately, there is one fatal flaw with the iPad—it’s still dependent on another computer. For many, an iPad would be able to replace a computer for everyday tasks, but you still need a computer to set it up, load music on it (apart from iTunes purchases), and update the operating system. The iPad (at least right now) cannot print directly from every application either. These two things will make it dependent on a computer (for the time being)…
Finally, I think the phrase at this time should have been used as a qualifier:
I could never go iPad-only, as I need specialized software such as an FTP client, HTML editor, video editor, and more, but for the majority of the population who just need basics, the iPad could really give traditional computers a run for their money.
Going back through my old posts regarding the iPad, I’ve gained a better appreciation of how much things have changed and improved, despite the constant reports of doom and gloom. Places where the iPad has really demonstrated its strengths include content consumption, education, ultra-portable applications, kiosks, and other places where traditional computers were either too large, too complex, or required too much maintenance and support. Only now are we fully starting to see iPads becoming primary computers outside of those with very intentional workflows and I find that amazing.