The ad shows the iPad being used for sending an email. Yes, for replying to a couple of emails while on the move, the iPad is a fine device. I personally do not find it to be as comfortable as the iPhone in this regard, but to each his own.
When it comes to dealing with 47 unread emails, however, and reading, sending responses to them, performing the tasks they pertain to and filing them away, the iPad is far less efficient than a traditional notebook. Tapping your way through all this—and switching between applications while you do it—is simply much slower than getting through it all with a traditional keyboard and trackpad.
The iPad is also shown editing a Keynote presentation in the ad. More specifically, it shows the user adjusting the tilt of a piechart. Now, to be fair, the iPad can do much more than that with Apple’s Keynote app, but pit it against a Mac and it falls apart. A lot of the advanced features of the app are simply not present in its iPad version, and even the ones that are there take much longer to produce the same results as their Mac counterpart.
More importantly, you cannot plug in pen drives with your existing Keynote files on them. Apple has very valid reasons for not putting USB ports on the iPad and taking out the filesystem—and I wouldn’t have it any other way—but not everyone has an office set up with the latest Macs, all running Dropbox and connected to Wi-Fi 24/7. You and I probably do, but we’re not most people.
Also, there’s no PowerPoint on the iPad, and Keynote’s PowerPoint compatibility is laughable. Again, not Apple’s fault, but we’re not playing the blame game here. How many of us have AirPrint-compatible printers? Most of the printers in use today do not even have wireless capability, forget iPad compatibility. Tally is a widely used accounting application tailored to the needs of Indian businesspeople, and it is never even going to come to the Mac, forget the iPad.
Even for doing everyday tasks, an iPad cannot replace a notebook for most people. It happens quite regularly that you are browsing through the native iOS app of a web app and you run into a feature that requires you to use the website. Unless it is something urgent, you prefer to wait till you are back in front of your computer before going to that website.
Long-form writing is something that is best done with a proper keyboard and a multitasking-capable operating system. Even tweeting is much faster on the desktop than fiddling with the magnifying loupe on the iPad, trying to make your tweet fit within 140 characters.
And no matter how many fantastic artists produce paintings, photographs, sketches, movies and music on the iPad, ultimately the device is too limited to allow anyone to shift to it full-time. These occasional works of art that get the press’ attention are only examples of what can be done on an iPad if someone is willing to patiently work within its constraints and spare the time required to get something done on it. But there is no way a musician working in GarageBand on the iPad can ever compete with someone else using the app’s Mac counterpart.
The iPad is perfect for some things: reading books, idly browsing the web, using any of the thousands of iPad-specific apps that are better than their desktop- or web-based counterparts, watching a movie while lying in bed, watching, editing and working with your photos, booking flight tickets, doing online shopping, dealing with email and a thousand other things. And that’s how it should be. I love my iPad for what it does.
But most of the people who I recommend it to realise that they cannot purchase an iPad instead of a full-fledged computer. It is not a notebook replacement yet, and I wish the John Grubers of the world would just learn to accept that.