BuzzFeed has this great photo on Pinterest of then Apple CEO Steve Jobs sitting on a mostly tired looking, well worn leather sofa chair demonstrating the first iPad in 2010. That’s where the iPad was born. That’s where it lives.
Since that epic day when Jobs ushered in the post-PC era (it was already here, thanks to the revolution begat by iPhone in 2007), Apple has tried to improve the iPad to make a more compelling reason to buy it. Sadly, even the iPad Pro hasn’t help to stem the downward trend in sales. Why not? Because iPad is the best couch computer ever.
Consume? Or, Create?
One of the battles that catches a headline every now and again is whether or not the iPad is a consumption device or a creative device. The reality is this– iPad is both, of course, thanks to extra features in the iPad Pro models. The other reality is this– iPad is the best couch computer ever made and that makes it a consumption device for most of us, and that helps to explain the downward trend in sales.
Kif Leswing calls the new $329 iPad the best couch computer ever. He’s right. How so? After all, an iPhone can do everything an iPad can do but with a cell phone built-in, and with a better camera; plus, it’s more mobile than any iPad.
None of which is the point and nothing that separates the two matters because– for most of us– the iPad is the consumption device, the one we sit down on the sofa at home and check out what’s going on in the world, browse the news, view YouTube videos, control AirPlay and Apple TV, check up on email, and more. All from the comfort of sitting down on our most comfortable chair or sofa.
You can spend almost four times as much money on a fully tricked out iPad Pro that pushes the price into MacBook territory, but for couch use, there’s not much difference. A $329 iPad does much the same. It lets you consume information and entertainment like the drunken bi-peds we sometimes seem to be. A MacBook is called a notebook because Apple knows that it’s not a laptop. That’s not how we use a Mac. Microsoft calls their newest MacBook killer the Surface Laptop. It won’t kill anything and it won’t get used much on the lap.
Through the years iPad has gained a Retina display, faster CPU, better graphics, better cameras, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and not much else, so it does not yet compete with the Mac because Apple is afraid to cannibalize its own (Steve Jobs did it all the time). Even the significantly more popular iPhone does not get used the same way as an iPad on the sofa. Why not? The screen is just too small to indulge video and reading for long.
Steve Jobs was spot on. The iPad is a consumption device and though it’s not the poster child for the post-PC era as Jobs thought, there is no better device made by humans to sit down and dig around the news, watch a few videos, FaceTime with friends and family, catch up on email, even play a few games than the $329 iPad.