Every day, I spend anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours on public transportation (round trip). A few times a year, that can double when the trains are disrupted by fires, tornadoes, etc.

I usually drag a mess of printed flotsam and detritus — a newspaper or 3 back and forth (NYT, WSJ, FT), as well as printouts of various research PDFs, and articles, blog posts, along with the occasional book or magazine.

It gets to be a messy, I’m sure its wasteful, and in general, its a pain in the arse.

I’m thinking of getting an iPad. I played around with the first gen pads — I could see using it for newspapers, PDFs, ebooks, and other reading. They are heavier than I expected, with no multi-tasking — i.e., reading a PDF AND listeningto music simultaneously.

My inclination is to wait for iPad Gen 2 before shelling out $599. I expect that one will be faster, with more storage and the new Retina displays.

Any insights as to what is coming down the pipeline from Apple (or their competitors)? Am I silly waiting for Gen II. I am guessing they will be out in Q1 2011 . . .

Category: Technology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

88 Responses to “iPad Purchase?”

  1. kdruff says:

    Barry — I wouldn’t expect a screen as pixel dense as a retina display on a 9.7″ screen. Too many pixels to push using a power-efficient chip.

    The current screen is 1024×768 @132dpi… 2.27x more (300dpi/132dpi) comes to 2324×1743, or nearly as many pixels an Apple 27″ monitor has.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a resolution bump, but don’t expect it to be huge. They have to balance frames-per-second performance for gaming and resolution for reading with battery life.

  2. andrew755 says:

    That is what I am thinking, they will probably come out with a camera as well. Also waiting to see if they will enable flash. But there is so much you can do with them.

  3. ronchman says:

    FYI: Actually, you can listen to music and do something else at the same time, such as read a PDF, etc. The no multitasking limitation applies to third-party apps. Certain built-in apps, such as Mail and iPod, work just fine in the background.

    I don’t know what’s coming down the pipe… but I say go for it right now. Make sure to install DropBox and InstaPaper.

    Dropbox is an easy way to get all your PDF’s onto your iPad via wireless. Anytime I have a PDF I want to read, I just drop a copy in the Dropbox folder on my main computer. That gets synced to the could, then when you open your iPad’s Dropbox program you can pull it down.

    Instapaper lets you mark articles on the web for later reading. It syncs down a text-only copy down to your iPad for easy reading.

  4. NickAthens says:

    Don’t be silly. I am a former MSFT exec. I Got an IPAD. Incredible. $599 just the speed at which it does email is worth it for a year. Then upgrade and give it to a poor republican kid just so you can say you are “fair and Balanced”.

  5. Thomaspin says:

    Barry – get real. You make $millions a year, bid on exotic cars, and you are agonizing about trying an enabling technology for $600?


  6. kpny says:

    I recently chose a $139 Kindle to read for my 90 minutes of commuting. Love it.

    Ipad is (MUCH) heavier, costlier and the shiny screen sucks for reading.

    Plus, I’m happy with my iphone.

    There’s also a new option:


  7. Buce says:

    Probably just being ornery but I’m getting along just fine with my $350 netbook from (gasp!) Gateway of all people. Wifi only, no phone, though I could plug something in the USB port. But it multitasks like crazy and to my utter delight and astonishment, it has a lovely keyboard–much more hospitable than the junky little Acer I bought last year and mercifully fried on European electrical (but Acer owns Gateway). I picked this eccentric off-brand because it offered the longest battery on the floor at Best Buy that day–they claim nine hours which is a joke, but can easily by six or seven; I have never yet outlasted it.

    I’m really not hostile to the Ipad; I suppose I will own one someday. But right now nothing draws me to it.

    BTW I still have my first-gen Kindle, but with the Kindle app on the netbook, I find the Kindle is spending a lot of time in the drawer.

  8. franklin411 says:

    Wait for an Android-based tablet, Barry. There’s a reason why Droid is growing by 100s of percent and Apple is flatlining in terms of market share. Why on earth would anyone with half a brain in his head buy a device that is as completely gimped as the iAnything? Why would someone buy a device comes with a Cupertino straightjacket that won’t let you do anything with your property unless it’s anointed by Steve Jobs?

  9. Andrew Krone says:

    I’ve tried both the iPad and the Kindle. For reading books and articles ONLY the kindle is better, it has better battery life and an easier to read screen in all kinds of light. For videos, photos, browsing the internet the iPad is probably better.

    Kindle is for book like reading, iPad is laptop without a keyboard.

  10. slothy says:

    You can listen to music that’s stored on it (i.e. not streaming) while reading the web and such. The update to add multitasking is supposed to be quite soon, too, and then you can stream while reading.

    I love my iPad, but I do wish it had the retina display. I don’t think getting the original will be a mistake, and I think the mess it’ll save you will be worth at least $600.

  11. JasRas says:

    The lesson I learned w/ the iPhone was never buy the 1st gen. The move from 1st gen to 2nd gen happens much quicker than any future gen move and the improvements are the largest vs. future improvements being more incremental.
    I use my iPhone extensively to read news, pdfs, blogs, etc. when I am out and about.

    Now, I’ve got clients who simply upgrade immediately and roll their technology like rolling options… I just don’t have the need enough to justify doing that. Although I am considering doing that with a camera…but cameras seem to hold their value better than other electronics.

    I don’t commute on a train. If I did, I would probably buy now. However, if AT&T is really soooo bad on the coast, isn’t that a deterrent for the iPad?

  12. pmorrisonfl says:

    I bought the $139 Kindle, and it’s a fine, fine reading device. Fits on the treadmill, weighs nothing, battery hasn’t run out in the weeks I’ve had it, can read beautifully in full sunshine, where other devices cower and hide.

    We had an iPad for 29 days, to see if that’s the way we wanted to go. Beautiful, fast, a little heavy, but much lighter than a laptop. It’s amazing the difference NOT having to flip it open makes. And it’s becoming the way to share bits you want to share with people sitting around you. Wound up returning it, but not for what it is. I think it’s an ‘enabling technology’ as mentioned above. My travel time is enabled enough for me between my Android phone and my Kindle, but if I did any more travel time than I do I’d get an iPad as well.

    They serve complementary needs. I think you should get both, and in a month or less you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

  13. sim says:

    Don’t be fooled by the multitasking thing; first off, you _CAN_ play music while doing anything else. Second, more complete multitasking support for the iPad is just a few weeks away.

    The iPad is great for catching up on news media during commutes.

  14. louis says:


  15. changja says:

    The multitasking is only on 3rd party applications. So you can listen to music (iPod software only) and surf web but you can’t listen to music on web (i.e. pandora) and surf at same time.

    I would just wait for the 2nd gen iPad, the 1st gen has so many missing parts like front facing cameras and improved OS, etc. There’s likely a significantly hardware upgrade in computing power too and rumors indicate they’ll be launching 2nd gen pretty quickly.

    The Galaxy Tab from Samsung is also coming out with some pretty good reviews if you want to look into that.

    All in all though, you can always sell the 1st ipad if you want to get a 2nd one, you’re not exactly living paycheck to paycheck. (Neither am i but i’m not a fan of walled garden software anyway)

  16. changja says:

    Btw, you’re going to see a TON of tablets coming out by 1st Q 2011, everything from the RIMM playbook to the HP PalmPad and another dozen+ of the Android Tablets with Gingerbread 3.0 which is specifically designed for tablets.

    You’ll have plenty of choice if you wait till then.

  17. mikemohr says:

    Get a laptop for the same amount and you can do a lot more.

  18. kurtwestphal says:

    Barry, depends on your ROI calculation, the iPad is getting raves from all my friends who own one. Industry reports, depending on who you read, if interested i’ll send you some links, suggest next year for new iPad, with ios4 multitasking, facetime. But immediately it would probably improve your workflow but not perfect it. iPad does PDF reading, doesn’t support PDF editing. screen is awesome, but rumors are the new retina display is coming. also some rumors from China suggest a slightly smaller iPad is in the works….

    i’m sure it will keep paper messiness down.. a VP friend does all his client notes using one now… get the G3 because of AT&Ts freaking network in NYC…..


  19. Thor says:

    BR – Buy it! Forget the bus, you’ll never want to surf the web or read anything on your laptop again. also, you won’t want to look at your digital pictures on anything else. Nothing out there right now is going to be as crisp, as clear, and as bright, as the iPad can deliver right now. I guarantee you won’t regret buying it.

    And no, I am not a paid advertisement for Apple, I just happen to this this is a very useful piece of equipment.

  20. as chanjga lays out:

    “Btw, you’re going to see a TON of tablets coming out by 1st Q 2011, everything from the RIMM playbook to the HP PalmPad and another dozen+ of the Android Tablets with Gingerbread 3.0 which is specifically designed for tablets.

    You’ll have plenty of choice if you wait till then.”

    you’ll be glad you waited..the “Pad”-space has yet to be decorated…

    remember, given your Jurisdiction, you’d have to Earn U$D ~1200, just to lay out the ~6(00) for the (sp)iPad..

  21. JT23456 says:

    Why be such a 1 dimensional person – ignore more reading – listen more, watch more, think more. Less email and less connected-ness – more thinking, being, seeing, learning, experiencing. We re-watched 3 of Bergman’s early films on DVD – Smiles of a Summer Night, Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries … these films are 50-55 years old – and still deserve more thought.

  22. jnutley says:

    I think you’ll want one of these:


    Only one tablet I know of will sport one of those at launch:


    But I’m not sure it will be _the_ tablet for you. Hold out for a clear victory in your own usage. Weight, features, existing apps you desire, battery life, and the network externalities that will get people to continue to develop for it. When you like all of those factors, that’s the tablet you should buy.

  23. Darkness says:

    An Ipad in hand is better than waiting for 2 to alight from the vaporware bush. RIM had to acquire a company to get an OS for their pad. Not everyone can do interface, and an acquisition is hard on s/w design. I would really wait for version 2 on that one, so that would be 2012. They are betting the company on the blackpad/playbook (blackbook would have been a better name) . . . Ordered 2.5 million units for the first quarter of sales. Rolling the dice, they are.

    We have both kindle and ipad. They are remarkably different devices. Kindle is great for beach and outdoors and long camping trips, the ipad has an engrossing interactive interface, makes it easy to share things with others around you, makes checking the weather radar and traffic while driving instantly addictive (oh, um the passenger, of course…), you can annotate pdfs, and it can substitute for a laptop. We were going to hold off until the second gen, but could not resist. Figured if we didn’t like it we could sell it or give it to a very happy neffa. If you are lugging paper around, just get one and upgrade later. The only downside is if you have an iphone, your iphone is going to start feeling small.

    Android’s free-for-all platform is starting to tell on the brand. Manufacturer customizations create confusion, badly behaving apps make every user a sys admin. It’s fascinating to watch the appliance vs. hacker platform battle play out, that’s all I can say. There is room for both in the marketplace, although techies hate to admit that. Your grandpa can’t root his phone, she shouldn’t own one, you know.

  24. TakBak04 says:

    BR… Buy it now and give it to your niece or nephew later when the 2nd generation comes out. It’s too cool and you can watch Netflix/You Tube…whatever along with reading articles. Lack of flash hurt us checking out restaurant menu’s when we were on vacation in July with family member who has one that we fought over…but the keyboard is nice size and easy to use…taking place of notebook/laptop. The I-Pad keyboard is much nicer than the I-Phone keyboard which I find to sensitive. (I like it because I’m a traditional “typist” on a keyboard and not a “one or two finger” like so many these days). But either way the keyboard is nice and it’s so easy to navigate. My personal computer and lapto are both PC…so I-phone and now I-Pad are my only experience with Apple..

    I’m going to wait until the next I-Pad comes out…but given your situation and the information you need to read…I’d buy it now! Get the stand if you are going to use it at home. Otherwise the only downside is that it is a bit heavy and slides on your lap and I found spending a lot of time on it hurt my eyes with the backlight or something. But, it’s great for a a two hour commuter trip. I was reading your blog on vacation on it…and scrolling through the other stuff I need to read very quickly. I loved it and I’m not a person who needs to rush out and buy anything just because it’s the “Cool Flavor of the Moment.”

  25. NewBob88 says:

    I listen to music on my iPad everyday day while reading the WSJ and books. Buy one now. Be sure to get the iPad with the 3G ATT connection option. This allows internet connection while you are sitting in the train for hours. At least you can send and read your e-mail, and cruise the internet when you are out of wifi range.

    P.S. Which Apple laptop did you buy for your wife?

  26. pintelho says:

    i hate blackberry and all things RIM..but that tablet thingy they unveiled looks like a pretty damned good alternative to the ipad.

    that being said i am sure the andriod pads will be better.

    but all that paper your carrying is bad for the earth….your rich spend the frekin money and get the ipad now to save the trees…then just buy the newer better shit and donate the ipad

  27. spider92 says:

    Buy one now…life’s too short to wait. I wouldn’t be reading your blog just now if I hadn’t gotten one 2 weeks ago. Now I don’t miss a thing.

  28. Thor says:

    Darkness – I agree. We now support Adroid, Iphone, and Blackberry in our office. The few droids we have have been a mess for exactly the reason you state – shitty applications crashing all the time. We have people turning in their older Blackberries for iPhones all the time.

    We just purchased a few iPads for the IT/Development/Help Desk to use as we have several people in our office who bring their personal iPads to work with them and are starting to demand support for it as well. There’s already an iPad/iPhone App for the help desk system that we use so our help desk guys are excited about being able to quickly open and close their tickets from anywhere in our building.

  29. Bruman says:

    Barry, I have both an iPad and a kindle, and I don’t regret buying either (though you’ll probably want the 3G option). The Kindle is better for reading books and stuff that can be delivered to it (like WSJ, NYT, Foreign Affairs)… principally because it is lighter to hold. The Kindle is also better in direct sunlight.

    The iPad is great for browsing the web (if you have WiFi or 3G), and there are lots of Apps that make sense on the iPad and don’t work for kindle. For me, the only things that the iPad can’t really do that a notebook can is Flash (that’s the one bummer) and Excel. But I no longer need to carry a laptop with me, and my shoulders thank me every day.

    Wait for iPad 2??? Well, you can do that, but why don’t you just roll down the yield curve. Buy the iPad first generation and then sell it when the second generation comes out. The cash loss will probably be on the order of $100-150. Then you just ask yourself if you would get $100-150 of value by having it today instead of whenever the second generation comes out. When you ask the question that way, I think it’s pretty easy to decide that you’ll get the value.

    One thing though… if you get the iPad, you may want to get a bluetooth keyboard to go with it. If you do that, you don’t need a notebook for MS Word type projects, and then Excel will really be the only thing you need a laptop for (OK, maybe Bloomberg too).


    PS: I find with Apple products, it generally pays to buy at the early end of the product cycle, because the prices don’t really drop much over time, unless a newer version has been introduced. Therefore, go ahead and buy just as soon as you are confident that there are no major manufacturing problems (antennae that don’t receive, batteries that explode, etc.)

  30. waay OT:

    I find it saddening that the same “Save the earth”-peep, still, equate “Trees” with “Paper”…

    What do you think “Paper” was made out of, before We started mowing down the Forests?

    hint http://search.yippy.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&v%3Aproject=clusty&query=Industrial+Hemp

    remember, “Green-washing” is, just, another facet of Brain-washing..


  31. TakBak04 says:

    BTW…we had an impending hurricane coming on our vacation and we were able to check out the local weather for videos in our home state on the I-pad to keep posted on what was going on without having to fire up our individual laptops (which would take up the whole table in our vacation villa) and the I-Pad connected instantly to the Villa Rental Wireless where the one laptop family member needed to use for business..had terrible trouble connecting and blackouts. Figure? But, we did have strong AT&T where we were..so who knows why I-Pad connected instantly with no blackouts but Toshiba lap top had problems.

  32. Don’t be an apple pothead! The ipad I is inferior to the RIM tablet (by specification). You should look into the kindle. I’m fortunate to be able to test the ereaders for work. Tested kobo and kindle. Am impressed with what the kindle can do. Kindle is $139 and can surf the web (at least read RSS feeds). It has text-to-speech too.

    Unless you look at graphs all day, you are fooling yourself into believing you need an iPad. The iPad does more, but if you want basic reading and RSS feed reading, get the kindle and wait for ipad to fix itself up.


    BR: 1) I DO look at graphs all day.

    2) I am NOT a Blackberry fan. The RIMM tablet is farther away than the Gen 2 iPad

  33. MayorQuimby says:

    I’m going to wait for the upgrade but will get one at some point.

  34. joestrummerlives says:

    I love my Kindle, but I only use it to read books in hotel rooms when I’m travelling. If you keep the wifi off, the battery life is great and you can read it outdoors. The user interface is not user-friendly, but I have simple needs.

    My wife just got an iPad. She’s in outside sales and I figure if it increases her productivity in the field by ~$100 a month it pays for itself in a year. Her sales went up waaaaay more than that when she got the iPhone. She’s already enthusiastic about the impact the iPad is having on her productivity, so I think it will be worth it. I’m not an Apple guy, but I admit it is much better for viewing periodicals and web browsing. I don’t mind the weight… others have complained about it.

    2 hours on the train every day? I’d go for it.

  35. elvisexpressely says:

    No flash. Game breaker. I have a macbook pro, so I dig apple stuff. But you can buy a refurbished macbook on apple’s website for $250 more and get a real computer. But then, I’m an unemployed.

  36. Outlier says:

    The only real world draw back of the iPad is that it weighs more then the Kindle. Every other drawback is only a drawback vs vapor and fantasyware. I’ve done 5 3-10 day business trips without a laptop now, it’s an incredible laptop killer. Lighter, way better battery, much better form factor for use on the road, instant booting and 3G connectivity nearly anywhere. There are definitely some hypothetical situations where a laptop could do things it can’t, but I’ve yet to actually encounter one on the road (knock on wood.)

    All that said, not sure I’d recommend it for the commute. Really depends on how disciplined you are, slack a little and you’ll find yourself watching movies or surfing the web in a timeslot you once were reading higher quality material…

  37. ATH says:

    All the other tablets announced thus far besides Apple’s have been a big disappointment — personally, I’m holding out to see what Google is cooking up in their backroom labs. Rumor is a tablet device running their Chrome (or Android) operating system that will compete directly with Apples iPad. Being from Google, I expect (hope) this will be very web-friendly so flash, video, web-browsing, multi-tasking, etc..should be awesome. A second rumor is that Google is trying to have this available in two months on “Black Friday” in time for the Holiday season.

    The iPad is great despite some significant shortcomings — I like TakBak04′s suggestion — go ahead and buy an iPad now and then either switch to iPad2 or Google’s device and give your “old” one to a niece/nephew….

  38. ATH says:

    and just to be clear….I am not from Google, I meant the tablet. That would be insider information if I was…

  39. jpmist says:

    There’s one rumor of a lighter more practical 7″ iPad that I’m hoping will pop up. That might fit in an inside coat jacket or overcoat. Scrolling is so effortless, I doubt I’d miss the extra screen size.

    Also consider the fact that Apple works hard at making their stuff obsolete as fast as they can. For example the iPhone 3G simply can’t run the new iPhone iOS4 operating system very well and the original iPhone 2G can’t run it at all. So if you wait for iPad V.2 you’ll be able to use it with future system upgrades for longer than the original.

    Also you might consider not getting the expensive AT&T slow and soon to be obsolete 3G plan and go for a 4G Clear/Sprint portable WiFi hotspot instead. You’ll be able to use your phone on it and have backup wireless internet for your laptop. I have one and highly recommend them.


    BR: That is the plan. WiFi only (so I am reading research/saved webpages) and not puttering around online.

    The Virgin MeFi looks intriguing . . .

  40. jonhendry says:

    The latest kindle’s screen seems to be noticeably better than earlier models. Higher contrast, darker blacks, and the background is slightly lighter.

    I’ll know for sure later today, when mine is delivered. It’ll be my third kindle. I bought the 2nd generation, and loved it but wanted a larger screen for reading programming books. When the DX was announced, I ordered one, and have mostly used that one. (The smaller kindles are a bit more convenient in crowded, standing-room-only subways.)

  41. jonhendry says:

    PS: I’m also waiting for the 2nd generation iPad. I don’t feel a driving need to have one, but I’m a Mac developer so perhaps it would inspire some app ideas. And it would be useful to have for testing.

  42. disparu says:

    Think utility value and opportunity cost. Seems you could use an iPad now. I use mine to read the FT, WSJ, NY Tomes, New Yorker, various blogs including yours, books via Kindle ap and iBooks in addition to consuming other media. I am very satisfied and am not worried about having a first gen version. Utility value, opportunity cost.

  43. John R says:

    You gotta have Gen 2 with FaceTime. That’s the reason apple will grow next year instead of flatline. So, sure, you can get it now, but you can probably only sell it on craigslist or Ebay for 1/2 the price when the FaceTime Ipad arrives. But then you’ll want two or three, for you, your wife, your kid, etc. Will it be because you love your wife and kids or distrust your wife and kids? Hmm. You’ll love it so much, and everyone will be buying it, you won’t even ask this question!!

  44. Tim says:

    ” New Kindle leaves rivals farther back.” – New York Times

    ” Amazon’s newest Kindle is the best ebook-reading device on the market. It’s better than the Apple iPad, the Barnes & Noble Nook, the various Sony readers…” – Fast Company

    ” Battery life is long enough for space shuttle missions.” – Wired

    ” What’s clear, however, is that if you’re looking for a standalone e-reader (i.e., a portable replacement for physical books), this is the go-to, standard-setting device.” – Engadget

    ” Its solid build quality, along with its improved design, integrated store, and cross-platform transportability… all add up to a winner that shoots to the head of the pack.” – PC World

    ” Simply put, it’s the best dedicated ebook reader you can buy… Amazon has managed to increase the contrast on the Kindle in a way that sets it above the Nook, Sony Readers, or any other dedicated ebook reader we’ve tested.” – PC Magazine

  45. formerlawyer says:

    Get it. You will be in good company.


    Note the ipad article about a worse ipad before Christmas down below.

  46. wngoju says:

    gotta get the 3g one. worthless without. $599? ha.

  47. constantnormal says:

    The best reason to wait for the 2nd gen iPad is all the other tablets that will be hitting the markets when it comes out.

    This will have a number of effects:

    1) it will help keep the price of the iPad down

    2) the iPad will be forced to stretch its feature set a bit, and will probably move to a dual core cpu. It will likely not be the fastest, or have the longest battery life, but it will have a VERY competitive mix of functionality for the cost.

    3) while the competitors are rolling out their gen 1 models, warts and all — and all first-generation products from every manufacturer are not as polished as subsequent models — the 2nd gen iPad will seem like it is a year ahead of them, simply because most of the kinks will have been ironed out (and because it IS a year ahead of the rest).

    4) by next year, the iPad will have (at least) ten times the number of apps running on it that the others will, and Apple’s tight control over development and gate-keeping at the App Store helps to ensure that most of the really crappy stuff never makes it into the marketplace. The downside is that this same restrictiveness keeps some good and worthwhile stuff away from the iPads and iPhones (I’m thinking specifically of Google Voice, personally I’m sad to see flash being allowed into Apple’s walled garden, I run flash blockers and have seen my available bandwidth soar along with the overall system stability)

    Looking at the new mobile cpus that are hitting the markets over the next few months, it really is mind-boggling the stuff that is going to be in tablets next year. Check out this article:


    I think that Apple stock is likely to take a brief hit (over 1-2 quarters) due to iPads cannibalizing notebook sales, but once the iPad unit sales volume sails past 4X the annual macbook sales volume, things will pick up again. At the rate these devices are being picked up in the corporate world, that won’t take long. The tablet market has come along at just the right time to capitalize on the desire of everyone to spend less on hardware. Almost nobody really needs the mobile desktop capabilities that a modern notebook offers (unless they use it in place of a desktop system).

  48. BoboKnows says:

    I’d wait. In the next few months, you’ll have a choice of zillions of tablets from PC vendors, mobile vendors, etc. Many of them will have features that the current iPad lacks – camera, USB and or flash card interfaces, etc. Most of them will be cheaper than the iPad. You will also have network choices besides AT&T.

  49. aaalp says:

    Buy the Ipad, I am very happy with it.
    Calibre is very good program for converting pdf’s to ebook format for easier reading. Highly recommended.
    And when the 2nd generation comes out, you give the older one to The Wife or the kids, and get yourself a new one. The Ipad is perfect in combination with its apps.

  50. Expat says:

    I’ll second an earlier comment about the trivial amount of money it costs (for you).

    And, if you don’t buy an iPad, then the bad guys will have won which means we will have to trot GWB out of blessed political retirement to save us once again. And if that happens, I will have to hunt you down and beat you to death with a large, smoked trout.

    So, please, Barry, just buy the damn thing.

  51. perra says:

    Barry, right now I am looking at this really gorgeous woman at the end of the bar. Do you think I should approach her or wait until next weekend and see if I can find an even better looking gal?

    &*#&*. That’s the sound of me slapping you for being silly.

    - The ipad is excellent for reading PDFs.
    - You can download the iBooks app for free and import the PDF files on your computer via iTunes
    - You can download GoodReader for $0.99 and download PDF files from the internet directly onto your iPad. There are probably free apps that does the same thing if you can’t afford the hefty price. (It sucks that you can’t do this without downloading an app.)
    - As some have pointed out, you can listen to music at the same time as you read PDFs, use iWork applications, etc. Barry, I hope you don’t jump to conclusions when you invest in financial instruments! ;)…
    - The lack of multitasking is not that big of an issue because the iPad is very fast. You switch easily between applications and documents open faster than you can imagine.

  52. Schnauzos says:

    Barry — betting odds are that you won’t buy just 1 iPad, you’ll eventually have to pick up 2. A lot of guys report that the tech-phobe wives and daughters in their lives expropriate their iPads to such an extent that the actual owner has to ask nicely for a moments with it. And if you have a teenage boy in the house, fuggedaboutit! A good strategy is to pick up the 1st gen, enjoy it, and then let the wife keep it while you pick up a 3G 2nd gen version.

    There’s an OS upgrade coming in November that will add multitasking and Folders. If you currently use those on iPhone 4, you can’t wait for November as an iPad owner.

    3 hr commute and you still don’t have one? Dear God…

    Considering the travel you do, the iPad for movies and TV shows and books is a must-have on long haul flights. The battery life will impress.

    It will become your preferred email device. November’s OS update will add integrated inbox.

    There’s a natural app sorting that takes place afterwards: you’ll find that certain apps are better on the iPhone, others (many others) are far better on the iPad — size makes a difference.

    Get a good weather app with radar, too. Market and stock apps are decent, and will in a few short years probably become solid tools. (FusionIQ should get in early on this?)

    I wouldn’t think of the 1st gen iPad necessarily as 1st gen. Typically I am a die-hard 3rd gen purchaser, but didn’t feel it applied this time. It’s the first iteration of the iPad – obviously – but considering how it appears in Year 3 of iOS with tons of seasoning with iPhone and iPod Touch under their belts, it’s really a more mature expression than what 1st gen implies.

    You’re a Mac guy, so this part probably won’t sway your thinking any, but I wouldn’t bother with non-Apple tablets. They haven’t shown an ability to provide the quality product or experience that Apple does, and will always be a few steps behind.

  53. highside says:

    I gave one to my completely non techie wife for her 50th.

    It has been a raging success, she carries extra slides and data-packs on it when she goes to present to clients and it is unclear exactly what subjects they want to cover.
    She has no problems with reading novels on it, the book reader, last years Christmas present, has been given away.
    It was brilliant on our family summer holiday for uploading photo’s and videos off our cameras, editing the best, and showing them off to the party over dinner.
    My son has even got her addicted to Zombies versus Vegetables!!

    The criticism that you are buying Steve Jobs walled garden and that doesn’t contain flash are entirely valid.

    To me the walled garden is a plus, less chance she mucks about with the software and I have to rescue it.

  54. I have been an Apple fan for decades. So the whole walled garden complaint isn’t an issue to me.

    At least once a day in the office, I curse Bill Gates for something annoying Windows is doing on my Dell. Literally, curse him (That F%$# Gates!)

    But Apple seems to put out a Gen 2 product quickly, and its usually MUCH better than Gen 1

  55. JasRas says:

    This is what I’m saying. GS had a report about Gen2 iPad coming in June of ’11. I’m a betting guy, and I think GS is wrong on this one. Based on Apple’s past behavior, Gen2 will be rolled out q1 of ’11, not q2. That seems to be their M.O.

    If all you were going to do is read, get a Kindle…but you’re going to chart, etc. Shoot, I’ve got a friend who runs his mutual fund when away from the office via iPad. This is not a toy…

  56. prozach says:


    First, although there’s no multitasking between 3rd party apps at the moment, the next version of firmware (4.2) is set to be released in November and that will bring the same multitasking features as seen on the iPhone 3gs & 4.

    The next iPad model is most likely to come out in Feb/Mar (apple seems to stick to a yearly refresh cycle) and everyone believes it will include a front facing camera so the device will be able to support facetime. I must say that facetime is quite fabulous, but I generally don’t use it with anyone except family and very close friends (except for the occasional demo for those without an iPhone4).

    I have to agree with you too, after owning an iPhone 3g then iPhone 4, when my Windows laptop died I switched over to a MacBook Pro, it quite a bit smoother. Really, when I use the computer I dont have to think as much about what to do to get it to work making the whole experience more relaxing (if that makes any sense). I do use virtualbox with window7 so i can run quicken but other than that I dont expect to go back to windows.

    Good Luck,

  57. Low Budget Dave says:

    If you get a full powered laptop, you can use it for other things as well.

    I don’t own any apple products, but the little 13″ powerbook looks like it has all the advantages of the ipad and none of the shortcomings. Adding internet connectivity is cheap, buying a product you don’t use is expensive.

  58. Uchicagoman says:

    Jobs is a Jedi Master at this point.

    Don’t wait, life it too short.

    The iPad is magical ;)

    The battery life alone is amazing. (We only charge it like once a week)

    It really is the future. Computers will be all hidden away. No clunky laptops.

    Let me tell ya a story. My wife and I went to the apple store on Michigan Ave. “just to check it out”, right before it opened on release day. (Surprisingly the line wasn’t that crazy..and we got free Starbucks)
    But hell, we got in there and all the Apple employees were cheering us on as it was our turn to come inside and finally get our hand on this art.
    So, we get up there and they are like “how many do you want?” we look at each other and say ” we just want to see one..?”
    But, then in a impulsive flash we gave in. We just freakin bought one, what the hell. ($499 version)

    And like most will tell you above, it really is a much more enjoyable computing experience. Much prefer it for just browsing the web, etc…



  59. Bruman says:

    Barry, I came back to see what you were thinking… if you do get one, be sure to tell us (preferably with a new blog post).

    I also wanted to amend my comment to say that iPad doesn’t handle CREATING excel spreadsheets if you need them. It actually doesn’t do such a bad job of *displaying* them (so if you receive one in an email, you can often look at it).

    You can read Kindle books on an iPad, but if you subscribe to newspapers and periodicals through Amazon, those can only be read on a real Kindle device, and not the software. For books, though, what is awesome about kindle (and one reason I like Amazon as a growth company) is that you can buy a book for kindle, and then read it on pretty much any computer device you own – office machine, iPad, laptop, kindle device, iPhone. So if you bought reference material (like Bailout Nation), it’s available wherever you have any computing device. AND, iPad and full computers are better for charts (sometimes Kindle squashes charts to make it fit the screen – one of my few complaints).

    I go back and forth about whether it would be better to have WiFi only + something like Virgin MeFi, or just do the 3G. I have 3G but not the data plan. The idea is that at some point I’m going to be at some location wanting access and be glad I had it. I suspect it will also improve the resale value. The other thing is that the 3G iPad has a GPS inside and the WiFi only doesn’t. Small detail, but if you are driving a car (with a navigator) or have applications that want to use your location, that can make a difference. Minor point, but worth knowing.

  60. Buy the current one for $600, take the tax deduction, sell it on eBay when the new one comes out. Total cost for six months, close to zero.

  61. Investradamus says:

    Galaxy Tab. /thread

    “Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself”

    Same processor speed and storage, but with twice the RAM, 2 cameras (front and rear facing), Android 2.2 (open source apps ftw), GPS (Standard), 0.84 lbs (vs 1.5 lbs), FLASH support.

  62. jonhendry says:

    ” For books, though, what is awesome about kindle (and one reason I like Amazon as a growth company) is that you can buy a book for kindle, and then read it on pretty much any computer device you own – office machine, iPad, laptop, kindle device, iPhone.”

    Plus, Amazon keeps track of where you are in a book, across devices. (This is not without warts. It keeps track of the farthest point you’ve read. So if you jump ahead to read an endnote, or do a content search, it gets screwed up and I don’t think there’s a way to reset the ‘sync point’.)

  63. zot23 says:


    You can listen to music and do anything else at the same time. When they say ‘no multitasking’ they mean you can’t have a program open in the background crunching numbers while you: cruise the web, read a PDF, do whatever else. Ultimately, the iPad works like a gigantic iPod touch. It will always play music from the HDD in the background if you want, but you can’t play something like Pandora while you use goodreader (those are two 3rd party apps.)

    Honestly, I love mine. It isn’t a replacement for a workhorse laptop, but it is amazing for an on the go tablet device and as a mobile media hub. If you’ll be taking it for the commute, do yourself a really big favor and opt for the 3G version.

    I say take the plunge, I haven’t regretted mine for a single day.

  64. illoguy says:

    iPad 2 is rumored to come out either end of this year or in January.

    I don’t believe the rumor about the 7 inch ipad.


  65. WaltFrench says:

    The specs on the BB Playbook are really good, and there will be MANY alternatives to the iPad in a few month. But I’m not sure that it, or the otherswill serve the usage pattern you identify that well.

    Regards displays: holding the iPad in a lap, as ALL the ads show, puts the iPad display ~24″ away. Holding the BB Playbook about 17″ away makes each dot just as big, and the overall display the same visual width. 17″ works fine for desktop but on a train/bus, you’ll be holding it up. Not so good for the weight.each little dot on the iPad has the same. And the display would look tiny at a comfortable position. It’s a worksite gizmo. Plus which it gets your email and calendar from your BBerry. Don’t have a BB? The Playbook’s standalone features are a bit more limiting.

    Also on displays: Part of the reason you curse Windows is that it’s hard to design buttons, menus, etc., that work well on various screen sizes. Apple’s stuff is all finger friendly, and that depends on being closely tied to the screen size. It’s easy to simply double the dots in each dimension, but software that’d allow a program to run at native 1024 X 768 OR something else other than a 2048 X 1586 (2X/2X) makes objects fuzzy. I think 2048X1586 is overkill, would require a much heavier-duty processor. PS: the iPhone4′s Retina 1024X768 subtends the same angle at 9″, just the in-a-coccoon pattern that people use. So I don’t guess that iPad 2 will have notably higher resolution. Nor to have a 7″ alternative.

    I think Apple owns the 10″ space in terms of cost, capability, etc., for a while more. Competitors in the same form facctor will have to present a good reason in terms of accessibility, software, media, … I don’t imagine Android devices in that space, as they will lack the above. They MIGHT attempt it with TV-out as an option, but that becomes a couch computer for wireheads, an oxymoron. There’s a reason you haven’t seen other 10″ competitors yet and it ain’t that Android would be that hard to scale.

    DO look for a videophone-quality camera; Apple is slowly end-running the carriers and their oligopolistic pricing. FaceTime is a clear step that direction.

  66. [...] financial blogger Barry Ritholtz posted a short item yesterday saying he was wondering whether he should purchase an iPad to replace all the newspapers [...]

  67. bergsten says:

    If you hang around the right bars in Silicon Valley, you will probably be able to pick up a discarded, disguised version two iPad early and for free.

    You might even be able to sell it to some journalists, as long as you don’t mind a visit from Apple Security, I mean, duly appointed law enforcement officials.

  68. birdba says:


    The intent of this article is not to pursuade you to get the Blackberry tablet, but it provides a chart of existing and upcoming tablets.

    Secondly, if you plan to use it soley for reading, I would go with the Kindle.
    -Offers a 3G model
    -You can download newsparpers to it
    -Can read pdf’s

  69. dead hobo says:

    They still look way too primitive to me. The idea is great, though. Maybe by the 4th generation they will have decent storage, usable ports, and basically be a fully powered flat computer. If not Apple, then somebody else. Now, they’re just a proof of concept, at best.

    Also, I still can’t get used to the idea of greasy fingerprints on my screen. Maybe I’m just showing my age, but it looks really dirty.

  70. Jazztomato says:

    Compare iPad to the Kindle. The larger format Kindle is much much easier to read.

    The Kindle screen doesn’t appear backlit like a computer. It looks just like the page of a book or newspaper.

    I find it fatiquing to read at length from a computer screen and that’s what the iPad is. …Susan V

  71. rsadj says:

    You can buy one now. The November update will give you multitasking.

  72. rationall says:

    I own a Kindle and an Ipad: My view differs from many others posted here: 1) No eye fatigue on ipad like a computer screen – it just doesn’t happen 2) I find myself trying to read in low-light much more than bright sunlight – backlit Ipad wins 3) magazines and newspapers are not available as noted – but the WSJ app for iPad is so superior to trying to read the journal as formatted for Kindle that its not even funny. New Yorker is now accessible on iPad, NY Times partly there – soon all major pubs will have an app or wont exist. Having said all that, I am really glad to have my kindle – amazon book selection is huge and I can run kindle app on iPad, laptop and phone (any smartphone, not just iphone) My one regret: I received the WiFi version as a gift – DEFINITELY GET THE 3G!

  73. rationall says:

    sorry one more point – you absolutely can read PDF’s in iPad ibook app or web-browser – AND ITS FREE. Amazon charges a ridiculous fee to upload a PDF.

  74. birdba says:

    “Kindle (Free 3G + Wi-Fi) user living in the United States: If you transfer personal documents to your Kindle via Wi-Fi there is no delivery fee. If you transfer personal documents to your Kindle via 3G while inside the United States, the fee is $ .15 per megabyte. When traveling outside the United States, a fee of $.99 per megabyte will apply.”


    At $0.15 per megabyte and the average difference between the Kindle and IPad being about $100, I could transfer approximately 660 megabytes of data before I reached the price of an IPad. (Assuming we compare similar models, i.e. base model to base model, etc. ). If I used WiFi or USB transfer, its free.

  75. tradeking13 says:

    Don’t forget you’ll have to carry around a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels.

  76. joeljensen says:

    Ever seen the movie Brazil. HUGE magnifying lenses over tiny computer screens.
    The iPhone4 as an excellent screen, Our eyes can’t keep up. Get some 4 diopter magnifying/reading eyeglasses, like those used for fly tying. You can read pdf’s AND listen to music.

    An added benefit is the text can be so small that the guy next to you wont be able to see what you are reading. Plus you don’t have to carry an ipad, just another pair of reading glasses.

  77. Thomaspin says:

    BR – one other thought. Given your fondness for charts and video clips, you will find the iPad frustrating in that many of these are rendered using Adobe’s Flash which the iPad does not play (unless you hack it, which raises other issues). So it’s not a universal panacea. Reading business press/blogs, I would guess the fail rate is 20%.

    Android may force Jobs to reneg on his arrogant stance regarding Flash, but all the Android tablets which will play Flash are vapor(hard)ware right now.

    You will experience frustration often when you look at great sites like …. yours.

    But, time being worth money, there’s no earthly reason to delay.

    Forget the Kindle – a poorly made toy by comparison. I just returned mine. It’s a one trick pony for reading monochrome content in direct, bright sun.

  78. DuchessGateau says:

    In November Apple will come out with iPad IOS 4.2 with a multitasking capability just like the iPhone 4. The next version of the iPad is likely to be announced in Jan, but probably won’t be out until the Spring (April) of 2011. But why wait?

    The iPad is like a smaller, lighter laptop which you can fit easily into a backpack or briefcase. It’s better than a kindle because you can read the news in the morning, and watch news video (except for flash). And it synchs with your other mac computers.

    But Beware! I have heard it is addictive and that families end up buying several for each member. Do you really want your kids spending even more time online? Keep it in your briefcase for your commute!

  79. jonhendry says:

    Ok. My new 3G kindle is here. The screen is definitely a bit better than earlier models. Lighter background, darker blacks, better contrast. And you have a bit more control over the typography: you can choose a condensed font, or a sans-serif font, and can adjust the line spacing.

    On the downside, screen refreshes are a smidgen slower than my 2nd generation kindle.

  80. TacomaHighlands says:

    You’re an info, data, chart, article, addict. Me to. That’s why I read your blog every dang day. And then I realize I’m so sucked into all these biz blogs I’ve lost touch with far too much.

    Week one: I double dog dare ya to buy nothing and spend a week letting your mind roam on that to and fro train ride without outside distraction, be present and accommodate whatever arises. Focus on your breathing. Sound miserable? Ok, you can distract yourself with a little learning: Pema Chodoron’s Audio Collection. Mindfulness awareness practice. Stick it on your iPod player and just listen.

    Week two: sketch – pencil or colored pencil to paper…no judgements on your work. Stick figures are fine. Kindergarden quality, fine. This is not about being Leonardo.

    Week three: tell us, what have you discovered? What are your thoughts?

    Week four: buy whatever the heck you think you desire, and remember it’s all about attachment.

  81. cognos says:

    BR -

    I rarely comment these days because I mostly read BP from my iPad. We have 2. Will prob buy more of the next gen. Always good to have on a coffee table for guest to surf the net or check their emails.

    The app — PULSE — is just the best news, blog, data-junkie app of all time. It is a no brainer at $499-1000. There is a reason it will sell more than 20M units in its first year (thats close to $20B in sales, year 1!) People love it. It really its changing everything.

    I dont buy the hype on the other tablets. Especially bc you dont want to be an early adopter of one of the 10 different competitors. You have to at least wait and see what becomes “Pepsi” to the iPad’s “Coca-cola”. I’ll take the under on any of them selling 2M units before 20M iPads sell.

  82. rationall says:

    @birdba: your calculation regarding the PDF fee is certainly a novel way to think about the price differential between iPad and Kindle. Some might ascribe value to the iPads ability to play video, play the iTunes library from the iPod (I know the kindle has a rudimentary MP3 player – I own one), email, full web browsing capability, thousands of dedicated purpose apps, etc. But if are limiting ourselves to discussion of PDFs I should further note that I receive most PDFs via email or web page. On the Kindle I have to engage in a tedious upload process to a special purpose email address. On the iPad I … open the document. If I want to store it locally, I open it with the iBook app and it stays on the bookshelf until I delete it. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

  83. mikaeel says:

    I loved my Ipod until my PC got a virus and I had to reinstall all my programs. It took me two months to be able to listen to my Itunes (bought and paid for) music. Never again. But my Caribbean girlfriend tells me and I quote, “Me change Ipad daily when the blood clod (cloth) full.”

    Now that I know where the ipad belongs, I’m getting a kindle

  84. jonhendry says:

    ” It took me two months to be able to listen to my Itunes (bought and paid for) music.”

    Um, why?

  85. mikaeel says:

    I have a program that copies songs from an ipod and puts them on a computer. but if the computer is not authorized to play itunes songs they won’t play. After the crash I reinstalled everything. But Because of a problem with my bank not accepting debit card transactions from Itunes, I was not able to re autherize my laptop. i could only listen to songs downloaded from other than Itunes sources. I kept getting the message that my computer was not registered to play songs purchased from itunes. Eventually somebody answered my post on some blog and told me how to re authorize my computer. And regardless of why it happened it happened. I cold not play music I payed for, but the limewire stuff played. Unless the price drops like crazy, i will never by an apple product again.

  86. mikaeel says:

    I’m all for security and protecting intellectual property owners rights, but if a new fangled lock, locks me out of my house with the key in hand in a freezing rainstorm… I think you get the picture

  87. [...] week, I mentioned I was considering an iPad purchase. The response fell into 3 categories: 1) Get one RIGHT [...]

  88. [...] so you guys convinced me: I finally bought a iPad (wifi 32G) for my birthday — had it about 3 weeks [...]