Despite the criticisms it had received ("An unnecessary, oversized iPhone"), the iPad turns out to be a pretty nifty gadget. Perhaps for me, the biggest advantage would be its weight. From lugging around my Macbook which weighs approximately 5 pounds, the iPad considerably made my backpack a bit lighter given its weight of a mere 1.5 pounds. To compete with the magic of Amazon's Kindle, Apple had to create the interface of the iPad reader-friendly, a plus for students, considering the tons of school materials one can now download and read without straining the eyes. While most applications in the Apple store are priced, there are a few free applications that are worth downloading like reference apps such as WebMD, games such as Tap Tap Radiation and the magic of Air Guitar. Another plus for me would be the downloadable apps. I was able to download Office H2D, a Microsoft Office version for iPad, just for those times when I would want to create office documents or spreadsheets while on-the-go.
When Apple introduced iPad last year, I dismissed the gadget as again one of the ways Steve Jobs would milk the techies in all of us. Just when I was about to dismiss another Apple product and seriously thought of going back to a Windows-based orientation, I was pulled right back in. Of course, it still cannot replace my beloved Macbook, with all its installed applications such as Adobe Creative Suite, VLC player, Flash player, Limewire (!), which all of course cannot be installed in the iPad. A friend also commented that it cannot replace the magic and feel of books, which I quite agree. But with all its pretty features and applications, it's still a pretty kick-ass downtime and travel companion.