Editorial: Do You Even Use Your iPad?

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The iPad is a device which serves some very specific purposes and, if you have other devices that fill those purposes, you could very well find your iPad sitting around collecting dust. That’s how it is for me at least.

About 2 years ago, when I couldn’t afford a smartphone, the iPad 2 was the only iOS device I had. Because of this, I used it daily. Checking email, browsing the web, playing games, using iMessage and using those one-of-a-kind iOS apps was all done on one device. I didn’t have an iPhone, so my iPad 2 was my go-to device for things like TweetBot and Alien Blue. It was just easy to use as compared to browsing Twitter or Reddit on my desktop. Without a smartphone, I didn’t have many other options – and I enjoyed using my iPad immensely.

Fast forward 12 months, and I had sold my iPad 2 and purchased my first iPhone. After three or four months of being iPad-less I decided I missed being able to use my tablet in certain situations (every night in bed comes to mind as being one of them). So what did I do? I went out and purchased an iPad mini. Many may argue that the iPad mini was—and is even moreso now—a bad purchase (assumably because of the soon-to-come retina display model).

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The iPad mini, though, never really picked up traction as a daily use device. Why? Because I have an iPhone now. I no longer /need/ an iPad to use those apps which I find such a joy to use. I use my iPhone upwards of four or five hours a day, but last time I checked my iPad’s battery stats, I had 30+ days of idle time. That’s a testament to the device’s battery of course, but it’s also a testament to how little I use the device. I simply don’t need it.

Why don’t I need an iPad anymore?

My iPhone 5 fills all the needs that an iPad serves in daily use. Need to see how a website loads in mobile safari? iPhone 5. Need a quick way to manage my multiple Twitter accounts? TweetBot on iPhone 5. Need to send a quick email? Mail.app on iPhone 5. Need to post a photo to Instagram? Instagram on iPhone 5. Need to manage my bank account? Simple on iPhone 5. Need to get directions? Google Maps (ha) on iPhone 5.

It’s not that my iPad is useless – it’s just that my iPhone 5 fills almost every need and provides even more. My iPad mini (or at least the Wi-Fi model) can’t give me directions on the go, but my iPhone can. My iPad mini has TweetBot—which I definitely do use occasionally—but my iPhone does as well. The other big contributor to this, I think, is the fact that I always have my iPhone on me. I don’t have a reason to tote my iPad around, and it seems to just stay in my backpack or sit on a shelf. When I need a big screen, I use my desktop or my MacBook.

What is the iPad mini useful for, though?

It’s not that the iPad mini isn’t useful. If I didn’t have an iPhone (or any other smartphone for that matter), the iPad would be a great go-to device to use mobile apps on a larger screen. It made sense when I didn’t have an iPhone and the iPad 2 had its benefits, but I just can’t justify the—albeit beautiful in most cases–larger screen apps over the handiness and the always-on-me nature of my iPhone.

But in some ways, this might be just me and my needs. My iPhone fulfills my mobile iOS needs, and my MacBook (and desktop PC) fulfill my productivity needs. If you need an iPad at work to use as a digital notepad or find the iPad on your person regardless of having a smartphone, I can testify to the fact that most apps are easier and more intuitive to use on an iPad screen. There are some experiences—fullscreen ore taking, artistic apps, fullscreen web browsing, the list goes on and on–you just can’t get on an iPhone, but I think I’m simply someone who almost never needs them.

I was a believer.

Let me make this very clear: Before the release of the iPad, I was a firm believer in the fact that this device serves a purpose. It does, in fact, serve a purpose as evidenced by the fact that the iPad grew and became mainstream far faster than the iPhone ever did. If not a need, there is definitely a want. And, I’m sure for some people, having iOS apps displayed in full 9.7-inch or 7.9-inch glory is an absolute necessity. But it just isn’t for me.

So why don’t I sell my iPad?

I’m going to hold onto my iPad because it still serves a purpose to some extent. I use it as a gaming machine. Because I don’t use my iPad for anything else, I have downloaded 9 pages of games – basically all the games I’ve ever purchased on the App Store (or at least the universal ones compatible with iPad). This serves a great purpose, because gaming is simply something that I never do on my iPhone. My iPhone 5 is 16 GB and 12 of those are music (something I don’t really need on my iPad – not mobile) and the rest are my necessity apps like Tweetbot.

So I guess maybe this is more of an article about how few games I have time to play. My iPad does a great job of storing them and 10 year-old me would have loved to have that thing. But for now, I only really use my iPad when I’m bored on a car trip across the country.

What about you?

 

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