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Why An iPad Isn’t A Satisfactory Laptop Substitute…Yet

BusinessInsider’s Dylan Love says he loves his iPad, but it’s not about to replace his laptop anytime soon, citing four shortcomings in particular that prevent the iPad from becoming a satisfactory main computing device. They are, briefly paraphrased:

• Typing limitations of the on-screen keyboard and the hassle of carrying/pairing a Bluetooth KB with the iPad

• Limited connectivity with peripherals.

• Inability to display multiple application or document windows side-by-side.

• Inability to run a full-fledged desktop OS to support productivity applications.

I agree with those caveats, and would add the lack of mouse driver support and support for real multitasking.

When I bought my iPad 2 in June, 2011, I had initially hoped it would serve as a handier surrogate for my laptops, and to some degree it has. I’m fond of my iPad, and it gets a lot of use-hours that aren’t going on the laptops these days, but when it comes to doing serious production work, it’s back to the Macs for me.

However, maybe not so much for more predominantly content consumption-oriented users.

Convince Them Not to Buy iPads

Writing for Tech.pinions, Creative Strategies’ Ben Bajarin notes that in studying consumer markets, they’ve observed that while early adopters are predictable, the early and late majority are not, with often more realistic, practical, and nuanced needs, wants, and desires.

He relates that during a recent interview when he asked a woman about her tablet-buying intentions, she said she was willing to consider other tablets but would need to be convinced not to buy an iPad.

The takeaway, he says, is that currently, since the iPad is the market leader by a vast margin, consumers are walking into retail thinking “I’m very interested in an iPad” — their minds mostly made up. For a competitor to have any shot at swaying these consumers, they’ll need to persuade them to not buy an iPad, and he’s convinced it’s still an uphill battle for iPad competitors. While that perhaps won’t always be the case, it is right now – no other tablet competitor is even close. And Bajarin predicts that if Apple releases a smaller less expensive version of the iPad, as expected. it will become even more difficult for competitors.

All true, but it will be interesting to see if Microsoft’s new Surface tablet computer affects the equation. None of the abovenoted iPad limitations that prevent it from an adequate device alternative for content creators and business users – lack of a physical keyboard, minimal and compromised connectivity with peripherals, inability to multitask or to display multiple application or document windows side-by-side, inability to run a full-features desktop OS to support standard productivity applications, and lack of mouse driver support – will afflict Microsoft’s Surface.

How big is the market that could be swayed by those advantages. That’s difficullt to predict. In the meantime, Tim Bajarin notes, the key to other-brand tablet success is to convince consumers not to buy iPads.

Good luck with that.

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