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A skeptic joins the iPad revolution – Toledo Blade

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  • b7tablet

    In this Monday, March 21, 2016, file photo, members of the media and invited guests take a look at the new iPad Pro during an event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.


  • Kirk-baird-mug-1
  • Apple-Harry-Potter-Enhanced-2

    Text and an illustration from ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ are displayed on an iPad.

    Associated Press



A decade ago, Apple released its iPhone and how we communicate seemingly changed overnight.

Three years later, in 2010, Apple released its iPad and…well, we’re still waiting for the tablet revolution.

Certainly the iPad has made “tablets” a thing, just not the thing as sales have cooled off dramatically in the last three years. In the second quarter of 2017, for example, there was 3.4 percent drop in worldwide shipments of tablets from the same period last year, as reported by technology research firm IDC.

That said, Apple did buck that downward trend in the second quarter, showing a year over year growth of 14.7 percent based on ships of 11.4 million units in the same quarter with updates to its line of iPad Pros and the standard iPad.

Still, what was supposed to be a sea change in consumer electronics is now a shrinking pond, as “phablets,” bigger phones with larger screens that still fit in pockets and more tablet-like laptops with detachable screens and lighter and thinner bodies, carve into tablet sales. Moments before Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad to an enthusiastic crowd on Jan. 27, 2010, he noted that everyone was already using laptops and smart phones.

“…The question is: Is there room for a third category of device in the middle, something between a laptop and a smart phone?”

It is a question I’ve asked myself for years as In contemplated an iPad — what my wife derisively calls a “salad fork”: nice to have but not a necessity.

I have an iMac that serves all my computer needs and an iPhone 7 Plus that is just big enough that skimming through news stories and feeds isn’t an eyestrain. And yet I’ve lusted after iPads since their debut.

Apple’s spring introduction of the rebranded iPad at a discounted price of $320 for the 32GB model, $429 for the 128GB model -—reasonable as far as Apple prices go -—nudged me closer to making the purchase. And Best Buy’s recent Black Friday sale in July was the divine sign that convinced me to buy it.

I am now the owner of a 128GB iPad with a Logitech Slim Folio case with an attached Bluetooth keyboard.

The iPad 2017, as I’ll call it, as with most tablets, has a beautiful, high-resolution 9.7-inch screen and is just on the light side of heavy in your hand — about the weight of a medium-size hardcover book. The 2017 model and its reduced price doesn’t quite feel as well put together as its more expensive and powerful iPad Pro cousins, but it’s not an issue, particularly if this is your first iPad.

The iPad isn’t revolutionary so much as evolutionary. It doesn’t change things; just makes them better.

Reading on my iPad has been a joy; comic books in particular, which were virtually unreadable on even my larger iPhone, are colorful and fully engaging. And while I will always prefer streaming movies to my much larger HDTV, the iPad is great for watching movies, TV shows and other media content on a trip or when a big screen isn’t available.

Browsing is also better on the bigger screen than the phone — and even more portable and comfortable than a laptop — as is the experience of those sites that cater to tablet users, in particular newspapers.

The iPad and other tablets may not be a necessity in our homes, but that’s almost always been true of consumer electronics. We love microwaves, for example, but we could most certainly live without one. But who would want to?

I love my iPad and certainly don’t regret the purchase. Not for a moment.

It is a frozen margarita after a long week at work and life: relaxing and welcomed, particularly as I settle into the couch. Do I need it? No, but I’m glad to have it. And who says that about a salad fork?

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

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