The iPad 3 Is Here: Should You Care?

By the time you read this, Apple will have announced their iPad 3 (or their iPad 2s. Or their iPad 84 if you’re reading this blog 81 years in the future). Should you care?

When Apple released the original iPad, I thought it would fail. It seemed like a device that didn’t fill a need–it was just a bigger iPhone that you couldn’t use as an everyday phone. I read a statistic after about a year that said that about the primary use of the iPad was emailing, even though it’s an inferior emailing device to laptops.

However, the iPad didn’t fail, at least in terms of sales. I think it failed as a platform for a while, but then I started hearing about apps that took full advantage of the bigger screen–apps that wouldn’t work on an iPhone.

My creative juices started flowing. I started to see an iPad as a new way to tell a story or create a conversation or play a game, or even a way to save precious time.

Just the other day I experienced a prime example of this. I was out at lunch with two members of my church community, one who had purchased a week in an Italian villa at our annual auction, and the other an Italian woman who had donated it.

The Italian woman was describing must-see coastal towns, sites, and restaurants near the villa, and the auction winner was taking notes on her iPad in an e-mail to herself. As she talked, the Italian woman positioned salt and pepper shakers on the table to spatially represent the areas she was describing.

A few minutes passed before it dawned on me that this whole process would be so much smoother on the iPad’s Google Map app. So we loaded the app, searched for Italy, zoomed in on the boot, and viola! Suddenly we had a much better image tool to use than email. We even pinned the map based on the Italian woman’s recommendations.

It was a light bulb moment to see this unfold in front of me. We went from arranging salt shakers on the table to tagging the exact map that the auction winner would use when she’s driving around Italy. In just a few minutes, the iPad went from a flashy toy to an extremely useful toy.

I’m excited to see if Apple adds anything to the iPad 3 beyond a better screen, faster processor, more memory, and Siri. Hopefully there will be at least one unknown gadget that makes us feel like we’re in the future. I can’t wait to get one.

Do you have an iPad? What’s the most brilliant thing you’ve ever seen an iPad or tablet used for?