iPad2: hot new toy or waste of money?

By Joe Cahill
March 15, 2011

There’s a ton of buzz about the latest gadget out of Cupertino—Apple iPad 2. Boasting front-and-back cameras, faster processers and a lighter, thinner design, the iPad 2 is drawing enormous lines at retailers across the world.

And I have absolutely no idea why.

My name is Joe Cahill and I owned an iPad for 24 hours.

After the iPad 2 was announced, I, like many consumers, was smitten. I wanted an iPad, and I wanted it at that very second. There was just one flaw in my idea.

I’d never really used an iPad.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried my hands on the iPad in Apple Stores numerous times.

I’ve toyed around with friends’ iPads, but those experiences are limited—I never had my hands on it for more than 10 minutes before I sat it down and went about my everyday routine. If I was going to judge something, I needed my own.

Apple announced that the first generation iPad would be on sale for $100 off the retail price. As a college student looking for any opportunity to save, I decided to purchase an original iPad.

The iPad 2’s lack of a better display was a big letdown, so I decided it wouldn’t make much of a difference.


I spent close to nine hours putting my mint-condition iPad through the paces.

I sliced and diced my way through games of Fruit Ninja, streamed episodes of “30 Rock” through Netflix, fired off emails and glued myself to updates from Twitter and Facebook.

All the while, though, I kept waiting for the moment when I’d realize I’d made the right decision—that I truly needed the iPad.

That moment never came.

The next morning played out like a one-night stand. I looked over at my iPad as the morning sun gleamed across its now smudged $399 display and wondered, “What on earth was I thinking?”

By five o’clock the next afternoon, exactly 24 hours after I purchased it, I returned my iPad. Some might say that I didn’t give it enough time, but to that I argue: if I spend $400 on something, it should impress me right away.

The iPad isn’t something people need.

Sure, it does some really neat things. One app in particular—The Daily, an iPad-only newspaper—was both incredibly impressive and addicting.

That said, I never felt like I truly needed the iPad. My 4-year-old Apple laptop can multitask better, and for fun apps, I have my iPhone. The iPad was never meant to replace either, but it doesn’t do a good job standing on its own.

My advice is this: if you can afford an iPad and think that it’d be something lightweight and useful, save some more and buy a MacBook Air. If you’ve got money to burn and don’t care, by all means—take the iPad.

I’ve asked it not to call me back.


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Joe Cahill

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