The iPad has received a lot of criticism since it was announced on 27th January and while some of it is deserved, I still feel a lot of people are missing the point about what this device is and what it (hopefully) will become. For that reason I’m going to share some of my thoughts about it, but you should also read a couple of articles from people far smarter than me for an interesting perspective.

Family Computer

This is the key for me right here, I believe this is the device most families should have in their home; it’s simple, there’s barely any maintenance involved, it has great parental controls built in, can do everything most families need it to and it has something for everyone. Mum can play Sudoku (Hi Mum) or look at recipes in the Jamie Oliver app, Dad can keep up with the sports using the ESPN app and the kids can be playing games or using education apps — all from a device that can be used in bed or on the couch and easily passed around the room.

Even I’m going to be buying one for around the house because of one simple reason; I use my iPhone more than my laptop during the weekend. To me, my laptop is a work tool, not something I use for pleasure. When I simply want to browse the web, watch youtube, update twitter or check facebook my iPhone simply offers me a better experience than my laptop so that’s what I use. It’s not uncommon for my laptop to stay in my bag all weekend unless I have some coding to do.

If I can get the same polished experience and outstanding apps on a faster and larger device than my iPhone I’m going to be a very happy guy.

The New Portfolio

I can’t wait for the first time I go to a client meeting and hand over the iPad to show some of our work off. The experience of browsing websites and viewing images on this device is going to be far greater than any computer can currently offer.

Imagine sitting down as a photographer and handing a potential client the iPad. There’s no distractions, just a beautiful screen focused on your work, with a swipe of their finger they can browse all your photos, zoom in and out of shots, start a simple slideshow and easily view different albums. It’s going to be a beautiful thing.

Not Perfect, Yet

As with any first generation Apple device it has its issues, the biggest being the lack of Flash. This is tricky for Apple, I believe they want to encourage rapid adoption of HTML5 for video and offering any sort of Flash support (even optional) is simply going to stunt this growth, but by not supporting it they’re alienating a lot of users. It’s a gamble and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. As for no 3rd party multi-tasking I’m predicting this will change with iPhone OS 4.0 hopefully coming out in June, which leaves the lack of camera for video chatting etc. Unfortunately I think we’re going to have to wait for the next version of the iPad to get the camera.

Overall I think the iPad is a solid product and I can see it being a great device to have around the home, however I think it’s going to take some time for general users to see it that way. What do you think? Will you be buying an iPad?