What the iPad needs to be your only computer

There’s been a lot of talk about how the iPad will be used by people that aren’t experts in computers. This article makes a good case that Grandmas and Technophobes will love the iPad:

The darndest thing happened in the last five days and I was fortunate to be privy to it. Apple has gotten people excited about computing. But this time, it’s not nerds or geeks and certainly not IT industry analysts. It’s everyone else. I had a curious set of three conversations this week. One with a grandma, one with a technophobe and the third with a self-proclaimed luddite.

And this article explains the difference in computing habits between the Gen Xers that came of age during the PC revolution and the generation before and after us.

The reason I’m starting to think the Old World is ultimately doomed is because we are bracketed on both sides by the New World, and those people being born today, post-iPhone and post-iPad, will never know (and probably not care) about how things used to work. Just as nobody today cares about floppies, and nobody has to care about manual transmissions if they don’t want to.

Both of these articles make a great case, and although, I need a regular computer to do development, I would like everything else to migrate to an iPad.

I started to use Macs again after ten years when I got a digital camera. I read the instructions for the Windows software it came with and then just plugged it into a Mac I inherited — it just worked. Since then, I’ve used a Mac for everything except my job (.NET SDK development).

Which brings me to my first problem with the iPad — how do I connect my digital camera? Steve Jobs talked about how great the iPad would be for photos, but how do they get on the iPad to begin with? Undoubtedly, this will be solved, but it’s a problem that will make the iPad useless for a lot of people if this is their only computer.

Secondly, I don’t take a lot of pictures and almost no video and I have about 10-15 GB of photos (and 20-25 GB of music). 64 GB is just completely inadequate if this is going to be the only place to store them. For the iPhone, synching gives me downsampled photos and music if I want to save space, but I can’t do that to my primary copy. I’m sure iPads will get to bigger sizes, but I’m also sure that we’ll need more too.

Even if the iPad had a terabyte, I really need some off device storage — iPads can be lost, which would be bad, but not as bad as losing all of my data. It’s unclear how the iPad can be backed up if it’s your only computer.

I know that these problems will be solved eventually, but right now — it’s not really possible for the iPad to work without a host computer — if it’s like the iPhone, it depends on synching too much.

I’m not sure what the solution will be, but I have a Time Capsule — if the iPad had Time Machine, and if the Time Capsule could suck the images off my digital camera (perhaps using the iPad as the UI), then I’d be most of the way there.