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Apple iPad 3 aka new iPad

Apple iPad 4 Wi-Fi only tablet review

Better slate than never

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I didn’t get the iPad at first. When the tablet was first announced, I was interested but couldn’t see the value to me. I had an e-book reader, I had a phone on which I could watch films while travelling and listen to music, and I had a laptop for everything else. Why, I wondered, did I need a tablet too?

I was happy to take possession of a first-gen iPad a few months later - I won it in a raffle, oddly enough - but I thought that, after a brief play, it would just sit and gather dust.

Apple iPad with Retina Display

Not the iPad 4, the 'iPad with Retina Display'

How wrong I was.

To the tablet sceptics, all I can say is: I was one of your number, but no longer. My laptop gets plenty of use and so did the e-reader - unlike a ten-inch tablet, it fits in coat pockets - until I availed myself of a Nexus 7 earlier this year, but my iPad has become my prime home device.

I read my newspaper on it long I before head off to work and pass by a newsagent. I read magazines on it. I read lots of comics on it - like the papers and the mags, they are so much better viewed in portrait, in your hand, than on a notebook landscape display, or on a monochrome E Ink screen.

Apple iPad with Retina Display

Now with added Lightning

The tablet’s speed and big, colour display makes flipping around computer reference books so much more practical than it is on an e-reader, though the ability to take the equivalent of six inch-and-a-half thick books to work with no strain is much the same with either device.

While my phone remains my main music playback device, watching a stack of catch-up TV programmes and films on a tablet is a much more pleasant experience than the phone and certainly than the ropey back-of-the-seat screens you get on most flights these days. Travel by a no-frills airline and you don’t even get that.

Apple iPad with Retina Display

Not a laptop/e-reader/netbook replacement

The iPad, since upgraded to the thinner, lighter iPad 2, is used to check multiple email accounts, for a lot of web browsing and such, and occasionally I let the nipper play games on it. Once in a while, I hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and use it to report from events. It’s not an efficient a writer’s tool as a multi-window OS device is, but it’ll do at a pinch.

So, for me, my iPad has become a crucial part of my working and home lives. It has taken over certain roles that I used to put other devices to, but hasn’t superseded any of them entirely. I’ve never believed in a one-size-fits-all approach to technology. I won’t limit myself to one device when there’s another that’s better suited to the task in hand.

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Next page: Choice matters

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