Today, we know about 20% of the iPad’s uses

I bought an iPad the first weekend it was released. I’ll admit that I didn’t use it all the time right away. Rather, it’s been a slower process (for me) to adopt, but I now use it regularly, at least every day. I felt motivated to write this short post because (1) Vivek Wadhwa (@vwadhwa) wrote a piece on TechCrunch threatening to sell his iPads because they turned into expensive paperweights and because my good twitter friend @kevinmeyers threw his hands up and said he’d given up on the device. Disclaimer: If you compare the iPad to a laptop or ask for it do the same things. It’s a different device. At the same time, new features have to be rolled out, surely, such as the front-facing camera, USB drive, etc. They will come, I’m sure. Typing isn’t the easiest, but you can get a bluetooth keyboard to attach to it. (Disclaimer #2 – I still use an IBM ThinkPad for my laptop and love it.)

Here’s how I’ve been using the iPad over the past 2-3 months:

  1. Conferences: I have to attend 1-2 / month. I used to get tired of brining my laptop & then would deplete my phone battery. iPad made this much easier and more enjoyable.
  2. Meetings: I consider it bad etiquette to use a laptop during a meeting, unless to load a presentation, etc. The iPad experience gets around that.
  3. Reading: I use Instapaper and Bloomberg to catch up on reading news. The Bloomberg news and finance application alone makes the iPad worth buying. A totally different magazine/news experience.
  4. Trips: I travel a lot. iPad on a plane is a win, especially if you have WiFi. For weekend trips, much nicer to have. I find that my wife and I both use it to browse menus, travel, reading.
  5. Photos: Completely eradicates the needs for those stupid digital picture frames.
  6. Games: I’ve done serious (Scrabble, does that count?), casual (solitaire), and just stupid silly games (Angry Birds).
  7. Big iPod Touch: Sure, it is. You can still run most iPod/iPhone apps, such as Skype, over WiFi.
  8. Films: Watching your netflix account right on your iPad is great.

(There are more, but I think this is good enough.)

It should also be noted just how fast the processor is and how responsive the touch screen technology. It’s really like holding information in your fingertips. I’ve also seen iPads used at restaurants, as check-out devices at stores, as DVD-pacifiers by parents to their kids in the car, as a vehicle for pitching a PPT/Keynote presentation. It’s easier to hold in your hand and share w/ friends/family than a laptop. The screen display itself is awesome. The battery life is at least 10 hours for browsing, maybe more.

Really, though, what do I know? I believe in the iPad that Apple created an entire new category and that today, we only know 20% of its potential.

Finally, I’ll recall a recent Sunday morning here in Palo Alto at the Apple store. I walked by and noticed the store was really busy for opening hours. Of the 20 iPads on display, 16 of them were being used by children no taller than 4 feet. That is the future.