What Is an iPad?

Home & Family, Technology
on December 8, 2011

The Apple iPad and other tablet-based devices have changed the way that users consume Internet material. Today, consumers use their Internet-based devices to communicate with others, conduct business, shop, read the news, play games and view a variety of media entertainment. The smartphone, the laptop computer and the iPad have some similarities, but there are also some differences that make Apple's product unique.

Similarities. What these three categories of devices have in common is the ability to view different types of material. An iPad can be used for standard computing functions, such as business documents, email and Internet searches. The iPad also has software like a computer, though the iPad version of software is apps, or applications. When it comes to the interface, the iPad shares similar technology with many smartphones that utilize a touchscreen to navigate throughout the device.

Differences. The iPad has some distinguishing features in terms of construction, interface and functionality. The iPad is larger than the smartphone, but lighter and more compact than a laptop computer. In addition, apps are, in many cases, designed to be simpler programs than traditional software packages. This may make the apps more straightforward and intuitive, but it can also limit their functionality. Perhaps the biggest functional difference between an iPad and a laptop is the keyboard. The laptop computer has a traditional keyboard, while the iPad has an on-screen touch keyboard. This can represent an adjustment for users who are most familiar with the standard keyboard. Of course, the iPad does allow a user to pair a wireless keyboard with the device.

The future of consumer behavior. Since its introduction in 2010, the iPad has been very popular, as it can provide consumers with a wide variety of functions. Still, technology changes rapidly, and it is not clear where the market will go in the future. Certain types of technology are embraced for a long period of time, while other devices are quickly left behind when something new comes on the market.