Having had a chance to spend some serious time learning the limitations that are present with the Apple iPad, I am beginning to question much of the hot air about tablets being a threat to the PC. To be ultimately honest, I just don’t get it. Now I love my iPhone. I can use it to play games, check email, make calls and then get this — it fits into my pocket. This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of owning a smart phone that can do much of what a tablet can do.

Tablet vs laptop

My wife is of the mind that the iPad and other tablets are the most useful thing since socks found their way onto feet. I take a different view, as I still find the lack of a real tactile keyboard and absence of a mouse, something of a show-stopper for me to take a tablet seriously in place over a notebook/netbook. Again, I fully accept that I may be old fashioned here and looking at this all wrong. After all, I can only speak for myself here.

Then there is the availability of software. Both Android and iOS tablets come with the option to install vast amounts of amazing software. No one debates this. But on a real notebook type device, there is greater software choices in turns of configuration. For instance, I can find an office suite ready to go at no charge that more than meets my needs on a notebook. For the iPad, it appears they all cost money and none of them are all that great for the money being spent. Thanks, but no thanks.

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by FHKE

Where a tablet wins the day

While we do have a Kindle 3G here at the house, I love how well the iPad does with ebooks. I was genuinely impressed both with the Kindle application as well as Apple’s own answer to this. Reading ebooks on a notebook is terrible and should be avoided at all costs. I’d also point out that in some venues where tables are lacking, holding onto a tablet would offer a significantly better experience than with a notebook/netbook.

So there you have it. While not a clear win with one device over another, it would seem that venue and environment play a fairly major part as to whether one device is better than other. For my money, the iPad loses big time. It’s just not a fit for my personal needs. Neat, sure. Awesome for video? Absolutely. But try and replace a notebook with a tablet and unless you’re standing a lot, it’s just not happening. Sorry.