5 Reasons Why Travelers Shouldn’t Bother About The iPad

by Anil Polat · 23 comments

The iPad isn’t a good device for travelers and if you’re considering buying one, you can probably wait for something much more useful. Apple’s latest portable device doesn’t replace other gadgets travelers are often on the fence about (like the Kindle or Nook) and won’t reduce the amount of gear you carry. The iPad looks cool but isn’t quite as useful as it would seem.

1. The Display Isn’t For Reading Books

Take a look at your iPhone or your Macbook Pro and you’ll get a sense of the brightness of the iPad screen. It’s not designed for long term reading of novels but rather browsing and surfing the web. The Kindle’s “virtual ink” is much easier on the eyes and has a longer battery life (14 days compared to 10 hours).


2. It Doesn’t Multitask

That means you can’t run more than one application at a time. You can’t listen to music while browsing the web for example making the iPad very one dimensional. Travelers want devices that can do more than one thing (so you don’t have to carry as many) and the iPad doesn’t cut it.


3. You Have To Jailbreak It

There are several very useful iPhone apps for travelers that are very useful, like NetStumbler (to find hidden wireless networks) that Apple doesn’t allow in the app store. The only way to get around that is to jailbreak your iPhone and it will mean the same for iPad.

child behind bars

4. Expensive

You can buy a Dell Mini, run it as a Hackintosh, and buy a refurbished iPod touch and get most of what the iPad does for about the same price ($499). Darren Beckett has a good price chart comparing the iPad to eReaders as well.

monopoly board

5. No USB Port

We already carry enough cables, why should we need an adapter for USB? Also an SD card slot would be useful and a good way to store pictures and avoid bringing a laptop.

usb converter

It’s Not A Laptop Replacement

That’s true and Apple designed the iPad so it wouldn’t be. The problem is that many travelers have limited budgets and space so having devices do multiple things is a big advantage. The asking price is too high for something that doesn’t replace any of the digital tools we already carry.

[photos by: Thomas Hawk, Kuzeytac, DavidDMuir, qwglhm]

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon OD February 2, 2010 at 12:34

Have been wondering how this much-hyped product would actually hold up for travelers – thanks for the insight! I’m sticking with what I have for now! 🙂


2 Anil P. February 3, 2010 at 07:12

I don’t think it’s nearly worth the $499, very expensive for what you get.


3 Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels February 2, 2010 at 15:36

I completely agree! You pointed out even more reasons why I don’t need one than I enumerated in my recent post on the same subject: http://holeinthedonut.com/2010/01/30/apple-ipad-pros-cons/ The multitasking thing is particularly problematic.


4 Anil P. February 3, 2010 at 07:14

Thanks for including your link, I should have added it in the post. Lots of insight weighing the iPad option.


5 Gourmantic February 2, 2010 at 21:39

I look at it as a prototype. Apple are dangling the carrot, so to speak. I’ll be keeping an eye out on the development of the iPad as I see potential but it will probably come at a cost.

Not that I’ve become an Apple convert just because I love my new iPhone! 🙂


6 Anil P. February 3, 2010 at 07:21

I love Apple, and more so OS X. I wish Apple would open up their products on the software end though. That would really endear them to the geeky crowd that are really reluctant to accept the iPad.

Personally, I’m waiting for a PADD like they had in Star Trek:



7 Peter Kent February 3, 2010 at 11:12

@Anil P & Barbara

Okay, you guys as massively missing the point. The general public don’t care about multi tasking, many don’t even know what it means, even now!
MORE importantly is that you CAN listen to music and surf the web/write a document on the iPad. It runs Iphone OS 3.1.3. Ever since my very first iphone in 2007 I have been able to play the ipod music and surf the web at the same time on the device. this will be the same on the iPad. PLEASE get facts correct before blogging.

In regards to jailbreaking, this is of personal opinion, but an app to find “hidden” wifi hotspots, is just a name. You can download the same app, legally, through the App store which shows all near by hotspots.

I am not an Apple fan boy, as I recently took the shift to windows 7. I do own an iPhone and will probably get an iPad, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when it comes to writing a blog article about it, it annoys me when the author (Anil P) cannot even get simple facts correct, and therefore misinforms the public reading it.


8 Anil P. February 8, 2010 at 08:29

Hey Peter,

I’m not the general public, I’m a nerd and I’m not about to dish out $500 for a gigantic iPhone and most budget travelers aren’t either. The iPad does do some simple multitasking but it can hardly be called that – yes you can play (iPod music, no love for music online) and surf the web but that’s no whoop in my book.

Also, NetStumbler is only one app I mentioned, again Apple could just as easily make this an open device but choose not to. I’m not partial to devices that limit what I can do on them. Again, I’d rather hack a Dell mini for $300 and get everything the iPad can do plus much more.


9 Chris B March 8, 2010 at 11:38

The only comment I have is that you can’t really praise the Kindle for its virtual ink (and primarily ebook abilities) on one hand and then praise multi-tasking platforms like netbooks because they are mutually exclusive and very different fishes. The iPad is more of a media/magazine tool, it’s for streaming video and, once publishers get on board, it’ll be for people to read glossy magazines on their commutes. I don’t think they’ve aimed at the Kindle/Sony Reader market at all with this.

But I still think the iPad is a massive waste of time and money. For that price I’d rather pop a much more versatile, albeit heavier, netbook in my bag.


10 Anil P. March 8, 2010 at 12:42

Granted and good points. I too would rather pay the money on a notebook or eReader.


11 Carl Hancock April 3, 2010 at 17:06

As someone who owns an iPad and has used it first hand instead of making assumptions… I love it.

Anyone who doesn’t think it’s a good device, especially for travelers, is way off base. It’s great for traveling. Much lighter and smaller than a laptop yet still capable of allowing you to listen to music, update blogs, watch movies and stay connected.

The statement that it is just a giant iPhone or iPod Touch is an ignorant statement to make You obviously haven’t looked at the difference between iPhone and iPad apps. There is a big difference in screen real estate and processing power and that difference translates into much more feature rich applications.

As for reading… i’m having no problems reading on the iPad. Battery life isn’t an issue because i’m not going to use it for 10 hours straight and when it does run down i’ll simply plug it into a wall to charge it up again.

I always hear the argument with e-ink that it’s way better because you can read it in bright sunlight… I never hear anyone point out the fact that e-ink is useless to read at night in the dark because it isn’t backlit. The iPad on the other hand works perfectly day or night.

Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s a great device.


12 Anil P. April 3, 2010 at 17:14

Decent points, but still not worth the price tag in my opinion but good to hear your thoughts – nice to see it’s made a quick impression. Did you get it today?


13 Matt April 3, 2010 at 18:09

Hi Anil, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don’t think I was seriously considering getting an iPad, but you’ve put the nail in the coffin on that one. Why on Earth would Apple make another device that can’t run multiple apps? That is by far one of my biggest holdups on the iphone, sad to see them make the same mistake again.


14 Anil P. April 4, 2010 at 05:04

They could really have done some neat things with this product. I’m disappointed myself.


15 Stephanie April 3, 2010 at 20:22

Thank you! Ever since the details came out on this one I’ve been totally befuddled on WHY this would improve my life. I am an Apple fan but definitely skipping this one.


16 Anil P. April 4, 2010 at 05:06

Apple’s got a strong following, I’m one of them and use a Mac for my main laptop. Still, I think they can make mistakes and products that are just ok. Can’t have an iPhone every time.


17 Eric April 4, 2010 at 02:35

OK, this article is just silly. You say don’t buy the iPad because you have to #5 carry an extra cable to import photos but you suggest #4 getting and hacking a Dell? Your comment in #2 about multi-tasking saying you can’t listen to music while surfing the web? YOU CAN! And #1 about the display, it isn’t the same display as anything Apple has made in the past. It is a new one that is actually better for the eyes for reading.

It’s completely fine if an iPad isn’t for you, but this article has wrong information and points out the downsides of choices Apple made. As someone who owned a kindle 1, kindle 2, and every iPhone and who got an iPad today, and travels quite a bit, I can assure you that the iPad is going to allow me to leave the laptop home on most of my trips and will significantly reduce what I carry.

The article reads like you are working really hard to prove to yourself that the iPad isn’t really that cool. While it certainly isn’t for everyone, I can tell you that a Dell Hackintosh and a refurb Touch isn’t the deal. I’d suggest you find some travelers who have played with iPads and see what they think!


18 Anil P. April 4, 2010 at 05:03

For a device that’s designed to be ultra-portable, why on Earth would they make it where you need a cable to import photos. For less money you can get going with a Hackintosh, and in my opinion a small laptop is still a better value than an iPad even though it’s a bit bigger.

Can you run iTunes when writing a document – again for the price it should do more, that’s all I’m saying. It’s a pretty weak Apple product – but maybe I’m wrong, we’ll see what the sales and other travelers ultimately say.

Also, I never said the iPad isn’t cool 🙂 Ferrari’s are cool too but not practical or worth the price from 99.9% of people.


19 Mikeachim April 4, 2010 at 08:15

The thinking behind the iPad makes my flesh crawl. Have The Fun We Dictate To You, And No More Than That. I mean, the iPhone is bad enough in this respect, but this is a step too far. Lovely technology, appalling philosophy behind it.

And for a traveler, it’s surely a no-brainer. When you’re on the road, looks matter far, far less than functionality. It has to *do* stuff. The iPad doesn’t. Thus endeth.

I’m not buying the marketing line Apple is now taking that the iPad was never meant to replace laptops. They’re back-pedalling. Steve Jobs has said a number of times that he was looking to crack the laptop market open. He’ll win people over with the look and feel (because that’s extraordinary), but iPad users will still be using laptops. Mised opportunity.


20 Anil P. April 4, 2010 at 13:47

I also don’t like that you’re locked into the app store. Wish it were a laptop replacement though, now *that* would be cool.


21 hve April 9, 2010 at 10:29

Thanks for an informative article, Anil!


22 Anil P. April 10, 2010 at 06:10

You’re very welcome 🙂


23 Albion September 13, 2011 at 23:00

I have found out a thing new on a variety of blogs each day. It usually is exciting to find out content of other copy writers and learn somewhat some thing from their website. Many thanks giving.


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