Three Questions You Should Ask Before You Buy an iPad 2

The iPad 2 goes on sale at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11. If Apple’s other product launches are any indication, there will be long lines of eager consumers eager to snatch up Apple’s latest electronic candy. But do you really need one?

Apple iPad 2

I bought the original iPad. Admittedly, I am a sucker for new gadgets—especially those from Apple. While I initially took the iPad everywhere with me, I found myself leaving it behind more and more. Part of the problem was that I still needed my laptop to do the work I couldn’t easily do on my iPad.

I eventually stopped using my iPad. My laptop could do everything the iPad could, but the iPad could not do everything my laptop could. I eventually gave the iPad to a colleague at Thomas Nelson. (I since picked up an Amazon Kindle 3, which I love. I like a dedicated e-reader for reading rather than a multi-function device. I don’t need more distractions to keep me from reading.)

Should you buy the new iPad 2? Maybe. But not before you answer three questions:

  1. What kind of computer user are you? It seems to me that computer users fall into three categories:
    • Media Consumer: These are users who mostly consume media. The iPad is a fantastic device for this kind of user. You can consume media of all types: movies, books, web surfing, etc. If this describes you, the iPad may be the perfect device.
    • Digital Contributor: These are users who are more than consumers. They also contribute and collaborate via the web. They read and respond to email, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. The iPad is a decent device for this. The software keyboard is more clumsy than a physical one, and it doesn’t have all the features I have grown accustomed to. I especially miss my keyboard shortcuts and special typographic characters.
    • Content Creator: These are users who create content. In addition to consuming media and collaborating via the web, they also create content. This includes serious bloggers, book authors, graphic artists, videographers, etc. Yes, there are applications to do all these things. (Heck, you can do most of these things on your iPhone.) But, in my experience, it requires way more work.
  2. Do you have the time to invest in the learning curve? The iPad is super easy to use. The touch interface is elegant. But there is still a learning curve. At the very least your keyboard muscle memory will have to be retrained. And the software is slightly different, even for familiar applications. You will likely take a step back in productivity before you can take a step forward.
  3. Are you willing to change your workflow? This is the key for me. You may not be conscious of it now, but you have a workflow—a way you get your work done with your computer. How will this change with an iPad? Will you use the iPad for certain tasks and your laptop or desktop for others. If you don’t think this through, you will end up adding to your workflow and becoming less efficient.

For now, I will stick with my MacBook Air. It is the best computer I have ever owned. It’s not that much bigger than an iPad 2, and it does everything I need a computer to do.

How about you?

Question: Do you plan to buy an iPad? If so why? If not, why not? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Readbx

    I’ve ordered an iPad. When v.1 came out, I opted for a Kindle because I have an iPhone, a elderly Mac laptop and an iMac, and thought a dedicated reading device would be good. I had started reading ebooks with the Kindle app on my iPhone and found it tolerable, even enjoyable (though not as good as reading a real book).

    After nearly a year of using the Kindle, I have to admit that I’ve loathed the PC-like non-touch interface all the way through. It’s easy to read, but not at all intuitive to use. Every time I pick it up, I have to accustom myself to not using touch to navigate, and the keyboard is dreadfully hard to use. So . . . the very minute that the new iPad was available, I passed the Kindle to one of my sons and ordered an iPad. I think it will serve me much better and be a lot more in line with my personal usage style. Plus, the fact that I can use it to run Keynote presentations means that it will postpone my purchase of a new laptop for at least another year. I can’t wait to get it.

  • Sajithomasmannil

    I’m actually planning to buy one ipad.
    but my question is, why they r not providing phone facility in that?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Because they also want to sell you an iPhone!

  • Fredh645

    Does anyone know why Apple has no product to sell one day after it went on sale(the same day as the Japan earthquake)? I would expect that they would have had at least one or two weeks worth of saleable stock on hand.

  • AC

    Thanks to your previous blog on the MB Air, I was able to purchase one with confidence. Had my 11″ air for a month. I love it. Spot on!

  • K Bruhl

    I would like to do e-mail and e-reading, us word and excel for my work, but i also update iWeb for a foundation that i am the web master for, i do that from time to time and this i cannot do with an iPad, so I think I will wait.
    It is also heavier than an e-reader that i would like to bye soon

    Maybe iPad 3 does iWeb and it might be lighter too. So i wait till 2012, see what happens then with iPad

  • EdieAnne

    Good morning, I did just purchase an iPad 2 (16GB). I was concerned mostly at first as to whether or not I would have enough space. I have only owned an iPod Touch, so therefore this is going to be a huge difference. The only use for the iPad is going to be while I am on the road and to mess with some apps at home. I have a laptop that I use for my work but find it too clumsy to travel with. Since my work is primarily done online, I think the iPad 2 will be just fine!

  • Watersplasshh

    I want the MacBook for my normal school work and research but I definately want to get the iPad2 at somepoint, hopefully soon at that!

  • Senthil

    In my view, ipad gives super portability which a laptop doesn’t.

    I can hook my laptop to internet at home and roam anywhere with ipad. It allows you to use RDP (pocketcloud) to remotecapture your laptop and work on it. So you dont necessarily need to have everything in ipad.

    Also for me i already have a 3G on my phone & i dont see any great value add by having 3g option in ipad as well. I can just switch my wifi tether on my phone and connect my ipad to it.

  • Pingback: Three Questions to Ask Before You Buy an Ipad | The Organized Mess



  • Pingback: Kindle, iPad, iPad2 ! « My muse – Life!

  • Cabeauboosie

    iPads are a joke for getting anything seriously accomplished.

    if you just want to “slack off” and surf what and where an Apple server (think AOL) will allow you then this is the device for you, otherwise get a REAL device with an independent O.S..

  • Robert Ewoldt

    This is why I never got an iPad; I use a laptop for writing/creating, and I have a Kindle for reading (which helps to keep me on track while I’m reading–I’m not distracted by watching videos or anything, as I would be able to do if I had an iPad).

  • Stuart Logan

    Hi Michael,

    I’m making the switch from the iPad to the Mac Air. I had been trying to hold out for a model with 3G, but couldn’t wait any longer – I really like snow leopard .

    I’m curious if you’re using a case with your MBA, and if so which brand. There doesn’t seem to be many choices out there. My daughters use Speck cases on their MBP’s.



  • CapneoCrowley

    I really will attempt to get one, just for the front and rear camera’s.



  • Exnykr35

    I like to give my Ipad to my Grandson and purchase an IPad 2 for myself. What are the major NEW features and will it have a Flash Drive???
    I don’t want to buy a new one and find out for Turkey Day or Xmas there is a newer model available, with more bells and whstles
    Please HELP!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You can pretty much count on a new model every year.

  • Pingback: Top Posts and Commenters for May 2011

  • Anonymous

    A few days ago I planned to buy the iPad 2.o…on Monday I convinced a woman in Best Buy to purchase the 32gb WiFi model for her business. Today I’m not going to buy one.

    I can’t decide! This post helped me decipher why I really want one (they’re cool) and why I don’t really need one (my laptop does it all anyway).
    Thanks! Here’s hoping I can hold out and hold on to my $600.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I went fishing for trout yesterday with a shiny new spinner bait. I caught five. I think iPads are like that. People bite without really knowing why, other than they see a really shiny object go by. ;-)

  • Shadowfist7

    Michael your blogs are so interesting and useful. Concerning buying an iPad2…not for me at this time. I received an iPad last Xmas. I was thrilled, however, did not really start using it until the summer. You “hit the nail on the head” when you wrote, “Do you have the time to invest in the learning curve?” and “Are you willing to change your workflow?. ” I didn’t even know I had a workflow! For now, iPad is perfect since I decided to use it for certain tasks. I use it to gather information and create lesson plans for my Martial Arts business. My Macbook is used to create iMovies which I use in my Martial Arts schools. The iPad is a perfect platform to present to my students or possible clients. iPad2? Maybe next Xmas.

  • Pingback: The iPhone Effect « hanamkhan

  • Victor Walls

    haw do u type an essay by using the pages app and transfer it into ur computadora

  • Joyce Glass

    O, my confused friends below.  The iPad 2 is going to do so much more than you are discussing.  I plan on replacing my dinosaur desktop and laptop with the iPad2.  How you say?  iPad 2 has mirroring technology for ALL applications.  I can connect the iPad 2 to my current computer monitor for a bigger screen (or for those blessed with an HDTV you can too), and with a wireless keyboard ( ) , Viola! I have a computer to use at my desk.  Disconnect the iPad 2 and I can take my wireless keyboard with me and work anywhere.  I have found every app that I need to function as I do on my computer now.  There will be few things that I will need to do on my desktop.  The main thing is print – but with a new printer I can print from the iPad2 too!.  Honestly, I have not had to print much in months.  I send via e-mail, put things in Evernote or Dropbox or for my college classes I upload to assignments to the message board for class.  Not to mention the new OS system coming out in the next month will include Cloud storage.  I believe with all the updates for the iPad2 it will make it more of a functional device and not just an entertainment device. 

    So, I am all about being economical, but the iPad 2 is going to help save me many hours of PC frustration.  With all the work I am doing on the computer, I do NOT have time to wait 10 & 20 minutes for PC’s to open a file or change screens, or they will both lock up on me at the same time when I need to submit an assignment.  I am looking forward to being an apple fan.  

    I can update later on how all this works out!   

  • BlackwaterComDivers

    Well it is August 7th, 2011 and I have had my iPad 2 for roughly 1 month. I also have an iPhone 4 that I received prior to the Verizon release date. I love Apple products and these two are no exception to the long list. As a matter of fact; I am writing this on my iPad 2 while hiding from my two kids in the bathroom. ;-)

    Basically, I can do 80-90% of what I can do on my computers on this device. The other benefit is that it is completely portable and I can acess GPS and Internet anywhere othe go. Which for me is a MAJOR plus as I need connectivity where ever I go.

    I run Bkackwater Commercial Divers, Ltd. Co. and use my iPhone and iPad (mainly the iPad) for doing invoices and credit card acceptance on the road. I can also look up pricing information, update my website, and more on the go at any time, anywhere where the Verizon Wireless Network takes me or where there is an active Wi-Fi I can link up to.

    Now if Flash Multimedia is your game, then the Apple products aren’t for you as they are not Flash compatible . Many of the current websites are starting to realize the movement and are now making html5 and/or switching to CGI instead.

    With all this said, I see no reason for me to put down my iPad 2 or iPhone 4 any time soon. They play so many vital roles in daily activities in my personal and professional opinions. Just the task of taking the kids out to dinner is now a dream as movies + games are only a finger slide away.

    So to sum it all up; it really boils down to what you want out of your device and how you expect to use it. If you are just looking to read books, then yes; spending the money on an Apple product isn’t the way to go. However, if you want to utilize the many available facets of the device, then this may befor you.

    Thanks for reading,

  • Ckedobw

    I have an iphone 4 and love it. I would like an ipad but will not buy one because it has no USB port and thus no way to store my stuff to a portable hard drive, nor a way to watch my movies or photos that are on my portable hard drive. I will have to stick with my laptop.

  • Pingback: Top Posts and Commenters for July 2011

  • Lily Riva

    This article is great.  Based on this I have taken a significant step in the direction of buying the ipad rather than the Air.  90% of what i do is watch movies and surf the web.  My content creation is the other 10%….but I have been testing google docs and that seems to work great…so I will use that rather than a than a try a work around with an app.  I also use dropbox to share docs.

    your comments about the key board were also helpful.  i had not even seriously considered getting the ipad after seeing the buiilt in keyboard with the Dell cover.  i HATE the touch screen key boards.  But your comments really drove home that point that i was making the right decision there.the big question that remains is to get the one with the 3g.  i don’t think so because the iPad will not let me get rid of my blackberry…..
    thanks for the article

  • Lamato2

    I have the ipad first generation and only for the music and games.  I still have my laptops and use them for working but I do love my ipad.  Not really interested in the 2nd generation since there’s very little difference.  I don’t need the camera or face-time, and that’s all their is in difference, besides the 1st generation weights several ounces more than the 2nd, but who cares.

  • Kh Reynolds

    I have purchased an Ipad 2 my old Dell is going to comp. heaven. Will the ipad2 do everything that the Dell can? If so what type of office app should I get?

  • Mmrg757

    Got the I pad first one but next one will be another tablet not because the I pad isn’t worth it it’s a brilliant bit of tec but they v lost me just because they didn’t put flash on I use betting sites and they use flash just because of their stubbornness over flash they lost a customer not good bisnes sence at all

  • Bob

    If I could get wifi calling capabilities, along with gotomypc (currently available for ipad 2).  While in Europe, I will not have service from Verizon (CDMA) but would like a device I could make calls on using wifi, which I have available in Italy.  Google voice will not fit the bill, and the droid devices do not have the gotomypc ap available.  So I guess I’ll get a GSM phone, and maybe take a laptop.  What a shame it has to be this way.

  • Wipul Wakalkar

    Thanks Michael, mostly I work on MS excel and I am in search of a handy device as option to my laptop which will provide me ease and more easy portability along with media, internet and communication facilities in India. I thought ipad2 is the one which will serve all my needs. But now i realized that ipad2 is not exact device… thanks for your notes…

  • Antreas_giall

    can i charge my ipad 2 whever i want ?

    • Michael Hyatt

      All you need is access to a standard 120v plug.

  • Thomas Mark Zuniga

    Been contemplating the purchase of an iPad 2 ever since I returned from a summer job. I definitely want to get into the e-book thing, and I certainly salivate at the thought of owning a shiny wonderful iPad. But I wonder if it’d be more of a distraction to my reading, as you mentioned in this post. The Kindle might be the better way to go. Will have to continue thinking this through…

  • Pingback: Top Posts and Commenters for August 2011

  • Benberson

    Have just bought a I pad. I bought it mianly to useit for public speaking , surfisng and manage my calendar, tasks delegation on the go. I was impressed withyour review about evernote. I ha ve just discovered it needs a credit card number to activate evernote. I have only a debit card. I need to wait for 22 days for the card.

  • Lkotraba

    Touch is a little touchy for me.  I have enough of it on I-phone.

  • 154443

    It really a useful idea.I will have a tiral  of this idea as soon as possible as have already frustrated by  jimmy choo bridaland  jimmy choo outletfor a long  time.Thank you very much for your continously post of effective tips.It really  do me a great favor.if you have more information about  can you tell me Onitsuka Tiger Shoesand jimmy choo shoe i also like ,my  boyfriend want me to buy  but i can’t find a shop that sell ,as i always  want to be a  before Nike Lebron shoes andNike ZOOM LeBron , but i only get the result of ,then i Walk into  marketing and marketing center, to find ,, my sister want me to buy new burberry but i only find replica burberry it really drive  me crazy!you know, next month i will marry with my boyfriend jimmy choo weddingand lebron 8 v2i want to look some pandora jewellery; pandora  jewellery beads also cheap  nfl jerseys or jersey supply and religion jeans, you can leave a email  to me! thank you! nike air max 2011white air maxnike griffey max burberry  sweater true religions jeans true religion jeans outletbears jersey blackhawks jerseyken griffey shoes air griffey maxken griffey jr shoesair griffey max 2Nike Dunk SB HighNike Dunk SB Lowwhite dunksDunks For Womenlebron 8 south beach,burberry beltsburberry hats womenburberry shearling coatsvintage burberry bagsburberry handbag pricecheap burberry handbagsburberry accessoriesburberry chinaburberry leather handbagburberry check pursemens cashmere scarffashion men shirtsburberry boots on salemen fashion suitslacoste sweatersburberry men tiediscount burberry handbagsdiscount burberry handbagsdiscount burberry handbagsburberry men purseburberry women purseburberry tee shirtburberry men trench coatburberry nordstromburberry shawlburberry scarves outletburberry scarf on saleburberry sneakers menburberry women shoesburberry men bagsfashion women bagsvintage designer handbagsburberry dress for girls
    Adidas ShoesAir Griffey Max Fury 2012Air Jordan High HeelsAir Jordan ShoesAir Jordan Wool BootsJordan CMFT Max 12LeatherJordan SandalsKen Griffey Jr JerseyKen Griffey Shoes 2011Ken Griffey Shoes WomensNike ACG BootsNike Aina ChukkaNike Air 1/2 Cent PennyNike Air Foamposite OneNike Air Max 2009Nike Air Max 2010Nike Air Max 24-7Nike Air Max 95Nike Air Max 95 BootsNike Air Max NM NomoNike Air Max TNNike Air Max Uptempo 97Nike Heels for WomenNike Ken Griffey ShoesNike Zoom LebronWomen’s Nike Dunk SB
    cheap Nike Dunk SB Lowcheap Nike Air Max 2009cheap Nike Air Max 2010cheap Nike Air Max 2011cheap Nike Air Max 24-7cheap Nike Air Max 360cheap Nike Air Max 87cheap Nike Air Max 88 Mencheap Nike Air Max 89 Menauthentic Nike Air Max 90authentic Nike Air Max 91 Menauthentic Nike Air Max 92 Menauthentic Nike Air Max 93 Womenauthentic Nike Air Max 95authentic Nike Air Max ACGauthentic Nike Air Max Classic BWauthentic Nike Air Max LTDauthentic Nike Air Max Preview EU Menauthentic Nike Air Max Skyline Menauthentic Nike Air Max Tn MenNike Air Zenyth Menauthentic Nike Griffey Max
    cheap Pandora Necklacescheap Pandora Ringscheap Pandora Setscheap Pondora Packagesherve leger bandage/a>herve leger gownsherve leger saleherve leger bandage dressesmoncler downjacket monclermoncler coatcheap moncler jacketburberry beltsburberry hatburberry duffle coatdiscount burberry handbagscheap burberry bagsburberry messenger bagburberry bags outletburberry style
    burberry factory outlet storeburberry purse salefashion scarvesburberry shirts for menburberry novacheckbusiness suits for menburberry cashmere sweaterfashion tiesdiscount burberry handbags
    discount burberry handbagsdiscount burberry handbagsburberry men purseburberry women purseburberry t shirtsauthentic burberryburberry pea coatburberry shawlfaux burberry
    burberry cashmere scarfburberry men shoesburberry women shoesburberry men bagsburberry women bagvintage designer bagsburberry brit shirtnike air griffey max iken griffey jr shoesnike air griffey max iinike mens running shoesnike womens running shoestrue religion womens jeansmens true religion jeansmoncler down coatsmoncler vests womenthomas sabo carriersthomas sabo earringtiffany charm braceletspandora wedding charmslebron 8 south beachNike ZOOM LeBronNike Lebron shoeslebron 8 v2Nike Air Max LeBron 8 V2Nike Air Max Lebron VIINike Air Max LeBron VII LowNike Air Max LeBron VIIINike Air Max Lebron VIII LowNike LeBron 8 V2 LowNike Lebron James 9Nike LeBron VII PSNike Lebron VIII PS V3Nike ZOOM LeBron IVNike ZOOM LeBron VNike ZOOM LeBron VINike ZOOM Soldier IIINike ZOOM Soldier IVNike ZOOM Soldier VNike ZOOM LBJ Ambassador IIINike ZOOM LBJ Ambassador IVdetroit lions jersey

  • Ava Jae

    I know this is an older post, but you make some really great points here. It’s tempting to want to buy every new gadget that comes out (especially those shiny Apple gadgets), but before you spend the money it’s important to stop and ask yourself if you really need it. 

  • Pingback: Top Posts and Commenters for September 2011 | Michael Hyatt

  • Anonymous

    I just bought an iPad 2 in the beginning of August 2011 & I LOVE IT!!!!!! It has replaced my laptop 98%. There are just a few things that I am not able to do on the iPad. I am an office manager for an optimetrist office and I am in college finishing my degree. I have found an app for everything that I need to do. Most used apps are dropbox, Evernote, Docs to Go, You Version Bible, and now Talkatone – through my google voice account I can call and text people from my iPad. I even found a flash video app – photon is the best one! My Spanish homework is almost all online on a flash based website. – It was a must app for me!

    I connect the iPad to my old computer monitor via the apple VGA connector, and can work away in my home office.

    Recently I purchased an Hp 8500A printer and can print directly from my iPad. The scanning capability of the printer is so easy! I can scan a file directly into dropbox, open it on my iPad and rename and save wherever I want – dropbox or Evernote. I originally bought a printer for work, and realized how awesome it was and got one for home!

    I teach Sunday School, and keep my lessons on the iPad and teach from the iPad as well as look up verses in the You Version app. So, all I carry around church is my iPad! I take sermon notes and notes for my college classes in Noteshelf – you can do handwritten notes them and export them to dropbox or Evernote. I keep all my class notes in a notebook in Evernote.

    So, for all you not so sure about the iPad 2 it FAR exceeds the capabilities of the orginal iPad.

    The one thing that I have not been able to do is set up a blog post from the iPad. WordPress is working on updating the app, but they have a long way to go to make it more user friendly. The other thing is the Excel in Documents to Go is not easy to use. If you have a spreadsheet set up you can fill it in, but it is not easy to create. Most of my spreadsheets are set up and I can just fill them in. Would love to see this app updated to be more user friendly for excel. Looked at numbers app and it did not have good reviews on the iPad so I did not waste $10 trying it out. However, the Word app in Documents to Go is great! I can get it to do what I want. You are limited on Font styles, but that has not been a problem for me.

    I needed something light to take with me on the go. I was tired of lugging a laptop around in my rolling bag, because I have neck and shoulder issues. I can’t carry heavy things on my right shoulder. The iPad has been the PERFECT solution for me. I use the iPad at work everyday and in all of my classes, at church, and at home for e-mail, music, videos etc . . .

    When the Cloud service goes live it is going to make the iPad even more useful to the consumer. You can pull your documents on whatever device you want! No connecting to a PC to back up your info on iTunes etc. . . check out more info on the apple website.

  • Anonymous

    I know what you mean! That is why I got a wireless keyboard to use with my iPad! Makes all the difference in the world! The touch keyboard frustrates the heck out of me!

  • Anonymous

    THERE is an app for that! PHOTON is the best flash app. Just search flash video apps and there are a few, but PHOTON is the best one that I have found. I was frustrated about that too, and went searching for it.

    See my post earlier about all that I do with the iPad 2!

  • Anonymous

    The best office app is Documents to go. It will do all Microsoft Office 2010 & lower documents as well as PDF.

    KH – I have found all the apps I needed to function completely on the iPad 2. If you need something just go searching the app store. You will find it. there is an app for that!

    You can see my post from today about all the things that I can do with the iPad 2.

  • Anonymous

    O contrair my friend! I have the iPad 2 and it far surpasses the capabilities of the original iPad! There are a lot of differences. Too many to count.

    I have ditched the laptop and the desktop for my iPad 2!

    See my post from today about all the things that I do with the iPad2

  • Anonymous

    My iPad2 friend – Check out Photon in the app store and you will have flash websites available on your iPad 2! I had to get it for my college classes to do online work. Skyfire is another one, but does not do all that Photon can do.

    I am like you that I can’t see working without the iPad 2!

    I posted earlier all the great things that I do with the iPad 2 since I got just a little over a month ago.

  • Salmatrooshi

    the ipad 2 is cool and you recieve e-mail with it and play many games

  • Inthe40s

    hello,  I am searching for a tablet for my 5th and 6th grader because most of their homework has to be done using the internet and they don’t have access to a computer until I get home from work at around 6 pm.  My plan is that they each have a tablet where they can surf and do their homework after school where they are baby sat without having to wait to get home to use their desktop and spend hours doing what they could do after school.  The issue with adobe flash and the ipad presents a problem as there are two educational sites they need to go to everyday and you need flash.  Not sure what to do… Any advice is greatly appreciated.  Thank you

    • Chris Tinker

      As much as I love iPads in your case, you would probably be better with one of the many other tablet computers out there, many of them run adobe flash the reason iPhones and iPads don’t is due to disputes or something along those lines with adobe and apple! Hope this helps!

  • Jimmcgee

    I have had iPad two for six months and want rid. It is a toy and will not do a fraction of the tasks my laptop can do. I comes with no software and you are tied to iTunes which I hate. I will try and sell it and buy a notebook

  • Pingback: What Can You Expect From The iPad 2? | Review Guide Live