The iPad is a Wimp. It’s Time for iPad to Grow a Pair!

The iPad is a Wimp. It’s Time for iPad to Grow a Pair!

The iPad is awesome. I love my iPad 2. I think it’s the single greatest mobile device ever sold. There’s just one problem: The iPad is a dandy fancy boy.

The iPad is for indoor use only, for the most part. Some of us want to go outside and take our iPads with us.

Apple needs to give its millions of users the option to fully integrate the iPad into their lives by making it safe for outdoor use.

(I’ll tell you how I think this could be accomplished at the end of this post.)

No, the iPad isn’t fragile, per se. The front glass is incredibly hard to scratch, and the iPad can take some impressive abuse before damage.

Cases help. My new Speck PixelSkin HD Wrap for iPad 2 (arrived this morning!) adds a huge amount of protection. It functions like Apple’s Smart Cover for iPad 2 in that it has a three-segment front cover that doubles as a stand. But it also covers the back and edges. It’s cheaper, too. The PixelSkin Wrap is necessary in my case, because I would definitely scratch the wimpy iPad’s soft backside with everyday use.

The iPad’s preciousness is a problem because iPad dominates the market so completely that it effectively IS the touch tablet market.

I think I’m a pretty typical example in that I really don’t want to buy any another tablet. Yet my lifestyle requires me to leave my iPad at home when I’d really like to bring it with me.

I do CrossFit, which is a form of exercise too hazardous for the iPad. Yet, the iPad would be great for tracking progress, keeping time and other functions that would really enhance my workouts. But no, I leave it at home because it’s too fragile for CrossFit.

I like to sail, surf, scuba-dive and go to the beach. There is no way I’m bringing my iPad along. It’s not water-proof (although it’s more water resistant than most users realize), and it’s not sand-proof. An iPad would be an incredible device for scuba diving. As a camera, the iPad would be the only one I know of with a sufficiently large viewfinder for diving. It could be used as a communication device between divers, a timer, a fish identification database and a backup dive computer. Why not? Just make it water-proof to 100 feet, and the iPad would become standard equipment for recreational divers.

I like to go on long bike trips. But one spill, and my iPad screen could shatter. Right now I have to leave it at home.

I like camping and adventure travel. But to take my iPad on such a trip, it would need to be rugged, water-proof AND have solar power.

That’s just me. Millions of other people have their own reasons for a rougher, tougher iPad with solar power: children, construction workers, delivery people, sports coaches, military troops — the list goes on and on. (The US military alone will probably purchase a million touch tablets over the next five years.)

Apple will dominate no matter what. But millions of people who want an iPad will be forced to buy an alternative because the iPad is just to much of a wuss for outdoor use.

Topping the list of alternatives is Panasonic’s recently announced Toughbook tablet, which runs on Android. The tablet is shock-, dust- and water-resistant and has a matte-finished XGA display for high readability in direct sunlight.

Another option is a — gasp! — netbook, which is (contrary to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ framing of the category) more than “just cheap.” The Samsung NC215S, which ships July 3 for $399, features a solar panel on the lid! You get an hour of use for every two hours the lid is exposed to sunlight. The company also claims that it tops out at 14 hours of battery life — better even than the original iPad. I hate netbooks, but even I have to admit that a fully charged netbook is better than a battery-dead iPad.

Motorola is rumored to be working on a ruggedized, water-resistant 7-inch Android tablet for the Enterprise — one optimized for barcode scanning.

Although we geek pundit types tend to focus obsessively on the consumer electronics market, there’s an enormous market for in-vehicle computers and ruggedized tablets of every description, which tend to run some version of Windows and cost thousands of dollars. A rugged iPad could destroy this market without even trying. But first the iPad would have to grow a pair.

When the iPad first shipped last year, there were no outdoor alternatives. But by the end of this year, there will be many.

I’m no Charles Atlas, but I think I can help Apple turn the iPad into a device that can handle rugged, outdoor use.

First, the iPad could be made rugged, shock-resistant, water-proof and even solar powered with the right case. Nobody has built such a case to date, which is strange. Most of the water-proof options are little more than zip-lock baggies. There are some vaguely ruggedized cases, and some solar power options. But I’m not aware of any that offer both ruggedness and solar power in the same case.

Apple should design and build the ultimate case, which would not only be great to buy, but it would inform and inspire copycat cases that could make minor modifications and improvements. A dozen or more case makers (including, presumably, the maker of my own case) were “inspired” by Apple’s Smart Cover, for example.

Second, Apple needs to do something about the iPad screen’s horrible performance in direct sunlight. I don’t know what the solution is — whether it could be fixed with a simple mat finish, a direct sunlight mode with a turbo-boost for the brightness or if some entirely new technology is in order. I have the feeling that Amazon’s Android tablet is not only going to be great in direct sun, but will emphasize that fact in TV ads. The iPad’s weakness here is becoming glaringly obvious.

The combination of a rugged, water-proof and solar powered case with a screen that can be read in direct sunlight would truly make iPad ready for the beach — and for the gym, the mountains and the rest of the outside world.

It’s time for the iPad to stop being such a wimp.

  • Chris Brunner

    It would be nice to use this device in the bright Colorado sunlight.

    -Chris
    http://friendsofmac.net

  • Guest

    Are you fucking joking ???? Your balls are like a pair of raisins that you’re writing up a post like this in your precious fucking blog !

  • prof_peabody

    I agree with almost everything you wrote.  The iPhone could use this treatment as well.  

    Where I live for example it rains. Every single day of the year it rains.  You cannot use an iPhone in the rain, period.  How lame is that?  

    For guys like Steve Jobs that live in southern california and drive a fancy car everywhere they go it’s fine, but if you are a bike rider or walk, and you go out in the weather, you can’t even use these devices at all.  

    You also can’t use the iPad outside in the winter because the metal is too cold to hold, but then it’s nice and warm where Steve is in California also.

  • Ramón

    Try using that “fragile” iPad to Google Woodside, CA – where Steve lives, and perhaps you’ll discover that that isn’t “southern California”.

    Buy a cover for it and your delicate digits won’t stick to it in your Arctic surroundings.

  • charlie edwards

    Double like.  00100

  • retroactivism

    Someone has too much testosterone, and not enough brain power. 

    You need a decent sports watch, not a ruggedized iDevice.

  • Robert Pruitt

    /sigh there are countless accessories that do just this.

  • Robert Pruitt

    http://www.otterbox.com/ipad-2… -Otterbox tough cases, just one of many manufacturers.
    http://www.amazon.com/AquaPac-… – Here is a waterproof one
    http://www.nextiphonenews.com/… -New patent suggest future iPads could be fireproof.

  • Robert Pruitt

    iPod (I admit not iPad) stops bullet that saves soldier: http://www.engadget.com/2007/0

    iPad survives drop from airplane with this case: http://g-form.com/2011/04/24/i

    Solar Charger: http://www.envirogadget.com/so

  • loserscientist

    The iPad is more durable than most people think.  I have spilled drinks on it, dropped it, left it in the sun for hours, and even left it on top of a toaster oven while baking a pizza!  I placed it on top of the oven to charge it, and my wife didn’t notice it when she popped in a pizza for dinner.  20 minutes later, it was too hot to touch (burned my fingers as I screamed and lunged for it).  It didn’t start up, and we thought it was dead.  After it cooled down, it came back to life.  No noticeable issues 3 weeks after the fact.  20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit.  No issues.  (Yes, I know that it wasn’t that hot on top of the oven, but still, it was REALLY hot.  I think it’s unreasonable to expect that you can take a consumer-grade product SCUBA diving or trekking through the tundra.  That’s what ruggedized custom case options are for.  

  • Ronald Stepp

    God I hope this technology makes it into the next iPad/iPhone…

    http://scobleizer.com/2011/06/

  • Forest Walker

    Not sure if trolling… or just stupid…

    You want to scuba dive with your ipad? You want a fully waterproof tablet computer?

    Go fuck yourself Elgan. What a stupid fucking post. You, your suit, and your tie should just go pickup the newest Blackberry and go sit in a corner, cramming it up your own ass.

  • koopy

    I want my three minutes back.  Most useless article regarding the iPad that I’ve read in a long time.

  • wildwebwest

    Mike, Summer has been a long time coming. I knew when I took my Joyful iPad out on the back deck today that I wouldn’t be able to see much, but in pure sunshine I was wrong. I couldn’t see ZILCH! Have done zero research on anti-glare, but from your article, doesn’t sound like there are any anti-glare products out in the world yet. I can do without my iPad on sporting outings, but catching some sunshine in my adirondack chair on the back deck, well, should be a no brainer. Thank you for the article – F bombers like to assert the fact that they can spell a four letter word. HA!

  • Joe

    wow what a pointless story, everyone know people don’t go outside anymore. its 2011, I can watch everything I need to see outside on my hdtv and exercise on my kinect! stupid idiot………….

  • yahoo-352OEBY3Q26NIOELKK4NEU5UFY

    You have no business speaking this way in a Mac-related forum. That’s the kind of trash talk Windows users use. Mac users may disagree, but we are respectful and nice to each other. You really should apologize.

  • TylerHoj

    When I read the title I was like, yeeeah someone else agrees that iOS is child-like and almost too simple in some Apple brand applications…but instead I end up reading an article about scuba diving. Hmm…

  • Brian Nesbitt

    seriously.  why do i even bother reading cult of mac?  articles like this make me wish for something better, knowing it will never come.

  • Chris Brunner

    Is the MacBook dead? Despite its success, the next generation MacBook Air could be the beginning of the end for the MacBook. Many overlapping factors between the two laptops suggest it is.

    Read the full article here:
    http://friendsofmaconfb.wordpr

  • Fred Maxwell

    Don’t you get it?  Mike Elgan is trying to impress everyone with his virile manliness.  The iPad was just an excuse for him to tell everyone that he does CrossFit training, long bike trips, camping, sailing, surfing, and SCUBA diving. 

    I’m a 50 year old guy and I see this kind of thing all of the time with coworkers my age and older, usually married, looking for any opportunity to mention all of their sports and physical fitness activities.  It’s kind of sad, really, seeing some middle-aged man with thinning hair, sucking in his gut while trying to talk-up some ‘fresh-out’ (of college) at some work-related function.

    Sure, Mike Elgan could put an iPhone into a waterproof, ruggedized case to use while engaged in sports, but the small screen would mean that he’d have to wear his bifocals or reading glasses, which really spoils the whole manly-man image he’s trying to project.

  • freediverx

    Not to defend the article, but the “waterproof case” you cited is the “zip lock bag” that Elgan referred to in his article. It’s more splash-resistant than waterproof and it offers no shock protection.

    The real problem with Elgan’s article is not that these wouldn’t be useful capabilities (who wouldn’t want their gadgets to be super rugged, submersible and more usable in bright sunlight?) but that they are silly pipe dreams for which he is ill prepared to offer viable solutions. They’re comparable to saying that we want a sleek, fast and luxurious sports car that offers twice the fuel economy of a Prius with the price tag of a Chevy Lumina. Pointless comment unless you’re prepared to offer a viable solution.

    Let’s take water resistance first. To make an iPhone or iPad water resistant would require adding rubber seals to every seam in the device, not to mention plugging up the headphone and connector ports. Not only would this add cost to the device, but it would also add a considerable amount of bulk and weight as well – something that is in direct conflict with Apple’s quest to create increasingly sleek and slim devices. Additionally, if Elgan had any real experience with scuba diving he’d know that any mechanical or electronic devices that can withstand being submerged up to 100 feet in seawater require regular maintenance and replacement of o-rings and gaskets – which is completely impractical for a general purpose consumer product. I know four people who’ve purchased Olympus’ Tough series “waterproof” cameras (including myself) and we all agree that in addition to taking poor quality photos the devices’ water resistance fails within months even with proper care.

    Then there’s the issue of making a display that’s readable in bright sunlight. We already have a solution for this – it’s called e-ink – and it sucks as a general purpose display compared to an IPS LCD screen. There’s no magic bullet. You can either have breathtaking color and responsiveness or you can have a high contrast, reflective display but you can’t have both. Picking a lame “middle ground” technology would be completely out of character for Apple, so it’s not going to happen.

    It’s alright to talk about these concepts in the right context – yearning for as-yet unavailable technology. But as usual, Elgan frames the story in his trademark link-bait fashion, calling the iPad a wimp and suggesting that Apple is somehow missing an opportunity to leverage existing technology. Bravo, Mike.

  • freediverx

    Thanks for the completely irrelevant link. Does this place have any moderators to kill the spammers? 

  • Robert Pruitt

    Excellent points.

  • Robert Mungo

    wow.

    Just wow.

    No capital letters. Just wow. I can’t believe this is a real blog post at a supposedly reputable blog. You can’t use your iPad when doing CrossFit workouts? You can’t use your iPad while surfing? You can’t use your iPad when scuba diving?

    I want to use my iPad while doing unprotected reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. I want to use my iPad as a shovel and dig a hole to the FOXCONN factory in China where it was built. I want to use my iPad as a fashionable hat and go to a royal wedding. I want to put 1.21 gigawatts of power thru it and send it back in time to 1984 and mess with Steve Jobs’ head.

    I think maybe Jobs has the answer for both of us:
    “It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”

  • prof_peabody

    Wow, insulting and not helpful all in one post.  

    This place needs to get some better moderation on the posts.  On this article every nasty, insulting post or spam was made by someone who habitually does this (trolls) and all of them have many multiple “likes.”  

    It’s pretty obvious that one or two assholes are spoiling the whole party here, can we have some moderation?

  • macgizmo

    Mr. Elgan really needs to get a like. A real one, not the one he tells people he has. Do you screw your wife while using an iPad? Do you want an iPad to wipe you pathetic arse with?

  • Deq30

    I thought this was gone be about the screen (wich would be a valid argument for the outside use of ipad), but this particular post was kinda lame.

  • stefn

    Some good ideas, Mike. But Apple aims to create devices for what 90 percent of buyers do with them 90 percent of the time. Sony used to create nichey versions of their gizmos. Apple? Nope. In its new CE stage of life, Apple must narrow its products to those few that can survive cost and pricing inflexibilities.

    Some of your commenters need to calm down or just clam up. Either one will do. Much too much fuss and fury over an opinion piece.

  • stefn

    Some good ideas, Mike. But Apple aims to create devices for what 90 percent of buyers do with them 90 percent of the time. Sony used to create nichey versions of their gizmos. Apple? Nope. In its new CE stage of life, Apple must narrow its products to those few that can survive cost and pricing inflexibilities.

    Some of your commenters need to calm down or just clam up. Either one will do. Much too much fuss and fury over an opinion piece.

  • CharliK

    Unlike Mike’s article, which I suspect was meant to be sarcastic and aimed at those that only look at what things can’t do rather than what they can, you have a very valid point. The ipad could every much do with a mildly anti-glare screen (something around 1/3 to 1/2 the way between what it is now and a fully AG screen) and better brightness for using outdoors. And I suspect that Apple could be working on it. Especially the brightness. Trouble is that many ways to achieve that are also battery consumers and Apple won’t stand for that. So they have to try to find the one way that gives brightness and keeps their ‘up to 10 hour’ battery life. Perhaps it will happen in the next ipad. 

  • CharliK

    If it does what it claims it would be good tech for the ipad at least. Especially if they could pair it with a better light sensor and toning down the glare. 

    now I know that a lot of folks on the source site are saying that Apple won’t touch it because everyone knows about it and I disagree. I think Apple would and they would be okay with it being hyped. It would help them when they say “and we have partnered with XYZ who I’m sure you’ve seen the rave reviews about to create our new displays . . . .” THey would just require the partnership to be kept a secret until they admit to it. 

  • CharliK

    Seems we have some folks here that don’t have a sense of humor or a notion of the concept of sarcasm. 

    Let me clue you in. He’s joking. This article is for all the folks that focus on what this or that can’t do rather than what it can. 

  • dan4523

    Great article.  I, too, have long wished for more rugged apple products.  How awesome would it be to use a star gazing app while backpacking in the rockies or sierra’s where you can actually see the stars.  Not everybody who loves and uses tech is an anemic nerd…some of us love the outdoors and would like to take our gadgets along for the ride.

  • freediverx

    Judging from the author’s body of work, I find no reason to think that this piece was a clever exercise in irony. It would take a far lesser leap to conclude that you’re actually the one being sarcastic, and that your comment is a tongue in cheek swipe at the author, but perhaps I’m giving you too much credit.

  • Mike Elgan

    Can you link to them? For example, can you identify an iPad waterproofing case that isn’t basically a zip-lock baggie?

  • Mike Elgan

    You seem to be implying that people don’t use ruggedized devices. In fact, people do buy and use them. I have friends in the military, and they buy Panasonic Toughbooks by the truck-load. According to this post, the rugged mobile market will exceed $5 billion this year: http://j.mp/mBFKhO

  • Mike Elgan

    I really think that’s the best argument against my argument. But in the future, once Apple has sold a billion iPads, as one analyst has predicted, Apple may want to branch out.

    Also: The only modification on the actual iPad I’m proposing is a sunlight-readable screen. I’m guessing that a LOT of people would like to be able to read books and surf the web outdoors. (The other features would be built into a case.)

  • Mike Elgan

    QUESTION: Do you ever find yourself wishing you could bring your iPad along, but don’t because you don’t want it to get damaged? (The beach? Biking? Etc.?)

    If so, where is that location or what is that activity that’s too hazardous for your iPad?

  • Robert Pruitt

    Agreed on the sunlight readable screen for sure.

  • Dilbert A

    agreed. this is not the way to promote your blog.

  • Robert Pruitt

    Well, if the iPad was so fragile perhaps one would need more than a zip-lock bag to make it waterproof?  I guess that was my thought process in linking that anyway.  I noted this in another comment also but I do agree completely with your comments on making the screen sun-viewable. 

  • SandisGrantins

    I don’t dive or surf, but I absolutely agree with the article. Let’s say there will be 2 variants of the next iPhone (or iPad) – regular one (fancy, thin & so on) and “extreme” one (exactly the same, but rugged, thicker and with better battery). I would buy the rugged version even if it was more expensive than the “fancy” one. Because I LOVE to be outdoors a lot and would LOVE to have a better protected device. Currently I have to settle for some clunky 3rd party case.

  • freediverx

    You guys completely misunderstand Apple’s product strategy – which is inexcusable for a writer on a website called cutofmac.com. You don’t have to agree with it, but you should at least understand it.

    Apple’s whole business model revolves around limiting their focus to the very best opportunities to provide best in class user experiences for their customers. Jobs has repeatedly pointed out that the biggest part of being creative is not saying ‘yes’ to every interesting idea, but to say ‘no’ to almost everything and focus their resources on a few revolutionary products and features with the biggest impact. 

    A water- and shock-resistant iPad – aside from having an extremely limited target market – would by necessity be bulky and plasticky looking and be completely inconsistent with Apple’s entire product line. More importantly, it would in no way push forward the state of the art. It would merely be an ugly repackaging of an existing product with the addition of a protective shell. Apple doesn’t play that game.

    Here’s an example: Canon, one of the very best makers of consumer and pro grade photo equipment on the planet, makes a variety of highly rated, high quality digital cameras smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

    Let’s compare one of their standard compact models with their 33ft water-resistant model.

    PowerShot SD1400IS
    3.6 x 0.7 x 2.2 inches ; 4.6 ounces
    $182.99
    http://bit.ly/lBQQPj

    PowerShot D10
    4.1 x 1.9 x 2.6 inches ; 6.7 ounces 
    $333.
    http://bit.ly/kh2bji

    One looks like 007’s spy camera and the other looks like a Fisher Price bathtub toy.

    Now take a look at the cost of making a camera submersible (only to 33 ft., mind you) in terms of price, bulk, weight, and appearance and tell me such an effort fits into Apple’s product design philosophy.

    P.S. If you want to take Canon’s waterproof camera to 100 ft instead of 33 ft, you’ll need to wrap it in one of these:

    http://bit.ly/kOn9S4

  • freediverx

    I sometimes go scuba diving while suffering from a cold. Because of the runny nose and frequent sneezing, I wish I could bring a box of Kleenex with me underwater. There’s just one problem: My box of Kleenex is a dandy fancy boy.

    Kleenex is for above the water line use only, for the most part. Some of us want to go underwater and take our Kleenex with us…

  • Reivax

    Agreed. Whenever I jump my jet unicycle (Acme) over two dozen school buses topped with razorwire, while I chew on rivets, I find that the iPad messes up my mighty balance. Apple seriously needs to get on this asap. Why the iPad 2 didn’t include stock titanium tail fins and an antigrav chip is beyond me.

  • Bob Forsberg

    The reason “Nobody has built such a case to date, which is strange.” is probably because not many consumers would buy it. A military grade case as you’re purposing would be at least half the price of the iPad, very few in the general populace would be willing to pay for. 

  • diamondprojects

    I’m really puzzled by this desire to protect iphones and ipads. It reminds me a little of my grandparents who would buy a sofa and then leave it in the plastic cover it was delivered in – in order to keep it ‘like new’. Scratches and dings on mobile products are part of life and evidence that the device is useful and has been used. I imagine the Apple design team must look with horror at all the ridiculous covers and protectors on the market – for a device that they spent so much time ensuring was elegant, well made and also remarkably ROBUST.

  • 1stkorean

    ??? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ?? ??

  • 1stkorean

    while reading this drivel I had to shit and throw up at the same time. You whiny little bitch I guess you want that maxipad to jack you off.

    steve jobs is a dead man making his kool-aid toxic so get his hose out of your mouth and spit don’t swallow http://www.dontspitswallow.com… you have swallowed long enough

  • Wayne_Luke

    I have been able to take my iPad anywhere with me. Camping, the beach, road trips, etc… Everywhere. Haven’t had a problem. I have had it for more than a year now.

  • Robert Mungo

    The US Military, active and reserves, makes up less than 1% of the US Population.  That is obviously a niche market. Rather than complain that the tablet that pleases the other 99% of us is so horrible because you can’t use it to stop bullets, perhaps you should purchase the non-Apple device.

    You’re also comparing the iPad, which exists in the actual real world to three devices.

    1. A Motorola device that’s “in the works”
    2. A Samsung device that debuts in a week.
    3. A Panasonic device that “has been announced”.

    So, you’re comparing it to 3 devices that for all intents and purposes don’t exist for your average consumer. And a lot of people swore they’d run out and buy all those Galaxy Tabs that came out… what was their market share again?

    I’m not implying anything. I am flat out saying it. The iPad may not be a perfect device, but it doesn’t need to be butched up. It is fine the way it is. You have an alternative to purchasing it and are free to spend your dollars how you see fit. It is a free market.

    And I’m sure Steve Jobs will get right back to you about plans to help Apple reach the lucrative 1% of the population they’re missing. I mean, right after he’s done swimming in his money bin.

  • Elliot George

    Oh man. I stopped reading when you mentioned water resistance to 100m. OK, that’s a nice IDEA, but there is no way in hell that sort of sealing could work without a huge design overhaul. This post could have been condensed to one paragraph, with a conclusion that should have said: “The iPad is great for outside use. Just buy a decent case (there are many very rugged cases available) and quit being a wimp.I am obsessive with keeping my MacBook Pro and iPad clean and scratch free, but there is no way I would let that fear prevent me from USING them. An iPad is a very good all rounder, but it’s just plane crazy talk thinking about taking it anywhere near water. For this, use specialist devices, and you’ll probably be better off, as you are taking a break from your tech.Sent from my iPad

  • GrimWit

    Apple’s stance on shiny, glassy, eye popping, fancy boy candy screens has got to stop and they need to start providing options for matte/non-glare screens.  It is absolutely my BIGGEST complaint that I can’t take my iPad outside and sit and read or do anything on it.  An iPad outside is a complete FAIL and therefore does not make it truly a mobile device.

  • Mike Elgan

    I’m talking about a sunlight-readable screen, which would theoretically benefit all iPad users, and a ruggedized, waterproof case. All peripheral devices are for niche audiences. They’re still worth making. Besides, by the end of, say, next year, Apple will likely have sold more than 50 million iPads. If only 2% of users go rugged, that’s a million units.

    Meanwhile, the many ruggedized markets are going to buy something. Why not iPads?

  • Mike Elgan

    One great source of columns is that I examine my own behavior as a gadget user and ask: Why do I do this? This column was derived from that very process. I want to bring my iPad to the gym, but don’t. Why? I want to catch up on some reading at the beach, but don’t bring my iPad. Why? A friend who’s about to spend a month in Italy asked if she should bring physical books or an iPad. I said: Here, take my Kindle. Although the Kindle is useful pretty much only for reading, it’s GREAT in direct sunlight. Also: It’s not more durable than the iPad, but it’s cheaper, so if it gets destroyed, it’s not that big a deal.

  • Mike Elgan

    One great source of columns is that I examine my own behavior as a gadget user and ask: Why do I do this? This column was derived from that very process. I want to bring my iPad to the gym, but don’t. Why? I want to catch up on some reading at the beach, but don’t bring my iPad. Why? A friend who’s about to spend a month in Italy asked if she should bring physical books or an iPad. I said: Here, take my Kindle. Although the Kindle is useful pretty much only for reading, it’s GREAT in direct sunlight. Also: It’s not more durable than the iPad, but it’s cheaper, so if it gets destroyed, it’s not that big a deal.

  • Mike Elgan

    Are you using an iPad case? If so, which one? Also: What do you use it for while camping?

  • Mike Elgan

    Agree with all that, plus I’ll add that I would buy it for yet another reason: Peace of mind. I’m pretty good at accidentally destroying things by dropping them, etc., and I would love to know that if I dropped my iPad that it would be OK.

  • Mike Elgan

    Also, there’s the global military market: http://www.cultofmac.com/singa

  • koopapoopas

    Hey guys! Let’s start clicking on ads!  Maybe if we click on enough ads, Mike can afford an Otterbox or something?

    Seriously though.  Love the “controversial” posts you guys do.

  • Frannie13

    So, you want to take your iPad hiking, biking, sailing and you want to bury it in the sand? Why would you do that to your consumer tablet? There’s an entire market of tablets built for just those types of adventures. They’re rough, tough, and they don’t mind being abused. They can handle sand, soil and water. Not only are they build with this in mind, they’re tested to meet military standards. See our website and accompanied blogs on just these issues at http://www.CardinalMobile.com. We sell the Juniper Mesa with amazing outdoor visibility and great screen real estate. We also carry a complete line of Trimble products, including the Trimble Yuma.

  • Cliven

    Total waterproofing also means sealing up heat vents.  That’s never a good thing on a computer product.
    Antiglare screens, tho?  Yes please (they do exist: it’s mainly the shine of the screens that make them hard to read; I can read a matte finish screen out of doors far more easily).  I hate not being able to use devices out of doors.  Trying to read who is calling me on my iPhone in a hard glare can be a real pain.
    This article was a bit over the top, but if taken with a cheerful grain of salt, does suggest some interesting iPad-case possibilities.  
    All the hate posts are borderline amusing, as their posters show a lack of restraint or forethought, thus invalidating their arguments, no matter how pertinent their statements might have been had they omitted the flames.  An opportunity is an opportunity  and some of those niche markets aren’t nearly as niche as one might think!  Steve-o might agree after some market research, or he might not.  Shrewd cat, that guy.

  • Wayne_Luke

    I just have a basic leather slipcase that I purchased off of Amazon in May of 2010. Makes the iPad look like a thin book or journal. Nothing special, rugged or water resistant. It holds the iPad and the stylus I got for it. If necessary the case can act as a sunshade as well. At home, it usually sits on the Apple Keyboard Dock that I bought. For on the road, I have a foldable bluetooth keyboard. I usually keep a ZAGG screen protector on it as well. 

    I am not saying that I’ll never drop something like an iPad but the leather gives a good grip, even if my hands are a little sweaty. Haven’t dropped it yet (knock on wood). Now, I am not without precautions either. The iPad doesn’t go near water. People have to watch and dry hands before using it. Young children can’t use it unsupervised. Plus it gets put away safely when not in use.As for what we used it for while camping -I have a variety of field guides on it for identifying birds, plants, and animal tracks. Instead of taking half a dozen paperbacked books with us, we only need the iPad. See: http://www.audubonguides.com/f

    Another app that I have installed is Starwalk (http://vitotechnology.com/star… ). Great when we’re away from the city and can actually see the stars. We use it to identify constellations, satellites and so forth. Works great combined with a telescope as well. Also since I have the 3G model, it also has GPS built-in so that helps with hiking and location.

    Only thing I miss is the new Augmented Reality features available with the iPad 2. I’ll upgrade one day though.

  • Chakley

    I don’t ever have a need to use my a iPad outdoors unless it’s a super nice day out just read outside but even then it’s not a big problem.

    Now if the iPad were to get a kick ass hi res, large format camera sensor, then that would change things.

  • MacGoo

    I kept on wondering when I was going to see the “gotcha” moment where I was let in on the joke that was being made. That moment never came, and it eventually dawned on me that you were serious. This is a use-case specific to you, and by no means the majority. Apple is a company renowned for their ability to perfect a device by REMOVING features. The device you are looking for may very well be in production or development at the moment, but it is likely an Android tablet or an aftermarket case. My apologies.

  • Rodrigo Rollan

    I hope, REALLY HOPE  that sarcasm and Irony is what drove you to write this. If you go Biking you would like to read from your Ipad ? I guess having a phone would cover pretty much what you might need to do during the biking event in case of an accident, etc. Then, when you return from your biking, go and use your Ipad. Read in the bench while at the gym. Really ? do you also eat while you take a shower or sleep while you drive? Scuba dive with the ipad…. No, really there must be deeper reasons behind your article, otherwise, I would suggest you drop whatever you are doing and go straight to the closest Medical facility available and request to be checked for ADD or any similar condition. The screen glare and water protection (forget about waterproof) issues are valid, the rest is just too much

  • Rodrigo Rollan

    I hope, REALLY HOPE  that sarcasm and Irony is what drove you to write this. If you go Biking you would like to read from your Ipad ? I guess having a phone would cover pretty much what you might need to do during the biking event in case of an accident, etc. Then, when you return from your biking, go and use your Ipad. Read in the bench while at the gym. Really ? do you also eat while you take a shower or sleep while you drive? Scuba dive with the ipad…. No, really there must be deeper reasons behind your article, otherwise, I would suggest you drop whatever you are doing and go straight to the closest Medical facility available and request to be checked for ADD or any similar condition. The screen glare and water protection (forget about waterproof) issues are valid, the rest is just too much

  • Rodrigo Rollan

    I hope, REALLY HOPE  that sarcasm and Irony is what drove you to write this. If you go Biking you would like to read from your Ipad ? I guess having a phone would cover pretty much what you might need to do during the biking event in case of an accident, etc. Then, when you return from your biking, go and use your Ipad. Read in the bench while at the gym. Really ? do you also eat while you take a shower or sleep while you drive? Scuba dive with the ipad…. No, really there must be deeper reasons behind your article, otherwise, I would suggest you drop whatever you are doing and go straight to the closest Medical facility available and request to be checked for ADD or any similar condition. The screen glare and water protection (forget about waterproof) issues are valid, the rest is just too much

  • Emily Oswalt

    I agree. The Kindle is waaaay more practical for reading. I do a lot of my reading outside and actually bought some men’s bifocal sunglasses and I can still see the screen. Ipad is a really great computer, but a pretty dumb thing to bring anywhere where it might get damaged.  

  • Stephen Cook

    Mike, 
    Surprised at the rude posts. You make a good point. A bullet proof iPad enclosure with solar charging would be a great product. Not for everyone, but fantastic for some. 

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Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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