iPads vs. Personal Computers

If Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, says that the iPad will one day outsell traditional personal computers, then it must be true, right?

All joking aside, Mr. Cook’s prediction may not be all that far from the mark. Since their release, iPads have experienced massive growth in popularity, swelling from a significant contender into one of the most dominant players in the field of commercial electronics. As is typical of many Apple products, the release of the iPad spawned an onslaught of look-alikes and half-baked tablets from other companies, but iPad remains firmly on top of the pack.

This is for good reason. The iPad is versatile, compact and capable of doing pretty much anything that a decent personal computer is capable of. They can form Microsoft Word documents, store gigabytes of music and information, and as long as you have access to the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G, can surf the web.

Also, iPads come from Apple. Their products are dependable and capable, and they are backed by a company comprised of some of the best in the business. When compared to traditional personal computers, there is a pretty overwhelming list of advantages in favor of the iPad.

As I mentioned before, the iPad can do pretty much anything a personal computer can do, but the iPad is way more portable. Compared to the iPad, even the sleekest, thinnest of laptops feel heavy and clumsy. I’ve never walked around campus surfing the Web on my laptop one-handed (something the iPad was born to do), and I don’t plan on doing so anytime soon.

One argument in the favor of personal computers is the fact that you can’t play most hardware heavy games (like MMORPGs or FPSs, for example) on an iPad.  Sure, you might not be able to play “Battlefield 3” on your iPad, but there is such a diverse and immense sea of apps, games and other programs out there that you could probably spend the rest of your life sifting through them and you still won’t have seen all the iPad has to offer.

Considering these things, Mr. Cook’s above prediction seems more and more likely. The iPad seems to be designed to wrest domination of the personal computer field from traditional PCs, all while giving you the ability to simultaneously surf the Web, listen to music, and play Angry Birds.

Taking my personal life as an example, I’d say that Mr. Cook’s prediction is pretty spot-on. Ever since I bought my iPad 2 three months ago, it has leeched more and more of my user time away from my laptop until the latter was reduced to little more than collecting dust.

My laptop is not bulky, heavy or unwieldy by any stretch of the imagination. But when I compare it to my sleek new iPad 2, my laptop feels like a brick.

Besides the issue of comfort and ease of use, it’s also a matter of portability. Why pack up my laptop, mouse and lengthy extension cord when I could just slip my iPad 2 into my backpack or tuck it under my arm?

Once I’m in class, I don’t notice any difference between my laptop and my iPad 2. They can both surf the Web, letting me follow along with the class notes (or just surf the Web if it’s a slow day). And boring waits in line for Starbucks or the shuttle? You can forget about it.

As long as I can get plugged into Wi-Fi or 3G, I have the world in the palm of my hands, and that’s a feeling that the traditional personal computer just can’t duplicate, no matter how hard it tries.

So maybe Cook is right, and iPads will someday become the kings of the personal computer world. Frankly, I don’t see a problem with that.


Spencer Grimes is a fourth-year English major. He can be reached at sgrimes@uci.edu.