With the release of the iPad only few days away, many of us are revisiting our reasons (or rationalizations) for buying one.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs / Apple have really sold this device short (Maybe intentionally) – Sure, lots of talk about content consumption, a place for web browsing, Photos, Books. And yes, this is not a great content creation device – BUT let’s remember that iWork is available on the device and it is a nearly a perfect “Bring to Coffee, Bring to Lunch” device.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always felt like a geek bringing my laptop to a coffee shop meeting or to lunch. It comes off as rude, or being distracted, or reading email. Yet no one minds a pad of paper for notes – why? because both parties can see what is written and it relates directly to the conversation.

I’ve tried this with a Windows based Tablet & stylus, but the interface is not clean enough and there is far too much going on (It’s Windows after all) . The whole experience feels like you are ignoring your Date at the prom.

Now enter the iPad – a few things in its favor:

1) It’s small and “pad of paper’- like

2) It’s large enough to be visible – everyone can follow the simple interface and participate

3) Most folks KNOW the interface from the iPhone or iPod touch, so I’m not doing anything magical – just Cool!

Most of all it has just enough power to do what I want to do well – Present a couple of key ideas with visuals from Keynote, supporting evidence from Numbers and capture reaction and action items with other tools.

One of my anticipated products will be MarketCircle’s Daylite & Billings – These Canadian developers are being quiet about their plans, but I have high hopes that they will ship iPad specific versions shortly.

This is all I really need for selling Products, Services or Ideas. It’s all I need for day to day project management meeting, pitch meetings or business reviews.

My other question mark is around this new Apple DataCenter in Maiden North Carolina. 500,000 Square feet of data Center space in one place – one of the largest in the world. At risk of tripping the Wild Ass Speculation Alarms (WASA) at Apple, I think that this facility is a little excessive for just Books, iTunes and a few MobileMe Accounts. This has got to be a Cloud Application play – Perhaps even Remote Client Computing under the MobileMe brand, using the iPad as a Thin Client.

All enabled by the iPad.

Cool – I want one…

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I’ve always felt a bit silly about taking a Laptop to a Lunch – or Coffee – or any kind of human, face to face meeting. Not that I doubt the power of using technology to convey an idea, or capture great notes – I’m a huge proponent of better living thru technology – It’s just that I fear sending the wrong message.

  • Is it rude? If I’m taking notes will someone assume I’m actually reading email?
  • Is it too Geeky? While visual aids are great in pitching ideas, the machine often dominates the space.

I think we finally have a winner in this space with the iPad as a sales / presentation tool.  small, bright and yes, cool.