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Is the iPad Worth the Cost?

I use to call the iPad a vestigial device, because between my laptop and netbook I could do just about anything (web browsing, word processing, reading newspapers, etc…).  The iPad looked like a slightly lighter netbook with less functionality coupled with a $600 sticker price. After long-resistance to the product, I had a few opportunities to use one. The touch screen made a big difference in content navigation and I started to see the benefit. At its current price, I still didn’t have the incentive to purchase one.

Since I am a university student I usually spend about $800 dollars on textbooks per year, or I would if I didn’t buy them used from half.com and ebay auctions. Because of the prevalence of used textbook markets, most textbook publishers now offer e-book content at a fraction of the cost. Amazon even lets you rent e-books. With these savings in mind, I purchased an iPad 2 and started renting e-books. I saved about $400 dollars through his feature, so I figure my iPad only cost me $200. A fair price in my opinion. Sure, I could have bought a kindle for less, but I would lose much of the e-book content offered by the touch-screen and multimedia features. After a couple of months I found it to be my favorite electronic device. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a difference the touch screen adds to the user experience.

Some of my most used iPad apps are:

News Apps

Flipboard

I use flipboard because it has an elegant graphical interface. You can add different news content by clicking a blank tile and selecting the category and name of a content provider. There is a plethora of free content available. My feed includes: Fortune Magazine, Gizmodo, Future Lab, NPR, Bloomberg News, USA Today, Huffington Post, National Geographic, TedTalks, TechCrunch, Frontline, etc…

Honorable Mention: Reuters News Pro

Productivity Apps

InClass

Hands down my favorite audio recorder for iPad. InClass makes it easy to export audio files to other electronic devices. It also keeps all of your recordings stored in a notebook and dated so you never have to scramble to find the recording you’re looking for.

Honorable Mention: Keynote

Game Apps

Angry Birds HD

It’s my go-to app when I have 1-2 minutes of free time. Apparently most of my free time exists in small increments.

Honorable Mention:  Kingdom Rush

Entertainment Apps

TED

Lets me watch all the TEDTalk videos and even download them to play while offline.

Honorable Mention: Netflix

So there you have it… my top iPad apps. What do you think of the iPad? Is it worth the cost? If you have one, how did you justify it? What apps do you recommend? I’d love to hear your comments!

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