A Big iPod Touch?

Tech pundits are feverishly debating the question "is the iPad just a big iPod Touch?" Both sides are right.

I have had my iPad for three days now, and if I had to describe it in fewer than five words I would call it "a big iPod touch". After all, the most significant difference between the iPad and the iPod Touch is the physical size of the device.

That said, those claiming this description unfairly diminishes the importance of the iPad are also right. The capabilities afforded by the bigger screen, improved performance, and improved battery life are enormous. This is evident in all the apps.

Safari on the iPad is almost indistinguishable from Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but I can view any web page on the iPad without squinting or endlessly scrolling and adjusting the display size. Mail on the iPad, with its two pane interface, looks more like Mac OS X than it does the iPhone. NetNewsWire and Twitterific are two apps that take great advantage of the screen real estate of the iPad.

Finally, there's the keyboard. The software keyboard on the iPad is much better than that on the smaller devices, but it comes nowhere close to the convenience of the hardware keyboard offered by a desktop computer. I am typing this with a Bluetooth keyboard on my iPad. While Apple could undoubtedly offer Bluetooth keyboard connectivity on its smaller devices if they wanted to, the smaller size would make that awkward.

While the iPad clearly has more in common with the iPod Touch and the iPhone than it does a desktop computer, I honestly believe that it "competes" more against notebook and desktop computers than it does against the smaller iPod and iPhone devices.