Q: Should I wait until the iPad comes out to purchase a new computer?

Tech Q & AA: The answer depends on several factors. You must first determine who is going to use this computer, how it will be used, and what software you may need to run on it. Once you have those factors in mind, then the following should help you decide.

If you are a more technical user, or a “power user”, and this will be your main computer or laptop, the iPad may not fit your needs at this time. However, even if you are a power user and this will be an additional computer, for example, one that you will have with you just to be able to do light-duty tasks, then the iPad may be worth checking out.

If you are needing a computer for general purpose use, such as browsing the web, checking e-mail, and working with digital media, the iPad could very well be the computer for you. If you can sit tight for another month or so to try out the iPad, it might be worth the wait.

If you are in the market for a very small and light laptop (i.e. a “netbook”), then definitely wait to try out the iPad. The iPad promises to be a lot easier to use than a netbook and has many technical advantages worth considering such as longer battery life.

If the computer you are considering purchasing will need to run a particular software program that only runs on Windows or Mac, then the iPad probably won’t be a good fit at this time. However, carefully consider the necessity of the particular software program to see if there is a way to get around using it. Don’t let old technology unnecessarily hold you back from progressing forward. There may be no way around it in your situation, but it is definitely worth considering moving on from older software if possible.

If this will be a computer primarily for use by a child or for use by various family members in a home, then the iPad could very well be a perfect fit. The iPad will be the first true “coffee table” computer. In other words, a computer that is almost always within reach, as magazines on a coffee table would be. Instead of spending a lot of money on one desktop or laptop, you could spend the same amount on two or three iPads that can work anywhere in the home. Now you would have more computers available to meet the ever-increasing demands of computer usage in a family household. As described above, the iPad will be very good for general purpose and light-duty computing, as is the typical usage of most families, especially if there is already one “main” computer already in the house.

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea on whether the iPad may be right for you. Because this product has not yet been released, there are a lot of questions that are waiting to be answered. We will know more after April 3rd, when the iPod is made available to the public!

If you have a technology question, please let me know and it will be featured in a future newsletter!