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Why iPad is Not Better Than iPhone. But Much Better Than It.

December 17, 2012

With its Retina display, dual-core processor, quad-core graphics, LTE, 5MPX camera, larger battery, and FaceTime camera, the third-gen iPad is a serious piece of equipment. Yet we still come across comments of the sort that “the iPad is nothing but an over-sized iPhone”. As we take look into some aspects of the differences between the two devices we invite you to make up your own mind on which is better in what context of use.

Is iPad the Chicken or the Egg?

iPad vs iPhone which is first
If we start by looking into the history of the devices we will unearth an interesting fact – the iPad actually came first. In Steve Jobs’s own words: “It began with the tablet. I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on with your fingers. I asked our people about it. And six months later, they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He got scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘my God, we can build a phone with this!’ So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone.” Turns out the tablet was shelved, the concept scaled down and made to fit a phone. Only afterwards was the iPad revived and born, benefiting from the technology created for and lessons learned from the iPhone development.

User Experience

iPad usage patterns

The iPad is Highly Portable for Its Capabilities

Users report it is much easier to carry around the tablet rather than a laptop for example. However while the iPhone wins the round for portability and a laptop is much better for many tasks, the iPad fits in a special place between the two which is not easy to explain since unless you own one you don’t really realize something is missing.

iPad Has a Larger Screen

‘Bigger is better’ is very much true in the case of the iPad vs iPhone battle. The 9.7 inch screen also means more efficient Internet browsing, better video and fantastic images. eBooks and all types of written content love the real estate and results for publishers are another proof point, with sales of e-books jumping significantly up since iPad’s appearance on the market. Apps such as iBooks and Kindle, as well as a multitude of magazine and newspaper apps are contributing to what amounts to a silent revolution in the way people consume content, and their reading, working, playing and communicating habits.

iPad is Much Harder to Drop

The Apple tablet’s considerable and very tactile presence actually protects it much better than the iPhone by making it relatively harder to drop. It is a more solid and substantial device and cannot as easily slip through your fingers like your iPhone has done oh, so many times.

iPad Has a Great Battery Life

Unlike the iPhone the iPad challenges the user to drain its battery in a single day. Short of playing videos back to back you can forget to charge your iPad and at the end of the day it will still retain enough juice for some basic tasks such as reading or firing off some late night emails.

Usage Patterns

iPad usage patterns
In a recent study by clicks from Linux, Windows and OS X machines were studied and analyzed, together with iOS, Android and Blackberry phones, as well as the iPad. The cumulative click data indicated a curious observation. While people generally start using their computer and phone as soon as they awake, with the usage graph peaking during the workday and growing tired in the early evening, the iPad usage dips in the morning, remains low during the day and does not peak until late in the evening. According to the study this indicates both higher consumption of leisure content as well as the multitasking of business users combining late night work with lounging in front of a TV.


iPad usability

iPad Screen Accommodates Ten Digits

When we talk about capability, being able to use all ten fingers sure does bring double the result along. There are many creative apps that are an acceptable compromise on the iPhone, but outright excel and blossom on the larger iPad screen.

iPad Has Multiple Panes

Email software and other like applications really benefit from the multiple panes that the iPad versions offer. The pane-splitting options make email creation and management, as well as many other actions, far superior to the iPhone’s scroll alternative. Having as much as possible within one’s field of view amounts to a much more efficient process.

iPad Can Split it’s Keyboard

If you want to hold your iPad with two hands and type with both thumbs than you have the option of splitting the on-screen keyboard to make this feat possible and easier. There are a number of shortcuts that make activating the split a breeze. While one can type quite fast on the iPhone, double-hand is nothing like it, and it is not twice but much faster. Even with the on-screen keyboard sitting down to compose a longish document on the iPad is completely feasible, while doing the same on the iPhone is almost out of the question.


iPad and productivity

iPad and Content Creation

Content generation is an area that really makes the iPad stand out and shine. Some content creation apps you may have on your iPhone are probably hardly ever used due to their being relatively inappropriate in the context of a phone. Writing an article on the iPhone does seem like an inhuman feat, while firing up the same apps on the iPad, with its large on-screen keyboard which gets even larger in landsape mode, almost always yields a great result. With the help of the iPhone hotspot, filing iPad-generated content is no longer an obstacle.

iPad and Content Consumption

The iPad has been a great disruption for media owners by driving a radical change in the way content is consumed. Nearly three quarters of iPad owners share that they hardly ever think of newspapers or books, and half of iPad owners are less likely to buy music or movies on a DVD. Apps like Flipboard make it unnecessary to download separate content apps on the iPad and with a couple of other offerings such as Instapaper and Safari, all the needs of the user are taken care of.

iPad and Productivity

“Four-hundred dollars to make a knowledge worker 10 percent more productive is money extremely well spent.” Those are the words of Paul Lanzi, CIO of Genentech, one of the fastest iPad adopters in the world. To date the company has purchased more than 14,274 iPads for its employees and does not intend to stop there. One study reports that calendar tasks are on the list of the most frequent activities on the iPad which means the Apple tablet is also becoming a preferred organizational tool.

iPad for Fun

The iPad boasts countless ways of providing fun times and entertainment, from games, quizzes and а multitude of media choices right at your fingertips all the way to whimsical features such as a living digital photo frame.


From archaeologists taking snapshots and notes on location; traffic policemen consulting information databases on the road; artists, musicians and movie stars using the device creatively in their fields of work; pilots going through take-off procedures; physicians keeping track of patients; military applications such as remote mission control in war zones, construction site data input and reporting; retailers believing the iPad is the next cash register – it all comes to show that the iPad is not a revolution in itself. It is the next link in a chain of events, set in action by the very first iPhone launched, and built upon with every next device brought out by Apple. Focusing on an experience that can be called holistic, it is one of many components of a massive shift in the way we interact with technology in our lives.

Author: Maria Williamson

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