I have a confession… After resisting for years, ignoring new release after new release, I finally caved in and did what everyone expected me to do long ago.

This blog post is being written on my new iPad. But there actually IS a good reason behind my capitulation.

I’ve always said that I don’t need an iPad because I have an iPhone in my pocket for ultra-portable media needs, and a MacBook Air for when I’m traveling and want to watch movies or television shows on a larger screen. So why would I pay hundreds of dollars for something that’s essentially a middle ground between the two?

Here’s why: If you’ve been reading for awhile, you probably remember that I’m starting a Ph.D. program in Human Capital Management in March. This means two years of classes and more than a dozen textbooks, before I even start the whole dissertation process. And after some research on the textbooks, I’ve discovered that they are even more godawful expensive than I remember MBA textbooks being.

However, times have changed in the seven years since I left college. Now, many publishers are selling the standard hardcover textbooks at crazy prices while also offering eBook versions at remarkably lower prices. In fact, on a couple of them I found some individual eBooks more than $100 cheaper apiece.

Reading eBooks on a handheld tablet, rather than a laptop? Sure, that’s more convenient. A tablet rather than an iPhone, so there’s no squinting or pinching-to-zoom or flipping to a new page after one or two paragraphs? Definitely more effective. But saving a hundred bucks a pop, more than a dozen times? Yeah, that’s a compelling reason to purchase.

I’m only a few days in, and so far I’ve had mixed reactions. I definitely love using the iBooks and Kindle apps to read books, as the larger screen is a big improvement over reading on the iPhone. Watching television shows on the larger Retina display is great also. I do still need to get used to an incredibly smaller hard drive, an appearing-and-disappearing onscreen keyboard, and the lack of a few programs (like Microsoft Office) that are not available on the iPad. But for reading, watching video, and surfing the ‘net, I think this ought to do just fine.

Of course, once I actually start classes and give the digital textbooks a whirl, I’ll have a much better idea of how well the iPad really meets my needs… Until then, it’s mostly just a shiny new toy that so far I’m enjoying. Stay tuned for an update!

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