I returned my iPad about a week of use. After 14 days, 7 days with an iPad and then 7 days (and counting) without one, I have a few new perspectives on the iPad – all testaments to a change in computing that tablets will usher in over the next few years. 

First, I used my iPad at different times than a laptop or mobile phone and at those moments, the form factor and ease of use shined. On the couch, at the dinner table, reading in bed were wonderful experiences. No device comes close to matching experience in these situations.

Second, I read a broader set of content. I pay $300 annually to subscribe to the WSJ but have never read more than an article daily. The same is true for the NYTimes. The web presentation of this content has always failed me – discovery is flawed and I read only the headlines and top emailed articles. The applications on the iPad highlight the depth and breadth of content in a way the web never could and touching to interact with text, images and video engages the user. So I read more and more broadly with the iPad.

Third, the iPad liberated me from trekking with a heavy backpack and a laptop. Leaving home with only a mobile phone isn’t enough. I feel under-equipped to process spreadsheets, write documents or compose a blog post (and I’ve tried doing all this on the mobile). The combination of software, weight and size make the iPad a natural replacement and will relegate my laptop to the desktop. This use case drives the need for a 3G device – I need internet on the go.

Fourth and last, it’s made other devices obsolete. The Kindle, the iPod, and many others are now ripe for eBay, awaiting a new, less fickle owner.

I think I’ll try with this technique with all my new devices. A week of immersion followed by a week of deprivation. It makes the feeling of opening a new gadget last that much longer. And you better believe I’m looking forward to April 30th, when the iPad 3G will be delivered to my office.