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Like sex, conflict sells. Which helps explain recent stories in print and online posing the question, 'Is the iPad a netbook killer?,' and such.
Many bloggers and journalists love to pit one entity against another: Apple vs. Adobe, Google vs. Microsoft, Windows vs. Mac, and so on. Why? Because readers love conflict. They want to see who wins and how they win. Conflict creates friction, drama, intrigue.
But the iPad vs. the netbook? I don't think so.
Fortune and others have pointed out that netbook sales dipped as the iPad became available.
I own both an iPad and a Samsung netbook. And as much as I loves me some iPad, I have serious reservations about traveling with it in lieu of a netbook or laptop. The iPad is bound by too many limitations at this point. Working with Google Docs, for instance, is difficult at best, and I'm increasingly working in Google Docs with colleagues and clients. Plus, you can't prop an iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard in your lap to get some serious work done while waiting for a flight. And you probably can't get away using a Bluetooth keyboard connected to your iPad during a flight--most airlines won't allow you to use Bluetooth devices in the air.
The iPad would make a great vacation computer--giving you access to email, the Internet, and streaming Netflix movies, while making it difficult to be productive. But for those times when I need to work on the road, I'll continue to take a netbook.