Based on the reactions I've been seeing across the web since the iPad announcement, I've determined that I'm an oddball for rarely taking advantage of a gadget's multitasking ability. Right now, for example, I'm typing this post in Firefox on my Sony Vaio P with two tabs open: my TypePad account to write and Pocketables for the link I just pulled in for the Vaio P mention.
And that's it. I don't have a Twitter client running in the sidebar, music playing in the background, a Skype call in progress, or any other program open and sitting in the taskbar. It's just me and two tabs in Firefox. And for the most part, it's always like this. Sure, sometimes I'll have a few more tabs open, but real multitasking is a rare occurrence. If I'm working with photos, I do that before launching Firefox. I like to give my undivided attention to a single task at a time because although it's supposed to have the opposite effect, multitasking actually makes me less efficient.
And if I'm like this on my real computers, you can imagine that I'm the same way on my Windows MIDs/UMPCs and other mobile computing devices. I'm actually a bit worse. The iPhone 3GS and its predecessors are among the only gadgets I have that can't multitask beyond being able to play music in the background and talk on the phone while using other apps. But with devices like the HTC HD2, Samsung Mondi, and Archos 5 Android, which can do a lot more than two things at once, I become neurotic making sure that I'm not multitasking. I want as much of a system's resources available for whatever I'm doing, so although these and other units are designed with the ability to multitask, I'm always checking the Task Manager in Windows Mobile (and its equivalent on other platforms) to kill stuff off.
The iPhone still can't multitask either, but the spotlight is now on the iPad's inability to do it. The iPad's list of shortcomings has become the new "the iPhone doesn't have cut-and-paste." I don't doubt that both products will eventually be able to multitask (all it would take is a software update) and I agree on behalf of those who want it that it should've been included, but what is it exactly that you want to do when you're doing another thing while you're already doing something else? How are you currently multitasking on your mobile device? And if you have an iPhone and/or will get an iPad, how does not being able to multitask affect you?
Oh, and while we're on the subject of the iPad, enough with the feminine hygiene jokes already! No one points and laughs when someone takes out a notepad, turns on an IBM ThinkPad, or uses a trackpad, do they? Yeesh.[Image source]