An ipad is a tablet. A tablet is like a laptop but without the keyboard and mouse, it's a one-piece gadget. The benefit to tablets is that they're easier to carry than laptops but also have more uses then smartphones. You can surf the web, see movies, read books, edit texts etc. and do other things that you can't do on a smartphone(or at least, can't do very well on a smartphone). If you're buying you're first tablet, i recommend you buy a Kindle Fire(i have a hub about it), because it's cheaper, so if you don't like it, you won't lose too much money.