iPad ownership: How’d I wind up here?

You can catch up on my iPad journey here. It takes me through Monday morning. By that time I’d ordered an iPad online and was prepared to wait for the April 12th ship date. Then I got to work and my co-worker had his and was showing it off. It didn’t take long for April 12th to seem far, far in the future. I called the local Apple Store and they had iPads in stock.

At lunch, said co-worker (who is a HUGE Apple fan) and I headed to the store. It took jumping through some strange hoops but I walked out with my iPad (and not one but TWO Apple credit accounts…don’t ask). He dealt with the Apple sales staff, I just signed things. It’s like being in a hostile foreign country, going into one of those stores. If you bring a native guide it’s much easier to get around.

It’s been interesting watching the hype-wave crest, and break, and now as the hype runs back into the sea the backlash is coming on strong. One of the most frequent criticisms I see is “It’s just a giant iPhone.” Well first of all, it doesn’t make calls so it’d be more accurate to says it’s just a giant iPod Touch. Now I don’t have an iPod Touch so I can’t really comment on that. But let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s true. What’s wrong with it being a giant iPod Touch?

If I was running a single core PC with on-board graphics and a 15″ VGA screen, and I said “Woohoo! I just bought an i7 system with that new GeForce 480 GPU and a 24″ 1600×1200 monitor!” no one would reply with “But it’s just a giant pc” would they? No, because better resolution, bigger screen, faster processor… those upgrades are great! And as far as I can tell, the iPad is an iPod Touch with better resolution, a bigger screen and a faster processor. So how’s that a bad thing?


I justified my early adoption with my ITWorld blog. The iPad is such a phenomenom, for good or evil, that I felt like I needed to know the truth behind the device. I wasn’t really sure what to expect; I hate Apple products. I’m an ex-Apple fanboy and no one is as bitter as an ex-fanboy. Dude, I had a G4 Cube. I spent nearly $4,000 on the first “TiBook” laptop….that’s how much of a fanboy I was. I was torn between hoping I enjoyed the iPad, and hoping I’d hate it so I could rip it to shreds in the public eye.

I never expected to fall head over heels in love with the damned thing. But I have. And I’m still trying to quantify why. It has a lot to do with how damned pretty it is; the screen is stunning and feels downright soothing to my eyes. Ironically the lower-than-my-PC resolution might be part of that. 1024×768 but crisp and clear with apps intended for that resolution. (OMG, is the iPad the Jitterbug of computing devices!?) And a lot of it is how comfortable it is to use. I can slouch to my heart’s content. Use it sitting back with my feet on the desk, or slung out on the couch, or laying in bed. Yeah, I could do all this with a netbook too, but netbooks are awkward and slow. The iPad is snappy and easy to hold (if a tad heavy). I highly suggest the ‘binder’ case that Apple sells. It gives you more holding options and doubles as a stand. And there’s the “new to the App Store” factor for me. There’s a lot of cool apps for this thing.

Now in my defense, for *years* I’ve wanted a tablet. Essentially since watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. But until now they’ve all sucked. Angela got me a netbook that converts into a tablet for Christmas and although I tried desperately to love it, I just didn’t. It was slow and not at all responsive to touch and I constantly had to recalibrate the screen. It’s a sweet little netbook, but not a very good tablet. Her heart was in the right place and it killed me that I didn’t love it, but there ya go…

So then I was waiting for the Android tablets. I’m still waiting for those. I can absolutely see having 2 tablets because I AM that much of a geek. I love my Droid smartphone. I love that Android is open. I love that these soon-to-arrive Android tablets have 1080P displays and are powered by the super snappy Tegra 2 chip (rumored to be powering the Nintendo 3DS as well). But those are the future. The few Android based tablets that have come out: devices like the enTourage eDGe (their caps) or the Camangi Webstation, just haven’t reviewed very well. Nope, wait for the Tegra and Android 2.1 if you want an Android tablet.

But the iPad was here now, and yeah, I got caught up in the hype, and had a way to justify buying early, and, shame on me, Apple was offering interest-free credit. I haven’t done anything truly fiscally irresponsible in years; the time just seemed right. 🙂

Now I just need the weekend to get here so I can *really* play with the thing. I sucked it up and installed iTunes *shudder* which I hate even more now than I did the last time I tried it, but the iPad really expects to be syncing to something, for whatever reason. So that was Monday evening shot, getting that done. Last night I tried to download a big app (the digital edition of The Elements) and found that the only system slower than The Playstation Network is The Apple Store (this was on my Windows machine so I can’t blame the iPad) and sorted through all my music deciding which of it/how much of it to sync to the iPad. And tonight of course I’m writing this blog post.

But I sneak in moments of iPad time whenever I can. During lunch at work, right before bed, in the 10 free minutes I find while waiting for dinner. I carry the damned thing everywhere with me.

The question is, once I have LOTS of time to spend with it, will I still love it or will I start to see its flaws? That remains to be seen. Stay tuned!

5 thoughts on “iPad ownership: How’d I wind up here?

  1. I often wonder if I should admire Apple’s ability to create demand for things people don’t know what to do with, to create answers for questions not asked or declare them to be evil for toying around with people’s minds. 🙂

    Tipa loves her iPad, too. I think everyone who has one just loves it. But is it really a good alternative to a Kindle if you read whole books on screen? What can it do that a standard notebook or iPhone could not do better?

    Yet it makes people feel good. It is probably the first time that people really LOVE a touch screen. I think it must be the UI / design / screen quality that sucks people in.

    I just wondered if Guild Wars would run on it. Now this would really look good!

  2. “But is it really a good alternative to a Kindle if you read whole books on screen? ”

    I don’t have a Kindle, but for straight text, I’d suspect the Kindle is a better solution. So if you want to read a novel, Kindle is probably better.

    If you want to read a magazine, or a text or science book, iPad is much better. For instance that book The Elements that I referenced is full of images of samples & uses of each element, and every one is a 3D object that you can turn and examine. There are video clips embedded in it as well. That’s stuff you could’t do on a Kindle.

    But if all you want to do is read books, go with the Kindle.

    “What can it do that a standard notebook or iPhone could not do better?”

    Those are two very different questions. Aside from the touch and motion stuff, there’s nothing really that you could do on an iPad that you couldn’t do on a notebook. And notebook makers could easily add touch screens and accelerometers to notebooks. But the ergonomics are totally different and the experience is different.

    Put it this way, if someone bought an iPad just to stick in a dock on their desk and put a keyboard in front of, and that’s all they were going to do with it, I’d say that was pretty silly. Sitting at a desk, a notebook beats the iPad in just about every way. But in other areas of the house the ergonomics of the iPad are much “friendlier” than a notebook. It’s lighter, more manageable, quieter, cooler. You can hold it in one hand easily. You can lay down and hold it up like you would a book, or lay it flat on a table and play a game with other people on it. It just opens up more options in how you’d use a computing device.

    As to the iPhone comparison… would your gaming computer be just as good if it had a 10″ screen rather than the 20″ (or whatever) you’re using now?

  3. I think it would make a fab full feature remote for my home theater with all the gaming systems and other equipment that are hooked to the home theater. Its just getting it to do that and I wonder if anyone is working on an app for that. In fact it could contol the heating and cooling in the house as well. The potential is there and just have to wait to see if someone delivers the apps.

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