Separation anxiety: An evening without an iPad

Today TechCrunch posted a really stupid article called Why I�m Craigslisting My iPads. It isn’t timely (we saw many similar articles in April) and the author clearly had no idea what an iPad was when he bought it. Basically he was looking for a laptop replacement, and the iPad isn’t one, except in edge cases.

Anyway, after reading that piece, it seemed like a good time for another (mostly) pro-iPad post.

The other day Apple released a minor upgrade to the iPad’s OS. It was supposed to address wireless connectivity problems a few people were having, as well as some other minor fixes. Thursday night I decided to install the update.

Here’s the non-pro-iPad part of the post. My iPad can take *forever* to backup. Some google-research indicates that this is a semi-common problem for Windows 64-bit users and depends on what apps you have on your iPad. In my case I suspect it’s Wired’s app with its 800 megs of data. I’m not sure why this is but it might have to do with the number of files. My iPad backup directories take up about 1 gig of space but contain 18,000 files… no sub-directories. That’s 18,000 files in a single directory. That can’t be efficient.

Anyway, for whatever the reason it can take hours for me to backup the iPad. My solution has been just to not back it up. That sounds crazy but it isn’t. I don’t back it up but I do sync it (which takes just a few minutes). So I have all my apps and music and data synced to my computer. Backing up seems redundant to me. If my iPad crashes and gets wiped during a repair then yes, I’ll have to redo all my settings by hand, but then I can just sync all the apps, music, ebooks, data and everything else back over from the PC.

Except part of installing this new update was a mandatory backup first. Bleh. I started it at 7:30 pm and when I went to bed that night around midnight, it was still backing up. So Thursday night I couldn’t use my iPad.

And I was *lost* without it!! I really hadn’t realized how often I pick up my iPad in a typical evening until I didn’t have it available. Sure my books and stuff were on it so when I went to bed I couldn’t read, but even before then. When I’m playing on the Xbox or PS3 I have the iPad handy to check gamefaqs or just to look up random things that pop into my head, or to check in on twitter. When I’m sitting at the PC and waiting for something to complete, I flip on the iPad to poke at a game or something. When we’re in the kitchen cooking something new, the iPad is there with a recipe on it (though that wasn’t a problem Thursday evening).

The point is, the iPad has become a natural part of my lifestyle and one I use constantly. I use it first thing in the morning when I get up, and normally the last thing I do before going to sleep is read on it. I use it at lunchtime at the office. I use it during meetings at the office. I use it while preparing meals, while watching TV, while playing games. It is a constant companion and I find I carry it from room to room with me.

I wanted a tablet for a long, long time and now I finally have one and it really is everything I’d hoped it would be and more. And this isn’t Apple fanboyism… I bought an iPad because it was the first good tablet that hit the market. I’m still very excited about the possibility of a good Android tablet hitting the market, since I enjoy the more open environment of Android (which is why I have a Droid, not an iPhone…I had a choice when it came to phones).

That TechCrunch author missed the point when he bought an iPad as a laptop replacement. That’s not where the device shines. The iPad (or, presumably any tablet) as a computing device fits into the cracks and crevices of your life. As an entertainment device, it’s kind of its own thing. A super-sized iPod Touch? That’s not entirely inaccurate, but don’t downplay the super-sized. Would you rather watch a 13″ TV or a 52″ home theater? Bigger is better. I tried to read on my Droid Thursday night and while I could do it, the experience was significantly less pleasant than reading on the iPad. Of course you can get a Kindle or a Nook for reading, but then you lose out on all the other things the iPad can do.

I won’t be putting my iPad on Craigslist (at least not until after I get another tablet) and if mine was stolen or destroyed today I’d be at the store tomorrow trying to replace it. It’s as vital a part of my lifestyle now as my TV and PC are. Sure I could live without it, but I’d very much prefer not to have to.

[Edits for Meghan and Petter… *grumbles*]

8 thoughts on “Separation anxiety: An evening without an iPad

  1. Excellent sentiment!

    I use mine in mostly the same way. When I eat breakfast in the morning, I check email and Twitter on the device, propped up on a stand usually used for displaying decorative plates XD

  2. I completely agree with you. I’ve only had one for a little over a week, and I couldn’t live without it. I use it for notetaking at work, for watching movies in bed, for browsing the web while watching TV, checking my work email, playing games, following recipes, reading books, and everything I possibly can. I love it. 🙂

  3. i love mine to but it makes me hate itunes soo much more.. my ipad took 15hours to backup.. im not kidding i was afraid the batteries would run out before it was done since i had it connected with an iphone usb cord.

    itunes is probably awsome for mac ppl but for a pc guy its just buggy and shitty programming all over the place..

    its gone so far that i use copytrans for all my reg usage on our 2 iphones and ipad. just so that i dont have to even start itunes more than at the rares occasions.

  4. Am the same when I cant use my iPhone for the very same reasons you miss your iPad. Handy tool when needed.

  5. Funny enough, I jailbroke mine the moment I got it and since then I’ve found it can be a very stellar laptop replacement. Backgrounder is probably the only thing I installed that is a necessity, as it enables actual multitasking (not the fake method Apple will be implementing in the fall), but most of the other stuff I added were simple tweaks. With the ability to background applications and run things simultaneously, it’s completely replaced the MacBook Pro I had purchased a month before when Apple last refreshed them.

    I can use IM clients, send mail, handle administration of my site (both through WordPress, as well as SSHing into it from a terminal application), sending pictures to Flickr, twitter, books, etc etc. I even have Apache and PHP installed on it so I can use it to do local web development.

    I didn’t have high expectations of it when I bought mine, mostly only getting it to play around with the shiny. I thought I would be sending it back in a week, and having one for two months it’s more or less replaced every computing device I own. I find myself sitting around thinking about selling that new MacBook, since it’s just been taking up space on my desk. It’s totally opposite to what I expected would happen when I bought mine.

Comments are closed.