Yes, folks. I have an iPad. Me. Who made fun of it since before it came out. Life’s ironic that way, isn’t it? It was given to me as a gift from the professor I TAed for this year, Mr. Aaron Cohen (of Anyclip – check it out).
I proceeded to spend 6 straight hours playing with it last night, from putting all the applications I ever owned from my iPhone onto the iPad, then realizing I had screen clutter, and a ton of applications that weren’t compatible with the iPad. I went from 9 screens of applications to a screen and a half, and a mild case of iPad-finger – from the repetitive motion of deleting and confirming the delete for about 60 applications.
Then I watched an episode of Lost and an episode of Law & Order on it while on my sofa. And barely touched my laptop all night.
Aaron told me to tell him when I stopped carrying around my laptop. I should have said, “right away,” because I don’t carry around my laptop. But, pre-iPad, I was glued to it when I was at home – I always had it with me while I watch TV or read or write in my journal (which is handwritten), often while I learned new covers of songs or attempted (important operative word here) to play piano off sheet music from IMSLP.
But last night, with the iPad, I found I didn’t really need my laptop for things that didn’t require a lot of typing. With my butt firmly planted on my couch, I’m able to browse the web, look up that really cute actress from the L Word (which is a recent, and long overdue addiction) on IMDB, Facebook, search for song lyrics, read the news, answer emails (the quick, non-serious ones I can take care of while mildly distracted), even flip through a few digital pages of Winnie the Pooh (the free book that came with the iBook application). And the iPad itself fits nicely on my music stand and downloads and displays sheet music.
I was a bit disturbed that the iPad might prove my original prejudices wrong (in that, I was convinced it would never replace my laptop). But I started thinking back to those times before college (for me) when we didn’t have our own computers. We had a family computer that sat in a very visible and common place, and the only times I would go on the computer was if I had to write a paper or chat with friends. Given the iPad’s unconventional keyboard, lack of a good word processor, and inability to multi-task (ie: have multiple applications running at once), I still find my laptop indispensable. (we can go on forever making McLuhanesque arguments about the naturalization process of a new media or technology, but let’s spare me the work of typing it out now that I have to be up very early tomorrow to have Mother’s Day brunch with my mum)
It’s almost as if I have reverted back to that time when I was not in front of the computer screen unless I had work or chatting or major emailing to do. And the other stuff, the time I would have previously spent away from the computer, is now consolidated on a thin electronic slab of digital beauty. As much as I don’t want to play into the hype of the iPad or rave about how it’s changing the technology of media, Aaron was right when he said there is something very intimate about using an iPad. And if I have to get up and charge it every 10 hours or so, well, I can live with that.