Behold, the iPad (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ndevil/ / CC BY 2.0)
My dad has this habit of printing out e-mail. Occasionally he’ll get something that captures his interest or makes him think or makes him laugh, but his first reaction sometimes centers on this urge to print the thing out and pass it around. When I go home to visit my parents these days, it’s almost a guarantee that at some point dad’s going to break out the paper e-mail to share a joke or something that he read about.
Needless to say, I think this is weird. It’s not how I use e-mail and feels like one of those Stuff Old People Do kinds of things. If I wanted to share it, that’s what the “forward” button is for. But even as I shake my head at the notion of my dad clear-cutting whole forests to share that latest e-mail joke going around the Intertubes, I realize that there is something there. We live in a networked world, and we like to share our media. It’s just that he likes to physically hand his e-mail to me.
And I do my fair share of, well, sharing. One of the things my wife and I have had to work out as fairly newish married folk is the use of laptops in the living room. We both have work to do at nights at times but it seems nicer if we’re at least spending time together in the same room, even if we have our heads down and are staring at our laptop screens. And while we might be exchanging information back-and-forth in that Only In The 2000s kind of way, there can be some sense of human disconnection even as we collaborate.
Even tougher, sharing something on my screen is more difficult if all I’m doing is playing. You can’t just pass a laptop to someone so they can quickly read an email, see a photo, or watch a video, and so I’m stuck with either e-mailing it to her or sitting next to her and trying to orient the crazy thing so she can watch it while still being able to access the controls. The former is just another impersonal manifestation of our highly wired society, whereas the latter is just clunky.
And this is why I want an iPad. I haven’t even held one in my hands and am stuck with presentations and commercials, but I want one.
This is a post about the iPad, but not from an insider who was lucky enough to touch one yesterday. This is about me, the consumer looking at all of this stuff and deciding whether it’s worth being an early adopter. For the first time in a while, this is an Apple product I’m actually excited enough about to think about getting at initial release. (more…)