Photo by cjc0327
Article by Matt DeSimone

The late night-line campers are gone, the techno-fetishists are sated, and the glowing articles about the future of portable computing have all been written. Yet the question still remains: Why exactly would I want an iPad? To be sure the Apple fan in me looks longingly at the iPad, as I do with everything else coming out of 1 Infinite Loop. Damn the bank balance, I'll buy it and figure out why it's great later! It's $499 for the barest introductory model, and $629 for the 3G version; however, this is no impulse purchase. Many would-be buyers, myself included, are still trying to determine how they are actually going to use this thing on a day-to-day basis once they get it home. While mulling over this question, I formed the vision of the iPad in my life, and based on this dream can say with certainty that I will be an owner, even if I'm not ready to put the cash down just yet (more on that later).

So what would be a day in the life of my iPad? Take for instance this past Saturday morning. I awoke with a true Saturday attitude, ready to be awake but not ready to be "up." Talking head television shows have long since given way to blogs and RSS feeds for my news consumption, so it seemed like a good time to lay in bed and perform the 21st century version of reading the morning papers. "Laying" and "reading" though are not two words easily meshed with an ever over-heating MacBook Pro on my chest, my eyes straining upward to read the screen at an angle I am constantly changing. A small, easily held device with a crispy display large enough to read comfortably would make this whole experience much more enjoyable, or at the bare minimum save me a few second degree burns on my chest.

After finally rousing myself from bed, I engaged in something of a classic activity: a long hot weekend bath. Being the sports fan I am, I hate missing a game even when surrounded and immersed in water. In order to catch a game while soaking, I either have to drag my laptop into the bathroom and give it an electrocution-ready perch on the edge of the sink, or turn the volume up on my television so loud that my neighbors think they actually live on the pitcher’s mound of Yankee Stadium. Much easier would be a small device on a stand with the MLB.Tv application that could sit in a safe corner. I would have great quality live video of a game in progress while I sip a beer, soak an aching back, and watch Austin Jackson rake for the Tigers wondering why New York got rid of the kid so early. 

Later, friends are coming over for dinner. Normally I use my iPhone in the kitchen to look up recipes, techniques, etc. Given its size though, it needs to be hand held and well, in this particular instance was being hand held by a hand coated in BBQ sauce. Propped back on its stand, the iPad becomes a digital cookbook, saving my iPhone from a fate best suited for ribs. Then once everyone has gone, I can kick back on the couch and plot my next move in one of the many on-going games of Scrabble I have running with far-flung friends. 

One day. One iPad. Laptop, TV, dog-eared cookbook, BBQ sauce covered iPhone: unnecessary. All that and I haven't even opened most of the "core" applications: the music player, photo library, or e-mail. That's not convergence; it's just plain old-fashioned convenience. To be sure, this device is not for all tasks and there are things it does not do. Multitasking is a huge personal pet-peeve and the largest roadblock to my purchase; however, word is that will be solved with a software update in the fall. Even with the updates, this is not a device for everyone. No, you can't really design on it. No, the spreadsheet/office application experience is not currently as easy as a laptop. And no, it won't walk the dog for you. But to those who say the iPad is nothing more than a big iPod Touch, well as the man says you are looking at the thing backwards. The iPad isn't a big iPod Touch. The iPod Touch is an undersized, underpowered version of the iPad.

Matt DeSimone lives and works the life of a digital proletariat in New York City.


© Matt DeSimone, 2010