48 hours of bliss with my new iPad

May 4, 2010
person using iPad

So it came. Friday, just as promised. The very day the new 3G iPad became available, it appeared at my office, ready to be loved and adored. A couple of staff members gathered around, grunting and groaning in excitement as it lit up … like Neanderthals first viewing fire.

Sure, it’s elegant. And yes, for any iPhone user, it’s inherently familiar. I had 48 hours while watching a daughter’s track meet and then relaxing at a fishing cabin to play with it and review it. Some conclusions:

Will the iPad revolutionize the world? Not everyone’s. Its limited computing power (can’t run simultaneous apps at once) will confound linear thinkers. But for those of us who love media, and love to read to stay current, it will be as revolutionary at Google.

The iPad’s New York Times app sets the bar high — like the West Point high jumper I watched all day Saturday — and unfolds like rich digital parchment. It dares you to engage, and hastens you to flick through stories and tap to read more.

Sunday morning I awoke, 40 miles from nowhere to enjoy the Times. Just me, the silence, and a hatch of March Browns that I ignored in favor of a too-strong cup of mountain-brewed coffee in the pre-dawn glow of a new day.

Will the iPad liberate me from my desktop? My desk sits as a wall between myself and office visitors. A flat screen and laptop set the divide. Will the iPad rid me of such barbed-wire clutter? Perhaps not at work. I fear I will still need my Windows-based box, and its 10-minute boot up time and ganglia of wires.

But at home? On the road? I see a new friend to comfort me while sitting on the sofa watching Hulu and YouTube. Or in bed, checking mail or watching movies.

Will the iPad spur my personal productivity? Fortunately, I am in the creative arts and the world of possibility opens dramatically with the iPad in hand. I have already played stupid iPad tricks on friends and family, downloading an electronic banner application to send evening messages across Penns Creek to a friend’s fishing cottage.

But it’s much more. Unlike the single functionality of the Kindle, the iPad is part productivity tool, part gaming device, part movie theater, part mp3 player and newsstand — in short, it’s like my son says about his college. “It’s like someone built a place just for me!” Thanks, Steve Jobs, for building a place just for me.

Is it flawless? No. Not at all. Typing is way hard on the digital keyboard, and I find myself using the same thumb-pounding strategy I do on the iPhone. It’s impossible to type quickly or accurately, which is why I plan to buy the optional keyboard.

And yes, I am experiencing some pretty frustrating WiFi issues. It seems incapable of remembering WiFi passwords when you reconnect to a secure network. And AT&T saw fit to accept my purchase of a cellular plan and bill me, but not give me 3G access.

I am dreading today’s call to AT&T’s customer service. (Hit one if you want to speak with a poorly trained service rep who will have to talk to other techs to resolve your issue, and hit two if you haven’t found a 3G zone in the past two weeks.)

But overall, the iPad is my chosen device for the moment, and I fear it could become my existentialist computing experience in that “I am because iPad.”

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Elaine Hughes
9 years 12 days ago

I enjoyed this post! David Pogue says the iPad can't run Flash videos, which would frustrate me. Do you think you'll give up your laptop for the iPad or use it as a supplementary (and fun) tool?

Anthony Graziano
Anthony Graziano
9 years 6 days ago

I like this post for its prose, but even moreso for the elegant review which is "spot-on" in terms of balancing the truth versus excitement over "the new". The Q&A lead-ins were all the questions I was asking myself when deciding "Should I buy an iPad, or an IMac?" you settled it – I'm going to wait for iPad 2.0