It's Seductive, This iPad

By Glenn Fleishman April 5, 2010

If you've had any interest at all in Apple's iPad, you've already read umpty-ump reviews, articles, screeds, and attacks, viewed a million screen captures, watched some YouTube videos of it in use, and know whatever you want to know.

So I won't go there.

I've had the iPad for a day and a half, and what I find remarkable about it is not that it's the first time any company has made a device of this size and shape more or less correctly, but that I keep reaching for it instead of my iPhone or laptop, even though I shouldn't even be aware of its existence.

Perhaps this is how Apple works, seeding our expectations in our sleep. Sure, I touched one for a bit back in January, and sensed the potential, but it's not that the iPad is some kind of crazy transformative device that the world needed and lacked, and that will save newspapers, Haiti, and children, and prevent nuclear war.

Rather, it's insidious. It disappears, is how I've heard and read others describe it, and I thought they were using hyperbole.

I think about looking up something on the Web, and my hands go for it. A movie, boom. Twitter, boom. Email, the same.

I'm attending a design conference on the pier the next two days, and normally I'd bring my laptop with me, and be tapping away in seven different things while hardly listening.

Instead, yesterday, I started plotting about how to use the iPad. I have a wireless Bluetooth keyboard that works with it. Its battery life is rather remarkable, as reviewers who had the unit for a week ahead of time found, and it's far lighter and easier to carry around than my laptop. The keyboard is optional: good for notetaking, but I can turn it off when I want to go without.

It's seductive, that's what it is. It's so much less than a computer, but so much more than a tablet.

I hadn't touched my iPhone since Friday, and picked it up this evening. Oh my god, my hands are so huge, I thought. It was like a drug flashback, suddenly seeing the same interface and programs trapped on this tiny, tiny screen. How to let them out? The poor things.

The moment passed quickly, but was powerful just the same.

The iPad doesn't really change anything. It's just another mobile thing to add on the stack. But being unlike everything else has its advantages.
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