January 28, 2010

While I’m  not wild about the name, I think the new iPad could do it.  In October, I stopped in to CondeNast to have lunch with my old boss, and he generously showed me a new version of the magazine Wired, designed for tablet technology.  I was skeptical.  I thought, well our generation is already used to reading the whole newspaper on their iPhones and we have Kindles and our computers are small anyway.

This was his pitch:  You get into bed at night and your boyfriend is sleeping next to you.  You have your tablet, your iPad.  You send that last email of the day, and then start flipping through the newest issue of The New Yorker that just came out.  You read the articles that strike your fancy and maybe click on a link to a buy a book that they recommend from Amazon.  You start to read a book, but you’re too tired and so you turn on the day’s news for a couple of minutes.  After reading the news you watch the last couple minutes of a movie that you missed because you fell asleep on the couch and then turn off your tablet and go to bed.

As we’re in this travel frame of mind, Scott and I constantly talk about whether we should bring our computers wherever we go.  We’re so used to having them, but it seems silly to go to a beach in Brazil with a laptop, an iphone and a Kindle (not to mention heavy, and it requires so many chargers).  The tablet, the iPad, at $499 could be really incredible.  Take Tom’s whole scenario to a ten hour plane ride between Sao Paulo and New York.  You have one device that has all of the media–books, magazines, newspapers, movies and television to entertain you for the whole flight.

I’m also happy that it might preserve some of the glossy glamour of magazine design.

UPDATE:  Since writing this post, I watched Steve Jobs’ keynote video and all of the demos showing what the iPad can do.  It’s truly incredible.  There’s also a host of Microsoft Office type software in the form of an application that you can buy that looks really easy to use.  I’ve never been a huge fan of video games, but those look cool, too.  It syncs with every other Apple device that you may already own.  Two other really cool things–there’s an iBook store, that will operate like the iTunes store, and a keyboard dock, so you can really make it your computer and use it for everything.

As I anticipate going to grad school in the fall, I just keep thinking about how different experience it will be than college.  In college, I had stacks of spiral bound notebooks and I took notes by hand, writing out the words.  I had tons of textbooks, and as an English major I shelves and shelves of novels and books of criticism.  Not only would I be entering the generation of kids who take notes in class on laptops, but I could have everything, my whole graduate school experience, on an iPad.  Watching the video felt like watching a whole different kind of State of the Union speech.


2 Responses to “iPad”

  1. Emily said

    The only thing I really feel is missing is a memory card slot – when I am traveling I want to take my computer primarily so I can upload and share pictures. Memory cards are so easily damaged that I would like to be able to clear them at the end of the day. That feature would make it really worthwhile for me.
    I can’t imagine, however, that it would fill the need for a computer with a larger screen – I can’t imagine doing research and paper writing on such a small device. Maybe I’m spoiled by the two huge desktop screens I use at work.

  2. Rich Davidson said

    I agree- I think it will be awesome – since it’ll run Keynote (the Apple version of powerpoint) and all my talks are on Keynote, I’ll be able to travel for conferences without schlepping my laptop, kindle, etc. Have a great time traveling – say hi to Scott.

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