I didn’t get the iPad at first. When the tablet was first announced, I was interested but couldn’t see the value to me. I had an e-book reader, I had a phone on which I could watch films while travelling and listen to music, and I had a laptop for everything else. Why, I wondered, did I need a tablet too?
I was happy to take possession of a first-gen iPad a few months later - I won it in a raffle, oddly enough - but I thought that, after a brief play, it would just sit and gather dust.
Not the iPad 4, the 'iPad with Retina Display'
How wrong I was.
To the tablet sceptics, all I can say is: I was one of your number, but no longer. My laptop gets plenty of use and so did the e-reader - unlike a ten-inch tablet, it fits in coat pockets - until I availed myself of a Nexus 7 earlier this year, but my iPad has become my prime home device.
I read my newspaper on it long I before head off to work and pass by a newsagent. I read magazines on it. I read lots of comics on it - like the papers and the mags, they are so much better viewed in portrait, in your hand, than on a notebook landscape display, or on a monochrome E Ink screen.
Now with added Lightning
The tablet’s speed and big, colour display makes flipping around computer reference books so much more practical than it is on an e-reader, though the ability to take the equivalent of six inch-and-a-half thick books to work with no strain is much the same with either device.
While my phone remains my main music playback device, watching a stack of catch-up TV programmes and films on a tablet is a much more pleasant experience than the phone and certainly than the ropey back-of-the-seat screens you get on most flights these days. Travel by a no-frills airline and you don’t even get that.
Not a laptop/e-reader/netbook replacement
The iPad, since upgraded to the thinner, lighter iPad 2, is used to check multiple email accounts, for a lot of web browsing and such, and occasionally I let the nipper play games on it. Once in a while, I hook up a Bluetooth keyboard and use it to report from events. It’s not an efficient a writer’s tool as a multi-window OS device is, but it’ll do at a pinch.
So, for me, my iPad has become a crucial part of my working and home lives. It has taken over certain roles that I used to put other devices to, but hasn’t superseded any of them entirely. I’ve never believed in a one-size-fits-all approach to technology. I won’t limit myself to one device when there’s another that’s better suited to the task in hand.