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Surprising Science

Do I Really Need An IPad?

For me going to the mall is like traveling to a foreign country. But somehow I found myself in the Apple store on Saturday, playing with the IPad, the latest electronic confection from the wizards of Cupertino. As snazzy and shiny and well designed as this device is, I am having a hard time figuring out how I would actually use it on a day to day basis. Once that little keyboard pops up on its high resolution touch screen, I immediately begin to pine for the full sized keyboard on my laptop.

I’m not a part of Apple’s core audience, who are willing to buy this latest gadget at premium prices even if they already have a smart phone, a laptop, and a netbook to keep them connected to the web, and an ebook reader to download books from their favorite retailer. In fact, after I got home from the all white shrine the company sells its wares in, I used some Super Glue to reattach a plastic section to my four year old camera-less Bluetooth-less trackball-less cell phone.

I can see the value in an IPhone, although having the internet in your pocket while you spend most of the day on the internet via your laptop seems a little redundant. The constant recharging that I see IPhone owners doing could get to be aggravating though—I only charge my current cellphone once every three days or four days.

Back to the snazzy, shiny, well designed aspects of the IPad. I liked it. The resolution was fantastic. And when I looked at my work on the various places I write for on the web, including Big Think, the interface that reformatted webpage layouts made some sites look much better, from a design standpoint, than they did on a regular laptop. The casing felt solid. The glass was sleek, although thoughts of cracked IPhone screens had me wondering how bad this would look when it was inevitably dropped or sat on. And the flipping it on its side feature actually worked, although the size of the screen means the view is changed less dramatically than it is when you flip an IPhone over on its side.

But I don’t have any pants with pockets big enough to slid the IPad in. I don’t have any blazers, or jackets, for that matter, with pockets big enough to stash this internet appliance in. Any shoulder bag tailored to fit it would dredge up memories of the Man Purse, an image I am in no hurry to resurrect. It’s just an awkward size – too little to be a full-time computer, too big to serve as a cellphone, too cumbersome to carry around in your hand all the time staring at it, the way some people do these days with their PDA’s.

And for people like me, who are willing to glue their old but serviceable phones back together so long as they are working, the price is still in the “I don’t think I really need this yet” range.

Then again, you never know. Walmart is supposed to have IPhones on sale for $99 these days, which has had me going “hmmm” lately.

It might be awhile, though, before the IPad gets to “hmmm” prices.


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