I wanted to write something. Something about the iPad 2, my first real Apple purchase since entering college. First, I thought I would give a little background. I bought a PowerBook G4 when I was entering college and it served me well as my only personal machine for eight years… And then, I sold it for over four hundred dollars on ebay; I call that a good investment. Now, I was lucky. I started working in Information Technology soon after that Powerbook purchase, meaning that I was able to stay current on Apple technologies without spending any of the money I didn’t actually have, but it was time for a change. My wife’s Macbook could do the trick for a home base station, so it was time for the Powerbook to go. The PowerBook, while still a good machine was not cutting it for things that the iPad could do, let alone the iPad 2, so I made the decision and am now a happy owner of Apple’s most recent achievement.
I researched this purchase forever. Basically since the second Kindle came out, I had my mind set on buying something that could become my e-reading device. At the time, I was hoping that Apple would announce something in a tablet form, but the rumors had been around forever, so I wasn’t holding my breath. Each step of the way, I saw new e-readers come out and for one reason or another I was able to explain to myself and others why it wouldn’t fit in in the way the iPad 2 has. Android tablets never crossed my mind, honestly, but Kindles, Nooks and Nook Colors, netbooks, and all the others were a part of the research process. When the iPad was announced, I explained it away because I still had a full fledged computer on which to do my heavy lifting and my reading. The iPad 2 took care of all the reasons I could explain it away, be it the addition of the cameras or the increase in power. The fact that the iPad 2 can mirror to a television at 1080P when my PowerBook could barely play back 480P tipped the scale for me even further. I am not a huge investor in apps, services, or media, but that will all change with a product that can do more than my PowerBook could.
Finally, the purchase process was painless to say the least, all it required was waking up at 4am EST to be one of the first orders and I had it about a week later. Here is one thing that might shock some people: Life with the iPad in my hands hasn’t change anything about the way I do things. That, I think, is part of the point of the iPad. It fit into my everyday use within days. It became my e-reader, my web browser, my email, etc, etc, etc within just a few days use. Once I had everything setup it faded into the background. As it is, I am typing this post on the iPad and I have never looked back to the physical keyboard or the “extras” of any of the macs I have owned or used. The iPad has faded into the background of my usage for it, just as it should; it just fit in.
The Digital Reader blog posted an article entitled, “Digital Native Diatribe,” in which Andy Woodworth talks about the definition of a Digital Native. The iPad is one of those technologies that illustrates exactly his point: “It doesn’t matter whether you are 5 or 105; if the technology doesn’t interest you, doesn’t fit into your life, or doesn’t mesh with your reality, then you are not going to use it. Even then, there is a normal human learning curve for adoption and use of the technology.” The point I would like to make to bring these musings back to a general point is simply that the iPad fit into my life because I wanted it to. Technology is something about which I am passionate, something to which I give a lot of thought, and something that I aspire to know deeper each day. Hence, any decision I would have made in the years leading up to my iPad purchase would have been fine choices. I could have walked out of a Barnes and Noble with one of their e-readers or bought a Kindle from Amazon and I would have made it work. I am also the type of person who does not care to push people in one direction or another on a subject but instead give them the information that I have found to make their own decision. However, Apple has created a product that allows any individual to become a Digital Native, someone willing to learn something new no matter the age or predisposition to technology. This sentiment is something I understand and appreciate and I hope more technology companies think like this in the “Post-PC” age.
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.