About a week ago, I received an iPad as a gift. It's my second tablet -- I picked up the Samsung Galaxy 7 Plus last year so I could read a bunch of books while traveling, and also have GPS. The iPad joins my Vita, my 3DS, my Sony Camera, and my Galaxy SIII as another gadget vying for my pocketspace.
The iPad is a remarkable consumption device. In the last seven days, I've spent more money on books and games then I had in the previous twelve months. It's my first iOS device, and Apple has designed a very encouraging ecosystem for buying shit you don't need. I have a lot of very functional free apps on my Android devices. I've spent more than one hundred dollars on things for my iPad. It's like having your living room and a shopping mall in your pocket.
It's not like having a computer. Even with the bluetooth keyboard it doesn't encourage creation. There's no Final Draft, and the script-editing software that's available is clumsy. I don't want to get Garage Band for it; all my loops are on my desktop. The Retina Display -- gorgeous as it is -- seems wasted on the poorly reviewed versions of Photoshop and iPhoto. So, what is the Retina iPad good for?
Making things shiny.
The iPad makes things look attractive. It's not a construction tool, it's a slab of candy. And that attractive front end makes it hard to put down. When it's time to pack for work, there's not enough room to bring all the machines I own. And the overlap between the devices makes for a lot of redundancies. So, what do I bring with me?
Well, it's easier to read on the iPad than the Galaxy 7 Plus (not that I spend time reading on it, unless you count Reddit), so check one for the iPad.
If I'm bringing the iPad, it feels silly to pack my laptop (I can make due with the apps, right? Besides, who has time to work when there's all that stuff to flip through on FlipBoard), so my Air sleeps at home.
And yeah, the iPad can play games. They might mostly suck, but they're available. So the Vita (better at gaming) stays.
My phone has to travel, but I'll only check it for missed calls. Don't even need to see my messages when I can do email on the iPad -- though I don't like responding because of the awkward keyboard. So I'll slowly become detached from my friends, and be less available for communication. Which is great, because my iPad has a bunch of stuff to poke at when I get depressed.
The camera ... my amazing camera. Used to come with me everywhere, because my 7" tablet was so light and small. Now, it stays, too. The iPad is too heavy and too big to accommodate the camera. Besides, the iPad takes pictures, right? Not good ones, but ... they're still pictures.
So with the exception of the seven inch tablet, I've sacrificed the specialization of all these other gadgets for the do-all, shiny-screened iPad. It's made me worse at everything, except shopping.
I am of course kidding. We aren't the victims of our technology unless we allow ourselves to be. And the iPad is a choice. I'm typing this on my laptop because I'd rather write than poke. Anyone who tells you that the Apple padlet has kept them from working doesn't like to work.
Don't be lazy. Use your stuff. Don't let it use you.