iPad: My Trusty Companion

cat and ipadContrary to popular girl stereotype, I am not a big phone person.

I was a senior in college before I even got a cell phone – and that is not a marker of my age, trust me.  Everyone I knew had a cell phone.  And when I finally got one, it was a trusty little Samsung that I wore into the ground.

Today, the only person I talk to on the phone on a regular basis is my mother.  I text people rarely, if ever.  I’m extremely slow at it, since I don’t get the practice.  After the trusty Samsung died, I’ve used a few little hand-me-down phones – just something that’ll make the connection.  I’ve never bought a smart phone.

Thus, I felt I was perfectly justified in buying an iPad.  And I haven’t regretted it one bit.

The main complaint I’ve heard about the iPad is that it’s too similar to the iPhone.  Since I had no iPhone to overlap with, this did not trouble me.  So when I tell you that the iPad is awesome (it is), you’ll have to remember that I’m not just talking about a specific piece of hardware – I’m talking about a world that I had previously not explored.

For example, Angry Birds.  Awesome.

But apps aside, I really like my iPad.  I can’t find anything to complain about it.  It’s like a laptop, but more portable.  Like an iPhone (I guess), but bigger.  I don’t think I’ll write my next novel on it, but honestly I can do almost everything else that I currently do on my laptop.  And unlike a laptop, I don’t need a little table or have to worry about my legs getting hot.  I can lay it down on the bed without a trace of worry about overheating.

When I first got the iPad, I was faced with a trip a few days later that was several hours long.  Perfect time to try reading some books on it.

I have both the Kindle app and iBooks, but I have to say, I much prefer iBooks, simply for the look and ‘feel’ of it – much more like curling up with a paperback.  And I love the amount of classics that are available for free – within minutes I had settled in with The Hound of the Baskervilles.

There are quite a few apps on it now that I use for various things – for example, I have an authenticator for World of Warcraft – but another ‘biggie’ we must discuss is Netflix.   What’s it like to watch movies on, you ask?

My answer: it’s gorgeous.  It’s better than watching on a laptop.  Glare is practically nonexistent; you have to really contort it, lay it completely perpendicular, to get any.  Thus, it’s easy to watch a movie with someone else.  The cover I purchased can kind of double as a stand, which is sometimes better than holding it, and sometimes worse, depending on your setup.

It drains the battery more than some other programs – for example, depending on the length of the movie, it might draw up to five percentage points – but you can still watch several movies (or an entire TV show) without worrying about recharging.  And the Netflix app keeps the movies running smoothly.

The internet is more than passable.  Occasionally something will pop up strangely formatted, or you’ll have to manually enlarge it, but loading time is fantastic compared to something like the iPhone.  The iPad often gets brought into the kitchen, propped up, with a recipe from the internet pulled up to double-check (note: no, I don’t keep it right next to the stove with the grease and steam and whatnot).

It’s easy to bring from room to room and fast when you need to look something up, so it’s practically part of everyday thought and conversation.  What movies are playing right now?  Hang on, let me check right this second – never mind that I haven’t yet gotten out of bed.

When I first decided to get the iPad, I assumed I’d need one of those protective films they make for iPhones, to protect the screen.  I was laughingly told that I didn’t need to worry about scratching this screen.  It was sort of hard to believe – and trust me, I’m not running around scratching it or bashing it on anything – but the screen does indeed seem very resilient.  The cover I purchased is sort of a suede book cover thing, so it’s protected if I stick it in my purse or bag, and so far the only thing I’ve noticed on the screen are the smudges from my fingerprints (which vanish when you turn it on).

All in all, I’m a major fan of the iPad and do believe it’s representative of The Future.  Is it totally life-changing?  Well, no – but it’s become seamlessly integrated into my life.  And that, to me, is The Future – not just what we geeks are playing with, but what’s trickled down so that housewives and kids could be just as affected.  It’s not that it’s a brand-new concept, but that it’s yet another step forward in the application of that concept.

Do I recommend that others buy one?  Well, there probably is a good deal of overlap with the iPhone, so look into that before you make a decision, if you have one.  But it’s not just a bigger phone – for me, it’s taken care of the need for an e-reader, too.  And it’s sort of a more fun, handy laptop, in its own way, and I won’t really need to buy a handheld game system for traveling…  It’s a purchase that’s almost more dependent on what you already own – but it works for me.

What about you?  Would you buy an iPad, or is there already something bigger and better that you’ve got your eye on?  What piece of tech has integrated itself into your life lately?

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