I left my iPad on CalTrain car #138 at 11:07 am PDT on June 27, 2013 at the Menlo Park station. If you’re the bastard that has it, please give it back.
#@argh!! I’m stupid. They’re stupid. I hate everyone. I hate myself.
I decided, after the requisite stages of grief over my loss, to go without. I mean, I’ve only had one since 2010: I survived just fine before, right? And maybe, just maybe, the friendly folks at CalTrain lost-and-found might find it, right?
Well, I can tell you, my iPad-less two weeks have convinced me: Somehow, I’ve organized my life around that damned device, and I’ll be going over to the Apple store this weekend to remedy the situation.
Why? Let me count the ways.
First off, there’s my book-reading. I’m a voracious reader in general, but really, I break into a cold sweat if there isn’t a stack of mystery novels in reach. Ironically, I recently talked all my friends into giving me Kindle downloads this year instead of physical booooks. Now have more than 20 unread digital books in my cloud, just waiting.
So by Tuesday, I had a new Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader, and quickly began reading the next selection for my bookclub: "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. I'm almost done with the book, and so far, I'd give the device a 6 out of 10 for reading. I can read out in the sun, there's no glare. It's small, fits into my pocket. But that's about it. The UX in general is awful, kind of like a cable TV settop box from 10 years ago, only in BW. The lag time is very noticeable, certainly compared to the quick snap of the iPad, and this really makes a difference over time. And don't get me started on Kindle's "Experimental Browser" that allows you to sort of surf the web. Badddd.
So for “mobile browsing” I went back to my iPhone. Snappier, for sure, than the Amazon device, but after 15 minutes, my eyes start to hurt. And forget about typing messages any longer than a tweet. I do have access to many, though not all apps I use on the iPad. But it's just too small for a media consumption experience.
Certainly the iPad has spoiled me for video, as well. That awesome screen and semi-decent sound allow me to dive into the content. Not immersive like the big flat screen with surround sound, but better than an airline or a small TV. And portable. And connected.
Back in the day, of course, I felt that way about my laptop. It was portable, connected and a great video player, along with everything else it does. When I try it now as an iPad replacement, my trusty 13" MacBook Pro seems so heavy, so awkward, and well, it doesn't have a touch-screen!
Plus, I now use it as my primary computer, so it’s a hassle to unplug it from my 30” monitor and speakers in the home office and bring it to the media room. Why would I need to do that? Well, duh, because the iPad lives on my couch. It's my 'second' screen, and I feel incomplete without it while watching TV. Sometimes I’m accessing content related to a show I’m watching, either thru a second-screen app, or Twitter, or maybe IMDB. But more often, I’m just picking up the iPad and checking email, Facebook, or adding a note to my to-do list on Evernote. I may also be cruising the news on an app like Zite which isn’t on my laptop and other unmentionable sites out there on the interwebs.
So, here I go again, back to the Apple store where I’ll drop some sawbucks and get my digital life back in order. It’s not really the money, it's a lifestyle thing. It's the way I do what I do now.
But I confess, it's kind of the money too. Another wealth transfer from my bank to Apple's, putting me in mind of a great tool built in 2010 computer science geek Kyle Conroy who wanted to calculate the difference in dollars if he had spent his money on Apple stock instead of buying Apple product. For example, if you had invested $299 in April 2003 instead of buying that iPod, its value would be $11,000 in the then-ascendant 2010 Apple share price.
Can't get that at the Genius bar.
I bought an iPad mini last weekend, and so far, I'm quite happy with it, though I must say, I do feel like I've been on a technology bender.