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The other day I bought an iPad for the house. Yes, I know, when the iPad was first announced, I predicted that few people would want a crippled laptop. Allow me to say I was obviously and totally wrong.

By far, the iPad's most wonderful feature, compared to laptops, is the fact that it turns on instantly. There's no boot-up sequence. That one advantage makes the iPad an entirely different product from a laptop. Once powered on, the iPad doesn't start begging me to update things nor force me to make decisions. It doesn't remind me of all the ways it is protecting me. It doesn't tell me to order printer ink or ask me to fill out a survey. A regular laptop is like your boss: always making you wait before giving you busy-work assignments. The iPad is more like a punctual lover. It's always ready for fun. And if you are tempted to do some work on the iPad, its non-keyboard quickly changes your mind. You wouldn't say a lover is a crippled version of a boss. (Insert your own inappropriate humor here.) So any comparison of an iPad to a laptop simply doesn't work.

Our new iPad's permanent home is in the kitchen. I've discovered that 90% of its usefulness comes from the fact that it's speedy. Yesterday a fox walked by the window, and I was the only witness. Someone asked what type it was, and I was able to point to a picture on the iPad in less than 30 seconds. Some version of that situation happens continuously. Life comes at us in sub-minute chunks, especially in the kitchen. That's a lot of iPad opportunities. I wouldn't have bothered waiting for my laptop to snap out of its energy saving mode.

[Full disclosure: The 30 seconds to locate a fox picture on the Internet does not count the full minute of looking at Megan Fox images that Google was kind enough to offer up at the top of the search.]

Interestingly, I don't recall the instant-on feature being a prominent element of Apple's advertisements for the iPad. Perhaps at this point they could sell laminated turds if they put the Apple logo on them. Obviously whatever Apple is doing is working, marketing-wise.

Another interesting phenomenon of the iPhone and iPad era is that we are being transformed from producers of content into consumers. With my BlackBerry, I probably created as much data as I consumed. It was easy to thumb-type long explanations, directions, and even jokes and observations. With my iPhone, I try to avoid creating any message that are over one sentence long. But I use the iPhone browser to consume information a hundred times more than I did with the BlackBerry. I wonder if this will change people over time, in some subtle way that isn't predictable. What happens when people become trained to think of information and entertainment as something they receive and not something they create? I think this could be a fork in the road for human evolution. Perhaps in a million years, humans will feel no conversational obligation to entertain or provide useful information. That will be the function of the Internet. Someday a scientist will identify the introduction of the iPhone as the point where evolution began to remove conversation from the list of human capabilities. And when the scientist forms this realization, he won't tell his spouse because conversation won't exist. He'll put it on the Internet.

 
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+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 12, 2010
Interesting aboutht instant on. That would make me more interested too. In my case I've always wanted one stuck on our front door (inside) to manage messages and reminders as we were going out the door. And to give me time to check Megan Fox images while my wife did the final 17 get, check, confirm, re-decide, 'where are we going again' trips upstairs before we make it out the door.

Kitchen, would be second and then by the couch to do the 'hey is that that guy that was in that thing with what's her name?' I think IMDB could market a dedicated version of iPad just for that alone.

ed
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 12, 2010
Scott, you say "we are being transformed from producers of content into consumers." Isn't that the way most people have always been? TV, movies, radio, music, books, magazines, newspapers, plays, etc. have always been created by a relatively small portion of the population and consumed by a much greater number of people. It's only in recent years that a bigger percentage of the population has started to create content; if the iPad has the impact you think it will (which I doubt - we'll probably either continue using desktops and laptops, get better input methods for iPad-like devices, or both), it would just be reverting us back to the way we were before.
 
 
Jul 12, 2010
That evolutionary leap will certainly make dinner at the in-laws more palatable!
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 12, 2010
At the risk of sounding like a Mac zealot, the "instant on" feature you describe is one of the reasons I love my MacBook. I always leave it on and when I'm done I put it in "sleep mode" by closing the lid. I wake it up by opening the lid and within 2 seconds everything is running. Things don't work quite so smoothly with my work PC laptop.
 
 
 
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