Bedside iPad, 2012
Last year I received an iPad as a Christmas gift. I’d been wanting one, so I eagerly looked forward to filling it with lots of neat “apps.” I started with Flipboard, a terrific aggregator of web sites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Yammer and other media. If you could have only one iPad app, this would be it.
I'm told people get obsessive about iPads. One friend says he turns on his iPad and checks the news, weather and previous night’s sports scores before he even gets out of bed in the morning.
I was determined not to be like that. But before I knew it, all kinds of extraneous information gathering and entertainment applications came to reside on my iPad. They included apps for keeping track of the weather, shopping, mapping, livecams all over the world, newspapers, magazines, public radio stations, movies, Fedex and apps for restaurant reviews and reservations. There are apps for showing my photographs and for converting currency. If I need to find my way around most any mall in America, there’s a guide for it. If I need directions (and even a picture of where I’m going), there are apps for that, too. When all else fails, there’s even a level and a compass.
I guess I haven’t completely jumped into the new generation fray, though, since the iPad apps I use the most (besides e-mail) are merely new platforms for existing media. Netflix brings a huge library of streamed movies and series. Hulu and the CBS “60 Minutes” app bring television to my iPad. Medici.tv brings arts and musical entertainment. Zinio brings a rich and excellently produced variety of magazines at less than mail subscription prices. And the iPad version of Kindle quickly replaced my regular Kindle reader for all but beach use.
Among the various Apple products that crept into my life—Okay, I’ll confess, I wanted them all—I still think the classic iPod is one of the most elegant and useful inventions of modern times. I’ve never been happy with either of the iPhone or iPad versions of the iPod as music or podcast players and shudder to think how I’ll cope if and when my iPod dies.
But there’s no question but that the iPad has been transformative. Besides, I ask, what’s wrong with checking the news and weather before you get out of bed in the morning? Some days you might just want to pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep.