Figuring Out Who's Who

I Might Want One Of Those

I'm really not a gadget guy.  I've never been interested in the new shiny thing for its own sake. 

On the other hand, I switched from a desktop to a laptop long ago, long before they were common,  because it made sense for the way that I work (as far back as 1989 I would travel with a "portable" computer -- it used 5 1/4 inch floppies (no internal hard drive)  and the modem weighed five pounds by itself). 

I've got five iPods (although that includes my beloved U2 model which sits quietly displayed on a shelf after I fried it out in the west Texas desert a few years ago), and I never go anywhere without my inMotion speakers. 

But I watch Lynn with her blackberry and Marian with her iPhone and I think they're damned interesting devices, but I can't think of a reason why I would want one.  I'm intrigued by the plethora of iPhone aps, but I haven't seen more than a few that I think I'd want to bother spending my time on.  My own phone is a decidedly unsmart Motorola i670, which I use strictly for the archaic purpose of making phone calls.  I think I can get my email on it, but I've never bothered to set it up.  I've exchanged not more than half a dozen text messages in my life.  I'm on twitter & facebook, but I can almost never think of anything I want to say there.  I think the Kindle is a solution in search of a problem.

So I was surprised at myself, watching the NYT live-blogging of the iPad announcement, to find myself thinking, "I might need to get one of those."

The commentator on NPR and at least one other journalist that I've read referred to it as essentially a big iPhone, which seems like the wrong comparison to me, since it lacks the one essential feature that makes the iPhone a phone.  It's more a big iPod Touch.  But since the phone is my least favorite way of communicating these days, that's not a big deficit for my purposes.

I'm sure that ninety-five percent of what I do with my laptop is wordprocessing, email, & web.  With the keyboard dock accessory, it looks like the iPad would let me do all of that pretty well.   And at a fraction of the weight of my laptop.

My lack of interest in the Kindle has caused me just a slight twinge of professional guilt.  I feel like I ought to become proficient with it just so I can better assess what the impact might be on books, reading, publishing, libraries, etc. -- the world of my supposed expertise.  The iPad could help me assuage a bit of that guilt as well.

I've got two months to think about it.  The geek reviews that I've seen in the first flush of the announcement are pretty negative.  I can see why somebody with a desktop machine, a high-end laptop, a smartphone and an iPod or two would have a hard time figuring out what the point of the iPad would be.  But I don't think that Apple designed this one for the geeks.


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