The “iPad”. Cool. Now What Am I Gonna Do With It? JP Figures Out His iLife Future

Here’s what I do now:

I get up in the morning and, on the days that I don’t head into the office of my full-time employer, I putter around the house for a while, then head down into the basement and use my desktop, Windows-based computer, to check email, surf the web, craft a piece of writing for Biff Bam Pop!, upload some images I just manipulated using Photoshop onto my website and, sometimes, print out a short story I just finished writing.

I head back upstairs and watch some soccer on the television and use my wi-fi enabled iPod Touch that I bought off of Geflon Don last year (when he “upgraded” to an iPhone), to surf the web and check out stats on some of my favourite footie teams. I grab my Blackberry Bold and call Biff Bam Pop! Editor-in-Chief, Andy B and organize a get together at a downtown café.

I pick up my European handbag and head out the door.

I’m early at the café, and in-between sips of hot chocolate, I pull out a pad of paper and a pen and start writing down some ideas on comic book storylines that I’m going to write, or ideas for paintings that I’m going to paint. I’ll quickly sketch those ideas out in rough on my notepad so that I don’t forget the images. Andy B arrives and asks me what I’m doing on the weekend. I pull out my daytimer from my handbag, check it, and tell him nothing.

Together, we head over to the local comic book shop where I buy a graphic novel. There are others I’d like to purchase, but I don’t know much about them and the cost is a little prohibitive. I head home and read my purchases either on the couch beside the big, backyard window or in my bedroom before falling asleep. I have all the lights on: the ceiling light, the bedside light and even the desk light because my eyesight isn’t so great and I need illumination if I am going to be able to read the word balloons. Squinting hurts after a while, you know?

The next day, I shuffle books around on my bookshelf, trying to find space for my new books, failing at that endeavour.

So, there you go. That’s what I do. Now.

But on Wednesday, January 27th, Apple may have irrevocably changed my “what I do” routine.

Those in the know or even those, like me, who want to be in the know, have been buzzing about Apple’s rumoured ebook reader/tablet for a long, long while. Last summer, at Toronto’s annual Word on the Street festival, Andy B and I got to take a close look at Sony’s version of an e-reader, which seemed pretty neat. A bit of a trailblazer, he actually got one as a gift this past holiday season. You can read about his experiences with the device here.

Personally, I was a little surprised to see the company with a booth at Word, flogging the device! A literary festival is brilliant marketing but immediately I understood that these cool pieces of tech were no longer on our doorstep. No, they were already in our homes.

Well, not mine. Not yet. But I do want that new Apple iPad. I think it would be a nice tool to have around. I’m just trying to figure out how I’d use it. And I think I have.

So, if that was what I did, here, then, with help from the Apple iPad, is what I’ll do:

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Instead of waking up and puttering around the house on a Saturday morning, I’ll have the newspaper or a favourite magazine “delivered” to my iPad via wi-fi. Based on the demos I’ve seen, the screen is large enough and the device is tangible enough that it should seem a comfortable experience while sipping a little morning coffee. My iPad could actually be passed around to other family members so that they too can get caught up on world events. It’s a communal device!

I could still head into the basement to check my email on my desktop computer if I wanted to. Or, I could pour myself another cup of joe and do that from the kitchen table on the same device. (And by the way, I will no longer have a Windows-based desktop. No. I’ve upgraded to an iMac, treating it like headquarters for all my electronic computing needs.)

Watching soccer, the iPad goes with me since it’s such a powerful device for surfing the web. I’m able to get scores and stats on all my footie games in a snap, faster than the iPod Touch – with bigger, cooler graphics. I’ll still use my Touch, of course, but I’ll use it for the car, or the gym now, listening to tunes while I run on a treadmill. For the sake of argument, I still have my Blackberry. That instant messaging feature is great considering it costs me nothing.

Slipping the iPad comfortably into my European handbag, I head out to a café and wait for Andy B to show up. Using its keyboard and basic word processing software, I write up some cool ideas for a comic book story. They’re just rough, broad strokes. I was never planning to write a novel while sitting in a café – I’ll save that for when I’m back in front of my main home office desktop sharing these newly written files with that piece if tech. Still, it’s pretty handy having this device so that I can put down ideas while they’re fresh in my mind. No need for loose sheaves of paper, no fumbling for pens. I add events in my organizer, I email friends, I doodle pictures using a painting application in-between sips of tasty hot chocolate.

At the comic book shop, there are a number of trade paperbacks I see that I know little about but look interesting. Instead of paying $19.99 for one of them, I download it at the new Apple Bookstore for half the price and read it in bed before going to sleep. The backlight on the iPad is bright so my poor eyes can read the word balloons easily and the electronic pages are the same size as the hardcopy so I see the page layout the way the artist intended. The iPad is my trade paperback! I head back into the Bookstore and purchase Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of books. These are the first novels I’ll read on the device. Andy B says they’re great. And my stuffed bookshelf is very pleased.

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There are lots of other potential uses for the iPad, but these are my (first) reasons for purchasing the device. The easy to hold and carry tool promises to make both productivity and my electronic life more…succinct.

Of course, I’ll wait for a second or third generation version. I’m hesitant when it comes to these sorts of purchases, plus I like my electronic devices more complete. (I hear there’s a camera feature coming and that the price might drop!) I’ll leave Andy B to the machete-in-hand, jungle trailblazing work.

My hands will be full holding a pretty cool looking piece of the future.

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