Throughout my life I've been a short-term memory gadget lover (luh-vah). When I first get my hands on a new gadget I act like Lenny Small from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men as I love and hug my new gadget almost to the point of killing it (how many mice did Lenny go through by the way?). The initial excitement of the new gadget tends to wane as time progresses to the point I typically run across the gadget a year after purchasing wondering what the hell I was thinking when I thought the gadget would be useful in my life. With that said, I've run across a few winners that coincidentally tend to winners in the overall consumer market but I would venture to guess for every 25 gadgets I buy, I may have 1 gadget winner that I'll still be using a year after purchase. I might have a gadget problem.
Apparently, sometime in the past year and a half I managed to become totally dependent on my iPad. How did this happen? Sure, the iPad is cool but a coolness factor alone won't hold my attention for a year and a half – I'm slightly immune to cool, after all I'm a geek. So why did I become addicted to the iPad?
Friday night I was flying home from a business trip where I enjoyed the extended legroom of an exit row. The segment is a popular segment so I missed the upgrade to first class by one spot – I digress but it still bothers me that I was so close to the promise land on that flight. In any case, I had enough room to pull out my massively bulky, weighty but ultra performing Lenovo W510 due to the extended legroom but I decided to throw the laptop bag into storage above the seat and stick with just the iPad. After using the iPad for as much as the flight I could I placed the iPad back into the seat pocket in front of me for the landing and apparently due to the drugs I have been prescribed to eradicate a nasty extended cold I forgot to secure my iPad in my messenger bag. Finally, after unpacking and settling in my home office around midnight I realized I did not have the iPad and surmised I must have left the iPad in the seat pocket.
My first thought was panic because my wife mentioned she was having lunch with a friend on Saturday and her friend's son wanted to play with the iPad. Then I started to freak out about the information on the iPad and remembered I had an 8 digit passcode protecting my iPad where the information will be wiped after 10 attempts. If you have an iPad and do not have a passcode setup, take a pause from this article and update the security on your iPad! The next thought hit me like a ton of bricks, what about the information on the iPad! As I started to think about my information I realized I only had a couple applications I use that only locally store on the iPad and most applications I use including email, contacts, calendar, Toodledo, Evernote, etc… all use syncing to or from the service. Alright, I started feeling good except for the loss of a $800 gadget. My next thought was that my life and work are too integrated with the iPad and that I would need to replace my loss immediately so I purchased a White 64GB iPad 2 WiFi version (I was going to purchase the 3G version but Best Buy did not have one in stock so I picked up a Cradlepoint to work with my U600 3G/4G USB to provide WiFi from 3G/4G signals. Additionally, a couple years ago I started purchasing AAPL stock when I purchase a product so I'll need to execute a $1k order Monday (why do I do this?).
So obviously the iPad somehow got integrated into my life (and my family's life). What was the tipping point that took the iPad from “cool” to “addictive” for me?
As it turns out, the answer is simple. There are two conditions that have contributed to this addiction… Steve Job's vision and Apple's execution to create an outstanding product combined with software from Apple's iOS to the scores of apps. The iPad has become my center for personal and work information as I sync email, contacts, calendar, to do lists, notes and presentations. I now purchase and read all books and magazines using the iPad (with the minor frustration of not being able to read during takeoff and landing of aircraft) and connect to Comcast on-demand, HBO Go, Netflix streaming and Slingbox through the iPad so the bulk of the reading and video content are viewed through the iPad. I attend business meetings through Webex and GoToMeeting unless I'm hosting and I control my finances with various banking and investment apps including the much improved Mint app which was finally recently updated. While traveling I'll pick up my news, weather, traffic and flight information from the iPad. At home, my 5 year old utilizes the iPad to have picnics with her dolls and daddy and play educational games and some non-educational games too (although I guess Angry Birds has physics built into it). In addition to all these add-on apps, the iOS provides simple access to WiFi networks and an incredible user experience not to mention a form factor to carry most places and use on a plane when I'm not in first class or an exit row.
I had to go purchase a new iPad in about twelve hours after losing because the device has inserted itself in my personal and business workflows by helping me become more mobile and efficient through a great mix of hardware and software. I'm happy to say that the iPad 2 has already been heavily used both by my 5 year old and myself after restoring from backups.