iTemptation: A Meditation

I sincerely doubt that I will ever buy an iPad.

It’s not that I haven’t been tempted, to be certain. It will come as no surprise to many that know me that when the iPad was announced, I wanted one. This could be interpreted as immature need for acquisition, considered desire for useful functionality, conformist attempt to keep up with the technorati Joneses or simply a craving to be the first one on my block that has the latest and greatest. Some will probably try to assert that all of the above are true, and there is possibly a level of validity to each argument.

When all is said and done, however, I don’t see myself laying down my credit card in an Apple boutique any time soon. And that isn’t just because it isn’t yet available in Canada.

Tablet computers are a strong temptation for me. I’ve already owned three: the first generation Compaq (poor performance and really poor battery life), the first generation Electrovaya (poor performance and awesome battery life) and the latest generation Electrovaya (awesome performance and abysmal battery life). I was on record as stating that the tablet was the first technology in a long time that fundamentally changed the way I work. I was able to carry in one small, portable device, the essential contents of my universe: email, calendar, files and notes. I could, with a few strokes of a pen, recall and bring up virtually every meaningful piece of information that I had been exposed to over a two year period.

Today, I don’t carry a tablet. I’m not likely to tomorrow, either. The iPad apparently has great battery life going for it. Unless you subscribe to the Apple means of mediating email and calendar (and I don’t, can’t and won’t), are prepared to single task (I’m way too ADD for that) and don’t mind working without a stylus (if I have to use a keyboard, I’ll use a laptop, thanks) I can’t see how it can work effectively. At least, not for me. Sure there are benefits: location-aware apps, universally available internet and a really cool user interface in a socially desirable package with undeniable street cred.

For that to be appealing, though, there are some issues that need to get worked through. I’d like it to be smaller and more portable – I can’t see carrying around a tablet on the weekend. A phone would be nice, so I don’t need a separate one. It should fit in a pocket. Which means what I really want is an iPhone. With a really long battery life.

Until then, I’m back to managing old school: I carry a smartphone, a pen and a Moleskine notebook. I’ve already filled up three notebooks since abandoning my tablet, and I’m well on my way to working through a fourth. Until an open tablet gets released with long batter life and a stylus, that’s what I’ll continue to work with. It’s unsexy, perhaps. But it works.

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