iTempted: A Mea Culpa

If there is one rule in life that everyone should subscribe too, it’s this: Never say never.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post explaining in clear, objective and reasoned terms why I didn’t understand, value or intend to buy an iPad. Last week I bought one. Clearly some things have changed.

I wrote the posting before the iPad was available in Canada, so I suppose I could offer up ignorance as a defence. And that would, in part, be true. It would also, however, be an excuse.

Certainly, I’ve offered my share of criticisms of the iPad. No stylus. Awkward integration of email (I use Lotus Notes). More toy than tool. I’ve also asked if anyone is really going to carry one around casually on a weekend when they hit the mall, the pub or a restaurant. I concluded that what I really want is an iPhone with battery life.

For starters, I got an iPhone. On first impressions, I was incredibly impressed with the battery life (it’s actually about twice that of my old Windows smartphone). Then I started exploring and using some of the productivity applications that exist. And I tried out getting email integration (which is now available from Good, our mobile middleware provider). Without question, the iPlatform has become a business environment, and a very functional one at that. I carry my personal phone more than I do my business one.

In July, I bought my wife an iPad. This was due in part to my believing that she’d enjoy it and find it value (unquestionably true; I dare you to even TRY taking it away from her). And arguably it was a strategy to mitigate any erosion in my commitment to remain iPad-free (she could have an iPad, and I could still get my Angry Birds fix).

In a series of meetings I’ve been having, I’ve been reviewing and working through a fairly large and complex set of documents with a customer. I could, of course, print off a copy – and be responsible for the demise of several more trees. In an effort to avoid this, I’ve been using my laptop. The need to consult, however, was infrequent. Every time I did need to check something, however, my laptop had gone to sleep. I had to wake it up, provide my password, wait for it to come out of standby and find the page I wanted – elapsed time of about 3 minutes, which made it faster to look over someone’s shoulder at their dead tree.

This is where the idea of an iPad started to insidiously plant itself in my grey matter and germinate. Wouldn’t it be neat if I had something that would turn on immediately? That had a screen big enough to read a document on? That I could easily flip between pages of a document on. Like… an iPad.

Before leaping, there were some things to check out. Could I read and edit Microsoft Office documents on it? I can. Could I read PDF files on it? Not only can you read them, but in the hands of the right software you can even annotate them. Can I open email attachments and send attachments that I’ve edited? More easily than you’ve ever thought possible. And email is actually faster and easier on an iPad (and more fun!) than it is on a laptop.

I still don’t have a stylus. I still carry a pen and Moleskine notebook. And my iPad has every other document I need to bring into a meeting, available at a moments notice and a finger gesture.

Mea culpa. I own an iPad.

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