Monday, April 5, 2010

The iPad And Me

According to all the tech-savvy folks who write tech columns for the public prints, the Blackberry now has a “stodgy” image. Stodgy? Who knew? Blackberries, which used to be called “Crackberries” to signify the addiction their users have to the small devices, are now becoming passé. Apparently, they’re not as “interesting” as the other smart phones out there today.

Like millions of other Americans who work in the salt mines of corporate America, my wife has a Blackberry to connect her to work. A few days ago, she told me she doesn’t like it any more. Doesn’t like the tiny keyboard (but does like the tiny “keyboard” on her iPad?) and thinks the model she has is “old”. Don’t ask me what model it is…but it looks like one of the first-generation Blackberries to me. It’s black, more square than rectangular, and has a small “screen”.

I stopped being an early adopter of new technology quite a few years ago. I still have a turntable connected to my audio system! No, not the kind that scratchers and DJ’s use on the club scene; the kind that you can play LP albums on. But even my turntable has a USB cord so I can plug it into my computer, make digital files, and burn CD’s.

My wife is now officially an early adopter. She plunked down her 600 bucks Saturday and got an iPad. And another hundred bucks for something I think is called “Mobile Me”, which apparently has something to do with a cloud.

Near as I can tell, it’s just a bigger, bulkier, heavier version of her iPod Touch. You can’t make phone calls on it. You can’t take pictures with it. I guess you can play your iTunes on it, though. And read a book or newspaper, if you pay to download the content.

These tech whizzes who write columns about new gadgets claim Blackberry users are defecting in droves to the more fun new smart-phones, like the iPhone, Droid, Google Phone, and whatever else is new and exciting. Blackberry has a 42% market share, but it’s dropping. And as I peruse these columns, it seems it’s like the old Ford versus Chevy argument, in a way. iPhone users won’t say nice things about Blackberry products, nor will Droid users.

NASCAR on wi-fi.

There was a live demonstration of the new iPad on the CNN Morning Show Friday, and they compared it to the Kindle. It’s more of a contrast than a comparison. The screen on the iPad is much larger, and it can do a lot more than simply display words on a “page”. They asked the tech writer who was demonstrating the iPad if it will replace the laptop computer, and he thought not.

I have a laptop. It’s an ancient H-P laptop that got my daughter through four years at the UW, and by today’s standards, it’s a dinosaur. But it does everything I need it to do – process words and surf the web. It has a nice, big keyboard, and I don’t think I’d ever trade it for the much smaller “virtual” keyboard of the iPad.

I’ll just stick with my old H-P laptop and my ancient Motorola Razor cell phone. If either breaks down, I’ll borrow my wife’s iPad, my son’s iPhone, or my daughter’s Droid phone. I’m sure any of them would be glad to rub it in, and tell me I’m a museum piece.

And I’ll write about it on my desktop computer, which is one of the most powerful and fast computers money can buy (and my tech guys can tweak), and does anything those other devices can do, faster, better, and louder.

Except make phone calls.


  1. The larger, if virtual, keyboard of the iPad will surely be a great boon to motorists, who by now must have grown weary of the inconvenience those tiny phone keypads pose when you're trying to text at 60 mph.

  2. Then again, the iPad may only be good for experiments by crazed engineers. Show this one to Toni, Tim: