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3 Weeks with an iPad

I never really got the appeal of an iPad. I have a Macbook Pro. I have an iPhone. The iPad always seemed like some strange in-between device that satisfied a need I didn’t have.

What a difference 3 weeks makes!

The Shift

I have this horrible habit of just buying stuff I want. That means that when holidays and birthdays come around, my loved ones never know what to get me.

This year, my mom decided to buy me an iPad. Normally, I’d have been resistant to a $500 thing I might not use. But Border’s had just gone out of business a few months earlier, and the closest Barnes & Noble is a half-hour in the wrong direction. I have serious Clive Cussler addiction, and the selection of books at Target just wasn’t cutting it, so the ebook thing was intriguing.

Also, given that I design websites, being able to test them on an iPad versus just resizing the browser on my computer was appealing. And of course, there’s the games!

The most natural computer I've ever used

I can’t put fine enough a point on this: the iPad is the most natural computer I’ve ever used.

Between the paper-like dimensions of the device, and the ergonomics - how you hold it when you’re using it - the whole experience feels very natural. It’s my go-to device for reading on the web, and whether it’s my RSS reader, stuff saved in Instapaper, or an actual website, reading on the iPad is like flipping through a magazine.

Touching, sliding, and flipping as a way to interact with content just feels intuitive, much more so than clicking and dragging a mouse and cursor.

I find myself using my laptop and phone less and less, and my iPad more and more. For heavy lifting - drafting proper emails, editing videos and such - I still turn to my laptop. But I can envision that changing as time goes on.

Creating with your hands rather than with a mouse is an inevitable return to how humans naturally evolved to work.

I’m very much looking forward to ongoing evolution of the tablet. As processing power grows, what will they be capable of? Will we move beyond simply sliding images beneath panes of glass?

How will tablets impact the future of interactive design (or web design, if you prefer)?