This one is most definitely off-topic, but you might find it interesting.
Last Sunday, I broke down and bought a non-3G iPad. I just was too damn curious. Walked into the Apple Store, played with it for 5 minutes, gave them my credit card, and walked out 15 minutes later.
Brought it home, set it up, downloaded some interesting stuff, and had a blast. Big geek fun.
I then went off to work for the week, and left it home. And that's when things got interesting ...
I've been married for almost 25 years, and have three kids, the youngest of which is 14. We have always had a lot of tech in the house.
As I think about it now, we've got a fleet of 6 PC desktops of various vintages and three Windows laptops -- two of them that actually work well. On the Apple side, we've got an iMac and two MacBook Airs of different vintages. We just updated the family NAS server to the most recent Iomega device.
We use Verizon FIOS 20Mb service and can keep it busy. Add in 3 printers, three separate wireless domains to cover the house, a few thingies that connect between the TVs, stereos and the in-house tech, countless MP3 players and USBs, gaggles of cables, Harmony remotes and -- yes -- you could say that we have a decent amount of tech in my family.
Having all this stuff around is an indulgence of mine. My 16 year old son is in charge of first-level tech support. I get the really hard stuff, like fixing rootkit problems, or debugging dodgy hardware.
And then I brought home the iPad.
The Initial Reaction
My wife and kids summed it up in 30 seconds. "Oh no, Dad bought another toy". "Why do we need something else with a CPU in it?". "What does it replace?". And so on.
Within four hours, my wife was playing with the photo app, and sending pictures to people -- she'd be meaning to do so for a while. Tap, tap, tap. She was doing that from the back porch with a frosty adult beverage to complement the activity.
She was smiling.
That fun was followed by an extended Facebook session (she's a big fan, I don't use it). Tap, tap, tap. This was lying on the couch with a tennis match on. More smiles.
She left it on the table, and my 14 year old daughter (the artist in the family) started playing with an Autodesk illustrator app I had downloaded. Tap, tap, tap.
"Dad, this is cool". Tap, tap, tap. "Look at this!" My email is now filling up with her drawings.
My college daughter is home from school. Late that night, she grabbed it and ran up to her room. Tap, tap, tap. "Dad, I want one". "You do know, there's wi-fi everywhere on campus -- this would be perfect".
Are you starting to get the picture?
Later That Week
I get home from work, and there's always a certain level of chaos at that time.
But there was a new theme this week.
"Who forgot to charge the iPad?".
"Hey, if you're going to eat pizza and use the iPad, at least wipe it! How gross!"
"You already used the iPad this afternoon, it's my turn!".
"How do I print from this thing?" "Can we download some more games?". "Check out this cool video".
Tap, tap, tap.
All the PCs and laptops are basically not being used. All the Macs are not being used. All have been powered off.
Everyone in the family is waiting for their turn at the iPad.
My wife asserted her rightful place in the hierarchy later that evening, and took it upstairs to the bedroom to relax while watching TV. Tap, tap, tap. Occasionally, she showed me something interesting she found online. And smiling.
It All Flashed Through My Eyes
I don't think I'll be buying any more desktops going forward. I don't think I'll even be buying any more laptops going forward.
They've all been largely obsoleted (at least at my home) by a sleek $499 device that doesn't really have any right to be called a "computer" in the traditional sense.
Sure, there's a handful of tasks that I still would prefer a real computer, but -- amazingly -- that list has now shrunk dramatically. In less than a week.
The members of my family immediately gravitated to the new shiny thing -- no prompting, no encouragement, no migration, etc. They are drawn to it like a moth to flame.
I now have this strange love/hate relationship with Apple. And I think it won't be long before I'm forced to make another trip back to the Apple store.