The “I“ in iPad

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(Image: Mirror on the go HD iTunes link)

The first thing you see when you take the iPad out of its beautiful white box, is a reflection of your own visage. You see yourself, as reflected by the iPad’s display. Those with iPads can imagine why this amuses me to no end. It answers the question people often ask me: why do you need an iPad?

The whole iPad experience reminds me of the early days of the iPod. Back in 2002/2003 when there were few iPods in Europe, people would question the raison d’être of the iPod all the time. We had endless passionate debates about the quality (or lack thereof) of compressed sound, about the travesty of abandoning the CD album format or about the simple rationale of having music with you all the time.

Over the years, the iPod has changed things for millions of people.

The iPod personalized music for everyone. It was and still is about YOU. You make your own radio station universe via playlists, you press a button to savour a tune at any given time – instantly, you immerse yourself in your world of selected podcasts or you watch an episode of a fave TV show to perk your mood. At any time. Nowadays this in not revolutionary. Back then it was. Then iPod created several mini-revolutions with podcasts, audiobooks, videos and games, and went on to find a virtual existence on iPads and iPhones.

Here we go again with the iPad.

The iPad has been debated furiously ever since it was announced at the beginning of this year. Derisive iPad jokes trended on twitter, experts doubted it would affect netbooks or the ebooks like the Kindle, pundits predicted its epic failure.

Yet Apple has sold millions of iPads since April 3 2010, showing that many early adopters have succumbed to the secret of its attraction.

The iPad is about YOU. It personalizes your content and makes it accessible anywhere and anytime. It makes consuming or creating content pleasurable, making the experience more immediate and intimate than the same on a laptop or desktop.

Believe me, I love my black macbook to death. But the iPad truly does complement it. I choose to read news on the iPad, to create mind maps or to listen to audio podcasts on it, even play games or music on it. My iPad is about ME. That’s why it’s ironic that I see my own reflection when I look at the iPad. The iPad is what YOU make of it. It’s all MY content. MY audio, video, news feeds, pdfs.

Lest you think the iPad encourages self-centeredness: one last thought. Like many others, I’m in the “ambassador” phase of things with the iPad – showing it to the interested and curious. People want to touch it and play with it. They wonder when they feel the iPad rumble when playing games like Labyrinth. They smile when they hear and use the keyboard in Nota. And they shake their head in disbelief when they experience Facebook or Twitter using Flipboard.

Yes I enjoy my iPad experience. Did I need it? Of course not. I could have lived without it. Very happily. But I also live very happily with it.

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