My Decade with the iPad: Getting Hooked

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We are coming up on a full decade since the announcement of the iPad soon. I already wrote about some of the notable impacts that Apple’s tablets have had on the tech world at large during the last 10 years. Now I am going to head down memory lane and take a look at how my iPads have impacted me and how I do things at work and home.

Not just a big iPod Touch

I wanted an iPad as soon as I saw Steve Jobs’ original announcement in January of 2010. However, even though the $499 starting price was far more affordable than I expected, I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford one at launch. I was able to save up some money and buy a used one for slightly less than retail price later that Summer, though.

I had seen where several tech writers and podcasters pigeonholed the original iPad, so I was a little wary before putting my money down. However, I went to an Apple Store a few times and actually put my hands on hardware to get a feel for what it was like. I surfed. I tried out some of my favorite apps. I was still a bit of a gamer at the time and was on the road a lot, so that was actually a big eye-opener. Having that huge screen to play on, as opposed to the iPhones of the time or a Nintendo DS, was a big deal.

Making the deal

I was sold. I dumped my Nintendo DS and found that used iPad on Craigslist in Antioch, TN, just east of Nashville, as I was getting off work at Ft Campbell. To give you a little context, It was a 4-5 hour drive home for me from the Fort after a long out of town work week there. Fort Campbell is located just north of Clarksville, TN in north central Tennessee and south central Kentucky. In 2010, it was a 45 minute to 1 hour drive  to an back to Nashville at that time of day, with Antioch being a little further (It would be MUCH longer as bad as Nashville traffic is today). Antioch was also on the wrong side of Nashville, as I was headed back to the Memphis area to the west, so I had another good 5 hours ahead after getting the iPad thanks to rush hour traffic.

Despite the fact that this was far out of my way, I didn’t care. As soon as I reached out and talked to the seller, I committed to be at a public place in Antioch to make the purchase. This sounds a little crazy now as I type it out, but the used market for iPads at that time was fierce. eBay was a waste of time, as people would regularly bid them up above new prices. We didn’t have many other options like Swappa and refurb reseller sites back then. If you found a deal on Craigslist, you had to jump on it fast, as they went quick. I had the money at this point and was watching CL both at home and on the road and got lucky. I was the first person to contact this seller when he posted and he made the deal with me.

To his credit, this man stuck with me when he didn’t have to. He called me back while I was driving to Antioch to make sure I wasn’t going to back out. I assured him that wasn’t happening and that I was on the way and would be there on time. He told me that he had gotten several calls from other potential buyers who offered more money. I couldn’t go a penny higher than what i had agreed to, but to his credit, he decided to stick with our deal since I was going out of my way to drive there and meet him. I thanked him profusely for that, as I have had several CL deals fall through over the years for similar reasons.

I had a power inverter that I kept in my vehicle from a long family car trip a couple of years before, so I was able to power up my laptop and get all of my apps loaded via iTunes during my long drive home. Sure, they were iPhone apps, but it was a way to get started on the iPad in familiar territory. By the time I got home, I was ready to get play with my new toy.

A tablet education

To be honest, my first iPad was more of an educational experience than a transformational one. The latter would come more with the iPad 2, which I will cover later. However, I did learn a lot. I immediately found that an instant-on device with that big of a screen was hands-down the best email and Internet machine I had ever used. It can be difficult to remember now in a world full of laptops with Solid State Drives that boot up in seconds just how big of a deal this was back in 2010. While this didn’t quite make the iPad transformational yet, it certainly was eye-opening.

I had just started writing for Patrick Jordan’s iPhone site Just Another iPhone Blog a couple of months before getting this iPad. As such, it was natural that I start writing a few articles for this site under its original name- Just Another iPad Blog. Writing for both sites got me to push myself to use the iPad as much as I could, even if it wasn’t always the most convenient thing to do.

I remember that I got pretty good at typing on glass, even though that wasn’t the easiest way to crank out articles. Still, the iPad’s much larger on-screen keyboard was a lot easier to use than the iPhone’s, so I kept doing it. I eventually took the next step and picked up an Apple Wireless Keyboard to make life a little easier, but it was still all about finding out what this machine was capable of.

Breaking out and pushing ahead

I jailbroke the iPad pretty early on and was really intrigued by the possibilities that opened up. While the interface tweaks were fun, it was the ability to run gaming emulators and use a WiiMote or Wii Classic Controller to play them. This turned the iPad into the just about the best classic gaming rig imaginable. It did have limits, though. I remember loading up a PS1 emulator and, while it worked, it was frame-by-frame slow. the specs weren’t quite up to the possibilities yet.

As more and more iPad-specific apps arrived, I was right there trying them all, as well. As developers pushed what was possible with a full touch interface on a large capacitive screen, it felt like a level beyond what was happening with apps on the iPhone. I was all-in at this point, even if the original iPad could only scratch the surface of its true potential.

The original iPad was thick and a bit on the heavy side. The battery life wasn’t amazing. The storage of the base model was pretty limited. It was a bit underpowered. It certainly wasn’t a perfect device. However, it was pretty damn solid for first gen hardware that beat the majority of the market to the punch. I had that first device for almost a year before the iPad 2 would arrive in March of 2011 and loved it from start to finish. It was a great run that got me hooked on tablets for good.

 


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