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Why I bought an iPad

April 4, 2010 1 comment

Whatever the opening weekend sales figure is for the Apple iPad, it will be greater than I had expected by one: Mine.

I have been a vocal iPad doubter. My Facebook status the day of the January announcement was “iYawn.”

Late in the afternoon Saturday however, I found myself calling local stores to check on their stocks. When I found the Apple Store at The Grove still had plenty, I couldn’t stop myself.

It’s exactly what everyone describes, it’s a consumption device. I am not writing this article on it, that would be insane. Even in landscape mode when the keyboard is its biggest, I have to use a hybrid touch type and hunt and peck method and look at the keys, not the words, so it is not a writing tool.

I watched some videos on ABC and Netflix, and ok, yes you can watch videos, but I already have a TV and it does a much better job. I may use it to edit my Netflix instant queue.

There are already more scripts inside the tablet than seen here cluttering up my floor.

You can browse the web, it’s not bad, but it’s hardly the greatest web surfing experience of all time or however Apple’s breathless PR was putting it. In portrait mode the text on my favorite sites is too small. I miss mousing over a link to see where it’s going first and right clicking to open in a new window then using alt-tab to switch between windows. That’s still a better experience for how I consume.

What put me over the edge was reading.

In particular reading scripts. As a writer, actor, director and producer, I need to read scripts. I don’t read enough.

Film scripts are easily available as pdf files, but sitting at a pc scrolling through a pdf is not a good way to spend the two or more hours it takes to read, you really want to curl up on the couch and get lost in it.

So you can print it, but printing is a hassle. Even with a decent laser printer and bulk purchased three hole punch paper, printing a hundred and twenty pages takes some time and attention. Then you have all this paper (dead trees) that you have dedicated to a script that you may not like, may not decide to pursue, and may not even finish. Then you’ve got to either recycle it (don’t even think of just throwing it away), shred it if it’s senstive, or store it somewhere in case you want to revisit it.

Reading a script on the iPad

This picture wasn't posed, those are actual piles of scripts lying around.

The iPad (or any tablet really) offers a nice solve. I picked up the $0.99 GoodReader app which is now iPad optimized and loaded several pdfs into it and voila, I’m sitting on my sofa reading a script and did not have to commit the environmental and psychic load of printing it.

Also the New York Times app was nice to use, I may move some of my morning reading from my pc to my sofa.

I remain skeptical of the world changing hype, but if it does nothing more than make reading scripts convenient enough that I no longer have any excuse not to, it will have been worth the price. (I got the cheapest one)