One month, two trips and an iPad

My morning routine has benefited from the iPad. I don’t wake up and snap like a magnet to my desk chair and iMac screen like I used to. My first (and often second) cup of tea, accompanied by news reading, can now be enjoyed on a less work-related space—even on the couch. I find myself sitting on my couch for more than watching TV.

Some will argue it’s still a screen I’m dealing with. Some (not necessarily the same people) will say that I’m just blinded by my love for everything Apple. Perhaps—perhaps both. I can’t argue with the second statement, it would be pointless. But as for the iPad being just another screen, I don’t think it matters. What matters is what the screen allows you to do.

Once the screen is on my lap and I’m reading a book—an ebook, which was a first for me—the iPad and its screen become the book. If I’m reading in complete darkness in my room, all I see is the page, and all I need to worry about is holding it in the right position. I don’t need to stretch my fingers or use both hands to keep the book open like I would with a paper book. This does not mean that I’ll never read paper books again—I will, because I love them immensely. Paradoxically, it means that I’m tempted to read more than I have lately, whether it’s ink or pixels.

Ultimately, what’s interesting about the iPad is the way it fits in my digital life. The way it has changed my habits—not forcefully, as to find a spot for itself that it wasn’t meant to have, but by naturally taking over activities that would have otherwise chained me to a regular computer.

But don’t I love computers, and don’t I already have a supercool MacBook Air? Yes I do. And that’s come as a surprise for me too. I bought an iPad as a little more than an impulse purchase, knowing very well that I didn’t really need it—and yes, I’m aware that no one really needs this kind of stuff anyway, at least not in a primal sense. Maybe it created my need for it, but more likely it took away from other devices I owned roles they were filling—and very well so—that could be filled in a more efficient and human way.

In filling these roles, the iPad had made itself, the device, transparent, and what’s left is a little more than the bare medium—whichever medium emerges from each different role. I call that progress.

So the first month of my iPad began with a trip (the one during which I kept telling everyone I wouldn’t buy an iPad, then went on to list all my self-convincing reasons) and ended with another. The trip to Spain was the one I had planned to embark on without a computer—or at least, as it turned out, without my laptop. Five days of pure vacation during which I had no intention to be tempted by work-related thoughts and acts.

It worked. The iPad was exactly the tool I needed on such an occasion, for carrying books that I would probably not read and drafting blog posts that I would probably not publish. And that’s why a few kilos less (considering the extra weight of the laptop plus that of the paper books) made it all a lot more reasonable.