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iPad and its night on the town

So, I’m tired of using this iPad in the safety of the office. Seeing as it’s Wednesday and there is not too much going on to corrupt the innocence of my new iPad, I’m going to Cafe Helios for a drink with a friend, and I’m bringing it along for the journey. I’m curious as to how the iPad stands up on the go.

Being an NC State student, I live downtown – and like other NC State students, I very rarely spend all of my evenings buried in books and notes, but rather I’m in social environments with friends downtown. Of course, I’m intrigued to how other people will react to the iPad. Leaving my house for the short walk to Glenwood South is a familiar walk, but it’s quite odd having the iPad with me. I left all protective equipment and sheaths at home (not recommended, gentlemen) to see how intrinsically portable this technology truly is.

Walking with the iPad is strange, to say the least. Imagine walking with a MacBook unibody screen under your arm, and you can understand why. The entire time I walked, I clutched the iPad like a cautious mother, terrified of it slipping from my hands and landing on the sidewalk. As awesome as the iPad is, it doesn’t look like it can handle a drop from five feet with much grace. The iPad is slick – we knew that from the beginning – but it’s quite strange to create a portable technology that is so slick that it’s difficult to carry (when it’s not in a protective case) during your travels.

I arrived at the coffee shop and settled in with a beverage – this is definitely the environment for an iPad user. WiFi, good music, and comfortable furniture made it comfortable to crack open an ebook, check my email and read various blogs online. In the first ten minutes I was surrounded by coffee-shop dwellers, each curious about this device. Needless to say, everyone was captivated by the beauty of the iPad – I was jealous. With my friend rolling her eyes as I gave tutorial after tutorial to the eager onlookers, the coffee-shop folk were quite inquisitive about the device and its features.

A quasi-heckler, wielding an iPhone, joined the small circle around me and dismissed the device as a knockoff of the iPhone (still not sure how this is reasonable), so I handed the iPad to him. After experimenting with the apps and user interface, even he changed his disposition toward the product stating, “These apps really are more rad than the iPhone apps.”  After retreating in defeat, the “rad” critic disappeared in the shop, and I handed the iPad to different people in the circle to get their feedback.

I heard all the usual things: “Its awesome,” “I love Apple products,” “ The NCSU Library has these?” and the most common question, “How much?” It seems that once people get the opportunity to get one in their hands, its difficult not to be amazed by the technology for the price of a “Kindle.”

Once the interest died down, I was finally able to read on my iPad. It was then that I realized how strange it was trying to hold the device without the stand that came in the library. Like I stated earlier, I had zero accessories with me, it was just me and the iPad – and it was awkward. After a while, your hands get tired holding this device as you flip through pages, or moving it onto the table or your knees to type. As great as it is, if you get the iPad, purchase a stand with it. Perhaps this is something that I will get used to, seeing as I’ve been conditioned to read on a device with a built-in stand all my life: my laptop.

It’s last call and time to leave. Of course, I had to wave down a cab on Glenwood, seeing as walking down the street at night with the iPad – which I’m still quite worried about dropping – seems like a bad idea. After goodbyes to my dear friend that joined me at Café Helios, iPad and I were on our way home.

In the cab I came to my realization that with this device, it’s easy to feel popular amongst the Coffee/Café crowd… its just then that you realize that all they really want is to get their dirty hands on your iPad.