I was skeptical, at the beginning, whether I could adapt and actually enjoy reading on a touch screen tablet...until the iPad officially hit the Mexican market. My family and I turned out to be among the first to check it out at Reforma 222's iShop. The main reason for scuttling across the city to hunt for and happily dishing out 8,000 pesos for the smallest 16G-wifi iPad, which was selling like hot cakes that first week, was justified with the thought of all the savings I would receive from not having to pay the average 20 dollars for shipping that always topped each order of books I made with Amazon. (English language bookshops being a rarity in Mexico.) The various Mexican stores that were carrying the iPads all offered the increased incentive of long-term payments, interest free, from 6-18 months.
It's been about three weeks now and I'm still being surprised on a daily basis, by how I can adapt the iPad to helping me better enjoy the things I like. Primarily, the adjustment to reading ebooks came pretty easily. Not only do I agree with a Macworld's writer account of "How the IPad changed my reading habits": yes, to the liberating experience of being able to control font size; yes, to the mobility of carrying several 'books' with you in one package; YES, to going back to reading comics again, and finally-yes, to a totally new way of reading magazines and news. I managed to read a novel more leisurely with the bookmark function, and the temptation to look at the final pages is somehow removed by this less physcial format. While reading Chris Kuzneki's The Lost Throne, his descriptions of fabulous places like Meteora and Mt. Athos, had me checking them out immediately online, just a click away on the iPad.
I also discovered the pleasures of being rewarded by the creative powers of application makers. By asking google to deliver the lastest news related to the iPad, I caught Flipboard on its launching day. What a novel way of experiencing Facebook and Twitter it was! I'm actually using my Twitter account more because of Flipboard. I even like the way Wired is presented on Flipboard more than on its original, too fancy, Wired app. It's a genius of having many options put into one place. I deleted some newspaper apps that I felt were cluttering my opening screen and opted for Flipnews instead. The coolest is being able to use the iPad as a really expensive photo frame that I can switch on as I listen to music from iTunes (which never really caught up with me until now). Apart from the app Photo Frame Lite which delivers me interesting and recently loaded photos from Flickr, I can watch stream of photos shared by my social groups from Facebook, Twitter, and other Flip items I've chosen on Flipboard in its 'unopened' flip screen. Just these photo streams alone make me feel more connected with the world, and with absolutely no regrets that I didn't hesitate to buy this new tech gadget. I am offered glimpses into the beautiful lives, the so talented eyes of a larger bit of humanity than I could possibly experience personally.
The iPad is much more than an oversized iPod, and much more than a common e-reader. The apps Virtuoso, Note Goal Lite, and Etude is encouraging me to try learning how to play the piano again. I doodle on Draw Free when I'm bored. I'm expecting the acquisition of my Spanish vocabulary to speed up with Spanish Dict's word game, my grammar to improve with free spanish lessons podcasts, my ability to manage the complexity of the language by internalizing the downloaded audiobook, Don Quixote.
All in all, I can't help sympathizing with the angst of the publishing industry in their scramble to figure out how to keep in the game in a digitized world. However, at the same time, I can't help cheering all these new game changing paradigm, when I read articles about learning disabled kids and old people coming out enchanted and having a richer learning experience, all thanks to the iPad, ....and all the industrious people creating fabulous apps!