I’m not an Apple customer, but I confess I have I-Pad lust.
Having shlepped a laptop around for years to use in libraries, research venues, or speaking engagements, more often than not I felt burdened by equipment rather than assisted by a handy tool. I have a far different sense about I-Pad.
I see I-Pad as a useful tool for researching in libraries, or anyplace else for that matter, though I wish it had a camera for copying books pages or documents. I’m confident a future I-Pad will provide one. For now, this is a tool you still can take deep into the library stacks, or into the court house basement.
I also see the speedy I-Pad as useful when giving lectures. My specialty is history extracted from genealogy. I try never to respond to a genealogy question, or historical event or date, without access to my database for an accurate reply. It’s tough keeping track of countless dates, events, and 5,000 characters and cousins, even if you are brilliant. Having my database online, the I-Pad becomes a fast & handy, immediate response tool.
For writing books and articles, I’ve learned the electronic format differs from the print format greatly. e-Books fundamentally have changed the way I write, because of the way an e-book appears on the screen, and because of the way an e-book is read. Writing to the I-Pad increases a writer’s clarity & communication.
I’ve always been a voracious newspaper reader and magazine subscriber. But I don’t like reading a computer screen in a dedicated seat. I firmly believe I-Pad is the newspaper’s salvation, as well as that of the magazine publisher, simply because the tool re-incarnates the use of a newspaper or magazine. Read it at lunch, or on the throne. Flip the pages. Set it aside. Pick it up again. It’s as easy as a newspaper or magazine. Just don’t line your birdcage with one.
What author, historian, or genealogist doesn’t have a library of old and new images, news clippings, reference articles, book citations, or document copies? Face to face with a book buyer, show-and-tell always has been a problem. I-Pad solves that. All your research is right at hand. Carry volumes of clippings, photos, research anywhere you go. Pull them out anywhere, anytime. Pass them around. Try doing that with a laptop. Then offer your book for purchase. Right now the book buyer can take home that same information in your book.
I believe this Apple tool is one to latch on to. Simply because of it’s capability and probability to change computing, researching, writing, reading, and the computer’s use, as we know it. Already Apple has discarded the physical keyboard for the virtual one. I’m sure one day very soon Apple will sell the ultimate mouse trap. And I can’t wait to play Exterminator!
Practically speaking, for the writer of history I-Pad is a tool sent from the lives of the past, making it easy to stay in touch. Come on Charlemagne, send me an I-Pad now.