Gadgets and electronic devices are different today than they were years ago, and I don’t just mean with the technology, but how they fit into our lives. Apple’s iPad is truly a lifestyle device. The distinction between being somewhat of a tech toy and being a useful lifestyle product is key to its success long-term. But how do you know when the iPad goes from being a novelty item that you show off to your friends to something that you rely on for work and play? I wondered this myself before the iPad was released and finally got my answer a couple of weeks ago.
I have my 17-inch MacBook Pro sitting beside my favorite chair. This is where I do almost of my work for The Loop and CNET. It’s habit for me now — I sit down in my chair, reach over and pick up my computer. It’s almost an involuntary action, like I do it all in one motion.
Day or night, when I sit down, I grab the computer. It doesn’t matter if I’m checking email or writing a story, the habit is so strong now that it just happens.
I’ve been using the iPad since it came out and I have it sitting on the other side of my chair. I’ve done all of the testing and used it to write stories, post to the Web site, watch videos and all the other things you would expect to be done.
However, one night about 8:00 pm, I sat in my chair and reached for the iPad instead of my computer. I was already checking my email before I realized what I had done. It was then that I realized the iPad had fit into my lifestyle.
It’s not forcing yourself to use a device that makes it part of what you do. Rather, it’s when you reach for something like the iPad involuntarily that you know it’s integrated itself comfortably into your life.