Here’s one more tiny anecdote to go with the news that the iPad is having pretty much the most amazing new-product launch in the history of technology.(Can you think of a bigger one? One that proliferated this quickly and generated this much revenue this fast? Netscape’s Navigator went bananas, as did a whole bunch of other software and web site-based products. But those were free or near-free. This is a $500-$900 gadget. And I’m not counting the iPhone 4, which is a new upgrade. I’m talking about a completely new product.)
Here’s my iPad anecdote: One month after we got it, my kids are addicted to the darn thing.
We got an iPad because we thought it might provide more peace and quiet during a long trip. And it did. Sometimes. When they weren’t fighting over it.
But now that the trip is over, we actually have to physically hide it in the house every day.
Because any time the slightest whiff of boredom sets in, the kids start robotically groping for it.
What do they do with it?
— TV shows
–Web, weather, maps, Google Earth
You name it. They’ll use it for anything. And while one’s actually using it, the other will sit there and watch the first one using it. Until, again, they start fighting over it. (And you know what that means. It means I might as well already debit my checking account for a second iPad.)
It’s worse than TV ever was–because there’s only one TV and because they can’t subtly get up and turn on the TV and be using it for 15 minutes before you notice what they’re up to. And also because, unlike TV, there’s this aura of respectability around the iPad, because it is actually possible to use it for something other than mindless entertainment (not that my kids use it for that).
And it’s not only the kids: My wife and my daughter have squabbled over who gets to go to bed reading a book on the iPad and who gets shafted with the limited selection on the paper-based stuff. (So let’s go ahead a debit my account for a THIRD iPad.)
Again, a month after we bought it, the iPad has become so central to our household that we have to hide it. And in relatively short order, to preserve my family harmony, I’m probably going to have to buy two more of the damn things.