Monday, April 26, 2010

Lean Forward + Sit Back = iPad

Remember that classic SNL skit about an advertisement featuring a product that was both a dessert topping and a floor wax?  That's what I think of when I hear the pundits talk about the difference between devices that address the "lean forward" needs (e.g., computers) vs. "sit back" ones that fill our entertainment void (e.g., TVs).

Some experts have long claimed the two have never met and they never will.  They should check out an iPad.  I've finally discovered a device that lends itself to both lean forward use and sit back entertainment.  The only thing that's missing is a good keyboard.

I've already gotten a lot of use out my iPad for accessing things like Google docs and email.  I'm not sure I'd want to use it as my exclusive computing device, but I'm thinking about leaving my MacBook Pro at home on a road trip one day to see what it's like.  So if the iPad is currently a viable option for my lean forward needs, it's an even better solution for sit back use.

I was stuck in Boston's Logan airport recently and my flight home was delayed.  I realized I missed that week's episode of Modern Family (a terrific show, btw).  Logan has free wifi service, so I opened the ABC app (another gem) and watched the show right there in the terminal.  I found myself asking these two questions: First, why doesn't every TV network have an iPad app?  Second, how soon will my DVR become as useful as the 8-track player I recently saw in a relative's garage?

The keyboard is still a bit of an issue for me on the iPad though.  I go with portrait mode mostly because it lets me thumb-type like I used to on the Blackberry.  The landscape keyboard seems silly.  It's too big to thumb-type and there's no way to touch-type on a virtual keyboard.  I tried a friend's Apple Bluetooth keyboard.  It's sleek but I'm glad I didn't spend $70 on one for myself.  I found it awkward to type on my lap and then have to reach out from time to time to touch the screen.  A better solution is for someone to offer a Bluetooth keyboard the size of a Blackberry one so we can thumb-type with a physical device, not a virtual one.  I'd buy one of those because it would also (a) be something I could hold in the air, not put on my lap (fixing the awkward reach/touch problem mentioned earlier) and (b) it's tiny enough to fit in my bag without feeling like I'm lugging yet another device.

But even without the ultimate Bluetooth keyboard solution, I'm definitely finding the iPad enables convergence between lean forward and sit back.  Now if the other TV networks would just release apps I could send my DVR back to Comcast and quit paying the monthly rental fee for it!

1 comment:

  1. 2 comments:

    Blackberry-style bluetooth keypad? I assume you're not kidding, but I can think of few worse ways to simultaneously ruin both the ergonomics and aesthetics of the iPad.

    Comcast DVR? You're doing it wrong. Tivo or go home.