On a sunny Saturday of April, the nice UPS guy delivered a small brown box at my door. It contained a device that some believed would completely change our interactions with technology and content while others believed it would only be good for watching YouTube on the toilet. How has this magical/amazing/revolutionary iPad changed my life? Should this be on your upcoming holiday list?

The device
I’m sure most of you have stopped by the Apple store on Michigan Ave or even been to the fancy new one in Lincoln Park. You’ve picked it up, looked at it on all angles and quickly started sliding your greasy fingers all over it. If you have not, then I will allow you to stop reading this article and go to the nearest Apple Store right now. It’s thin. It has a beautiful screen, and while it may be a bit heavy, after holding it for awhile, it’s nearly perfect.

Here is quick list of question you should ask your self before handing over the credit card.

Do you read? No really… a lot?
Then iPad might not be for you. A Kindle is far better for long format books, since it does not tire your eyes as easily because it’s not back-lit. If you read magazines or anything that is shorter form, like this article for example, iPad might be perfect for you.

Do you have a laptop or desktop?
If you have a laptop then you might not need one because a laptop can serve as your perfect device to surf the Internet while watching TV. If you have a desktop and find yourself addicted to Facebook and won’t leave the desk chair for 4-8 hour periods, then you might completely love iPad.

Does your computer drive your crazy?
Too many windows with annoying sounds? Viruses galore? Can’t figure out how to get apps installed? Have over 200 untitled documents on your desktop and can’t find the picture of your dog making funny faces? iPad can be be like a warm pair of undies on laundry day. Clean interface. It just works. One of the best points about the user interface, and don’t take this the wrong way, grandparents and kids love it, because it’s so easy and intuitive to use that you will find yourself actually enjoying the things you do online.

Do you have $500+?
If you don’t then the conversation is kind of over. It’s expensive. Hopefully the price will come down with the next release in spring/summer. The surprising part is that even competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab can’t keep the price down under $700 with a 2 year Internet contract. The iPad WiFi model does not have any extra added cost to it. Which is nice.

Do you need Internet at all times…?
iPad 3G might be your ticket. Except when you are in a basement in Chicago or the state of Vermont. The 3G service is $25 per month for 2GBs of download. And YES! You are stuck on AT&T. Unless you get a MiFi from Verizon.

So you’ve decided to get an iPad or buy one for your significant other and you will constantly take it from them:

The Apps

Notes/Writing
It’s hard to take long notes while in meetings, but it can work. I recommend PlainText with Dropbox syncing regular .txt files my note taking world in sync. Adobe Ideas is perfect for sketching something out quickly. iThoughtsHD is a great mind mapping application that can help you organize your thoughts. Try Evernote if you want something fancier with PC syncing. Office HD is perfect for work working in Google Docs too!

Reading/Magazines
Flipboard takes your social networks and gives your magazine all the links your friends posted. The Twitter App is very nicely designed. Pulse News is great. RSS Readers and SkyGrid is perfect for just browsing around the web. New York Times app is really well done! Kindle app, if you already have an Amazon account an want to read books. Reuters News Pro is also great for worldly events. Epicurios is perfect for the kitchen. Wired and The New Yorker cost the price of a regular magazine per issue, but they don’t allow for subscriptions yet, so hopefully someone at Condé Nast will get the memo and fix that soon.

TV/Video/Audio
Netflix is the first app you most download. The TED app is hours of fascinating and inspiring content. ABC Player for shows. Hulu, but that requires the $10 a month subscription. What has completely changed my life is AirVideo. It takes any kind of movie file on your desktop and live converts it to your iPad for instant viewing of your favorite media. Pandora is another given. The NPR app is always well received while making coffee in the morning. Apple Remote allows you to control your music from anywhere in the house.

Utilities/Extras
LogMeIn is another game changer. If you have a desktop just sitting in a corner or on the other side of the country you can access it, view the desktop and do most basic interactions at a decent speed. Amazon is addictive and dangerous with one click.

I won’t even get into games, because I care about you and don’t want your love ones to wonder where you disappeared to for four days while playing AngryBirds, Pinball HD, Plant vs. Zombies, Modern Conflict Grand Theft Auto or even mixing a beat with Looptastic.

So that is my experience with the iPad in the past 7 months of its existence. I honestly spend about .5 to 1.5 hours on it about 5 days out of the week. You may not find it as magical as I did, but at least you have decided to take it for a spin.

Also, I would feel very guilty if I didn’t tell you that in Spring/Summer (probably April again) a new one will come that will probably have a camera so you can use FaceTime or possibly even Skype with video chat. But hey! That is the life of a gadget/tech addict.

Oh! And while I don’t get paid by Apple to love the iPad, you can purchase and iPad with this link and Gozamos gets a small kickback with Amazon.

Let me know if you have any questions or have an El Techie request at abraham@gozamos.com

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