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Confessions of an iPad Junkie

Columnist Eugenia Budman waxes philosophical about her technology obsession.

Confession: I am a tech junkie. I have lived in the middle of Silicon Valley for many years, and I know I'm not the only one of my kind.

Do you remember first cell phone? These huge heavy bricks you could barely fit into your purse? I purchased them for my then teenage girls and me, as soon as they came out.  I justified it by saying that it was for their safety, so that they could have access to me at any time. They weren't complaining.  I patiently entered in all my alerts and contacts, and lost all of them many times as soon as the battery died (Thankfully, I kept them on paper too).

What about the first Palm Pilots with a stylus, and an Internet plan that cost only $10? I owned one for about a year. I think I was the first one among my friends to use Google for searches, find good deals on Expedia.com, and trust a GPS. Over ten years ago, Abe and I spent much too much time communicating via AOL Instant Messenger, even though our offices were within five steps from each other.

Now, many electronics and dollars later, enter the iPhone.

I resisted for a while, content with the connection and many applications offered by Microsoft. Then Michelle purchased her first iPhone, and in order to stay cool, I gave in. Shortly thereafter, we added two more lines to our AT&T family plan, Val's and Abe's. We now do everything on our iPhones --- manage our finances, read books, Facebook, tweet, SMS and MMS

Last year I got the coolest device of them all --- my iPad, the revolutionary tablet that welcomed me into the post-pc era, loudly pronouncing me as cool again in all the Starbucks and hotel lobbies which offered free wifi. Oh how I loved it! Its brilliant display, the growing number of apps, and its light and thin design.

"I am truly using it," I said to my family, "Practically daily. If you calculate the ratio of cost-per-use (similar to the cost-per-wear coefficient I use to justify the purchase of an expensive dress), it will be pennies!”

Fast forward to February of this year. The Internet was buzzing with rumors of the next generation of iPad.

"...Just speculations," said BusinessInsider.com at the beginning of the month.

"It's coming for sure," promised PC World Magazine by mid-month. 

"Steve Jobs will unveil it on Wednesday, March 2nd, at the Yerba Buena Center," the digital gods finally proclaimed at the end of February.

 I became restless and checked my Internet sources daily. Then on March 2nd at 10 am just as predicted, (on that day I was checking the tech websites hourly) the long-awaited device appeared on YouTube. It was lighter and thinner, had two cameras (front and back), included the video chat program Facetime and a faster processor. Plus it had an array of colorful covers. What girl can resist accessories?

I had to wait for nine days to see it in stores. I admit to being a bit anxious, but it wasn't just me. I read about a man in Texas who camped on the steps of an Apple store for four days before the delivery date. I discussed with my friends on tech blogs about the joys of owning the new iPad (www.theipadfan.com), and bitterly argued with Andoid groupies.

On March 11th around 4 am, new videos of people waiting in lines all over the country began to appear online. I read about a woman in New York who sold her first spot in line for $900. I understood the desire to have it immediately. I imagined how my iPad buddies were waiting before their computers, their pale faces focused, and their hands on the keyboard in a greedy grip, ready to start typing their orders exactly at 1 pm, as soon as the device would appear in the Apple online store. Most of the Apple stores sold them out within a few hours of opening.

As for me, I  was too busy with my life to wait in long lines at the Apple stores, and I couldn't find time to fill out my order online either. However, I am still following the headlines of this new magic device, reading the reviews by its lucky new owners and planning to buy it in a few weeks or so. I don't think I can resist it for much longer.

You see, I am still a technology lover, and I need the next cool device. Besides, all my stories are written on it. My thinking is, if I sell my old iPad, its "cost-per-use" still would be pennies...right?

leya March 15, 2011 at 10:21 PM
I had a handspring visor, I thought I was soooo cool!
Alex March 16, 2011 at 12:45 AM
I am an Apple engineer, working for Apple in Silicon valley. Glad our products are so successful. Enjoy! I have new iPad and it's awesome.
Sarah Yokubaitis March 16, 2011 at 12:57 AM
I bought one of the first iPods, back when they were the size of a calculator instead of a pack of gum. How's that for early adopter? :)
Sam R March 16, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Kindle or Nook?
Helen March 16, 2011 at 03:46 AM
I love my kindle. Was totally trying not to get sucked in by the high tech toy, but am glad I have it. :)

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