Why the iPad is not for me…

UM is the proud owner of an iPad, so we’ve been taking turns getting to know it. Last weekend was my turn. We had a dilapidated and rather encrusted ‘kitchen laptop’ that in actuality was the most used of the numerous computers in the house. Kitchen Laptop had been declining steadily, so we thought maybe an iPad could fill the inevitable void. Thinking “nothing better than a test drive!” I carefully packaged up the iPad and transported it to my house – much to the delight of my family…

Saturday before breakfast the iPad is discovered by the children: “Wow, is that an iPad? Let me see, let me see! Is it ours? Where are the games?”

Scramble to figure out how to download games. Scrutinize small hands for grubbiness.

“It’s my turn. No it isn’t. Yes it is! No it isn’t… MOM!!!”

Time outs.

“OK, now it’s really my turn…”

Running from room to room with iPad clutched to small chest, sibling in hot pursuit, parents with visions of iPad shattered into a million fragments on the kitchen floor.

Luckily it’s time for everyone to leave for gymnastics. Dad takes the iPad along for amusement while the children turn somersaults.

In the parent area at the gym:
“Wow, is that an iPad?”
“Can I see it?”
“Do you like it?”
“Can I try it?”
Dad stands by while the iPad is passed from parent to parent for an hour.

Saturday afternoon is spent in carefully monitored turns on the iPad, regulated by oven timer, while sitting on a rug, after rigorous handwashing.

I can’t say what I thought of the functionality and usability of the iPad since I barely got my hands on it. My 8- and 5-year old children seemed to immediately understand how to navigate the screens and play the games. Its similarity to the other hand-helds in the house (iTouch, DSi) made it appealing as a toy. Its size was definitely a deterrent to little hands. No stylus or keys meant it was thoroughly smeared in moments. Getting stuff on the iPad while being barraged with a continual stream of demands for game-ready status was less than pleasant.

Sunday we became the proud owners of a netbook.