It’s hard to believe it’s already/only been three years since Apple introduced its category defining iPad. On the one hand, it seems like only yesterday. On the other hand, for those of us with tablet computers of one stripe or another, it’s hard to imagine life before our new constant companions—in the same way those of us who came up before the Internet can barely remember the days before Pine.

tabletThere was a great piece on Ars Technica about two weeks ago in which its editors reflected on the device, their initial impressions and its impact on their lives since.

I recall my own pre-iPad days as ones of awkwardly balancing a MacBook on my knees or an ottoman while doing my couch computing, or lugging it to the kitchen—and exposing it to risk of spills, splatters and crashes to the floor—while cooking. I resisted forking over the big bucks for a long time until I had the opportunity to buy one, and I was hooked, springing for the then-New iPad (aka iPad 3). Now I ponder not only when I should upgrade, but whether one tablet is enough. With the new Nexus 7 on the way, I have a feeling I’ll be dipping into the 7-inch form factor soon enough.

I read books, magazines and Web pages almost exclusively on this or other lean-back devices (I still love my Nook Simple Touch), and I consume media in ways I hadn’t thought of before through apps like Zite, Flipboard, Pocket and more. (I also play a ton of Scrab…, er, Words With Friends.) As weird and derpy as it might sound, I find myself to be generally happier, at least while I’m doing those things, than I did when I was dealing with my laptop (which I still use happily and voraciously for all that content creation business).

How has the tablet changed your life, and your business? Were you skeptical? Were you onboard from the get-go? Does your tablet make you happy? Tell me in the comments. And ask your friends to do so as well.

* This essay originally appeared on the website of Book Business magazine, a Teleread sister publication.


  1. I play more casual games than I ever used to pre-tablet. My laptop is still the go-to device, though, being faster, more capable, and far easier to navigate multiple items at once. It also helps that I am far more proficient on a real keyboard, I like that the screen keeps itself propped at whatever angle is ideal, and the speakers are leagues better.

    Perhaps I’m just curmudgeonly, but tablets are still toys. They are extremely fun, and I prefer to read (not respond to) email and news on such devices, but they are comparatively terrible at more than half of the ways I use computers.

    My similar device, the Nook HD (which is not what I’m considering my “tablet”), has become my primary device for home reading. (The always-present smartphone offers many more opportunities for reading). For that purpose, the form factor and screen quality are just better than any laptop or smartphone I have used.

  2. I’m going to voice a dissenting opinion. Tablets and the modern paradigm have turned me into a Luddite, seriously considering unplugging completely. I’ll be brief so as not to unduly bore and annoy. For the past 25 years I’ve been a classic “early adopter”; ebooks since 1985, cell phone since 1990, Linux since 1991, OS2, Palm III, multimonitors, etc. But all of those devices and technologies were enabling. The modern smart phone, tablet, google app, apple walled garden, etc are enslaving. I’ve not been a radical like Stallman before, though I respect his motives. But all the technologies I’ve adopted during the past 25 years have increased my freedom and increased my personal ownership of information and processing power, not shackled me and my wallet to insanely wealthy and powerful organizations. I don’t matter. I’m 1 percent of 1 percent of the outgoing generation. But I won’t go out shackled to the beast.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail