Sunday, April 01, 2012

The power of effective marketing

I am a marketeer's dream, if I'm being honest.  Being included and being connected are two important states for me, and so, two weeks ago, I bought an iPad during my lunch hour.  The new one, not that I know any difference between the one I now own and the previous "generations".  I thought, as I was led to believe, that I *had* to have one to really know what living is (or online living, at least).  Although the guy who sold it to me was very helpful - and fairly patient, as I debated over the various insurance options for probably 10 times as long as a normal customer - I did take offense slightly when he asked me: "Is it for your husband?"  NO, was my emphatic answer...what year is he living in?
Anyway, maybe I should have actually been buying it for Matt, as it turns out.  The iPad sat unopened in its slim box for at least 4 days, before I decided to take it out and try to figure out how it was exactly going to change my life.  My main objective with buying it was to try to get something more lightweight and portable than our laptop, so that I could do more writing while being in the same room as Matt in the evenings.  He watches tv, an activity that I have all but given up entirely, so when he's doing that I feel like I need to find other things to busy myself with - and there are of course plenty, but many of them seem to revolve around the computer.  Our laptop is enormous, defying what I understood as the underlying principle of a laptop, that of its being portable.  It also has a very loud fan, so when I sit on the couch trying to type, I end up with a feeling not too dissimilar to when a large, snoring, warm toddler falls asleep on my lap.  I thought there had to be something better.
And so, I succumbed to the hype of the iPad, and although it is growing on me, I spent the first night or two with it thinking, "Is this it?" and "This isn't working out like I thought it would."  Mainly my issue lies with a very old-fashioned skill that I possess: touch-typing.  Not multi-finger, skillful hunting and pecking, but true touch-typing, taught to me nearly 2 decades ago at high school.  Of all the things I've learned over the years, touch-typing has to be one of the most valuable.  I just love not really having to look at the keyboard (ok, occasionally I do - the numbers always stumped me a bit), and I feel I can just focus on letting my thoughts flow freely.  People who don't purely touch-type are probably equally able to do this to, but I don't want to go back and find out what it's like. 
Anyway, although the keyboard on the iPad is fairly realistic, I had some pretty juttering starts at trying to write a blog post before giving up for the evening.  I know that not all my posts are overly *interesting*, but I can guarantee that this post would have been very dull indeed: "I was wal", or "Do you ever thin".  Basically the iPad keyboard loses the three keys between the "l" and the "Return" key (which they have also renamed as "Search"...I'm sure typewriter historians are rolling in their graves), and so I was either opening a brand new tab in the browser, or moving off the blogger site altogether, much too soon.  It was clear I need an external keyboard, and the good news is that there are plenty out there for me to purchase.  On the first evening I had played around with my new toy, I was telling Matt that I wasn't sure if I had done the right thing.  I asked him if I could get Picasa on it.  He laughed in some techno way and said probably not, since Picasa was a Google service.  I have yet to research that one, but it's clear that my use of the laptop won't be going away entirely.  He chided me by asking if I had done my research when selecting the iPad.  I wonder if I can take it back? was my reply. 

The other reason that people seem to love iPads is how good they are for entertaining kids.  So far, the emergence of the iPad in our house has just created a power struggle between a boy who is probably ready for some educational games on this "tool", and one who is just insistent on getting in on all the action, even if it means that by his very interest, the action changes and becomes disrupted, and a fight inevitably ensues.  I need to work on how we might create some time-sharing plan to handle this (I'm certainly not buying another one!  iPad that is, not child).  I also have a major guilt trip anytime we get going with a child-friendly app, because I think things like, "I should be doing drawing, or reading, or teaching Blake how to start a fire..." - anything that isn't centered around these machines that have gradually just infiltrated our lives. 

I think once I get my keyboard, things will fall into place.  The only thing that remains to be seen is whether I'll be able to afford a keyboard, as it turns out the iPad is very good for online shopping and I've bought quite a few things on it recently...it is very easy to just pull up the internet, search for that must-have item, and click to purchase.  A bit like the way I bought the thing in the first place.  An impulsive, marketeer's dream client.

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