The iPad Could Be for You
By Scudder Sodergreen

     It’s 1967. You’re stretched out on the couch watching the latest episode of Star Trek. Captain Kirk orders Scotty to “beam them up” and Scotty pulls out a square pad, taps it a few times and suddenly Kirk and his crew appear.
      Fast forward to 2011. The iPad, a lightweight, magazine-sized device, doesn’t make people magically appear, but it is possibly the next best thing. The iPad is the latest Apple product. In basic terms, it is a portable computerish machine. Ish, because with just a few minor drawbacks, it can do most of the amazing things that a computer can do such as e-mail, show movies, play music, become a book and offer a wide variety of games. It can even get the morning paper (sorry Fido). You can also download lots of different apps. Apps. It’s a term you’ve heard countless times and quite possibly aren’t sure of the definition. Here it is in a nutshell: An app, short for application, is an add-on, program to download that is free or very inexpensive. It will enhance your hand held device, be it an iPod, iPad, Netbook or iPhone. There are apps for making or viewing movies, accessing digital books, doing photo manipulation or even creating funny body sounds. There’s even an app for easy purchase of your next Starbuck’s latte. There are apps for GPS, which as you already know is a navigating device necessary for those times when you’re searching for some unknown address or trying to locate a local restaurant or even find your way home. How about an app that will keep you abreast of the weather in Singapore, or a note-taking app that allows you to send what you’ve written to anyone or even to your home computer. Games are available too — lots of games. My personal favorite is Scrabble,which is actually more fun than expected playing solo. And there are thousands of additional apps that will not only prove to be useful, but will provide endless hours of entertainment. Log on to for a mind-boggling list of what’s available. Apps, by the way, is why your grandson’s nose is buried in some unknown device with his thumbs flying over a miniscule keyboard, while you’re trying to have a meaningful visit. Text him. It’s the only way to get his attention.
     As amazing as the iPad is, there are a few drawbacks that may or may not affect your decision to put it on your “nice to have” birthday list. It’s a bit pricey, running from $500 to $900. It also doesn’t have Flash. And if you’re not familiar with Flash, it’s a multimedia program that adds animation to websites along with movies and other multimedia functions — a function that you may be able to live without. Another shortcoming is that it isn’t compatible with most programs other than those produced by Apple. This could be a problem when you want to try to attach your iPad to a device manufactured by a different company. This could result in you spending $30 to $50 trying to upload the summer-at-the-beach pictures. This brings up one other problem with an iPad, making it just slightly less than perfect. There is no camera to take pictures of your vacation. Apple has solved this by making an iPad 2 with a camera, which is due out this month. This slimmer, more lightweight device has a high-definition screen that creates a crystal-clear picture and best of all, the speed when surfing the net is phenomenal.
     All in all, the iPad is a handy tool that you can customize in a way that suits you. I found mine under the Christmas tree last year and haven’t let it out of my sight since then.
     The iPad is much like Scottie’s hand-held device with one exception: Teleporting people to the mother ship. Apple hasn’t worked that one out yet. Once part of the science fiction world, iPad with nearly warp speed has become part of our everyday lives. Are you ready for it?

Scudder has spent the better part of his life trying to keep his grandparents abreast of the latest tehnology. He thins he’s been making some headway. He can be reached at [email protected]

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