So that’s what it’s for!

I like the idea of the iPad, but have been a bit lost about what it’s actually for. Last weekend, it suddenly hit me.

I was preparing to watch the opening race of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, settling down in front of the TV: as it turned out, it was a rather dull race, but such events can still be infinitely improved by sharing with like-minded friends and it’s where something like Twitter excels. Even when a race is dull, the parallel chatter can make it shine.

Unfortunately my computer is in a different room and I didn’t want to spend the entire race seated at a desk in front of a computer screen. And sadly my laptop is now of such a vintage (it’s officially in two-digits age brackets now) that it doesn’t have the spec to run any of the modern crop of Twitter clients. Besides, I didn’t really fancy having the hassle of juggling a laptop the entire time.

At which point my brain kicked in and I realised that this – this moment – was exactly what the iPad was for. The ability to have a simple slate, which turns on instantly, no juggling with screens or keyboards – it would have been perfect to have had during the race to flick through when the racing got dull. To be able to look at websites with live timing information. Yes, right then and there was the moment – the iPad moment for me – when not only did I know what I would use one for, but I genuinely, actually wanted one. Like, right now.

If they had been on sale there and then and I could have got out and back before the start of the race, I’d have bought one. And it’s the first time since the iPad was announced that I’ve even come close to that thought.

Will that technolust last long enough until the iPads actually arrive in the UK (sometime at the end of April is the current best guess) – and moreover until the initial stampede actually makes it possible to buy one in practice? Who knows.

But right now I’m wishing that there weren’t quite so many Grands Prix scheduled before I’m likely to have the opportunity to augment the race, because – based on the performance in Bahrain – I’m going to need some pretty serious augmentation to see myself through the GPs while the sport sorts itself out and gets some spectacle back.

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