I was lucky enough to be on holiday in New York on the day the iPad went on sale. The question of what the hell it was for didn't really cross my mind as I happily paid my $599 (£390) in the Apple store in SoHo and received a rather embarrassing round of applause from the staff. It just looked like a brilliant thing and I had to have it.
Having played with it every day now for a few weeks, it turns out the iPad is amazing. Sure, there's nothing it does that all kinds of other devices don't do. That's not the point. It just happens to do them in an infinitely more pleasurable way. Television shows and films look beautiful on its 9.7-inch screen. Surfing the internet is a newly intimate joy (unless you want to use a site built with Adobe's Flash technology which Apple is famously and infuriatingly boycotting, so no BBC iPlayer ). Reading books is delightful in ways you never thought possible (the iPad version of Alice In Wonderland is the first app you should buy). The virtual keyboard works fine for composing emails and short documents, although I would invest in the bluetooth keyboard accessory if I were going to use it to write anything longer than a few dozen words. And, magazines and newspapers look wonderful on it.
Most nights I find myself propping it up in my lap and using it to consume electronic stuff of various kinds, and I've also started watching 30 Rock (downloaded from the US iTunes store) in bed. My quality of life has been improved no end.
Sure, I wish it had a camera and a USB port, so it's not perfect, but it is the most thrilling gadget I've ever used and it's effectively replaced my laptop already. I'm still slightly embarrassed about getting it out on the bus, for fear of looking like a ponce, but I didn't let that stop me reading Harlan Coben's brilliant new novel Caught on it and enjoying the frisson of delight every time I turned a virtual page. I think I'm an iPad addict.
Boyd Hilton is TV and reviews editor of "Heat" magazine.Reuse content