During the same week Nerdy Thirty is made available for the iPad, Kindle, and other e-readers, it seems only appropriate that I also share my love of all things Apple. This essay also marks the 1,500th blog post on Do I dare/Disturb the universe?, which launched September 7, 2003. – W.T.
My passionate love affair with Apple Computer, company CEO Steve Jobs, and all things Apple began my freshman year of college. While working toward a journalism degree at UNO, I also spent a considerable number of hours each week at The Gateway, our bi-weekly student newspaper. The newspaper hit campus newsstands on Tuesdays and Fridays each week, meaning Sunday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings were spent writing, editing, and laying out the newspaper until the wee hours of the morning.
All of this work was accomplished on the Macintosh computers sprinkled about our large office in the Milo Bail Student Center. We had older Macs and somewhat-newer Macs in our managers’ offices, in the newsroom where us lowly reporters hammered out story after story, and in the darkroom, which truly was the coolest place in The Gateway office. The advent of digital photography means darkrooms are no longer needed; and sadly, this piece of newspaper life has become history not only at UNO, but in newsrooms across the country. The oversized stereos lived in the darkroom, which meant our photographers decided what music we (they) would listen to on production nights twice a week. Classic rock was the rule – not the exception. And I truly believe my love of classic rock was born during those late nights at The Gateway.
But back to the Macintosh.
It was on those oversized Macintosh desktop machines running now-dated operating systems that I not only discovered my love of all things Apple, but my love of writing. Those computers gave me continuous opportunities to put my thoughts to “paper,” turning my interviews, observations, and experiences into articles that people read. It was an amazing and exhilarating experience I consider myself blessed to have had. So long as I kept my college classes somewhat of a priority, I could pour all of my heart and soul and energy into the one thing I discovered that I loved most: writing.
Which explains why, many years later, I lifted my shirt and lowered my skirt and paid $50 for the Apple logo to be tattooed on my lower abdomen. Many friends who learned of the tattoo chalked my gesture up to nothing short of fanaticism or even (humorous) insanity. True, I loved Apple and the Macintosh; but I also loved what the company and platform gave me: my voice as a writer.
Since my Gateway days at UNO I have exclusively owned only Macintosh laptop computers, and later added a sundry of iPods and an iPhone to my Apple family. I even waited five hours in line when Omaha’s Apple Store opened at Village Pointe in 2006. That, too, was a magical experience.
When Apple announced its first-generation iPhone in 2007, I was immediately smitten. I also was one of the many million poor saps who plunked down $500 for an iPhone. (I say poor saps because Apple announced, months later, that it was considerably slashing the price of its iPhone.) Unfair, for sure, but I paid the price us early-adopters pay: we shell out the money to touch and hold and own and experience this new piece of hardware.
Which brings me to the iPad.
Rumors have been circulating on the Internet for many years that Apple was working on a tablet-like device. With a MacBook and iPhone, I followed the conversation threads, but didn’t fancy myself someone who would actually buy this new device.
Then I saw it. Cradled in Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ well-manicured and bony hands was a thing of true technological prowess and beauty. It was called the iPad and it essentially looked like an oversized version of the iPhone I had carried for three years. The display was gorgeous, the functionality was intuitive, and the price was EXACTLY what I paid for my first iPhone.
Did I need an iPad? Of course not.
Did I want an iPad? Absolutely.
But I held out. I clenched my fists and fought every damn urge to wait in line at Omaha’s Apple Store the day this past summer they went on sale. I watched the local and national media coverage of folks who looked a lot like me, emerging from Apple Stores in cities large and small proudly suspending their new iPads in the air – akin to the manner in which Rafiki presented a newborn baby Simba in “The Lion King.” I fielded a flurry of text messages, tweets, and Facebook wall postings from folks wondering if I, too, picked up my iPad.
No, I decided to wait. I was still slightly stewing over Apple’s decision to drop the price of the iPhone and told myself the same thing could very well happen with the iPad.
While the price remained the same, I lusted after and longed for my own iPad from afar. I never went to see one in person, knowing all too well that I would walk out of the store with one, even though I couldn’t afford it. I got peppered with questions from family and friends about the iPad and, in most cases, couldn’t provide any answers to their inquiries.
“Have you seen one?” “What do you think of the display?” “What’s your favorite iPad app?” “What’s the battery life like?”
Summer passed and I encountered more iPads than I care to mention. That’s when I started saving my pennies. When a November trip to visit my sister in California fell through last week, I knew the extra money I set aside for a plane ticket would fund my new iPad.
My sister’s phone call about postponing my trip arrived around 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night. By 6 p.m. the next night – less than twenty-four hours since Katie’s call – I was walking out of the Apple Store with an iPad in hand, grinning like an idiot.
“I take back everything I said about you being normal and stable!” my sister said jokingly (I think) via text message when I told her about the iPad. “Enjoy your new toy, you crack addict.”
I meant to text her back with, “That’s Mac addict,” but I was distracted for the next seven hours playing with my new iPad. It was like Christmas Eve, carefully opening the packaging and installing app after app on my iPad. I awoke the next morning at 5 a.m., still buzzing from the Apple-induced adrenaline, and played with the iPad for another two hours.
It has now been six days since I bought my iPad, and I don’t regret the decision one bit. I still use my MacBook, iPhone and iPods (yes, I own three); but the iPad has quickly found its niche in my weird little world that revolves not around the sun, but an Apple.
[Originally written for the All Around Townley blog for Q98-Five.]