The iPad timeline |

The iPad timeline

Seven days ago: My brand new iPad Air arrives only days after ordering it. I thought for sure that I’d have to wait weeks, maybe months before it showed up, but it took exactly one weekend to get to my front door. I try to savor the unboxing, but it’s my first iPad, and I’m just too excited. I tear into it with the enthusiasm of an inmate pawing apart a birthday cake to see if there’s a file inside.

Immediate impression — wow, it’s really thin.

Six days ago: No, I mean this thing is really thin. I’ve played around with friends’ iPads here and there in the past, and they seemed pretty thin to me. I had a TV in college that had a screen about the same size as an iPad. It was called a “portable” TV, yet you still needed to use both hands if you wanted to move it anywhere. So, compared with that, the iPad 2 and the iPad retina were pretty darn thin. But the iPad Air? Wow. Thin.

Five days ago: I would think the older models of iPads (soon to be known as the iPad Pudgys) are hoping that they don’t get photographed next to the Air. Be like, hey, iPad 2, better cut down on the dessert apps! Ha! No, seriously though — it’s really thin, just like all the ads say. Maybe even thinner.

Four days ago: Left new iPad on the couch, and the cat sat on it. It got kind of wrinkled, yet it still works the same as ever. What an amazing, durable, thin device.

Three days ago: Was using new iPad on the porch this morning (just like I saw someone doing in one of the commercials), and a gust of wind blew it right out of my hand. I chased it down the driveway and into the street before finally snagging it. I’ve never seen that happen in an iPad commercial, but I think it would be effective. You know, as a lighthearted demonstration of its overall thinness.

Two days ago: Accidentally tore the corner off the iPad while taking it out of the case. So thin! Aesthetically it definitely is noticeable, but I’m not sure if it’s affected performance. To be honest, it’s been kind of slow in downloading apps from day one, but that probably has to do with my lame Internet connection.

Yesterday: I was so sure that this would be the gizmo that would finally make me happy for good. True, I thought the same about my first spin-art set, my first walkie-talkie, my first Trapper Keeper, my first digital watch, my first pair of glasses that automatically got darker when I went outside, my first cassette player, my first answering machine, my first VHS player, my first cassette player in my car, my first Walkman, my first CD player, my first DVD player, my first CD player in my car, my first laptop, my first iPod, my first desktop, my first cellphone, my first iPhone — but everything just seems to pave the way for what’s next. I have this cavernous hole in my life that’s been shoveled out by consumer culture, and no matter how quickly I dump the latest and greatest whatever in it, it just wants more. One week in, and I’m bored with the iPad and ready for a new toy. What’s next, world? What are you going to feed this manufactured anemic beast of dissatisfaction that crouches within me?

Because frankly — I’m just going to say it — the iPad Air sucks! The “retina” resolution is total bulls—, the battery life is practically nonexistent, and yesterday I walked past a candle while using it, and it caught fire! What!? I slapped it out right away, but what kind of high-tech device catches fire that easily? Also, I’m pretty capable around computers, but I cannot get this thing to send email, text, FaceTime, browse — I’m not even sure I’m turning it on correctly. I thought it was just a learning curve, but this thing is crap.

And yeah, it’s thin — really thin — but so what?

This morning: Went to the Apple Web page to see about getting a refund and noticed that my new iPad hasn’t actually shipped yet. Wife asks me to check on her order of onionskin tracing paper for an art project she’s working on. Says it was supposed to have arrived a week ago.

Barry smith’s column appears Mondays. More at