Sharing with an iPad

Last night, I saw Ira Glass (NPR: This American Life) live at the theater. It was a thoroughly enjoyable exploration into the background and development of stories.

What does this have to do with being a father, you ask? Well, the connection is there, albeit tangentially. I’ll get there – eventually.

Beyond his storytelling, I found his use of an iPad on stage to be fascinating. Each time he needed the actual audio from a previous piece, he tapped it up as he was talking and walking about the stage. He also used music for effect and transition. A one man show almost! (Yeah, I know there are many more behind the scenes, but it appeared to be just him.)

It wasn’t just the set pieces he was able to call up, as scripted. During the question and answer segment at the end, his answers were often effectively augmented by audio segments he tapped up on the fly.

It’s more than Ira Glass too. I’ve watched a couple of new television shows this fall to see there is anything new worth watching. (There isn’t.) But it is amazing how many crimes are solved or stories told via iPads.

My wife got one this summer. One of her first downloaded apps was a drawing app for our daughter. She took to it instantaneously, drawing with her finger tips intuitively. Another move instinctively learned was the left elbow push off, as if to say “Daddy, leave it alone; I’ve got this all by myself.” Indeed she does.

I got mine last month. Of course, I have the same drawing app. Our daughter is moving past just the drawing app. She likes to snuggle up next to me as we angle for control of the iPad. She especially likes the television remote control app.

Of course, as with any new hot gadget, you can go overboard in using it. But the scope of new communication and connectivity metaphors is amazing. I wonder if we’ll be a three iPad family by Christmas.

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