I was on the tube today and I thought I’d take the opportunity to try out the iPad. Whilst the device performed admirably, I’m afraid it doesn’t quite cut it on the London Underground.
Unfortunately it’s just too new, too amazing, too eye-catching. I took it out and immediately folk were glued to it. People stopped their conversations to stare. I did my best to try and use it as nonchalantly as I could, but it got too much on a crowded carriage.
When the crowd lightened off I took this video:
That’s me pulling out the iPad, using it for a moment then chickening out. Quite apart from the utter amazement and ‘oh, is that the iPad’ comments, it is not at all private. Not when someone is sitting *right* next to you. They don’t even have to work hard to stare. It’s right there in front of them.
So if you’re watching a movie — as I tried to do — they can watch too. In fact half the carriage can watch, without the sound. It’s a heck of a lot more personal when you’re simply watching your iPhone. But with the iPad, it’s a super experience. So everyone else simply cannot help watching along.
I don’t like that.
Also, they can read your email. I tried using the email client until I got annoyed with the chap staring at the device and reading sequentially through the subject headers of the email. He was so drawn to the device that he didn’t notice me glaring at him out of the corner of my eye.
I think it’s fine to keep in your bag and use at meetings (again, with the inevitable ‘ohmigod’ crowd-round-and-look comments) but not on the tube. Not right now. Not until everyone’s got ’em. And not unless you can get a decent seat. It’d be fine on the train in First Class. But again, if your morning commute involves being packed into a carriage with 100 other people, the iPad is going to seem really unwieldy and rather annoying compared to the iPhone.