WARNING: a long love letter! I've always been a pretty militant iPad detractor. A huge Apple fan to be sure, but I never understood why someone with a laptop and an iPhone would see any value whatsoever in a slightly larger version of their phone and a slightly more useless version of their laptop. A bit of a novelty factor, perhaps, but overall I really just saw them as giant money pits. I live, study, and work in Bristol, England, (and have for three years) but I am originally from Louisville, Kentucky and that is where my boyfriend of forever lives and works (for Apple). Needless to say, I am constantly on the go and as a student working on a dissertation, I'm always lugging around hundreds of pages of articles over which I pore for hours on end with a highlighter in one hand (and typically a bourbon neat in the other). Between binders full of scientific journal articles and my 13" MBP, it goes without saying that my bag gets pretty hefty at times and my shoulder often suffers for it. Long story short, I was fairly furious when my boyfriend surprised me with an iPad as an early gift for our 6th Valentine's Day together. I am home for the week and kind of broke the bank getting here so the idea of spending god knows what (I really don't know what - it's a 16GB white AT&T version but he had his discount and some old gift cards) seemed like the biggest money pit on the planet. Until I used it for five minutes. I've got iTunes Match and am all set up in the cloud between my phone and computer. Five minutes of in-store setup over wifi and I almost had the entire device tailored perfectly to my normal specifications. I bought a PDF reader/editor in the store and ported almost a hundred to-be-read articles over just to test the viability of using it for work. I'd always detested the idea of not having paper in hand. I won't miss it for a second. It has honestly revolutionized the way that I work overnight. Sorting and searching the documents is a breeze; highlighting and marking them up is just plain fun. Maybe it's just new-device puppy love but I am actually having fun writing papers that normally make me want to swallow battery acid. Pages and Numbers for the iPad are incredibly easy and intuitive, and I can honestly say that I haven't missed the tactile keyboard for a second. What used to weigh my bag down around ten pounds now weighs barely more than a paperweight. And that's just the boring stuff. While text and curved edges feel a bit **** when I've grown used to the 4S retina display, the colors and contrast are brilliant. Games and video look fantastic and the battery does not seem worse off for it--I've been watching television on it, playing games, surfing the Internet, and (grr) working on it on and off for 16 hours and it's only at 49%. I can't find enough nice words for it. As cheesy as it sounds, Steve Jobs was not exaggerating when he dubbed the iPad an entirely new "experience." There is something infinitely more pleasing about browsing websites and working in general on this thing than my MBP. Naturally, its limited functionality keeps it from being a computer replacement, but I am going to seriously consider ditching the laptop and going desktop with the iPad as my only portable device. When coupled with iTunes match and functions such as home sharing, air play, match, and of course the crazy spectrum of apps that do everything from keeping me organized to connected to entertained, it's pretty much the whole package in the perfect size and format (I can't stress enough how pleasing navigating a tablet so perfectly responsive and intuitive as this is) for anyone on the go. I won't even go into how many ways it's a more pleasant experience than the other tablets. Perhaps it's just that--an experience rather than a tablet device. Consider me a convert. If you're on the fence, take the leap. I can't imagine anyone regretting it. I can't wait for the 3 announcement so I can make the upgrade and [hopefully] get to take advantage of a display and processor more fully living up to the potential. I'm so excited to see where this takes us in the coming years.