I bought an iPad on day 2. I stood in line and everything. It was the first thing I’ve ever owned that most people didn’t, and it was a conversation starter for literally six months. I had strangers on the subway ask to play with it, friends always wanted me to bring it places, and I was generally the cool kid on the block. (At least, for those six months. Now you can’t sneeze without snotting up someone’s iPad, and there’s even a newer version out that all my friends have. Foiled again.)
I’ve used a variety of cases for the iPad, starting from the day I bought the device. The one that stuck was the Apple iPad Case, the black polyester-y one that I see all the time, but no case ever really did the trick. Each might add some cool feature, but each makes the iPad heavier, larger, clunkier, and uglier. I found myself, whenever someone would ask to see the iPad for the first time, taking it out of the case before handing it to them. Every time I did, the response was better—something about holding the naked iPad in your hands makes it even more impressive.
What I realized after a while was that I was actually hiding part of the iPad’s real appeal by slapping a case around it. Apple’s whole success with the iPad was that it made something light and portable, yet beautiful and useful at the same time. Its slimness and lightness, its one-hand-able-ness all make it what it is.
So I took the case off mine, and have been carrying it around without a case ever since. It feels right now. I can feel how sleek and thin it is, or how little I notice it when I’m using an app, in a way that I couldn’t when there was a flap getting in the way and the case’s sharp edges made it hard to hold. Everything about the iPad is built around making it just feel good when you use it, and I feel it now more than ever.
About six seconds after buying my latest phone, a Samsung Fascinate for Verizon, I bought a screen protector. Basically, it’s a super-thin piece of plastic that’s the exact size of my phone’s screen, and is designed to protect the screen from being scratched. Having had to get rid of two phones because they were so scratched I couldn’t even see anything, I figured I was saving myself from another premature cell phone buy by plopping down the $16.
Well, turns out I’m an idiot. Luckily Claire, my girlfriend, caught me out a while later, when she was trying to read something on my phone. She tried about eight times to wipe the screen off, and then handed it to me and said, “it’s sparkly. It’s giving me a headache to look at this screen.”
So, best-boyfriend-ever that I am, I took the screen protector off, figuring it might help a tad (or at least be some placebo that would satisfy her). I peeled off the screen protector, and held it up to look at it. Not much to look at, just a clear piece of plastic, right?
Wrong. The thing was so foggy I could barely see through it. Evidently, clarity is a worthy sacrifice for keeping your screen clear.
I’ve had the phone without a screen protector on for a couple of months now, and two amazing things have happened. One, I feel like I’m using a completely different phone, with a big, bright, attractive screen that is finally a pleasure to read on. (I’ve been carrying an iPod touch with me for months, exclusively because I hated reading on my phone. No longer.)
Two, there’s not a single scratch, or smudge, on my phone. Anywhere. Turns out that most portable devices these days are made with glass that’s extremely resistant, and it works. I’ve used my phone exactly the same as before, and it’s as good as ever.
Our gadgets, good ones anyway, were meant to be used as they were made. Not as they are, plus a couple of inches of plastic or polyester or microfiber. Good gadgets shouldn’t be hidden in a case. Good gadgets are designed on purpose, and should be treated as such. I like ‘em better that way, anyway.