While considering the new Apple iPad last week, I found it interesting that this was being presented not as a personal computer but as a family device – something that could sit on the kitchen counter or coffee table and be picked up and shared by everyone in the household.
I jokingly informed my partner that if I got an iPad, I wouldn't want to share it, but if he got one, I hoped he would. This actually got us thinking more deeply about the issue of sharing technological devices, both in our own lives and as a culture.
He, somewhat famously, does not have a cell phone. However, I do own an iPhone and, rather than guarding it as a personal possession, I share it. We look at apps together, pass it back and forth when the urge to Tweet arises, and I let him carry the phone on days when he needs it more than I do. Likewise, we are a one-car household (a rarity in Los Angeles) and, when possible, share and borrow tools and appliances with friends or through services like NeighborGoods.
Chances are, we will be first adopters of a single iPad and will use it in the kitchen, to replace some books in our small space, and a myriad of other potential uses. Buying an iPad doesn't make us green, but we do think this focus on a shared appliance is an interesting throwback to lighter consumption. At one time, having just one of any technological device was the norm, and then eventually the family television set, radio, phone, and computer multiplied into separate devices in everyone's room and pocket. How much of this is necessity and how much is luxury or over-consumption?
Related: AT on ... The Art of Sharing
(Image: via Graphic Mania)