The day Apple’s iPad went on sale in Apple stores nationwide — April 3 —Jimmy Abbott’s was shipped to his home in Indianola.
He’d ordered his on March 12, within hours of when Apple began taking pre-orders.
As the owner of an iMac, an Apple laptop and an iPhone, he had to have the latest gadget after watching Apple chief executive Steve Jobs’ demonstration earlier this winter.
“I said ‘Oh, I need that,” Abbott said.
Millions of other Americans did as well, apparently: Apple sold a million iPads in 28 days, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the company’s stock has more than doubled in the past year.
Abbott clearly isn’t the only consumer buying into the Apple craze: the newspaper also reported that Apple sold more than half a million iPads during the first week of availability.
Abbott worked on Apples for decades as editor and publisher of the Indianola Enterprise-Tocsin. He retired in 2008 after 38 years with the Indianola newspaper and was inducted into the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
“Never did we have an Apple break or a virus in all those years,” Abbott said.
The longtime newspaper man said the iPad is convenient for recent retirees.
“…For people who are sitting at home in an E-Z chair watching TV, it’s easier to use than sitting at a desk or using a laptop,” he said. “It’s wonderful. I can eat my cereal and be reading a bunch of newspapers or get comfortable sitting up in my bed watching Joe Scarborough with a pillow on my lap reading the Memphis Commercial Appeal or USA Today.”
A “news junkie,” Abbott said he’s kept up-to-date on the oil spill in the Gulf Coast by reading newspapers in New Orleans, Gulfport and Pensacola on his iPad.
Other features he likes are the bright, high-resolution LED touchscreen and keyboard that are bigger and better than those on the iPhone.
As a volunteer for the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Abbott is sometimes asked to write or edit news releases, which he does from the iPad using Pages, a word processing program that enables documents to be saved as a word file or PDF.
Abbott also likes the free books that can be downloaded in seconds.
He said a friend was skeptical about what books Abbott could find for free.
“He said I bet you can’t get ‘Democracy in America,’ and I said, ‘Well. Let’s just see. Would it be under politics, history?’”
Within two or three seconds, Abbott said, he’d found and downloaded the 600-plus page book.
“He couldn’t believe it — for free,” Abbott said. “It’s fun to show it off.”
Abbott also uses the iPad for music, photography and video downloads. He uses his Netflix account to download and watch movies on the mini-computer.
Another “Apple acolyte” is Connie Gibbons, founding director and consultant of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.
Gibbons bought her iPad about a month ago from the Apple store in Ridgeland.
“I just love how the system operates,” she said, describing her affinity for Apple products.
Before purchasing the iPad, Gibbons owned Apple’s Macbook laptop.
“I travel a lot, and always carry a computer with me, which is a pain,” she said. “But the iPad is really great for travel…I can put it in my purse and work from wherever I am on the iPad.”
An application especially useful for the on-the-go professional helps Gibbons keep track of mileage and expense receipts.
“You know, usually you come home with all these little bits of paper you’re trying to keep up with, and now I’m able to keep tabs right there on the iPad.”
She also gets her world news, reading the New York Times, NPR and the Wall Street Journal, via the iPad.
“It’s incredible how accessible all that is,” she said.
Of course, the iPad serves up its share of fun, too.
Abbott said he’s enjoying a magic piano and drum set application as well as pinball and airplane-flying games.
“There are some really fun applications,” he said. “It’s cool.”
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