I do not own a tablet computer.
I also do not own a smartphone (many of you who have seen me at events in 2012 can attest to teasing me about the miserable state of affairs of my “dumb” phone, which now goes by the nickname “Jurassic Cell” and employs technology so ancient that it was, I think, left by the Apostles and rediscovered before being sold to me by Verizon several years ago). The closest I’ve gotten to the tablet craze is lugging around what I refer to as my iPod, which is an Apple iPhone 3GS I received from a 1WD reader for free, the phone portion having been disabled. An avid reader, I still “process” e-books on my first-generation Nook (and, even more tellingly, still love it; e-ink FTW!).
By my rough calculations, this all puts me squarely into “old fart” tech territory, a status a share with about 0.0023% of the First World’s population. It might actually make me retro-cool, but probably makes me more anti-cool than anything else. Whatever - invested the several hundred bucks I haven’t spent on that tech, you beeaaatches!
Anyway, the entire world continues to go tablet crazy, to the point where there are now people who are looking to sell the iPad they bought just six months ago in order to purchase the slightly more upgraded same generation iPad announced by Apple last week. And now that Apple has joined Google, Nook, and Amazon and has entered the 7-whatever-inch tablet market (news you will already have heard, unless for some reason you’re dead), it’s been nearly universally agreed that the small tablet format (bridging the “gap” between phones and larger tablets and/or laptops) has officially arrived in terms of price/quality ratio.
What the hell does any of this have to do with wine?
A small bit, actually, but an important one for any people out there wanting to seriously up their personal Wine IQ…
You see, to really know wine, you have to taste a lot of it. Well, that and you need to bring a very open mind with you when you do taste.
And one of the most important steps to take for any budding (or even established) wine geek in all of that tasting is to take notes on what you tasted, what you liked, what you didn’t like, what moved you to screams or to tears of joy, or what didn’t move you at all.
Now, over the last few years I’ve seen people do exactly that at big tasting events, using iPads. Some, like Snooth.com’s Gregory del Piaz do that with a speed that seems almost to defy logic, and outpaces me taking similar notes using Pen + Paper Version 1.0. Vinography.com’s Alder Yarrow is pretty much never seen at a tasting event without his iPad, even cleverly employing its over-sized bulk by using one of the corners as a holder for a wine glass clip, so that his tasting glass has a home while he types his notes.
And something tells me that, given a properly-designed spreadsheet or making use of any number of a dozen or so iPad apps, I’d be able to make short work of that f*cking mess of wine samples in my basement; categorizing, organizing and logging all of them (or, rather, my intern would be ale to do all that, before she gets me coffee).
But the issue for me has always been the bulk of the iPad – it’s sort of like carrying around a laptop for a small guy with small hands like me. My trusty free iPhone 3GS can work in a pinch, but it’s so small that typing on it make me want to scream, strip naked, put my underwear on my head, punch a wall and have a psychotic episode.
So now you know where I’m going with this.
Enter the smaller-format tablets: presumably large enough to type tasting notes on effectively, large enough to view without feeling like you’re trying to stuff your entire head into the screen, and yet small enough to carry in one hand. I suspect that some of those tablets would still be big enough to house a wine glass clip, too. Just sayin’.
And so, while the Global Interweb talking heads debate if anyone will buy the iPad Mini or not, I find myself suddenly with a justifiable urge to finally join the 21st Century and enter the tablet fray, because I can se myself actually using one of them thar’ thangs within the duties of my “job” (tax deduction, baby!).
Alright, alright, that and watching Doctor Who episodes on a larger screen while I travel (those are tax deductible, too, right?).
I know some of you out there are already employing tablets in the wine tasting wild, and would love to hear your thoughts on how they work (or don’t) for you… especially if you’re using one of the smaller tablets…