Can the iPad Get You a Date?

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The iPad is exhausting.

I've wasted hours at the office showing off applications. Here's how Netflix streams instant videos. Here's how big the keyboard is. No it doesn't have a phone, but here's how Skype works. And then there are the meetings that take 10 minutes longer with all the demo requests. The cooing and aahing when all I want to do is take notes on the virtual legal pad.

Ok, I can't say I don't like the attention. I can't say that the lines forming by my cubicle and the bursts of hyperbole don't help me justify my decision to drop $500 on a device that in many ways is just a bigger version than the iPhone in my pocket.

And I can't say it wouldn't be a great tool for finding a date.

At least that was a theory I wanted to test. On Wednesday, I conducted an experiment to see if the iPad could be the electronic equivalent of a borrowed puppy on the streets of New York.

Up until now, I've been wary about flaunting my new gadget in public. I tucked it away in a backpack. I bought a case that made it look like an oversized diary. I even considered hiding it in a magazine. But today, I brandished it on sidewalks, coffee shops, and bars in all its metallic glory.

The result? It's a babe magnet.

My first stop was a hip cafe on Sullivan Street that's usually a second home for NYU students. When I walked in, I felt the glare of a dozen eyes peering from behind Macbooks at the slender rectangle under my arm. When I sat down and tapped away at the screen, the woman next to me fired off questions. I might as well have had a chihuahua rather than a mini-computer.

I left the cafe, and was approached by two men who started drooling over the device. One told me he was a math professor who was shy and would this help him meet women? I told him about the reaction in the cafe.

I found a nearby coffee shop where I was asked about it at least five times: How heavy is it? Can I touch it? Can you read books? I gave my well-honed replies and took a seat beside a woman with a laptop. I asked her if she was getting Wi-Fi okay and the iPad became a dog again.

At the Whole Foods checkout line, it was more about stares of curiosity than outspoken comments. At a book shop called The Strand, I was accused of being sacrilegious.

My last stop was a bar in Brooklyn. Not 30 seconds after I put the iPad on a table, a self-described Apple fanboy asked to hold it. He was offering me a beer when two women emerged from behind him and screamed and pointed. They all wanted a go.

The final comment came on my way home. Crossing the road, a man in a car rolled down his window and shouted, “How much for the iPad?” I told him it wasn't for sale.

This one unscientific experiment on the streets of New York suggests success for the much-hyped device, but who knows how quickly the novelty will wear off?

Until then, if you're looking for a dating aid, leave your friend's dog alone and borrow an iPad.


Listen to reactions to the iPad around New York (recorded on an iPad application):