I have been reading missals since my feet barely touched the church floor while sitting in the pews. While not exclusive to Catholic churches, but extensively used there, missals are the blueprint to any service. They contain readings, prayers, psalms and the order of the service. Some missals are missal/hymnal hybrids; some are printed in large print; others are bilingual (usually Spanish/English, as is the case in my church). Oregon Catholic Press is one of the bigger publishers of our missals.
Priests also have their own missals. You'd be surprised at the age of some of these things. Some are barely hanging on by a thread — literally. The binding is coming off, and all that's keeping the cover from falling off is a single, white thread.
Enter the iPad.
A Vatican consultant with an awesome Italian name, the Rev. Paolo Padrini, has launched a free iPad app that he says "will contain the complete Roman missal." Padrini is a consultant with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications — or the office that advises the pope on all things that have to do with the political and societal aspects of communication and how they relate to the church.
Padrini's idea is to have the complete missal available on an iPad so that priests can travel with it, preventing the possibility that they would have to use a worn-out missal at their host church. I would also expect that parishioners themselves would be turned on to the idea of having a missal on an iPad.
Great idea for priests? Sure, if you don't mind lugging around an extra piece of expensive equipment (in addition to your cell phone, your laptop and your sacramental kit). So what if it's worn and torn? For me, if I were a priest, I'd take comfort in the fact the book has been loved and used by countless priests before me.