Steve Jobs is trying to take over the world
Okay, so maybe it’s kind of cool. But, magical? I think not. I don’t see any bunnies springing into incarnation from the iPad screen and I’m pretty sure that’s never going to happen.
Still, the iPad’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive calls the glorified iPod Touch “magical.” The Apple folks are really proud of their new doodad and of course they would be since they think they’ve reincarnated the tablet, a device that may have only ever been a good idea in theory.
The iPad seems like it could be a fun gadget if you’re a tech wiz and feel the need to expand your arsenal of Apple paraphernalia. As for the hype? Highly unnecessary. Even investors are disappointed: Apple dropped 3.6 percent just two days after the gizmo’s unveiling, according to the LA Times’ Technology blog.
Maybe years from now we’ll look back and see this generation of the iPad as the predecessor of even more magical devices, but for now, the iPad is just a toy. A shiny expensive toy. But if got a major discount on that $499 price tag, I’d be more inclined to buy it knowing full well I have no need for it.
In the iPad intro video, the Apple team claims that the iPad is the best way to browse the web and feels better than a book or magazine. Now I haven’t manipulated the thing myself, but I don’t like the idea of kicking back with a hunk of metal rather than a good book. And unless the next generation of books will include multimedia (like what we’re trying to do new stories) I’m sticking to my paperbacks. But the Apple team still seems most proud of the iBooks component and though it’s cool in theory, it’s just another obstacle legacy media companies need to deal with in the digital age. The iPad is not revolutionizing the publishing industry. Time.com writer Peter Ha said it best, “Apple is simply providing the industry with a vehicle to deliver their content on yet another device.” It’s just taking book and magazine publishers a little while to catch up with the dwindling digital status of the newspaper.
So if it isn’t used as a book, magazine, music or App store, can it still be compared to a laptop? Yes and no. It may be just as fast (assuming you’re on a reliable WiFi network) and its battery life may last longer than your laptop, but the iPad has a fraction of the hard disk space of a competitively priced generic laptop/PC. Granted, the PC may not be able to make the same swishy screen changes or simulate race car driving, but what it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in practicality. You also can’t comfortably mount the iPad to a desk without feeling like you’re playing an old school arcade game a la Frogger and PacMan. It doesn’t make phone calls or take pictures either. But, hey, we still expect more that that from our measly cell phones. We’re creating a demand for new-fangled technology without realizing that each iteration is only a minor improvement on the previous one. But I guess they call that progress.