Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Insanely, Fantastically, Brilliantly Amazing

One thing about the January 27th launch of the Apple iPad clashing with President Obama's first State of the Union address was that they both focused on Jobs.

And check out the awesome enthusiasm Steve Jobs and his team have for their new baby in this video!

A lot of hype and hyped-up criticism have accompanied the launch of the iPad. Nothing new there. Apple attracted lots of criticism with the launch of the iPod in 2001 (total sales: 220 million) and the iPhone in 2007 (total sales: 34 million). They centered on a perceived lack of functionality. So it's not surprising to hear gripes that iPad doesn't support HDMI or Flash graphics, or have a built-in camera.

The critics have missed the point. The iPad is not a netbook or scaled-down laptop. In fact, it is only a distant relative to the traditional PC or Mac. Instead, its lineage is the DVD player, the VCR, the television set, the radio, the newspaper, the telephone, the telegraph. It is not a workhorse loaded up with functions and hardware. It is a platform for story-telling, interactive, personal and immediate.

The story of human technology is the relentless advance in the direction of greater utility, connectivity, immediacy, affordability and flexibility. The iPad represents a quantum leap in that direction.

We want to communicate with each other, cheaply and easily. We want information where and when we need it. We want to be entertained and to entertain ourselves. We want to get closer to the people and the things we love. The iPad promises to do that. Technology that fails to serve that purpose is just a gadget, suitable for little more than collecting dust.

There's an interesting blog post in the NY Times predicting that the iPad will become an irresistible toy for children because kids will love the tactile nature of the device (they love to jab at things!), 'painting' software allows for mess-free splatter, it’s an ideal distraction for car trips, and the screen offers endless story opportunities. I couldn't agree more, but the author could go even further: They are pretty compelling reasons for adults to get their hands on an iPad, too.

3 comments:

observant said...

A Reality Check on Fantastic iPad

All sound interesting yet I would like to highlight two points from a different perspective, amidst this euphoria of a potential new toy for everyone, for a reality check if you will:

1) I find it a little ironic that it was only 26 years ago when a Mac commercial was throwing a hammer at the only wide screen which was apparently broadcasting wisdom from a controlling big brother watching all. Now, in 2010, we find ourselves possibly witnessing the evolution of another screen, in my view, the next episode of an ongoing attempt to converge all digital data through a single frame basically managed and led by a single corporation.

I don’t mind wearing that frame to enhance human potential but I am a little cautious about where this evolution may ultimately be taking humanity. Can an all-converging data frame bring its own biases, oversight and idiosyncrasies with it that may shape our thoughts and views beyond our comfort in the near future? If so, how does such a development affect our privacy and individuality?

2) It is highly unlikely that technology will replace the most essential elements of being human, a strong handshake from someone you meet, a real basketball game on a real court with friends, or celebrating birthdays with family and friends in a real bar, any time soon if ever.

I warmly welcome technology that enables and improves human capabilities. Regardless, let us not also forget to unplug ourselves as often as possible to share real human experiences as it gets more and more difficult to do so with new enticing tech gadgets that come more and more between us and the real world out there.

Elle Fagan said...

I like the iPad, almost as much as Kevin Robert's writing. Thanks for this fine article!

New York Time's David Pogue in his "Circuits" column said the right things about iPad, too! He noted the algorithm-of-a-sort about the way of it with Apple's announcements of new tech. The spin at introduction, followed by a wave of critique and then the identity of the item takes its glowing place among Apple's innovations.

I don't own an iPad and may not, but can appreciate its "integration in a life", as Mister Roberts said, on another topic in an earlier newsletter.

Tahmina said...

Well after reading this blog, i feel like i should be owning one ipad myself. i just wish it was far more available in my country, bangladesh.

nitu