With all this fuss about the new Apple tablet, you’d think they had cured world hunger or something. Admittedly, it is a pretty sweet piece of technology, but what exactly is it and do we really need it? And for cryin’ out loud, why in the world did they name it iPad?
There was a lot of speculation going on before the Apple event took place on Wednesday in San Francisco. Everyone had their own ideas about what the tablet would look like, what it would do, how big the screen would be, and how much it would cost. Now we know. Some things we got right. Some rumors were way off base. I for one thought it was going to be powered by unicorn blood. I’m here to say that I was wrong. There, I said it.
Basically, we all have high expectations going into an Apple event. We usually come out awed and impressed, but still a little wanting. This event was no different. I mean, yeah the iPad has a full touch screen and you can play all of your favorite iPhone and iPod games on it. But what about this whole gesturing system that we had been hearing about? As far as I can tell, it’s just a bunch of swiping. Easier to learn, yes, but not as exciting. And what’s the point of having full access to the internet with a 3G connection when the connection is coming from THE WORST NETWORK EVER?
Okay, okay, calm down Sydney. Like you said, it is a nice piece of technology. It’s true too. The iPad takes multimedia access to a whole new level. As one blogger put it, it’s sometimes a hassle to pull out your laptop, power it on, and get comfortable on your couch every time you want to do some casual internet surfing. Now you just can slide out the 1.5 pound (24 ounces) iPad, tap around a little bit, and you’ve got full access to it all. Not only that, but Apple has taken the eBook idea and put their own touch to it. (Get it, touch? ‘Cause it’s a touch screen. I know. I crack myself up.) The iBook app makes buying and reading a book convenient and easy.
Now, if you watch the official iPad video, they say that it is “the best web-surfing experience, the best e-mail experience, the best photo and movie-watching experience” and that “with a screen this large you can just see more of the web.” I don’t really know about that claim to seeing “more” of the web. I mean, the screen size is only 9.7 inches so you could easily see “more” of the web with a 15-inch laptop. And the “best movie-watching experience”? Have you seen some of the wide screen TVs at Best Buy? Not only that, but I don’t really examine the e-mail client when I buy a laptop. It’s e-mail. How difficult could it be? Of course, I have used many phones that used a horrible e-mail client, so I guess I could give Apple credit for doing this. Considering it’s not a full computer, they’ve done well in supplying us with a competent e-mail set up.
Okay, now I know that everyone has already mentioned this next part and that some people have said that it doesn’t matter to them. (*cough*Noah*cough) However, not being able to multi-task is a huge deal to me. Not because I’m a geek, but because sometimes, and call me crazy, but sometimes I like going from my e-mail to the internet and back again. Maybe sometimes I like flipping between two different websites or, while I’m waiting for a YouTube video to load, being able to check out what video to watch next. It’s what we do. In all honesty, and to be fair, I didn’t think that the lack of mutli-tasking on the iPhone really bothered me either - until I used a device that could do it. That’s just me though. I mean, maybe you’re not the type of person that can do two or three things at once. (Don’t be so sensitive. This isn’t personal.) If that’s the case, then the lack of the ability to multitask won’t bother you.
So what it really comes down to (for me, at least) is do you really need it? No. No, you don’t. Don’t try to rationalize and tell yourself that you do. Is it something that you could really want and have fun with? Yeah, absolutely. And that’s how you have to look at it. It’s not a productivity device. I don’t care if they revamped iWork or if it has one of the best calendar apps in the world. It’s not made for work. Like Noah said in his article (yes, we agree on Apple stuff….occasionally) it’s a gadget, something to have fun with and carry as an accessory. Surf the web, read some books, watch a few movies, check out the latest news headlines, and then get back to your life. That’s what it’s for. If you love this product for that reason and decide to buy it based on that, I can respect your decision. If you’re trying to sell it to me as a portable computer that revolutionizes the way we live our lives, get serious man. It’s a giant iPhone. A toy. Why do you think they used the word “magical”? Do you ever use the word magical when you’re talking about work or getting stuff done? No. So my problem isn’t with the iPad itself. I think it’s cool and fun and sexy, etc. I even want one. My problem is with the way they’re trying to sell it. If the marketing team would just get real, I’d be fine.
The next big question that everyone has been wondering is whether Apple created a new category of devices. Is this the start of yet another battle of the technology companies to create the greatest product? I’ll address that in another article so keep your eyes open for it.
Personally, I’m actually more surprised by the response of people to this product than the product itself. I honestly thought that people would be excited about this device no matter what it did or looked like. Instead, people seem to be as skeptical as I usually am. (Secretly, and this just between you and me, that makes me smile inside.) What do you think? Once the dust dies down, will people accept it as a cool gadget and add it to their wish list? Or will it fade off into oblivion? Leave your comment below and let me know.