Akie and I took on the iPad in this week’s Perpetual Post.
Full disclosure: I am not a Mac. I’m not really a PC either—I’m more of what you would call a ‘poor person’. But the uproar surrounding Apple’s new iPad device got me curious, so for the first time in my life, I visited the good folks at http://www.Apple.com. Once there, I noticed that there were several videos about the new iPad, but unfortunately I couldn’t get any of them to load, so had to judge Apple’s groundbreaking new product by the content they had up about it on the website.
I’m not sure about Apple’s claims that the iPad will change the way we experience the web, but maybe they meant that in a subtle way—kind of like how crazy straws have changed the way we drink juice. In any event, the iPad has certainly changed the way I look at rectangular things.
I was also ambivalent about Apple’s assertion that “with iPad, navigating the web has never been easier or more intuitive. Because you use the most natural pointing device there is: your finger.” Really, Apple? This is your pitch? As ridiculous as it is, this claim neatly summarizes the nature of the exciting and fascinating features of Apple’s newest device.
But wait—there’s more! The iPad also offers a means to…view photos! Finally my wealthier friends will have yet another way to show me their vacation pictures—and they will be bigger and more detailed than ever! Trust Apple to not see the down-side of allowing people to essentially carry entire life-sized photo albums with them at all times. Apple actually brags that: “the Photos app displays the photos in an album as though they were in a stack. Just tap the stack, and the whole album opens up.” Great! That’s my worst nightmare! I can see it now. “Oh good, yet another stack of your vacation photos. Let me just use my finger to tap it and I can spend another twenty minutes learning about ancient monuments.” Apple, after touting the benefits of my finger, you’ve just managed to make me hate it.
There’s also a GPS feature, which will make it impossible to be subtle about the fact that you’re using a GPS device to find your way around. No more slyly navigating throughout a city while surreptitiously glancing down at your cellphone or iPhone GPS program. No, the iPad helps make it clear to everyone around you that you’re lost. Still, this could be good– maybe they’ll help you out!
A prime candidate for the least likely feature to be mentioned on a website introducing the iPad would be the Calendar, which does in fact have an introductory paragraph describing its many thrilling aspects. I know what you’re saying—wait! The iPad has a calendar? Does it have ALL the days?! The answer is, probably. And you can point at them, with your finger! Because as we know, it’s the most natural pointing device there is.
Another iPad benefit which Apple hypes on its website is the fact that it has a ‘Home Screen’. As Apple redundantly explains, “The Home screen gives you one-tap access to everything on iPad. You can customize your Home screen by adding your favorite apps and websites or using your own photos as the background. And you can move apps around to arrange them in any order you want.” I assume that I’ll be moving those apps around with my finger? Because that’s the only way in which this ‘Home Screen’ differs from a little thing called a ‘Desktop’, which I’m pretty sure I’ve come across before, in pretty much every other computer ever. And frankly, if I have to pay an extra $500 in order to touch something with my finger that I ordinarily can’t, I’d rather it be during a lap dance. Touting the advantages of a ‘Home screen’ during a sales pitch for the iPad is also kind of like a real estate agent boasting that the house he’s showing you has floors.
Oh, and you can also watch videos on YouTube using the iPad. The picture on Apple.com which explains the benefits of watching YouTube videos on a 9” screen shows an image of a dog on a surfboard—which is very representational of YouTube, but it doesn’t make me want to run out and buy an iPad in light of all the full-sized surfing dog videos I’ve been missing.
In fact, nothing in Apple’s desperate pitch for the iPad made me want to buy one. Still, looking on the bright side, it did rekindle my excitement at having fingers. Hey Apple, guess which one of my fingers I’m pointing right now? Now that you mention it, I guess that DOES feel pretty natural.