Christ. I have iPad fatigue already and they’re not even in the shops. I have been debating whether to add to the ACRES of unending conjecture, speculation and in a select few cases, reasonably intelligent coverage but as I have talked about it a few times here I felt I owed you some amount of what American TV shows call ‘closure’. So here it is, all you need to know about the iPants in one handy place which you may or may not choose to ignore.
WHAT IS IT?
A huge bloody big iPhone (well actually iPod Touch as it has no phone or camera). It looks a bit daft held up, but it looks pretty cool on your lap pretending to be the New York Times.
WHAT’S IT FOR THOUGH? I ALREADY HAVE A BLOODY IPHONE.
Good question. Nobody really knows. Some have said it’s an upgrade of the portable TV. Some say it’s useless cos you can’t view porn.. I mean ‘flash’ on it.
I say, it’s a portable storefront, a touchable shop window, for Apple to sell you crap. If the iPod was their way to sell music on iTunes, the iPhone their way to sell you widgets and games via the app store, then the iPad has been designed to sell you both of those plus reading material via the iBooks store.
My favourite sci-fi blog io9 called the iPad ‘Crap Futurism’ and much of what they have to say rings scarily true. They quote sci-fi author Karl Schroeder who says “what Apple has done (again) is seize the moment with a combination of a device and a business model . .” and the writer of the piece agrees that “the iPad isn’t so much new technology as it is a shiny, pretty doorway to a mall where you can buy everything from books to movies.”
Not only that but as the article also points out, the focus is very heavily on consumption, not creativity. Lots of people are worried that if this is the future, it’s one controlled by Apple. The iPad will allow for very limited customisation and won’t run any of the programmes used by creative professionals such as adobe creative suite, or even the iLife suite which, though basic, made my MacBook such an attractive purchase. Twitter programmer Alex Payne agrees, saying that he probably wouldn’t have become a programmer if he had owned one as a kid.
Let’s face it though, Charlie Brooker is probably right as always.
“I don’t want to hear how the iPad is going to make my life simpler. I want to hear how it’ll amuse and distract me; how it plans to anaesthetise me into a numb, trancelike state. Call it the iDawdler and aggressively market it as the world’s first utterly dedicated timewasting device: an electronic sedative to rival diazepam, alcohol or television. If Apple can convince us of that, it’s got itself a hit.”
NEVER MIND ALL THAT, HAS IT SAVED THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY OR WHATEVER IT WAS YOU WERE WITTERING ON ABOUT IN THAT REALLY LONG AND POINTLESS POST YOU PUBLISHED THE OTHER DAY?
Not that I can tell. It doesn’t seem, at first glance to offer anything new for the publishing industry, as in fact it makes web browsing so easy that it might even do away with the need for a lot of the paid apps necessary on the iPhone due to the small screen.
According to Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, the death of printed reading materials has been greatly exaggerated, and Peter Preston for the same paper reckons the iPad is destined to be landfill, like so many ‘revolutionary’ gadgets before it.
A PAD IS FOR WRITING
Clearly, this video by Peter Serafinowicz is a p*ss-take. But personally, I think the iPad might be quite good if you could write on it.
A decent handwriting conversion programme does not to my knowledge exist yet, but if I could write notes using a stylus that were cleverly converted to digital text (which could be used by multiple apps like iWork, Simplenote, WordPress etc), I could really see the iPad being useful for writers & bloggers, freeing us from the tyranny of the RSI inducing keyboard and mouse (multitouchscreens are probably even worse for RSI) and thus being more than just another way of consuming the web.
However the fact that a keyboard dock has already been announced makes me think this is some way off.
As for its other obvious fault, apparently the ability to use more than one app at once may be on the way in the next iPhone upgrade (and therefore the iPad as they use the same OS).
So, in conclusion, do I want one? Yes. Do I need one or can I come up with a justifiable reason to get one? Not really.
Finally, Patrick Jordan of Just Another iPhone Blog, who I’ve written for in the past, was interviewed on ABC news before and after the announcement, alongside a couple of other Mac bloggers. I think he did a cracking job. And he’s already set up a sister site called – yes you guessed it, Just Another iPad Blog – so I will be reading that with great interest in case they can come up with a decent excuse for buying one…