Remember when you were a kid, and the amount of interest you had in something was directly proportional to how big and shiny it was?
…Welcome to the iPad.
Let me be clear – I’m a self-professed geek. I love gadgets. I obtained my iPad pretty soon after the day of release. I bought a screen protector because I didn’t want any harm to come to it. All of which should tell you how much I wanted to love it.
However, it is fairly useless.
..And I still love it.
Now calm down – I know some of you could tell me that I can take notes on it – or that I can play board games on it – or that I can use it to make me look far cooler than I actually am. Yes, there are thousands of apps already available for it. But that’s not the point. The point is – it’s pointless.
Look, there are a few products which, over the years, have been released to the general sound of the public being unsure what to do with it. (The sound is ‘uhrm?’ if you’re unsure). But if these products appeal to enough geeks/nerds/fangnuts – you find a whole industry will spring up to fill what must obviously be a gap in the market.
Let me give you an example –Texting.
First we had phones – then carphones – then mobile phones. Then, suddenly, we could text. It was exactly like talking to someone, except misspelled and it gave your thumbs cramp.
…Why would anyone, therefore, bother texting?
– Because it looks cool, that’s why.
And soon enough, phone texting lost the prefix and became known as ‘texting’. And then my kids grew up and decided there were too many vowels in the world, and now it’s ‘txtng’.
Now clearly you can’t reduce that anymore without it becoming a non-word (or ‘Welsh’, as we call it in England).
So txtng needs to find a new direction – but it won’t die because it’s still cool.
Where does txtng go when it won’t die? Twitter. That’s where.
So now I can Tweet! And Tweeting is insanely cool. Celebrities are doing it – Politicians are doing it – Musicians are doing it. Txting has successfully evolved, and now we’ve got an entirely new type of texting that goes to loads of your friends all at once. In the next couple of generations there will probably be yet another form of texting that goes to everyone and involves no keyboard at all.
…Oh no, wait. That’s shouting.
But Apple has made a living from creating things that there is no purpose for. Then a strange old man tells you that you must have one. And you buy one.
…Hm. Okay – I buy one.
And you know what? You’ll spend around two weeks desperately trying to find the things that will make it ‘click’. That will make it fit that spot in your life in which there wasn’t a gap until you bought the damn thing in the first place.
So let me tell you how well it fits in my gap. (That didn’t sound as dirty before I typed it).
1. If you have a wife who frequently threatens to kill the computer to death because it doesn’t load quickly enough – An iPad ‘just works’ so you will save yourself some frustration.
2. If you enjoy walking around with a clipboard. It’s exactly like that, but shiny.
3. If you like that iPhone app that looks like a glass of beer, and now want to drink a pitcher of beer. It’s good for that.
4. If you like looking at your own fingerprints on glass. – It’s good for that.
5. If you like Flash Video and changing batteries – It’s not very good for that.
Okay, so there are some limitations – and I may be an Apple fanboy but I understand the reasons for ‘no-flash’ and think it’s probably for the best overall.
In reality, I currently carry my iPad with me wherever I go. I’ve loaded a few videos on it so that I can watch something locally if I’m bored. I’ve downloaded a couple of books so that I can read on it if I’m bored. I’ve downloaded an App called Office2 (Squared) that allows me to read and write Word/Excel files (which is usually what makes me bored).
The form factor is perfect. The first two days are spent with your hands desperately trying to figure out how best to hold it. It usually ends in some kind of manic juggling – but presuming the iPad makes it through in once piece, your hands call a truce with it and it ‘just fits’.
I think that sums it up – It ‘fits’. And I’m sure that in about six months someone will release the thing that we don’t yet know should exist. But when it does exist, it will justify all the iPad carrying I am currently doing.
In short – Welcome to the iPad. It’s the most essential non-essential item you are ever likely to look forward to regretting buying.