The iPad: For the Rest of Them

January 30, 2010 at 10:47 PM Leave a comment

Blogger Fraser Speirs makes a good case for the Apple iPad as an ideal device for “them” – those who don’t get computers, but want to use something like a computer to communicate and consume media.

(The shorthand for this, I cringe to say, is “a grandma”, because there’s nothing like old+woman to convey perfectly the anti-geek stereotype. Even though my 75-year-old mom is the one of my two parents who actually knows where her files are and understands the difference between Yahoo and the Web, while my 76-year-old dad keeps a copy of every photo he has ever manipulated in Photoshop on his desktop so he doesn’t “lose” them and still doesn’t understand why I keep suggesting he go to instead of using the AOL app to read his email.) (But I digress.)

I completely agree about who the iPad is for. My dad already wants an iPhone and would have bought one already except that he barely uses his cell phone and doesn’t want a more complicated one. He will buy a $499 iPad as soon as they’re available, while I’ll buy the most expensive one because I’m already spoiled by my 3GS iPhone and won’t want to lose the always-on Internet connection.

Speirs’ other point, that the very accessibility of the iPad is what is stirring up geek-fueled fury against it, even as it stands on the brink of pushing Apple’s profits even higher and selling a gazillion units (conservative estimate), is more debatable. I don’t really think we relish those tech support phone calls, no matter what our line of work, because even in a technology role there is always something more productive to do than ask “is it plugged in?” and explain why there’s no Print option in the File menu when you don’t have an application running in the foreground that can print anything.

I think all the geek fury is not about losing control of our realm – it’s because the device we’ve been waiting and salivating over, in our blogs and our geek-centric news items, turns out to not be meant for “us” at all. It can’t do multitasking, we can’t program for it ON it (we have to use a separate computer for that), and it won’t access all media types (if you consider Flash a media type and not just a huge inconvenience – ‘nother topic, that one).

It’s for “them” – the users, the media consumers, the non-geeks. We wanted a hot Apple version of a tablet PC, not a giant iPhone. Well, we’ll just have to wait, pony up for a Mac Mini, and grin and bear it. And in the meantime, pick up a few shares of AAPL for kicks.

Entry filed under: Gadget Love.

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