The iPad Will Not Save Your Life, Nor Will It End It
Everybody just calm down. Shhh. Breathe easy. Here, towel off with this pair of old underpants I found under my desk chair. Let it absorb all your sweat and stress and… well, whatever other fluids are seeping out of you right now. Are you calm? Are you better? Don’t relax so much you void your bowels. I don’t want that. Nobody wants that. I just want you shhh. I just want you easy like Sunday morning.
Yes, they announced the new Apple Tablet.
Yes, it’s called the iPad.
No, it isn’t Jesus.
No, it’s also not the Devil.
Let’s talk about it like two rational human beings. I know! I know. This is the Internet. This is not the place for rational discourse. I get that. We could be executed for this transgression by the Overlords of Protocol. But this is a safe place. This is a temple.
Now, please to meet the iPad.
iThink That’s A Shitty Name
That… that is not a great name. I concede that point. Didn’t anybody ask anybody? Sure, the first thing that comes to mind is a lady’s, ahem, *points with swirling finger toward crotch and whistles* — y’know. Her monthly red algal bloom. Right? Know what I mean? Algal bloom? Red tide? Hm?
Really, though, the name comes with a world of connotations, few of them good. My mother’s dogs pee on puppy pads. Girls with bee-sting booby bumps might go ahead and “pad” their bras. “Pad” is an aging term for one’s home or hangout. To pad along is to walk quietly. A synonym for “pad” is “wad,” and if you put “dick” in front of that, well, c’mon. (Though does that mean I have a new insult? “Dickpad?” “Hey, Bill, you were a real dickpad last night. That thing with the snack bowl? Not cool, bro, not cool.”) Pad is just so passive. It isn’t even nice to say. Paaaad.
The only two positive connotations I get are “notepad,” which is a fun thing in which to write, or Pad Thai, which is the delicious national dish of Thailand.
I assume that Apple is going for the former, but really, “notebook” is far cooler than “notepad,” and right there they have the answer: iBook. Name it the goddamn iBook. It’s what they’re going for, it’s the name of the book service, so just port it right over. It’s okay if the meaning isn’t perfect. The term “iTunes” refers to software that sells a shedload more than songs. The term “iPod” is… basically meaningless.
You Do Know It’s Not A Computer, Right?
A lot of the early complaints coming out about this thing is that it’s not a robust computer, and that you can buy a netbook for like, fifteen cents and some bottlecaps or something. I get that. My mountain bike is also not a car. My dog? Not a duck. No matter how much I bemoan the fact that my dog is not a duck, it doesn’t make the comparison a reasonable one. It’s just how it is. Things are not other things.
Yes, some netbooks will do more than the iPad and it’ll do it with an equal or lesser price.
My desktop wasn’t very expensive, and it punches the shit out of my laptop, which punches the shit out of my netbook. I didn’t buy them so they could exist as one another. (Actually, full disclosure: I don’t own a netbook. Shut up, you.)
Yes, it’s a giant iPod-slash-iPhone.
Did you… expect something different?
Why would you think that?
What did you think was going to happen? Did you think you were getting a PC, maybe? Because this is Apple. This is what Apple does. It designs efficient, often aesthetically-pleasing devices that do experiences very well. Not necessary tasks, but experiences. And that’s okay. Maybe that’s not your thing. It doesn’t have to be. But don’t be angry at it. Just don’t buy it. It’s not government mandated. Obama isn’t outlawing other tablet computers. You will not be executed for owning a Windows-based netbook. I promise. Scout’s honor.
Did you think you were getting a robot? A spaceship? What?
Sure, It Has Its Problems
No camera: For me, not a problem, because I don’t give a shit. You do, and that’s okay. I expect a camera is a 2.0 kind of thing, but yes, it should’ve had it right out of the gate, just like the iPhone should’ve had cut-and-paste out of the gate. But it doesn’t. Go cry about it.
Big border: Yeah, it needs that, though, otherwise my clumsy, greasy ape fingers will fuck up the touchy-touch.
No multitasking: An odd choice, but part of me wonders what this really means. I can loosely multitask on my iPhone — if I go back to my browser, it and the many sub-browsers I’ve opened are still there, on the pages where I left ‘em. My music plays in the background, unless it’s Pandora (grumblegrumble). Yes, I have to close and open apps, which takes me approximately two more seconds than if I went to click on a tab. I can see why that might be annoying in the total, but ultimately, multitasking usually just distracts me from what I need to be doing. So, yes, it’s silly, but I also don’t know that I care.
The keyboard: I can see it being awkward, because I can’t hold it while I type. That could get goofy. I don’t know what the solution would be, though, outside an external keyboard, which you can do with the iPad. And from what I hear, a Bluetooth keyboard is good to go. More revolutionary solutions might also be more annoying and particular.
3G, AT&T, Blah Blah Blah: I wouldn’t get it with 3G, because that’s largely overrated. The 3G service doesn’t let you do everything that Wi-Fi does on the iPhone, so I dunno why I’d expect differently with the iPad. People seem to think the Wi-Fi alone is useless, but most places I’d be carrying a big ol’ piece of technology is likely to have Wi-Fi. Like, say, my house. Where I live. If I really needed it, I have AT&T. Silly, but again, not an issue for me.
No Flash: Ah! Finally one that actually annoys me. Annoys me on the iPhone, annoys me here. Well, technically, I think it supports Flash, just not in the browser, which is… kind of where it matters, so that sucks. A big brown poop mark for sticking with that hobbled version of Safari Mobile.
It Ain’t No Revolution
This isn’t a rebellion against the old. This isn’t the full-bore future. It’s not a new version, but rather, a sequel to an earlier version. A zero-point-five iteration, maybe.
Does that disappoint me? Sure. I was hoping that it would really pop, that this fucker would hum and sing and fly and give me oral favors and cast spells against my enemies. I really wanted it to kind of be the Giant Remote Control of my life and software. Walk to one room, carry my digital persona with me — organize, entertain, update, inform. Play, learn, experience. From here to there. Boom. Bam. Masturbate. Yeah.
Not so much.
It’s basically a big iPod Touch.
The question is, just because it’s not a revolution, is it worthless?
I kind of like the iPod Touch. Actually, I really like it. So a bigger version with deeper functionality… isn’t… the worst thing ever. Especially when you consider…
That Price Ain’t Half-Bad
Hey, I was expecting $1000 or more. Apple overvalues its products a lot of the time (in my humble opinion). But this? This is priced pretty well. Think what you want. I can get a big Kindle for $489, and an iPad for not much more. The Kindle is 4GB and basically does one thing. The iPad (at that price) has 16GB and does… my guess is, a whole fucking lot.
Now, to be clear, I would rather they charge more and offer a bigger, more revolutionary product. But I’d also like a pony, and that ain’t happening anytime soon, so I’m going to go ahead and try to match my expectations up to the reality and go from there.
(Though, if anybody has a line on a really cheap pony — no biters, now — I’m waving around some cash. Waaaaving it around. Just between you and me. Don’t tell the wife. She can’t read this thing, right?)
Things I Like
Nice e-reader, from what I can tell. Big screen, and it looks like a book. Further, from what I can see, you actually get an image of pages and pages left, which answers part of my problem with e-readers (in that they offer me no context regarding the book I’m reading). Plus, non-proprietary format (epub, pdf). The iBooks store should be easy to use. I prefer buying my music on Amazon because it’s cheaper, but browsing the iTunes store is more fun, so we’ll see how it ends up here. Of course, it may not matter — one way or another, the iPad is going to read Kindle books. My iPhone does. Why wouldn’t the iPad? So that’s a win, and that may be where this device has its most value: as a really amped-up e-reader.
I like that it has iWork. That intrigues me. And I think for $30, as opposed to the $80 version you’d get for a Mac computer (but my info might be wrong, there).
The battery, provided it’s not a callous lie, sounds robust. I assume since the device has more real estate, it gets bigger battery voodoo.
Users say it’s fast. Twice as fast as the iPhone. Cool.
Things I Don’t Like
As said, no Flash.
Too many adapters makes Baby Jesus kill lepers with hand grenades.
Big exposed glass screen is bad for clumsy crap-fingers like me.
It isn’t a revolution, but rather, a slow evolution.
What I Want To Do With It
I want to do a transmedia novel. A real one. A tablet-specific app with a novel bound to it that functions by itself, but used properly branches out into audio, video, game screens, graphic novel elements, and social media connections. That’s what I want to do. I think it’d be pretty cool. Anybody want to help me develop it? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
Give me a ringy-dingy.
The Verdict: Buy Or Die?
Will I get one?
Well… no. Not right now. I don’t have money just blowing around the room like windswept leaves. (And if I did, c’mon, we’ve been over this. I’d buy a pony.) That’s not to say I won’t get one eventually — I do a lot of my main work on the desktop now, and find my laptop clunky, and if that takes a dirt-nap I may go for an interim, aesthetically-pleasing solution like the iPad. (Gads, I really hate that goddamn name. iPaaaaaad. iPeed. iPood. Paaaaah. Duh. Ick.) And, if on a lark I actually get someone to help me develop this transmedia novel, then wham, I’ll get one stat.
But to be clear, I don’t think it’s a bad deal. I think it’s a good deal. Not great. Not revolutionary. But squarely in the “B-to-B+” range of potential. It certainly isn’t the second, third, or fourth coming (despite what you may have heard), but it also isn’t a plague of frogs or locusts. It’s an Apple product. It’s quirky and imperfect and cute and it will have its sycophants just as it will have its froth-lipped detractors.
I’d suggest not being either.
I’d say — y’know, just relax.
Just — shhh.
It’s time to sleep, now.
Time to take your pills.