January 28, 2010 1 Comment
So I sorta do care, really, but at the same time I don’t.
Anyway, just in case you’ve been living under a rock today, Apple revealed their iPad. Gizmodo are having a field day with it, as you’d expect, but so are Kotaku and so are Lifehacker and, Hell, so are Defamer. This gadget is apparently relevant to lifestyles, video games and celebrity gossip. #iBradgelina, as it were.
And that’s not to mention the seething mass of squirming writhing indepedent blogs, much like ours, that are trying to get their two cents out there. I’m sure the proportion of butthurt Windows Fanboys and frothing-mouthed Apple Fanboys uniformly squash the number of people with impartial decisions. (Remember: I like to pretend that I’m impartial. And that I have some God given right to tell everyone just what I think.)
And what I think is that the iPad is a waste of time. I think it fills the niche between iPhone and Macbo- sorry; between phone and laptop pretty nicely. But I also think that it invented that niche for the sake of revolutionizing something that doesn’t need revolutionizing.
A revolution in this technological age of SCIENCE and computers and all that fun stuff can be defined by a number of criteria: efficiency, necessity and creativity. That is: if something does something that something else already does, but better, then it’s a revolution. If something makes life easier and fulfils a necessary job in that life, then it’s a revolution. If something upheaves the way we create and creatively think, that’s a revolution.
The iPad does none of these things. It doesn’t exactly make reading books any easier or more efficient. In terms of a media center, well: my iPhone is a damnside more portable and my Laptop is a damnside more versatile. Lacking mobility, I’d much rather use a Windows 7 Media Server. Funnily enough, I do.
So it’s not exactly an efficient alternative. I can see that it provides an alternative in terms of physical space – something my books and I are quickly running out of. But books aren’t necessary luxuries in the first place. They’re optional luxuries and, as far as this luxury and I go, I prefer the tangible sensation of paper and cover. The weight of the creative efforts of the author adds to the quality of the experience. But that’s all personal mumbo jumbo. The point I want to make right here is that, in failing to actively provide an improved alternative for a media platform and for reading text, it doesn’t become a necessary gadget for, well, anyone. Except Apple fanboys and people with the money to indulge in excess.
That’s two strikes in the negative, and so what’s left? Creative revolutions. This isn’t what hypertext (potentially) was to the novel. This isn’t what the novel was to screenwriting, or what Shakespeare’s playwriting was to poetry &c. This doesn’t change the way write and damned if it changes the way we read. The tangibility of the format is irrelevant and merely preference: it doesn’t really change the reading process, paper or simulation regardless. If the reading remains stagnant despite the format shift in media, then the writing doesn’t change. If nothing changes, there is not revolution.
This isn’t to mention that the iPad is just a flat exploded iPhone and this isn’t to mention that the price has to be considered on the scale of what it hopes to replace: the Netbook. 1GHz Processor and 64GB flash memory? That’s all very nice, but for $500US or more I’d like something a little bit more impressive. They want me to look at this in terms of computers, not phones, and in doing so I am less than impressed.
And, on that, it runs on the freaking iPhone OS3.0! It literally is an exploded iPhone. Granted, it’s a damnside cheaper than the iPhone and I appreciate that. But God damn it Apple: stop calling it a freaking revolution. It’s not the iPod. It’s not the iPhone. It’s superfluous and it’s nothing new.