So this past week Apple unveiled their newest creation the iPad. As with ALL newly unveiled Apple products there was much disappointment and bitching by the Apple haters of the world. Let's get to the crux of what the haters are standing on.
It's a giant iPod Touch.
That's it. People don't like it because they perceive it to just be a huge iPod Touch with a much bigger screen and price tag; nothing new, whatsoever. I won't argue that from an aesthetic and possibly even current functionality standpoint the iPad is anything more than an iPod Touch, but is that such a bad thing? I mean it's larger and allows the user to interact with, input and experience things on the device that they never could on an iPod Touch. You can edit photos on the Touch, create a symphony and draw out blueprints for your new house on the touch but would you? Why stop there. Did you know that you can compose a 500-page book on your Motorola RAZR flip-phone using the T9 text input method? I mean why do we need the iPad if these arcane, inferior devices can already do this stuff??
Think about the iPod. That device was created 9 years ago. 9 years...and now it is the de facto portable music device, a name as ubiquitous as Kleenex or Xerox. The development of that device is staggering...yet people want to call the iPad a failure before it even hits the shelves? If there's 1 thing you ever learn from this blog, learn this: people always have and always will be DUMB.
Hi. We're the iPods. We're 9 years old and we rule the world.
People also complain about the features, or lack thereof. This boils down to a huge misconception over what the iPad was going to be and a difference between certain individual expectations and what was originally planned by the people that actually developed the product.See, the haters wanted the iPad to basically be an iMac or MacBook without a keyboard; a fully functional computer that could replace your current machine. In fact, the iPad is meant to augment your desktop and/or laptop computer by providing certain mobile functionality that the form factor of a laptop cannot provide, or more accurately, provide as well as the iPad can.
Bear in mind, it was all rumors and conjecture. Apple until the actual day of the unveiling event hadn't made 1 public statement about iPad; it was one of the closest held secrets in the history of computing and all the specs, functionality, release date and such were placed on the iPad by the public at large, not Apple. Hell, Apple even created a Delaware LLC to register certain trademarks prior to the launch. The name of that company? "IP Application Development, LLC." Get it? IPAD.
The final complaint is that Steve Jobs claims that this product is "revolutionary" and probably the most important product he's worked on, which when you think the thing is just a big iPod Touch makes sense. What people fail to recognize is that Rome wasn't built in a day; they view development like the alphabet and believe that anything less than "Z" is a failure. The iPad hit like a "K" and that's totally fine, maybe even expected.
Think back to 1984 when Apple released the Macintosh. There were computers that were faster, had better monitors, more features, etc. That product was revolutionary and while you sort of understood that at the time it took years and years of further development to realize what the original Macintosh was: truly revolutionary. I believe in 10 years we will look back at the iPad and Steve Jobs and say "that sonuvabitch did it again." We don't realize that something is revolutionary until after the fact when it's been proven; look at the Macintosh. The potential of this device (whether you think it's a giant iPod Touch or not) is immense.
Imagine the applications in academia, where Apple decided to focus it's efforts 30+ years ago. Think about carrying around this device and having all your textbooks on it...from every semester you were in school. Furthermore, imagine the possibilities of multimedia textbooks. Chemistry students could be reading about various compounds and have a 3D, interactive display to learn from in the classroom or wherever they may be. Music students can compose directly on the tablet and collaborate in real time with other students in schools thousands of miles away, art students can have fully interactive versions of the worlds greatest works...I mean the possibilities in academia are endless. Fancy yourself a chef? How cool would it be to have a recipe with videos demonstrating various steps in the recipe like how to tie up a roast or the correct technique for folding egg whites into a souffle?
Can other devices (including laptops) do these things already? Sure. But can they do it as well as the iPad will? No way. I keep coming back to the original Macintosh and how similar this device is from a "revolutionary" standpoint. Apple's ability to innovate and lead the world from a technology perspective is absolute and anyone who thinks that the iPad is a failure, not revolutionary or that it's just a giant iPod Touch is a fool and I ask that you go back to Windows 95 or Windows ME where you belong.
Does it have shortcomings? You bet. Is it something I would buy right away? Probably not; I want to see how well it does out of the gate and where they focus development efforts and then hop on board. Bear in mind that I LOVE being on the bleeding edge of technology and have purchased the first generation of more technologies than I care to admit so maybe I will jump right in but I still think there are a few things I'd like to see Apple address and I'd also like to see if they decide to make the wireless capabilities available to other carriers besides AT&T as I fear that this is going to piss people off even more than they already are with the iPhone exclusivity. In the long run this will damper the 3rd party development efforts of this device, which is where the true potential lies.
Assuming you made it this far, you need to watch this awesome video by Parry Gripp from the band Nerf Herder. He makes all these super fun, catchy songs about the most random things and the iPad was his latest inspration. Listen to the lyrics. While they are really silly and comparing the iPad to nachos may seem ridiculous, the message is actually pretty spot on...