Home > Marketing, Personal > Be Disappointed. Protest. But You Will Buy an Apple iPad

Be Disappointed. Protest. But You Will Buy an Apple iPad

Far be it for me to advise you to otherwise follow your instinct and be either disappointed, subdued or even downright antagonistic towards the Apple iPad.

It’s inevitable such hype surrounding the launch of a physical piece of kit will inspire these emotions and more. Yet when the dust settles, after all the bloggers and pundits have their say, the ultimate verdict will be inevitable: the iPad is yet another inspired offering from Apple.

Mr. Jobs – no dummy when it comes to product development – got the obvious out the way immediately during his January launch presentation: there is a gaping hole between the fixed, large investment hardware of a desktop or laptop computer and the nimble, pocket-sized mobile phone.

That the iPad sits somewhere in between both of these traditional, clearly-defined sets of hardware is self-evident and, for all Mr. Jobs’s gloss, there is a tension between the two which any device attempting to bridge the divide will unquestioningly inherit.

The Purpose

The answer to the question about the purpose of the iPad is both the most obvious and least relevant. It’s a computer.

There are much larger forces at work with the arrival of the iPad which make perfect sense when seen in the context of the other products Apple have launched the past five years. In many ways, the iPad is the culmination of a decade of strategic shift.

I owned a Blackberry Pearl, which I loved. It was sleek, feature-rich and efficient. Yet there isn’t an amount of money you could pay me to take it back over my iPhone.

This is the implicit understanding of any iPhone owner; it is not a perfect device, but compared with that which preceded it, the world unlocked by the shining iPhone is indisputably better; any regression is inconceivable.

Ultimately, Apple’s endeavour is clear: the iPad is the next step in its impressive quest to redefine the entire ecosystem of consumer hardware.

This is: our personal communication and mobile network access device, in the iPhone; the fixed workstation, in its established Macintosh product line; and, crucially, the device to for all our other needs, the small, filler, pottering-about-the-house tasks which demand a versatile tool to fit precisely the job at hand.

Could an existing device fit the third space? Of course: the iPhone would quite easily display recipes in the kitchen, and the laptop has been a staple on the sofa for some time.

Appliance Computing

But Apple is steering us through the next stage in our evolution as media consumers and producers. Today our needs are sophisticated enough to demand a mixture of devices.

We will look back on this period as the time when we, kicking and screaming, vaulted from simple, two-dimensional computing experiences – defined largely for a single screen – to a multi-dimensional experience across an entire suite of products. In other words, we are moving into the era of appliance computing.

In the same way we happily make space for two electrical agents in our kitchens, an oven and a toaster, equally capable of heating bread, we’ll have an iBook and an iPad. We’ll use one for work and the other to look up Callum Keith Rennie in IMDB while we’re slouched on the sofa whilst watching telly.

Apple paved the way for this reality by sneaking a second computer into your life without you even realising it. The iPhone is really just a small PC that happens to make (dubious-quality) phone calls. See? You’re already down the slippery slope of grotesquely excessive hardware ownership.

So protest all you like. But you will get an iPad.

Callum Keith Rennie

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