Friday, May 14, 2010

First look at the iPad (Daily Photo 5.14.10)

Like it? 
I've been meaning to get my filthy little hobbit-sized hands on an iPad since they've been released, because any device with the potential to revitalize the publishing industry is something I'm interested in. Only now have I gotten a free minute to hit my local Apple Store to try one.

There are loads of intelligent and discerning iPad reviews out there, so I'll only share a few thoughts starting with my conclusion: Fucking brilliant, but I don't need one.

The interface is beautiful, elegant. After a few seconds I was all over the screen like a pro. I had been expecting to need to use exaggerated finger gestures to get it to do what I wanted, but a slight glancing touch does the job. I began to wonder why computers have been tethered to mice for so long instead of interacting with our fingers directly on the screen -- it's a much more direct-brain experience. You want to click something? You reach out and touch it, as opposed to moving the mouse cursor in relative space.

I don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch, so I have no experience with apps. The iPads Nik and I tried were loaded with some fantastic ones -- predictably for us, we spent most of our time looking at iBooks (excellent) and some art history app with loads of images pre-loaded (incredible). Pictured above is Nik playing with the art app, zooming in to check out cracks in the paint and brush-strokes. The images were, unfortunately, pretty low-res JPGs but they're good enough for light study, appreciation, and research. To be honest, there are very few high-res images of classic art available online anyway. It didn't come with the awesome "Alice in Wonderland" iBook, but we did see some other illustrated young adult books that look great.


I checked out an AP news app, found some story about Regis Philbin, got bored, and moved on. When I'm not in the office, don't fucking bother me with news.

It's a pretty fantastic device as is with room to improve. We still don't need one though. Both of us have MacBook Pros that we love that do exactly we need them to do. We wouldn't use the iBooks app because we use Audible.com to read books lately. But we can see how a lot of other people could benefit from having a small, easy-to-use netbook-like device.

I'm of the opinion that most regular people are in the habit of buying too much computer. The average person today only needs a machine that gives them (1) email, (2) an Internet browser, (3) some light word processing, and (4) games. That's what you get in an iPad, and that's about it. What else does the average non-nerd consumer need? Space for music? Fuck it -- stream it online. Don't bother owning music anymore -- that's so 20th century. Hell, if you have (2), just fire up Google Docs and you've got (3). It doesn't support Flash, so a lot of (4) are out, but there are tons of other game apps to keep you busy.  What -- you're upset because if you want to put an app on there you have to buy it from Apple? Suck it up. That's how life works. When's the last time you could put an Xbox-exclusive game in your Wii?  When's the last time you put your money in Citibank and tried to withdraw it from Bank of America? When's the last time you went to McDonald's and demanded a KFC Snacker?

I don't think it's for everyone, and it's not perfect, but it's gorgeous and does what it does really well. If I happen to find $500 lying around in the gutter, I'll buy one to have as a toy. Or, if anyone out there would like to give me one for free out of sheer generosity, the email is blackfonzie at gmail dot com. No spammers, please.

3 comments:

Melissa H said...

I feel essentially the same way. I *do* have an iPhone, and I have an ancient iBook G4 that works just fine for me, thankyouverymuch. Why do I need a really big, breakable iPhone without phone capabilities (not to mention that I would go nuts typing on that damn thing all the time).

funderson said...

I so want one, but I LIKE books..paper ones. I'm not sure I can let them go

Dan said...

Melissa: One thing I had to get used to when the iPad keyboard pops up: I'm a touch-typist and I couldn't rest my fingers on the home keys or what comes out looks likeksdafjaj thislkajfkja;ldfj.

Funderson: I love paper books too. I have hundreds and hundreds of them in my house, in every room. I love the smell and feel. But I like the idea of having books on different kinds of media for different purposes (the Alice ibook is a perfect example), not necessarily to replace paper.

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