Friday, April 2, 2010

Which contains some unbelievably useful information ...

... if, like me, you are craving an iPad but feel it might be a tad excessive and self-indulgent to get one (see first question). This is an extract from my hero and technosaviour David Pogue's weekly Personal Tech column for the New York Times, whose expanded email version has just turned up in my mail.

All the main questions I had about it are answered right here. Pogue, like me, is a tad bewildered as to why this paradigm-breaking bit of gear is being criticised for not being an ordinary computer. D'oh.

Q: Am I really supposed to buy this thing when I already have a laptop and an iPhone?

A: It always surprises me how many people are made indignant by the very thought of the iPad, as though Congress passed a law that requires you to buy one!

You're not, as it turns out. Buying one is totally optional.

That said, the question is a little odd, because the iPad really is very different from a laptop or an iPhone. I guess people have a lot of trouble with the idea that it's a new category, something unlike anything they've used before. All people can do is compare it in their heads with stuff they HAVE used before.

But I'm telling you, the multitouch screen/software makes it very, very different from a laptop, and the screen size makes it very, very different from an iPhone. It's something entirely new. So yes, if it appeals to you, you'd have to buy it in addition to your laptop or iPhone.

All the same, I have to admit that the Bloke (who is himself incorrigibly gadget-minded, so this was actually quite a shocking question, coming from him) had a point when he asked what I planned to use it for, and I'm not quick-witted enough to have replied by asking why utility need be the only criterion for possession-lust (for, after all, it usually is not). Or to have invoked one of my favourite quotations: 'How do I know what I think till I see what I say?'


elsewhere said...

That was all very reassuring, given that I already have three laptops (all with different purposes), an iPhone, an iTouch and two iPods (all with very different functions, of course).

I avoided the Kindle, and hoped that doing so might provide more reason to buy an iPad.

Nigel said...

I bought a new mobile phone today and after two hours of trying to learn all the buttons and functions and everything else it can do I threw it across the room and then plonked myself down on the couch and read the newspaper, and then kept reading 'In Cold Blood'. An hour later I felt much better. So - to preserve any sense of domestic harmony around these parts - I've had to swear off buying any new gadgets until I've mastered the ones I already have. I think this will be better for all concerned.

Bernice said...


Saint Furious said...

I don't understand why people complain about the iPad concept either. I think it's brilliant.

My 70+ year old Mum plans to get one as soon as they become available - it will be her first computer.

That it is not a multi-tasking computer, with a complex interface is what she finds compelling about it - all the nay-sayers don't seem to get that. She wants a media-viewer - that's all. As it happens she will get a lot more than that, but if the interface is similar to the iPhone, she'll work all that stuff out soon enough. I reckon her demographic is actually a pretty big untapped market, that the iPad might capture. The older rellies from the country look in wonder when they see my's a bit like when they saw an avocado for the first time [so exotic back in the day!]'s like they want to be skeptical, but their intrigued enough to try it. heh.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

St Furious, I was thinking the same thing about my dad. You should have seen his face on the birthday before last (82nd) when he'd forbidden us to spend money on presents and in a fit of inspiration I asked him over birthday cake if he could listen to any song at all right at this very minute, what would it be? So he named some very cool swing thing from about 1942 and I downloaded it to the iPhone for $1.69 and played it for him. When they say they don't want presents you have to get round them one way or another.

Anonymous said...

The iPad is a killer e-reader, beautiful and scaleable resolution. Which makes it ideal for people who want to read things from everywhere - New York Times, Project Gutenberg... Seems to have superfast photo processing, as well. Not really for writing novels on, but.