Thursday, January 28, 2010


This morning I leapt from my slumbers to see the amazing new thing that Apple had announced ... And it turns out, just as everyone expected, to be a really big iphone. Whoopee!

I made the mistake of watching Apple's promotional video, which gushes on at length about how wonderful it is, and suggests that it makes dealing with emails 'fun'. Somehow I find that unlikely, but perhaps early morning British cynicism doesn't fit well with Californian enthusiasm. Or a pallid rehash of Arthur C Clarke's "sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" line.

We shouldn't be too jaded, though. As an object, it does look pretty cool, and being able to use multitouch to interface with maps and other applications is very nice, but... It's not exactly the most amazing thing in the world, ever.

For me, the problem is that it doesn't seem to solve a specific problem. Ok, you can watch movies on it, but I'm most likely to do that while I'm lying on my sofa... In front of a 32 inch screen. And you can surf the web on it and check emails ... But I have a laptop with a keyboard that's easier for typing on. But, but it has apps! ... But apps are things you pay for, that you can usually get for free on a 'proper computer'... But you can read books on it! Although it looks much slicker than the Amazon Kindle, which already looked old fashioned the first time I saw one (August 2009, unfortunately, so not that ahead of the curve), the iPad doesn't have an e-ink screen, so there are immediate questions about how pleasant a reading experience that will be.

So, lots of ifs and buts. Apple are pretty good at creating integrated devices that work slickly, with less features than other products (and it turns out most people don't care about those features), but this looks like a Scalectrix set for the new millenium. Yes, it will be really fun to play with, but much more so if your friend paid for it and you can hand it back after five minutes when you're done.

Plus, whereas the ipod scored well by being very simple, and small, and the iphone scored by being small and reducing the number of items you had to carry around, the iPad looks a lot more like an expensive luxury, and not a compelling replacement for your existing walkman/mobile phone/laptop.

But then I am typing this on an eighteen-month old Blackberry. Maybe I just like antiques. Really, really old antiques.


Post a Comment