Thoughts on the Ipad
Note: I want to preface all of this by stating that I have never been in the room with an iPad so have never seen one in the flesh or used one.
I have a feeling that I would love the iPad. In fact, I am pretty certain of it. I have Mac at home (an old Powerbook laptop running as a desktop with a monitor and bluetooth keyboard and mouse) and I am an iPhone user.
Despite all this, I probably won’t be getting an iPad. In fact, I am pretty certain of it. For one, I cannot justify another gadget. Of course I can to myself, but not to my wife, either financially or otherwise. There is not the room in my life (or my wall sockets) for something else that requires charging.
This is not the only reason though. I have started to feel a little dirty about ‘stuff’ and my relationship to it. I covet stuff. A lot.
Every time Apple brings out another piece of utterly gorgeous piece of shiny stuff, iWant it. Lisa seems immune (don’t get me wrong, she has her own stuff to covet – it just rarely goes beep) and I start to wonder whether I am in control of this horrible reflex. It has got to the point now that I am actively rebelling against it internally.
A lot of emphasis has been been placed by iPad (and iPhone) critics on how closed the platform is (excellently expressed by Cory Doctorow here). I personally agree with a lot of what they mean. The idea with these devices that their simplicity is their strength can be applauded. I see nothing wrong with a simple tool for any job. At the same time I am worried more and more with a tendency towards not caring how something works, only that it works. It is an attitude that runs contrary to the curiosity and creativity that I see in great people, that inspires me and that I hope I have in any small amount.
I get that not everyone is going to give a hoot about the inner workings of the computer or the web or any of the information that a device like the iPad gives them access to. But what I don’t like watching is people (myself included) getting lazy from it. Getting served with the first, easiest option ans accepting it because asking ‘is there a better way?’ is no longer my habit.
This is why I have started moving towards gadgets that require a tinker. I run Linux on my laptop (Ubuntu for those who care) and a Beta version of it at that. I have a home server – less for data security than for the opportunity to dick about. And I like to break stuff. Build things, break them and then build them again.
And that I would be to afraid to do that with my iPad because it is pretty forbidden (and too crapping expensive) is the main reason why I won’t be getting one.
And why you probably won’t let me play with yours.