March 31, 2010

I Heart iPad

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Well hello there.  If you’ve ever read the sports section you may know who I am and if you have, don’t hold it against me.  If you don’t flip the paper over and read the back page before the front, aka you’re not a normal person, then let me introduce myself.  My name is Rahul Kishore, and I am a slave of The Cornell Daily Sun.For those of you who have read my Sports column you’d probably think I’m someone who doesn’t know a lot about sports.  Well congratulations, you got me.  But what you might not know is, I actually like gadgets, in fact — I love gadgets. Why? They’re shiny, and they do what they’re told … most of the time. So you ask, dear reader, “What is it that’s catching your eye this week, Rahul? Is it that hot thing at Johnny O’s?” No.  Although this sexy little slab of aluminum is thin, light and easy to use, she’s not going to be found at a bar (at least I don’t think so).  In case you’ve been living under a rock recently, my crush is the iPad. Full Disclosure: I’ve been a devotee of Appleism since I got my first Aluminum Powerbook G4 in high school and I’ve even gone so far as to work in the Apple Gulag. Yes, I’m one of those sad souls who watches the live blogs of Stevenotes religiously. I also get highly confused when Jonny Ive, designer of all great slabs, says “Al- you-min- ium.” It must be British speak for awesome. iPad, Jobs claims, is magical. But, in a fit of extreme heresy, I’m not so sure.  Though I’m sure to buy the iPad, simply because I want one, unlike any other Apple purchase I’ve made, I can’t rationalize this one. I’ve heard the nay-sayers: “It’s just a large iPhone.” And, “Oh, you mean the max-iPad?” Or, “Are you sober?” But that’s not at all what I’m thinking when I wonder what the purpose of my future iPad will be.The fact is though, the iPad as a device is pretty much identical (in hardware terms) to an iPhone or an iPod Touch. It’s magical in that it is the same old Apple formula that has done them well in the nascent mobile devices market. But is an iPad a mobile device?  Not really; I don’t think I have pants with big enough pockets to stick it in and — unlike Steven Colbert —  I don’t have a suit with a perfectly sized iPad pocket.  (Mr. Colbert did look very stylish, though….)  Regardless, the iPad is more portable than your laptop, but far less portable than your phone.  That’s a pretty risky gray area to be in considering most people hate carrying around their laptop all day.   Since I’m a geek — and secretly a computer science major — I carry my computer around with me everywhere. The irony that people need to be more connected to the outside world, by means of computer, seems lost on most. I chuckle to myself how most people carry around at least one device that contains their entire life, if not more. Regardless, after a moment of chuckling I open Jack (my computer is named after Jack Bauer because like Mr. Bauer, Jack has never died … yet), and click away off into the world wide web. The web is where the iPad will be a hit or a failure, pretty much just like the way that the iPhone lived and died on the web.  This time the stakes are a bit bigger.  With the iPhone, you could exclude a pretty big chunk of the web since nobody really wants to watch videos for very long on that tiny screen. James Cameron recently noted that it’d be pretty stupid to watch Avatar on an iPhone, but he’d still take your money, cause Mr. Cameron likes money. With the iPad you’ve got this huge screen and you put it in the hands of people like me — people who really just want to watch TV all day long — and you tell them, “Hey you can’t watch Hulu on this big enormous screen but you can do everything else!” Two words: domestic terrorism. The iPad is bound to be defined by its ability to consume multimedia content from thousands of sources, without skipping a beat.  People are devouring content, often without chewing. I expect that some point in the near future we’ll all collectively choke while trying to wash it all down with a bottle of Jack and then wake up hung over and be like, “I’m never doing that again.”But until that happens, the iPad will need to be the device that condenses every piece of media that somebody like me consumes every day that includes reading this gorgeous newspaper, watching a lot of TV shows, reading textbooks … if there’s a commercial break, and browsing the web. My man Steve claims this is exactly what the iPad is designed to do, so why no Hulu. (And why not all of my textbooks?) So enters the multibillion-dollar question, is the iPad actually worth it?Maybe today it’s not — not unless you’re like me and you can’t go without a nice skinny piece of aluminum to have by your side each and every day. But in the end, the iPhone, iPod Touch and likely the iPad are not success stories because of Apple, but instead because of crazy people who write ridiculous apps like iBeer, Music Hour and FlightControl. With the iPad, there’s a great opportunity for anybody creative and with a bit of programming talent to make the next great gimmick.  Full size whoopie cushion, anyone?  RLD

Original Author: Rahul Kishore