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Gadgets

A revolution you can take with you to the toilet

DEFINITELY MAYBE - Carl Francis M. Ramirez -

In his keynote presentation where he first unveiled the iPad to the world, Steve Jobs flashed a quote from the Wall Street Journal on the screen. It read: “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.” The iPad, by far, has garnered more hype and anticipation than any other computing device in recent memory. And now that it’s out, does it live up to all the hype? 

Well, that depends. 

The iPad can be everything, but it can also be nothing at all. For one person, it can be the most useful and powerful device he has ever laid his hands on. For another, it’s no different from the digital picture frame he got last Christmas. I am in the camp of the former. Apple’s latest creation is a revolutionary device that will make people — young or old, male or female, techie or otherwise — change the way they use a computer.

The iPad is all about the convergence of technology and intuitive design. Surely, you can check your e-mail on your PC, listen to your music on your iPod, watch the Celtics vs. Magic on TV and get your news from a newspaper. Of course you play Scrabble on an actual board, read sheet music from an actual sheet and learn how to cook from an actual book. You can insist you want to read Twilight from the physical book because that’s what real fans do. All of this is true. But wouldn’t it be great to have all this truth in one sleek and beautifully designed package?

This isn’t a netbook. Netbooks are the bastard child of technology and compromise. They are to computers what a tricycle is to a car. Sure, they get you from point A to point B just like a car can, but it does nothing well. Except perhaps that Netbooks are cheaper. The iPad is not cheap, but quality rarely is. 

This is a revolution you can hold in your hand. Or bring in the toilet in lieu of a magazine. The reason why I say the iPad can be ultimately useful is that it takes all the content you consume on a daily basis and puts it on something you can take on from anything to a coffee shop to an airplane lavatory. Your books, TV shows, movies, pictures, magazines, music and games all in one place. Your powerpoint presentations, financial documents and plane tickets right beside them. You can take down notes, paint a picture or play the piano. You can even write a newspaper column on this thing (I’m hoping I lay claim on the title of the first Philppine STAR article written on an iPad with this column). And with everything in our lives slowly moving online, the iPad is the perfect device that will keep us in pace. It’s the Internet so close, you can literally touch it. 

But as I’ve said, as much as this can be indispensable to some people, it can just be as forgettable to others. What the iPad offers more than anything else is an experience — like having the Internet in your hands or having a thousand comic books fit in your bag. For people who are heavy consumers of content, this experience is a game-changer. But for people who are comfortable with reading books with pages you can physically turn or people can’t be away from their souped-up double quad-core PCs with their 27-inch HD monitors, obviously the experience is less appealing.

This revolutionary product will have greater impact on those who see the iPad as a convergent medium and less impact on those who see it as consumer electronics. Depending on how you look at it, the iPad does everything new or the iPad does nothing new. But judging by the projected eight million units sold by the end of the year, it looks like people are embracing the revolution. 

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For questions, comments or corrections, e-mail me at carlfrancisramirez@gmail.com.

ACTUAL DEVICE IPAD NETBOOKS PEOPLE PHILPPINE STEVE JOBS WALL STREET JOURNAL
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