iPad: The Portable Personal Social Computer

This is my reaction to seeing the Stevenote. I will save the bit about iPad and books til tomorrow.

This is the bit where some people got it:

Click = big

That’s Stephen Fry there. Entirely coincidental. I didn’t highlight the guy next to him even though he has the same expression of delight because I suspect that’s Jon Ive himself. Look at that woman. And the guy. They’re kvelling!

That’s when Steve called up Street View on Google Maps.

My Holy Shit!!! moment was that too, but also these:

Oh my god!! That Calendar! It might not be a big thing for other people, but I still use the Calendar on my LifeDrive every damn day. This is the first bit of software I’ve seen on a portable device that’s better than it.

Email! An absolutely uncluttered view which makes it look like we’re reading a letter again, not crap on a screen!

I knew of Brushes, even though I don’t own an iPhone. That’s how famous it’s become. Seeing it on that screen brought me back to college days. Wow, what art students today could do with that! (STFU about students being poor — parents, relatives can gift them.)

And this is what sealed it for me, hands-down sealed it:

Pinching out of a pile of photos to peek inside it.

That superfast scrubbing ability.

Why? Look:

That’s my desktop. With a 1.6GHz Celeron. It doesn’t do photos anywhere near anything approaching speed — and especially not anything at all like what I saw on that iPad! To be able to rip through all those photos like that — while holding something that small and light in my hand would be orgasmic!

This is what people aren’t getting:

Hey, I still recall what it was like when I fondled an iPhone for the first time and the second time too. I still have that feeling whenever I do today too.

Back in the early 1980s, there was a huge battle going on between two competing videodisk formats. One from RCA, one from Phillips. I kept telling people that Phillips would prevail. Why? The RCA half-assed system kept disks in a protective sleeve that would mechanically pull the disk out and into the player. It was like they had a condom on them! I argued that people liked to touch what the hell they owned, just like they did 45s and LPs. People laughed. RCA shortly thereafter got the hell out of the business. I maintain my argument that people feel emotional about what they own contributed to that.

And that’s precisely what Jobs was trying to articulate up there. It’s not your stupid idea of technology, it’s the emotion created by the technology.

Go back to early issues of the printed MacWorld magazine. There’s an article showing college kids buying the first-gen Macs. One picture I’ve never forgotten: a young woman was hugging her box. When I first saw the original Return of Steve color-plastic iMac, my first impulse was to hug it too!

When have I ever seen anything that runs Windows create that emotion in me — or anyone? Never!

Jobs says that Apple has stood at the intersection of Technology and Liberal Arts.


Apple has stood at the crossroads between Technology and Emotion.

Apple creates products that cause people to feel about them the way a mother feels for her child, an owner feels about his pet — hell, the way a kid feels when he’s discovered sex!

I mentioned this before:

So something else is happening here. I think people connect with a MacBook — with Apple products in general — in a way they don’t, even can’t, connect with Windows notebooks or other non-Apple devices. I think that connection is emotional. And it’s not emotional in the way the Apple bashers believe it is: “Oh, look at him with his MacBook. He just thinks he’s so cool. If he wasn’t so concerned with appearing cool, he’d have a less-expensive Windows notebook. All really smart people do.” It’s not about the emotions of the user. It’s about the emotional content of the device itself.

And I was right then too:

It won’t be thought of as an albatross grudgingly lugged around for work. It will be seen as a necessity for having fun. Just as an iPod is seen as a necessity for take-everywhere music. Just as the iPhone is already seen as the most fun a cellphone can possibly be.

I stand by what I said earlier: Apple will sell more iPads in twelve months than it sells Macintoshes. People who wouldn’t buy a Mac will buy an iPad. And then they will go onto buy the new touchscreened iMac later on.

Just as the iPhone inevitably put Nokia into its (now-inescapable!) death spiral

My original plan was to have a next, and final!, Nokia post that would have been my Deathmatch Fondle of the N800. But all that’s changed with the announcement of the Apple iPhone. The N800 is irrelevant and Nokia itself now begins its death spiral. Good riddance!

— the iPad is going to spin Microsoft into its grave now too. And being one of the many millions screwed over by Microsoft, I will dance with glee on their grave.

I want an iPad.

Apple has brought us the future once again.

5 Responses to iPad: The Portable Personal Social Computer

  1. Brannon says:

    Random note: There are three major Pixar employees in the middle of that photo as well. Bob Peterson, Lee Unkrich and Pete Doctor.

  2. stefn says:

    I agree with everything you say here. Let me add this: I think that the postiPod Jobs looks to huge content areas to run through Apple’s hardware. With the iPad, there is a confluence of the content Apple has already secured: music, apps. Steve thinks in market sectors. The last slide above says it all: Steve is going after education as a sector. The hardware is spot on: Simple, safe, secure, cheap—or soon will be—exactly right for students from age 10 on. Maybe earlier. The software provides all the creativity/research tools students need up to graduate school. Everything about iPad says that this is Steve’s legacy project: He wants to be remembered as the guy who developed the learning pad that EVERY student carries with them. It ain’t books be damned but it will be textbooks be damned.

  3. Bradley Robb says:

    Not me, not without multitasking. The device is no good for me if I can’t run a bunch of passive apps in the background – such as a Twitter client and something for IM.

    And the standard GUI needs a whole bunch of work. Right now it just looks too much like an overgrown iPod.

    Touch is wonderful, and I love my iPhone, but my computer use habits require multitasking. To me, the iPad skewed too close to the smart phone and too far from the laptop. It might be fun, but it’s not useful.

    And I think Apple knows that, which is why they spent so much time during the presentation repeating the same couple of phrases in some bizarre form of classical conditioning. “You look. You touch. It just works. Like magic.” Lather, rinse, repeat.

  4. stefn says:

    Great writing and thinking.

    PostiPod, Steve Jobs looks to huge content areas to run through Apple’s hardware. With the iPad, there is a confluence of content that Apple has already secured: music, apps. But Steve knows that new hardware must be matched and mated to new gigantic content sectors.

    The last slide in his presentation says it all: Steve is going after education as a market. The whole enchilada of educational publishing.

    The hardware is spot on: Simple, safe, small, cheap—or soon will be, exactly right for students, from grade school to grad school.The software provides the creativity/research tools students need. The iWork apps are astonishing, lovely, and fun software.

    It will not mean all printed books be damned but it will mean printed textbooks be damned. Maybe it will be textbooks be damned: I’m guessing it’s the creativity tools that Steve really cares about.

    Ten years out, every student will have an iPad or something just like it. Except Apple will be there first and foremost. That’s a done deal as of Wednesday.

    Everything about the iPad says that Steve wants to be remembered as the guy who revolutionized schooling if not learning. Take a look at the mission at the OLPC site. That’s Steve’s kind of language and vision, except he not only thinks bigger than most of us, he thinks better.

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