The future of media is a comically oversized iPhone?
The first thing that came to mind on seeing pictures of Apple boss Steve Jobs with his new iPad device this morning was Trigger Happy TV, the British skit show whose signature sketch involved the star taking hysterically loud phone calls at inappropriate times on a three-foot telephone.
“Hello?” he’d suddenly shout in a full cinema, brandishing the prop. “No, I’m at a movie. It’s rubbish.”
Let’s not kid ourselves. The iPad is a laptop computer that doesn’t fold. But its appeal – or potential – lies in the content you’ll be able to access from it at a touch, once you hand over your $560 for the basic model when it ships worldwide two months from now.
Jobs also announced the establishment of iBooks, a virtual bookstore that does for books what iTunes does for music. It allows you to create a virtual bookshelf on the screen of the device. (It really does look like a bookshelf.)
There hasn’t been any announcement yet of major news outlets providing content to the iPad but given the plethora of applications available for the iPhone it is likely only a matter of time before you can get a news service on the device for a small fee. (Update: The New York Times demonstrated an app at the unveiling.)
For Trigger Happy fans, sadly it doesn’t take phone calls but it can play movies, surf the internet, has photo and calendar applications, and allows you to buy a range of media to download to the device.
Yeah, but if you drop it, does it hover before hitting the ground?
Apple has walked straight into an internet joke after the iPad was, just after launched, nicknamed the iTampon. The phrase is trending on Twitter but I reckon the joke’s just a bit too obvious to stick. (See below for Mad TV’s archive iPad skit.)
Anyway, what to make of it? Being a BlackBerry addict who is a tad uncomfortable with the religious devotion of some Apple devotees to their products, I must confess to a slight prejudice against the brand. There’s no doubt the iPad will sell once in the shops and barring the unlikely possibility it has some major defect, like all Apple products it comes with built-in cool.
But I have one question I’d like to hear your thoughts on. Would you carry around a second device?
Everyone has a mobile phone. Can you imagine walking around with an iPad and a mobile, setting them both down on a table as you meet someone for coffee? It’s not exactly the kind of thing you’d chuck on a bar counter.
Maybe, though, it’s not about that kind of portability. Perhaps its more for sitting on your couch, enjoying a favourite album while reading a book after catching up on the news. Sipping a latte from your home coffee machine of course.
On my desk in the office is a small iPod, about five years old - you know, one of the old ones with the click wheel. When they came out they were the coolest things going; now, they are to music players what bakelites are to telephones. The improvements in functionality and useability on devices, particularly from Apple, come at such a rapid pace these days that it’s easy to see the second generation iPads being a vastly enhanced device, complete with news subscriptions and perhaps even phone integration.
Here’s a little video of Jobs showcasing the product. I’ll be adding some choice links through the morning.
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Mad TV’s iPad skit
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