Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Who CARES about your stupid ipad?

Commandment #1 - I am Steve Jobs, your father in heaven, the greatest businessman, CEO, innovator, and human being ever. You shall worship no other gods but me.

Commandment #2 - Honour thy mother and father. Unless they buy a blackberry or PC. In which case, kick your father in the balls and call your mother a cow. On behalf of God (Steve)...

Commandment #3 - Thou shall not steal from apple.

Commandment #4 - Thou shall not kill, unless they are trampling someone in the line for the iphone 8 or ipad 22 when they come out. That's just part of life.


It’s funny that the ipad and its various knockoffs are referred to as “tablet” devices. When I hear the word “tablet”, I inevitably think of Charlton Heston descending from Mount Sinai, holding those two heavy bits of stone on which the Lord emblazoned rules of infinite wisdom for all of humanity to abide by. In an ironic moment of human fallibility, Heston smashes the sacred tablets in frustration a minute later, enraged at the spectacle of excessive stupidity and idolatry his Isrealite compatriots have become in his absence.

The current hype and fixation with the tablet “revolution” suggests that these modern tablets, like the 10 commandment ones, are also the product of prodigious wisdom. I, on the other hand, am in the dubious camp, believing they are more akin to the golden calf. While their existence and creation are perhaps the culmination of all the preceding decades of computer and tech innovation, I don’t believe the ipad for all its holy grail status increases human know-how and knowledge. The product is not greater than the sum of its parts; the bang for buck on adding value to lives is simply not there. Like all of Steve Jobs’ products, the ipad can be used as a terminal to access information and entertainment, but is mostly just a cleverly marketed product designed to make people part with their money and waste their time, while thinking they’re really “cutting edge” and “different” as members of the Steve Jobs Apple Cult.

As many critiques of e-readers have already pointed out, the last thing the ipad and its fifty knockoffs are about is reading books. A screen backlit with thousands of tiny blue lights does not provide an agreeable reading experience before bed, or at any other time of day for that matter. But these devices were never about reading books; that’s just a functionality that was easy to add and lends the device the “educational” cred which contributes to the mythology that has made it so successful.

And really, how many people are going to be working through long, small-print classics whose copyrights are expired now that their attention spans have been totally annihilated by these devices? Finding apps, buying apps, playing games, tweeting, reading tweets, checking facebook, buying stuff off itunes – where exactly do these activities that predominate the testimonial of any regular person who professes their ipad addiction fit in to this great world of “tactile innovation” and “collaboration” promised by S Jobs and all his company’s bullshit advertising? For now the main benefit of tablets is assuring a future generation is hobbled by poor eyesight and neck injuries. An excellent humbling of this device, in saying basically it represents nothing new or exciting froma practical, utilitarian perspective - is here.

I’ve used an ipad before. I’m not a dogmatic luddite – I’m quite proficient on the computer. The world where everything work-related and entertainment related occurs on tablets – a world that pundits and techies salivate describing – is not here. This device is simply not designed to write or read on with any rigour. I can’t relate to people who can’t sit still on trains or planes and have been saved by the ipad either. I’m rarely in transit long enough to watch movies and if I am I prefer to read – books and magazines don’t need batteries, chargers, and repairs, and if they’re dropped or forgotten somewhere, its not a $600+ loss. And are you really going to walk around town on this thing using it to read restaurant reviews and use google maps to figure out where you are? I fail to see how this device would provide me with any unique service other than waste time I can’t afford to waste, or why I would pay to add a gadget to my glut of outdated (yet still fully functional) technology – laptop, cellphone, ipod, fake ipod, digital camera, digital video camera, web cam, memory sticks, dvd player, etc. The comments under any article usually are dominated by similar sentiments, not echos of the fist pumping tablet glory of the article’s author.

Use your ipad if you must. After all, its your prerogative to buy slave labour, rare earth devices manufactured in China. Just stop boring us with your stories about how you can’t stop staring at and playing with the stupid thing 24/7. And please stop thinking your kid is so amazing because he knows how to use it at 1 and ½ - history will reveal that you were complicit in turning his brain to absolute mush. Actually, you’ll discover that yourself soon when he is socially maladjusted and totally lost without a screen to stare at.

Admit it – you were doing fine with a laptop and a phone. You didn’t need your ipad – you needed an excuse to spend $800 on a toy. Well guess what? That apple ad lied to you, and your kid and your grandmother are not geniuses because they know how to use this thing. And neither are you. Nobody cares about your stupid ipad.

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