Sotto Voce.

"Qui plume a, guerre a." — Voltaire

Launch (i)Pad

As I’ve said before, when I bought my PowerBook way back in mumble mumble, I was so impressed with how much of a leap it was over my previous iBook, I predicted that the next time I bought a Mac, it wouldn’t have a (physical) keyboard.

Well, it took longer than I wished, but damned if it wasn’t worth the wait. The iPad just absolutely bullseyes my hopes and expectations. And for about $50 less than I was expecting to pay too.

During today’s rollout I kept refreshing between Engaget (Winner of the Best Blog Coverage award), Macworld, CNET (Winner of the Best AV Coverage award for Buzz Out Loud), and a few others. Ars Technica I couldn’t even get to, so heavily was it being hammered. How many times did Twitter lock up? About two seconds after the name was announced, it felt like the whole web crashed. It was so cool.

And it looks like I’ll even be able to get it in time for my long-awaited “2010 Moment.” More on that later.

UPDATE: Wow. I mean, I know that haters gonna hate and all, but still, a lot the carping in the wake of the iPad debut — over a product, need I remind, that hasn’t even yet shipped and for which developers have yet to write anything to play to its strengths or expose its weaknesses — is just downright surreal:

  • People who have concluded that, even though no single device can save publishing as we know it, it isn’t going to single-handedly save Publishing As We Know It . Therefore it will fail.
  • People who have concluded that, even though the iPad isn’t aimed at them, they’re not going to buy one. Therefore it will fail.
  • People who have concluded that, even though the iPad isn’t a computer, it’s not a computer. Therefore it will fail.
  • People who have concluded that, even though the App Store has been a bottomless gold rush, no one wants DRM content. Therefore it will fail.
  • People who have concluded that, even though Apple invents products that define new markets, it doesn’t fit into a defined market. Therefore it will fail.
  • People who have concluded that, because they can’t imagine how they would use it, no one will imagine how to use it. Therefore it will fail.

But I think that my favorite reaction is this one: people who are disappointed because the iPad meets their expectations.

That’s me walking out of the room, just shaking my head.

UPDATE II: Just realized that the iPad will be debuting almost to the year after the Kindle 2, the “non-starter” that has managed to non-start its way to record profits for Amazon. Here’s hoping that the iPad is as big a failure for Apple.

My comment in that post, about how people often react to shiny new gizmos, is apropos here. The iPad, too, is like the moon — some people just feel compelled to howl at it, pray to it, or blame stuff on it. Whaddya gonna do.

Categorised as: Life the Universe and Everything

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  1. Strikethru says:

    I like Apple stuff, but I really doubt this device for a number of reasons. I heard a reviewer say rather damningly that it was an iPod touch for middle aged people. Companies keep trying to come up with this sort of sub-computer “living room device” without much success– it remains to be seen if iPad can break the curse. Let us know what you think.

  2. sottovoce says:

    Half a year and millions of iPads later, and the weirdness continues. People talk about Steve Jobs’ ability to project a “reality distortion field” that supposedly turns people into irrational cravers of Apple products, but clearly the RDF has an equally powerful negative side; the critics become as irrationally self-deluding as the most ardent fanboi. But whereas fanboi are willing to contort themselves into knots in order to justify buying the latest Apple product, the anti-RDF-allficted critics are equally desperate to find something — *anything* — to explain away an Apple product’s success.

    Case in point: the estimable Scott Adams offers a backhanded apologia for liking his iPad in “The Amazingness of Instant” ( ), posted today on his blog.

    Prior to the iPad’s launch, Adams had predicted that “few people would want a crippled laptop” but now candidly admits that he had been “obviously and totally wrong” about the iPad’s appeal. He then goes on to describe why he likes his iPad, describing the convenience of its instant-on capability as its “most wonderful feature” (apparently he thinks there are several other wonderful features too).

    All well and good, but then he ends by saying that all of this is all just the result of Apple’s great marketing. “Perhaps at this point they could sell laminated turds if they put the Apple logo on them,” he chides.

    Oh, come on. You’ve just spent four paragraphs telling me that your iPad is a handy, well-designed, easy-to-use device that you now rely on more than your laptop — and that all boils down to a *marketing gimmick?* Bullshit. A product either works or it doesn’t. That’s not marketing, that’s *engineering.*

    And as for his final question: “What happens when people become trained to think of information and entertainment as something they receive and not something they create?” My answer: A new golden age for professional writers.

    The Future: It’s Wonderful!

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