So last week, Apple introduced the long-awaited iPad. Prior to the announcement, the world seemed to be losing its collective mind with anticipation.
“It will revolutionize computers as we know them.”
“It will allow you to create things in exciting new ways.”
“It will make a mean stack of Belgium waffles!”
I heard and read every rumor possible about the iPad. At some point, on some website it was rumored to do everything you could ever want, up to and including serve as the soul mate you’ve always been looking for.
Then that black turtle-neck with Steve Jobs in it strode on stage and announced the iPad.
And the world once again lost its collective mind with disappointment.
“It doesn’t multi-task!”
“It doesn’t do Flash!”
“It’s just a big iPhone!”
“Steve Jobs is a witch! Burrrrrn him!”
I’ll admit, I was facing a bit of disappointment after the announcement myself. But, just as I found my pitchfork and lit a torch to join the crowd calling for Jobs’ head, I was struck by one line the world was screaming. It’s just a big iPhone.
At that moment I realized, it’s just a big iPhone. iPhone owners, take a second and think about life before your iPhone. Now think about life after. With the addition of apps to the iPhone, I am now doing things with a phone that I’ve rarely been able to do well on a full-blown computer. The iPhone has become an indispensable part of how we do life. Apple, with the help of third-party developers, managed to reinvent what we expect from a phone in a matter of just two years. The fact that the iPad appears to be nothing but a large iPhone has me incredibly excited. Look at the innovative things developers have done with the iPhone. Now imagine what they can do with a device that is just as capable, faster and has a larger screen. The restrictions of working on a small device like the iPhone has forced developers to think of new ways to do things and this has simplified the design of apps. I hope this new way of thinking will usher in the new era of computing Jobs seems to think it will.
The other reason I can tell Apple is on to something special is evidenced by my Google Reader feed. In Reader, I have several hundred websites I subscribe to. They are divided into the categories Apple, Entertainment, Creative, Photography, Faith. Almost a week after the announcement, I still see stories in every category every day that pertain to the iPad. It think the atmosphere has shifted from rabid anticipation of what it could be, to vehement disappointment and now back to cautious anticipation of what it could be again. All this and relatively few people have even held one in their hands.
And as to the name, I frankly think it’s inspired. In another year, the feminine-product jokes people make every time you hear the name iPad will fade away and we’ll be left with a name that perfectly describes the device. When the iPod was first released, people decried the name from the mountain tops. Now, it’s become a part of our language. Five years from now, the iPad will be as ubiquitous as the iPhone and the name will naturally roll off the tongue with nary an iTampon joke to be heard.