iPad. Lord have mercy. I don’t even think I have a joke that has not already been said before. I’d say I’m speechless, but I don’t do speechless.
I had a conversation last night with someone that is super cheesed-off that their music content is being held hostage by Steve Jobs and I have totally been there. Switching over to a Zune, for me, wasn’t out of blind loyalty. I used my iPod for years. I researched what to do when the screen froze. I bought music on iTunes. I felt comfortable. And this is exactly what is wrong with my life. Just because something is comfortable doesn’t mean its right or even good…or preferable. Comfort inspires laziness to your detriment. I hesitate to talk too much here about how much I love my Zune because ridiculous fanboys annoy the hell out of me. So maybe I go to the extreme by holding back my praise because I care too much about what you think of me. Oh jeez.
Anyway, at some point, I totally fell out of love with my iPod. And the *idea* of being locked into a content format started to make my blood boil. I rarely get angry (usually annoyance and disappointment fill my anger void). But it just kind of built up over time, partially because I did it to myself. I was in an unhealthy relationship with my iPod. I even bought new shuffles when my old ones crapped out. I’m not proud. Dear iPod, it was fun while it lasted but it’s time for me to move on.
I feel more liberated and in-control now. Yeah, control. I like it. And now we have to hear about the iPad. Look, I’m not a fan of the way Steve Jobs does things, not because his products aren’t beautifully designed (because they are!) and not because their marketing sucks (because it doesn’t). It’s just that he designs them for him, not us. He thinks he knows better. And we let him tell us what we need. Lemmings.
I have friends that have an iPhone. I have certainly mentioned before that I am not a phone person. In my exploration of my own ego, I have acknowledged the fact that I am not important enough to need to be reached at a moments notice. It’s true. And there are no “family emergencies” in my life. And more interestingly, I most certainly do not need an “app for that.” I think that people adopt technologies because they are there, not because they make their lives better. I have realized that my most precious commodities are time and attention. And I’m stingy with them. So no, I don’t want to be playing with eFart, or iFart or whatever. I get that some people use their phones as entertainment. I use mine to check my email and send/receive text messages and the occasional phone call. So yeah, my reaction to the iPhone was that it was super interesting from a marketing perspective, but otherwise: meh. At least for me. If I want to be entertained, I’d like to explore other options. Like books. The kind made of paper (sorry Kindle).
And then comes the oddly-names iPad. And the luke-warm reaction, except by the most loyal fans. And the fuss about the name. And then we are asked to compare the feedback with that of the iPod. And I can’t help but think to myself (in my very best Carrie Bradshaw voice), that even though we have been here before, shouldn’t we know better this time? Especially because there are already other technologies filling the same need.
When the iPod came out, the concept was new to most of us (I need a way-back machine but I believe the concept was new to most of us). And so, yeah, people got excited, before they thought long and hard about their long term content. And iPad is entering a more crowded market. But there is this underlying thing that is still kind of bugging me. And it’s that many of us are letting Steve Jobs tell us what we need because he thinks it’s cool. And it might actually, be cool. But if we adopt every cool thing, our lives get all cluttered (ooh, there’s that clutter thing again and that may be, in fact, what this blog post is really about) with moderately cool stuff that improves our lives not one little bit. So while comparing comments about the iPod with comments about the iPad isn’t a huge surprise, especially from someone trying to push for the less favorably reviewed iPad, hoping that it achieves the same level of success that the iPod did (“remember, kids, that you thought you didn’t need the iPod too and look what happened”). I guess that I am just hoping that overall, people think more critically about what this thing is actually going to do for them. Does it make your life *better*? And does it *really* make your life better or are you assuming it does, just because Steve Jobs says so?