Final Word

By Jeff Girod

Posted April 15, 2010 in News praises the iPad as a “magical” and “revolutionary” product that will allow you to “write emails, flick through photos, page through Web sites or watch a movie.” And you know what, that would be magical and revolutionary—if Apple hadn’t already invented the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone.

To me, the most fascinating thing about the iPad is that people are willing to pay more than $500 for it.

It’s bigger than an iPod, but it doesn’t play music.

It costs $300 more than an iPhone, but you can’t make calls with it. It doesn’t have a keyboard nor any of the privacy of a laptop.

Hell, you can’t even fold the iPad in half, so it’s still more convenient to take a newspaper into the crapper.

Sales of the iPad have already surpassed 500,000 in less than a week on the market. So why is everybody gaga over the iPad? Probably because it’s from—cue the chorus of angels and beam of light raining down from techie heaven—APPLE.

Seriously, you could slap a glowing Apple icon on a Texas Instruments Speak  & Spell, call it the iLearn and soul-patched schmucks in North Face jackets with Starbucks lattes would camp out to buy one. “Hey, bro, check out my new iLearn. It just taught me how to spell g-u-l-l-i-b-l-e. And dig this giant red plastic handle for convenient totage. Is ‘totage’ even a word? I don’t know. Let’s ask my iLearn.”

Exactly what is the advantage of an iPad? It’s like a stripped-down version of a regular computer with giant buttons for the visually impaired. You know, my 90-year-old grandmother used to have a Fisher Price-looking phone that looked very similar to an iPad. She also voted for the first Roosevelt. Who knew Grandma was so “cutting edge”?

The argument we’ve all heard for the iPad is, “It will revolutionize the way we read magazines, newspaper and books!” Yeah, that’s some “revolution.” Other than the Twilight and Harry Potter series of books, about the only thing getting “read” these days are paparazzi shots of Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian and Jesse James’ pincushion for a girlfriend. Seems to me that nobody is exactly clamoring for new innovations in reading. If anything, what we want is fewer words and more unflattering pictures of celebrities dragging their fat Speedo’ed asses around Mediterranean beaches. Have you been to the checkout counter at your grocery store? I see US Weekly, In Touch, Life & Style, the National Enquirer and People magazine. What I don’t see are the collected works of Hemingway, Steinbeck and Shakespeare. Besides, magazines and newspapers only cost a couple of bucks each. For the $500 it costs to buy an iPad, I could literally subscribe to Esquire for 62 years!

But I won’t look as cool reading a magazine as I would holding an iPad! No, you won’t look like a mindless, trend-following carp.

Granted, maybe Apple is right. Maybe the iPad will irrevocably alter the way we use computers, read magazines and watch movies. Or . . .

Or maybe the iPad will be the next DeLorean, Zima or neon pair of Zubaz pants. And maybe you’ll look just as silly holding an iPad as Don Johnson did walking around in a rolled up pink blazer over a V-neck T-shirt and shoes with no socks.

Do yourself a favor and let the “early adopters” waste their money finding out if the iPad is truly the wave of the future or the computer equivalent of the Macarena. Remember, when the iPhone first came out it cost about $1,000. Then the iPhone 2.0 came out, cost half as much and did twice as many things. There’s no reason to think the iPad won’t be similar.

In the meantime, the rest of us get to openly mock anyone who buys an iPad while sneakily playing with their gadgets for free, you know, as part of “investigative research.” And should we ever actually break down and buy an iPad, we will vehemently deny ever making fun of the iPad.

I will also burn this column should I ever buy an iPad. But since the iPad really will have inspired a reading revolution, this column will probably exist for eternity…


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