The iPad came out this weekend and the backlash is in full form. “Why would I want a big iPod?” says the computer geek, pushing his glasses up his nose. “I already have a netbook running Red Hat Linux.”
Saying that you wouldn’t want an iPad because you already have a laptop is missing the point.The iPad isn’t designed for or marketed to the tech savvy or computer literate. It’s not for geeks who want to build websites in their spare time (and neither is it for tinkerers, hackers or makers). It’s for people who don’t see a use for a laptop, because they only use desktop computers at work, to write reports or run spreadsheets, and can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend their spare time doing something that looks like work. It’s for people curious about this whole Youtube/twitter/facebook/ebook thing they keep hearing about. The iPad is cheaper than a laptop, and marketed as a thing that does simple stuff for people who don’t normally play on computers. It’s for consuming media as fast or as slow as you want it, not for playing Net Cowboy in the digital wilderness. It’s a spork, not a Swiss Army knife.
Tech savvy tinkerers can use it too, as a way to separate their social media playtime form their working on a laptop time, so it does have that geeky, gadget fetish factor. But that’s a secondary market. The iPad is the machine that will introduce your grandma to facebook or let your macho buddy who doesn’t do all that nerdy computer stuff read an ebook or play a game. Neither will be frightened by having to sit down at a computer. Because it isn’t a computer. it’s an iPad. It isn’t for the faithful, it’s a missionary machine.
Being of the geek faithful, you may have a hard time wrapping your head aorund the idea that Uncle Steve made a new toy for the dumb kids to play with. That’s OK. Your only sin is being too imaginative. You wanted something that would change the world and what you got was just another cool gadget. I’m sure once you get one of your own though, you’ll get over it.