daPi

For every modern-era decade since probably the James Watt-refined Newcomen engine, there’s been a single functional object that’s defined culture for that time.

And these objects have mostly been met with either outright hostility or deep cynicism (as evidenced in the “it’s rubbish” vitriol coming from many comment posts in the online broadsheet tech sections today). So yes, iPad is no different in that some people won’t see the possibilities, instead seeing ways in which it compacts, rather than expands experience; or actually erodes those cultural values it seeks to enhance and liberate. Some see the reverse.

Jobs says Apple are “at the intersection of technology and liberal arts (sic)”. This is more true than most give Apple credit for – in terms of intelligence and aesthetics Apple are years if not a decade in front of what are effectively standard washing-machine tech companies like Nokia or Sony, with their creative focus on the proliferation of confusing, wasteful, constantly-changing product lines that essentially change nothing. And it’s not as if Apple are using necessarily better components – it’s the attitude that makes the products so pleasing (here’s a little reminder of what a Blue Meanies world looks like).

So for once, it’s the tech audience who don’t get it. It’s not the limitations of the device – no multitasking, no camera – it’s the fact that it’s the first to fully utilise the most sensitive part of the human body – the fingertips.

iPad might still be Job’s SS Great Britain, but who in 2110 will likely revere the Kindle DX as touchstone for a revolution?

With apologies to Yellow Pages Let your Fingers do the Walking…

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