Friday, May 7, 2010

A Tool?

I just finished a one day "experience" with Apple's iPad and I'm just short of amazed. I'm amazed that anyone could consider this product anything but a toy. As usual, I'm wrong.

When I returned it to the IS guy who is promoting the iPad as an "educational tool" and described my opinion, it was obvious that I'd offended his finer sensibilities. When I said, "I can't imagine a job so detail-free, so simple, that this thing could be considered a 'tool'." He replied, "I could do my job with it."

I'm clearly from another generation. My generation was one where IS guys wrote code, maintained hardware and software, and did stuff. This more modern version of an IS guy uses his "tools" to "go to meetings, maintain work-flow charts, and for simple email." Holy crap! Again, I have missed the career boat. I blew off systems management as a late-life career opportunity because I thought I'd have to learn stuff about stuff I don't care about. Obviously, any idiot can do the job if this POS is a tool of that trade.

Aside from that sort of realization, my opinion of the iPad is that it is a toy. If you want to watch movies or television or YouTube in low-fi resolution, via WiFi, the iPad is for you. If you're mostly interesting in purchasing and/or observing other people's content, the iPad is your vehicle. If browsing the Web without being able to produce any sentient content yourself is your idea of "work" or "recreation" you are going to love this thing. It's a really expensive toy, but a toy just the same.

Saturday Night Live did a pretty decent routine on the iPad back in January. In the end, they recommended a real computer for the few of us who have to do "real work." I totally agree. If you are a Y-Gen twit, the iPad will do a perfectly good job of allowing you to type in (at your usual 5 wpm rate) your idiot messages to your friends. You can watch YouTube and Netflix until your parents evict you from the basement and you have to find a bridge to live under and aspire to that Starbucks clerk job your $80k in college loan debt prepared you for.


Anonymous said...

I think your wrong. I bought an iPad and its great for watching movies and buying stuff on the internet.

T.W. Day said...


If you can figure out how to make a living "watching movies and buying stuff on the internet," I'm all ears. My comments were about the practical "value" of the iPad. I don't think it has value for someone doing work and needing the assistance of a computer.

Wirebender Audio Rants

Over the dozen years I taught audio engineering at Musictech College and McNally Smith College of Music, I accumulated a lot of material that might be useful to all sorts of budding audio techs and musicians. This site will include comments and questions about professional audio standards, practices, and equipment. I will add occasional product reviews with as many objective and irrational opinions as possible.