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Adventures in the Garden of Owl

 
Mar
24
2010

In the house of the Three Bears

In a week or so Apple will begin to unfetter people from the chains of their laptops and the eyestrain of their iPhones with the controversial and inevitable iPad. My “geek muse” whispers softly:

“You knew it was coming, you saw how newspapers and book publishers failed to initiate comprehensive ways to deliver their materials. You saw how laptops and desktop machines tied people down with complicating rather than enhancing their computer work. You believed there were better ways to address the basic functions of modern day communication. You saw how the portability of personal media- music, video, documents and the accessibility of the cloud would merit the coming of a new device, and you felt that someone, somewhere, could deliver the device that would help mediate the bits into tangible media.”

Shut Up- Muse!

I’ve already seen glimmers of this tool: Apple’s Newton, Fuji’s tablet running Windows, HP handheld devices running Java, OLPC XO, Kindle etc. and the iPhone and the subsequent touch devices. Until recently, The groundwork (cloudwork?) was too unpaved for such functionality to really work, and the various pundits surrounding the acceptance of some devices is as as divisive as American politics.
Slowly, Apple has built on its own path toward delivering a solution while others relied on existing and/or third party infrastructure. The iPod and iTunes store, the MobileMe cloud and the iPhone have fomented a new device to drive down this highway of data. My iPhone travels this road and so does my iMac, and I can access the truckstops- my “home cloud” of music, news and video, and my “world cloud” of addresses,email, social media and calendar events- in a variety of ways from a variety of devices not limited by which operating system I’m using.
The other issue is that lots of traditional media: publishers of magazines, newspapers, journals, music and moving image companies have changed, lslipping in their grip on how to deliver media directly to a consumer. It’s a hard thing to replace a book, newspaper or cd and I think the Publishing industry has balked in fear of replacing ink with bits. They aren’t sturdy in the device creating business because we need a device that’s a little larger than a pocket sized screen, can access many types of media, has better “readablity” behavior and has the ability to interact with the content right there in your hands rather than making you scurry to a larger computer or change devices to see enhanced content (I suppose the absence of Flash riles the anti-iPad crowd in its exclusion but that’s sidebar issue).

I need my iPhone, I need my iMac -because I rely on these devices to do certain things with a certain amount of predictable power, function and behavior.
(in my case, my iPhone makes phone calls and keeps a small camera near- My iMac edits images and I use Logic Studio and manage a bunch of other things)

The iPad will only enhance the interaction between these devices and that big old cloud that exists between my home and out there in the world.
I think the appreciation of the iPad will grow over time as more and more people get it: -Folks, Eventually all devices will interact with each other and YOU!
This is a Car that will help you travel down the various access roads to your media rather than a Subway that moves you directly one point to another.
The iPad will bring Books, Newspapers and Journals into the arena of personal media (and the stuff your iPhone does) – slowly but surely. You won’t HAVE to have an iPad but I think you’ll see how useful it is once you start using your iPhone apps on a bigger screen. It doesn’t supplant the stuff you have. It might just help you communicate a bit better than you do now.

One day, you’ll be sitting on the couch, with your phone in your pocket and the laptop in the kitchen and, like Goldilocks, say “this one is TOO SMALL and that one is TOO BIG” and you’ll pick up the iPad and say “This one is JUST RIGHT”.

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