Why was everybody talking about a gadget that basically does the same things as your computer, some of them maybe with a little twist?
Yes, that is the most interesting thing about the iPad, the fact that the whole world was getting crazy about it, even before it was shipped. Is it magic, as Steve Jobs suggested? No. Let us have a guess: The iPad reflects a change that happened in the last decade.
Before we digitalised information, now we need to digitise situations. Here, the iPad is just the beginning. There is more to come.
Therefore the iPad doesn’t change a thing, it just reflects precisely what already has changed. Who wants to sit at a desk to watch some YouTube videos or read the papers? The iPad is about a situation. It is lovely, and hangs out with you. Sounds perfect to me.
This is obviously the change that Apple understood: It is not anymore just communication that is affected by digitalisation, but situations. And we don’t want to go to our desk to initiate them. Digitalisation disseminated from the PC to the laptop to become even more mobile – a companion in whatever we do.
Now, there is a pad for it.
It looks like a success. Sold out, and the critics love it, too. From Gizmodo & Mark Wilson to the New York Times & David Carr to WSJ & Walter Mossberg everybody is positive about it. Well, nearly everybody. Cory Doctorow wrote about Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t either):
The way you improve your iPad isn’t to figure out how it works and making it better. The way you improve the iPad is to buy iApps.
Well, you can program one, too, but he has a point here. As Jeff Jarvis says, the iPad has a tendency to turn us back into an audience again. Apple has to live up to its new role as a content gatekeeper. Yes, Apple became a publisher in a certain way. The trending job of the future? It will be good bye web designer, hello app designer. Don’t you think?