Wednesday, June 09, 2010

An Apple an Hour

A word of warning, I'm not a fan of Apple. If you are, this is probably going to sound pretty bitter, and you'll probably have the overwhelming urge to try and defend them. I'd prefer it if you just don't bother reading this particular essay, since you certainly aren't going to convince me.

On the other hand, this is not about why Apple sucks. This is, instead, about tweeting.

One of the things I've noticed since the iPad came out is that I've had to drop some people from my Twitter "follow" list, and are considering dropping more. Also, I've had to stop reading Penny Arcade news and a few other things I normally read. Because the only thing they talk about is the iPad.

I was really flummoxed by this. The iPad really isn't that much better than a tablet computer in my opinion - an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary one. But these people are... well, the only euphemisms that come to mind are unnecessarily graphic. They're really, really, really hot for the iPad.

Well, maybe they think it's just that good?

No, not really. These same people don't tweet so consistently about things they undeniably worship, or use every day with great ease and functionality. Similarly, the tweeters I follow who constantly post about shoes and cars don't have anything to say about the iPad, even if they have one.

These are people who never post on the same subject more than twice a week, suddenly they have a post a day - frequently six or seven - specifically about their iPad. I don't think this is because it's merely awesome, since they didn't have that frequency of posts about Obama's election, which they were generally pretty opinionated about.

More than that, the iPhone was a hell of a lot more innovative by any standard. And there seemed to be a lot less personal tweeting about it and a lot more articles, blog posts, etc.

After thinking a bit, I realized why I'm seeing so many frothing tweets: the iPad is built for tweeting.

The iPhone can tweet, sure. But it's a goal-driven machine. You want to make a call, or play a game, or find directions, or post naked pictures of yourself to the internet. If you didn't have something to do, the phone stays in your pocket.

The iPad is more like a regular computer in that many of its uses don't have a strong goal orientation. But, even more than other tablet PCs, the iPad is easy to pull out at any vaguely bored moment and fuss with, encouraging its use. And, of course, you'll use it for the things you would use a laptop for, which is occasionally goal oriented but usually more open-ended. IE, "let's surf the internet a bit", or "I wonder what's happening on Slashdot", or "let's get some writing done."

Like any other tablet PC without a keyboard, the iPad really isn't very good for writers, and it's not very good for work like art or programming, either. But a lot of the tweets are "I enjoy working on my iPad!" and "I'm using my iPad RIGHT NOW!" and "I'm tweeting this with my dick, because I'm just that good with it!"

The answer, to me, is that the iPad is actually pretty crap for WORKING on. Even if your work task is just answering emails, it's still easier to use a keyboard and mouse. But the barrier to entry is very low. So John Writer pulls out his iPad to do a little writing, he does a little writing, but he drifts off into not-writing land. The actual work is a little more troublesome to do than it normally is, so he finds himself unconsciously stopping more often than he normally would. And what does he do during those breaks?

He tweets.

He tweets about how awesome his iPad is.

Even if he doesn't think of himself as a fanboy, he's got to do something with his not-writing time, and the easiest thing to tweet about... is the device he's tweeting with.

With that explained, I feel a little better about the unending waves of chatter about the iPad. I still wish they'd stop the internet equivalent of creepily dry-humping it, but now that I've come up with a plausible cause, I can try to focus on their other posts. When they have some.


CyberQat said...

The ipad is great for certain kinds of work.

On the go note taking, email, IM and such. It also doubles as a pretty nifty musci player with eithr ituens or pandora. Finally, its a darn good book reader that reads just about *everyones* format (if you download the free GoodReader app.)

It also makes a better word processor then you might think IF you dock it to the keyboard dock.

Is it good for every job? No. Is it even a perfect media player? No, its video codec support is unreasonably limited.

And I've already blogged myself about why I refuse to develop for it.

But credit where credit is due. Its the first real tablet machine that was *designed* in both hardware and software for tablet use and it shows.

And thanks to a third party super-baggie, its also the first book/newspaper I can read safely in the tub :)

Craig Perko said...

Sure, it's a tablet PC. It's good at the same things tablet PCs are good for, but without the freedom of development.