Sunday, February 07, 2010

Blondes With Padding

I don't get it, and this is something Apple may be hearing a lot. The iPod did not create a new device space, it merely made a stripped, accessible and standardised version of something that already existed in a dozen other devices: the iMac and iBook did the same, streamlining and refining an existing technology, making themselves attractive to non-techies by removing functions and choice. It's what Apple do best.

The iPad, on the other hand, doesn't actually replace anything. It's not a simple alternative to anything. It's appealing as a piece of equipment but only - and this is where Apple have got it entirely arse-backwards - to Star Trek fans. Scifi types recognise the iPad as the PADD from TNG: but in that universe it was not a replacement for some other technology, or a new paradigm of its own... it was a replacement for paper. In the real world this isn't going to happen, mostly because we don't live on a fucking spaceship.

Had they marketed the thing as the iReader it would have made a lot more sense: an ebook reader to defeat the handful of others, with an iTunes-type store behind it, a trusted focal point for publishers to rally around rather than all trying to foist their own separate DRM-heavy solutions on the consumer, would have been a sound business plan. All the flashy extra functions such as gaming and being-a-giant-phone and everything could have been developed later.

It's bizarre. Apple don't usually misstep with this kind of thing. Perhaps they have a real strategy on the back burner and this soft-headed launch is a deliberate attempt to generate inverse hype... I'm not sure, though. Either way, I never bought a Kindle for the same reason I won't buy this: no point, when I have a palmtop and a laptop that can read PDFs and a choice of bookstores to buy actual paper books from, and a damn sight cheaper than the electronic versions in most cases. And I hate having to clean fingerprints off touchscreens.

New Year Resolutions Progress Report: so far I have accomplished items 3, 4, 6 and 7. Items 1 and 2 will take longer, for obvious reasons. Item 5... well, I'll explain another time.

And what is it with blondes lately? At least four significant blondes have wandered through my social space lately, all with conflicting motives. Am I missing a hair fashion thing here? It's like Village Of The Damned, only sexier. Not complaining, just saying. I am surely not the only one affected.

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