Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is an i-Pad and why do I need one?

All week, it's been i-Pad i-Pad i-Pad all over the web, and since menopause I really don't need them much any more unless I'm at a really funny movie or I have a bad cough, so I haven't been paying much attention. Then I realized I was thinking of she-pads, followed by the product spin-off wee-pads—seems as soon as you dry up in one place you spring a leak somewhere else, and Proctor and Gamble's ingenious marketing department had the gamut covered. This left me wondering what an i-Pad was. Something you wear for runny eyes? Is that what's next in my future?

No. The i-Pad is a device that everyone on the interweb is telling me I do not want or need, except for the ones who are saying I can't live without it. The tech geeks hate it because it doesn't support Flash, but who, may I ask, is Flash and why can't he get a job and support himself, anyway? Flash, it turns out, is this software that everyone hates but needs in order to play most of the videos you find online. So since your new i-Pad sent Flash off to fend for itself, there's quite a bit on the tubes that you won't be able to watch.

Another thing the techies seem to hate is that this Apple guy, a Mr. Steve Jobs—who certainly seems like a nice enough young man, and even his name sounds productive—is accused of attempting to corner the market on the purchasing of something called apps. Often qualified by the word killer. Killer apps. I personally would not want to be anywhere near any killer apps, which sounds like a very scary part of a Catholic basilica. It is not.

Killer apps are what make your i-Pad do all the cool things it will do for you: play games like Scrabble with faraway strangers, watch movies, check your email and answer it. If you get lost, or you just want to find something, there's an app that will show you where you are and where the nearest Arby's is. You carry it around in your purse, I guess, it's too big for a pocket, but it only weighs one and a half pounds. If you are like my husband Wally, it will be worth the $500 never to have to ask for directions again, at least until you lose it. Wally loses things.

i-Pads don't do well in the sun, but neither do I. You can't take it apart, which seems like a good thing. But you have to pay someone to change the battery for you. Not a problem if you're in my age group. The battery will surely outlive you. There would be a monthly internet fee if you wanted to use it outside the reach of a wireless signal.

I would not buy one of these instruments for Wally, who would only use it for solitaire and then lose it, just before leaving it in the sun, trying to take it apart, killing the battery and complaining about the monthly fee. I wouldn't buy one for any of my kids, either, because it's too obvious a cool gadget, so obviously cool that it's uncool and makes you look like the kind of jerk who would fall for something just because it is cool when it's not (even though it is).

Now, I am the perfect customer. I wear Rockports; cool is simply out of reach. The i-Pad doesn't intrude on you the way a phone does, but it travels better than a laptop, and it does all the things I need a computer for: browsing, learning, keeping in touch, seeing what the culinarily homicidal Paula Deen is recommending I make for dinner. And I can set the i-Pad on my counter and follow her satanic instructions with ease.

The i-Pad is designed for content consumers. I'm always content when I'm consuming, so I think it would do much to ensure continued contentedness. They don't mean happy-content, though. They are talking about CON-tent, stuff, words, games, music, film, it's all called CON-tent now, and I consume it. With my new i-Pad, I can carry on late at night while Wally's trying to sleep and not listen to him complain about the light from my laptop or the clacking of my keyboard. (The i-Pad has a touchscreen keyboard which is probably a drag, but good for silent content-creation.) You can't really snuggle up with a laptop the way I imagine you can with one of these things, even if you just want to use it to read a book you've downloaded from Steve Jobs' book-downloading monolopological Company Store.

Call me a sucker, but count me in. I know: Aristotle said that happiness only comes from hard work, not amusement or distraction, but a little amusement or distraction never...I'm sorry, what was I talking about?



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God Bless You, Ron

trish in SW FL said...

Thanks for the wonderful descriptions of this new toy--you brought many smiles and a *few* giggles my way, as I read it.

I want one...but the budget says I must be 'content' with this used laptop and my NOT-smart cellphone.