iPads and other shiny objects

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 10:28 PM | comments: 0

Apple announced the second generation iPad today. The tech press is participating in a great deal of inappropriate touching over it, and really it got ridiculous within hours of the announcement. I remember when the first one was announced, I thought, "Gosh, that's neat, I'll buy one." Once it was released, Simon had been born, and I just kind of decided it wasn't a priority in any way. Now that the second version is out, I still feel that way. For a guy who has owned five Macs, two iPhones, two iPods and the original Apple TV, that might sound odd, but it just doesn't fill any particular need.

That doesn't mean I don't want one. The Garage Band software, of all things, seemed really interesting to me. But I just spent the price of an iPad on a new SSD for my laptop. The laptop is the reason I don't feel like I can justify an iPad. It's always in the place where I might use the iPad. That, and I also have a work laptop, which has proven excellent for travel. My phone (current Windows Phone or the iPhone, it wouldn't matter), also meet the time-and-place for an iPad.

It's funny though how Apple can instill this "must have" feeling for their products. I call it shiny object syndrome, but it's not like they're making non-functional crap that isn't useful. Touch interfaces obviously encourage different kinds of interaction, and that's what makes tablets so interesting and engaging. I don't blame people for wanting one, and they're definitely more than just toys.

For me, I can see in the long term having my desktop computer be the place where I do development work, a small laptop (perhaps a MacBook Air?) the thing I take with me that can get by doing dev stuff, and a slate device for the living room. It sounds almost ridiculous to say that out loud, when ten years ago we had machines tied to phone lines and CRT's that weighed 50 pounds.

A year from now, I think the slate device story will be very different.


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