Recently a friend on Facebook posted the following unqualified comment:
“Why the pc is becoming irrelevant. iPad.”
And I pointed out that, according to the dictionary, the iPad is a PC (i.e. personal computer).
According to the Merriam-Webster, PC stands for Personal Computer and nowhere does it say “IBM” or “Windows” or “Microsoft”. When the dictionary people change the definition maybe I’ll listen but while it is just computer people, not known for their mastery of actual English as opposed to tech jargon, pointing to an IBM related definition, I’ll stand my ground.
When the first iPad appeared, I wrote an article for Anthill questioning the validity and likely success of the iPad in a world where tablet PCs have come and gone (many times). This Facebook exchange made me wonder if anything has changed.
The religious belief in technology and what the CEOs of these companies say, irrespective of brand, seems incredibly closed minded to me; Close-mindedness in the context of believing in the word of an individual or an organisation as opposed to actually thinking and evaluating evidence as compared to my needs and capacity to partake.
I am sure some of these gadgets are lovely and I am equally sure some of them are over-hyped rubbish. Until I have a need and a device can be proven to fill that need at a certain level of reliability I’m not just going to “believe”.
All I have to do is look back at the history of hyped and over-hyped gadgets to see the likelihood of them delivering on their promises. Sadly, my budget does no longer allow me to buy on hype and desire alone. Everything, these days, must deliver value, reliability and promise.
For me, it is that simple.
While the gadgetphile in me says, I want an iPad v2, I can honestly say I can see no reason whatsoever why I need one.
It just does not do anything that I can’t do another way with other devices I already have. It doesn’t do any job I am currently doing more efficiently enough to offset the cost of change. It doesn’t do anything unique that I need to live my life or do my job.
The key word here is NEED.
When my current devices die and I need a new personal computer I will certainly evaluate the technology of the time in the context of my needs and purchase accordingly (within my budget).
However, just because the majority of the human species are distracted by lowest-common-denominator marketing and shiny things doesn’t mean we all have to be. It is this lack of thinking that has and will doom our species. And while it is certainly a long bow to draw between and iPad and the extinction of humans, there is a common thread:
History has proven time and time again just how destructive lack of thought can be. Combine it with blind religious zeal and the path is all too clear.
Sorry iPad, while your sales figures say you are successful, I still don’t see why I need you.
Photo by CLF