I scoffed when the iPad was released. Yet again, Apple created a total vanity product, just like the useless (but sexy) MacBook Air. Plus, given that the tablet is essentially entertainment-only, with none of the productivity features of other portable devices like netbooks and laptops, the iPad seemed even dumber. But, of course, the iPad sold out like crazy, pushing 1.3 million units per month, and analysts expect it to hit 28 million by next year.
Now I kinda want one. Damn you, Apple!
Maybe I’ve chugged Steve Jobs’ Kool-Aid—am I, too, caught in the crushing throng of Apple fanboys hell-bent on turning every product developed in Cupertino into an overnight success? Past experience certainly indicates this to be true.
I bought the iPhone 3G for full price—over five hundred bucks—just because I needed one right that second. I even mouthed off to the Apple employee selling me the gizmo because he was “taking too long.”
Then, upon release of iOS 4.0, my iPhone 3G became totally crippled. Apple supposedly fixed the problem with iOS 4.1, but I’m still finding my smartphone buggy, lagging, crash-prone, and so frustrating I frequently threaten to heave it into the closest body of water.
I know what’s really happening here: Apple wants me to buy the iPhone 4, even though its antenna problems render it broken trash. Will I? Probably. Because, if nothing else, I’m clearly a sucker.
But back to the iPad. Even though the current iteration of the iPad has its problems, an update is on its way, and promises boneriffic features that’ll put Version 1.0 to shame. Soon enough, swank cafés with free Wi-Fi and $4 cups of coffee will be crowded with cardigans swiping biscotti-slick fingers across glassy touchscreens. These sights will perpetuate the tech lust that burns within every geek; the one that runs so deep and fiery that it makes one consider thievery just to be a part of this newfound elite crowd.
The worst part is that the iPad is still the best tablet out there. The Samsung Galaxy Tab boasted that it’d be the bee’s knees, but given that it’s chained to the same contractually restrictive data plans as smartphones, has (despite its smaller-than-iPad frame) a poorer battery life, and operates on the less-than-sexy Android OS, it doesn’t seem likely to catch on. Without serious competition, Apple will win. Every time. And we’ll all be toting that glossy slate, simultaneously grimacing at our depleted bank accounts, and self-satisfied by the fact that yes, now we belong—yes, now we can wear our sunglasses at night!
So without any decent tablet alternative, and a reboot coming in the first quarter of 2011, Apple has once again mesmerized the world with its enviable marketing skills, its classy design and OS interface, and, of course, our culture’s vampiric hunger to have the next best tech.