Partake of the Apple and you will be like a god!

22 09 2010

Not an essay or even an astute and coherent observation. Just a series of loosely related stream-of-consciousness-bullet-point thoughts and questions that have run through my mind this morning. Join up the dots for yourself, and if you feel enlightened, share some of your answers!

  • The iPad is a cultural phenomenon. It is having an enormous effect on print media, amongst other things. I don’t own one. I’ve not tried one. I’m undecided if I would even want to own one.
  • Here Peter Bregman comments on the iPad and the preciousness of boredom. Interesting. What do you think?
  • Is taking an iPad to bed really better than taking an iPhone? Or rather is Phil Moore closer to the mark when he says: “When I’m in bed with my wife, my 659 Facebook Friends really shouldn’t be there with us. Two’s company. 661 is a crowd.” How do we draw boundaries? (And how does Phil have 218 more friends than I do?)
  • If we were to apply Andy Crouch’s five questions to ask of a cultural innovation to the iPad, what would your answers be?
    1. What does the iPad assume about the world?
    2. What does the iPad assume about the way the world should be?
    3. What does the iPad make possible?
    4. What does the iPad make impossible?
    5. What new culture is created in response to the iPad?
  • So is the iPad a step backward or forward? Will the iPad motivate and empower the next generation to create culture or will it simply be an enabler for a generation to simply consume culture?
  • Now, check this out. An advert for an iPad app cashing in on the humour that a cultural innovation need not be a 100% improvement to be, nonetheless, an desirable innovation.
  • In the light of this, question 4 is a double edged-sword, for the iPad makes impossible one thing that may actually be desirable. How do we measure the comparative value of ‘possibility’ over ‘desirability’? What is an acceptable trade off? How big of a step does a step have to be for it to be a step worth taking?
  • Did Apple force the advert to be revoked? Or is that just a conspiracy theory? If they did, why? Is it simply too painful for them to see their precious product smashed to smithereens? Do they dislike the idea of people discovering that there are downsides (albeit trivial and farcical ones) to their product?
  • (Interestingly, the advert seeks to sell its product – the app – by pointing out the weakness of another company’s product – the iPad! In essence, it says ‘since you already own a flawed product, you might as well make cut your losses and buy our app to make it at least bearable!‘ I can understand why Apple might not like that rather two-faced approach to advertising. But it’s not even the age old technique of mocking the competitors under the oh-so-subtle ‘one leading competitor’ smokescreen. They have chosen to mock a product upon which they entirely depend, and without which they would have no reason to exist!)
  • And ‘though this article from 2007 on iPhone thumb surgery turned out to be a work of satirical-fiction, it still makes me wonder: “how long before…” Would that be a step too far? If so, why? Would multilating our fingers in the name of ‘cultural advance’ be any less detrimental than mutilating our values, lifestyles and interpersonal relationships?
  • That said, I typed this up on my MacBook Pro, and tweeted about it from my iPhone. And enjoyed every minute of it. Now before I start my day’s work, I’ll quickly update Facebook, check Twitter, and perhaps swat a fly with a relic from the bookshelf…
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