The Apple iPad

April 1, 2010 at 2:33 am (Fróðleikr) (, , , , )

My better half is a techno-god: he’s well-known in the tech community; when he works I feel existential insecurity due to the orders of magnitude of abstraction that lie between me and comprehension of what is flashing by on his screen; he has not one, but two multimedia phones in constant use; I once asked him to name the number of languages he could program in and he didn’t even know; he learnt Python in two days to debug coursework I did for an elective in college; he modded a tape recorder when he was ten years old to make a backup of his floppies.

Understand, then, that when he says the iPad is “fucking stupid” and “an iPhone for shortsighted people without a phone”, I listen to his objections very carefully. Through some sort of “relationship osmosis” I have soaked up a great deal of knowledge about computing – hardware and software.

New York Times reviews of iPad – One for techs, One for norms

So I guess I end up with the tech camp, here.

These reviews are fairly comprehensive; however, every single iPad review is missing one very key element about the iPad that nobody seems to be registering. Please look at these pictures of an iPad from Apple’s website very carefully:

iPad side view

Do you see it?

The bottom of the iPad is curved.

Now, think about it for a second. You’re trying to use your iPad – typing, navigating, whatever – and your arm is getting tired from using the patented “Jobs cradle”. So you put it on a table.

Hmm. It seems to be quite unstable. Well, very unstable. Actually, every time you touch the damned thing, it tips a little to one or the other side, so that whenever you move your finger or stop putting any pressure on the screen, the iPad wobbles on multiple axes.

Crafting a message becomes a jittery and awkward task as your brain tries to instruct your fingers about the vagaries of typing on a see-saw; your ears are assaulted with the loud and jarring noise of the delicate piece of equipment you just purchased repeatedly rolling on and perhaps even smacking against a hard surface.

The only thing for it is to hold the iPad while composing text. This becomes wearisome, especially as you are reduced to typing at 10 wpm or less because you never learnt to touch type with one hand.

Keyboard designed for touch typing on a device that discourages it.

How do I use this?

Instead of building up specifically iPad-assigned muscles, you choose to bring it with you less and less, instead preferring your iPhone or Nexus, which, ironically, can be used on a flat surface without fuss.

Your iPad sits, gathering dust, charging just in case you need it, until it is upcycled by your partner as a picture frame. C’est la vie, iPad.


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