The release of yet another crippled Internet appliance by Apple, Inc. ordinarily wouldn’t be worthy of mention on these hallowed pages — but there’s been such a deluge of hipsteria about it over the weekend that I wanted to make sure that you caught the important stuff.
So let’s get to it!
The Emperor’s New Clothes:
From the “picture is worth a thousand words” department, here’s the iPad’s inner workings, as revealed on reddit. It’s obviously a Photoshop but makes its point rather well, I think.
Thinking outside the triangle:
Back in the early days of our design process, Jonny Ive came in to see me and we spent a long time trying to decide where on Mazlow’s triangle this product would sit. Because we knew if we couldn’t be way up above the very top of that pyramid, floating above it, totally outside the needs it describes, then this wouldn’t be a product we wanted to make.
Fake Steve Jobs describes how the iPad came to be. I’ll freely admit that the reference to Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs went right over my head, so I linked to it just in case you find yourself in the same boat.
Then there’s the device itself: clearly there’s a lot of thoughtfulness and smarts that went into the design. But there’s also a palpable contempt for the owner. I believe — really believe — in the stirring words of the Maker Manifesto: if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.
That last sentence inspired the new tagline for this site: “If it won’t open, it’s broken.”
The quote is from none other than Cory Doctorow channeling some Jonathan Zittrain in rightfully damning the iPad as a non-generative device. It didn’t take long for Gizmodo — firmly in the Apple fanboy camp since the first-gen iPhone launched in 2007 — to issue their rebuttal. Funny thing is, the arguments in that piece are pretty much destroyed with the first comment. Sticks Calhoun, you are new my new hero — whoever you are.
Oh, and speaking of Jonathan Zittrain, he’s written up a nice piece of his own for today’s Financial Times. Here’s a quote from that:
If Apple is the gatekeeper to a device’s uses, the governments of the world need knock on the door of only one office in Cupertino, California – Apple’s headquarters – to demand changes to code or content. Users no longer own or control the apps they run – they merely rent them minute by minute.
At this point if you’re not giving serious second thought to your unabashed iPad lust you must be itching to counter all of this with something about the superior Apple user experience, which products from other manufacturers simply cannot match. I hope you’re sitting comfortably…
Do you like a linear approach for doing things? If so, the iPad is perfect for you. Everything about the iPad interface is linear. Every desired final action is accomplished through a series of taps. Want to read a book? Cool. Tap the home button. Tap the iBook app. Tap the library view. Tap the book you want to read. Hopefully, you’re getting the point. Some will call this brilliant. I call it rudimentary and lacking…
Adam Kmiec seems to accomplish the impossible here — to quantify the Apple user experience that no Apple fan has been able to articulate — at least to me.
I could (and probably will at some point) devote an entire post to how Apple’s ease of use actually obfuscates basic machine/human interaction. But for now, I’m interested what you make of all this…