iPad Dismissal

Fraser Speirs nails it yet again with a blog post titled [iPad Fallacy #1: “It’s not for content creation”][]. In the post he poses the question:

I keep hearing this thing on the web that the iPad is “a consumption device, not a creation device”. I don’t know why people keep saying that. It’s fast enough, it has enough storage and it has some seriously powerful applications. If that’s your opinion, please enlighten me in the comments.

Fraser continues on to completely debunk this fallacy by showing screenshots from Apple’s iWork demonstrations during the introductory event. To me though, the really interesting thing is answering the question that Fraser poses: “Why do people keep saying that?” I think that, in many cases, the reason people keep making that claim is actually an off-shoot of the same “Future Shock” that Fraser himself described before. Or, to pimp my own work, I think that statements that the iPad is “just for content consumption” are further examples of nerd myopia.

Like most things in the real world, responses to the iPad are not a simple binary “love it” or “hate it” proposition. In between the people who dismiss the iPad as a “big iPod Touch” and those of us who see it as a potential revolution in consumer computing there is a middle ground of people who almost see the potential of the iPad, but still feel the need to dismiss it in some way. The two most common forms in which I’ve seen that sentiment expressed can be summed up as:

The iPad will be the perfect device for media consumption.”

and

The iPad will be the perfect device for my parents/children/retards/any group perceived as less ‘savvy’ than the person making the statement.”

The thing is, both statements are perfectly accurate, but by limiting the iPad’s potential to just being a “dumbed down” computer, they miss the point. It’s obvious that Apple intends the iPad to be the first in a new class of computing devices. Looking at the iPad and dismissing it as just a toy for certain less savvy users is as short-sighted as the people who dismissed the original Macintosh as a toy for graphic designers. Of course, seeing as I still hear people making that claim, 26 years later, I don’t hold out any hope that the iPad dismissers will stop any time soon.