'Getting' The iPad

People are quick to throw stones at something they have never experienced.  With the iPad I'm going to leave the rocks on the ground and take what I've seen at face value.  Many have mocked its lack of certain features and 'simplicity'. It's not so much about simplicity, as it is another aspect of that. Maybe it's because I write software for a living, but I like to pay attention to the user experience of what other people write.

As many of you know, people don't like to think. It's not because they're lazy, stupid, or unintelligent. It's that when you are using a tool (by 'tool' I mean in the most generic of the sense), you don't want to have to focus on how to use it, or maybe even what it is doing. People want to focus on the outcome that the tool is supposed to provide. When people use a computer, they don't want to have to focus their energies on how to use it or be impeded because the tool seems like an unnatural means to the goal.

The iPhone software takes commodity hardware that all competitors have access to and makes it a joy to use. Now, that may sound silly to your ears, but when was the last time you drove a car, or road a bike, or sat in a chair, or cut a steak with a knife and thought that you just had an experience that far surpassed doing those things than with other capable, if clumsy, ways? The iPad is about taking that iPhone experience and not only making it bigger, but changing the fundamental way in which you consume media and interact with this tool called the computer.

We like the computer as we know it now just the way it is because it has always been that way for most of us. As much as we cling to it, the interface is clunky, doesn't work exactly what seems natural to us. We have shoehorned ourselves to fit it, not the other way around. The iPad is about changing that. And as someone who likes exploring new, better ways of doing things, that's exciting to me.

So, tell ya what:

I will be an early adopter for you. I will suffer the rotten tomatoes and eggs and name calling you throw at me. I will be a martyr of the new way of experiencing the world. And if I was wrong, I will take my tongue lashing and the missing chunk of change from my wallet, shut up, and go figure out what other 'joys' are to be had in the world.

But if I was right, I will relish in knowing that I found that joy before you and focus my energies using the tool in finding more joy in the other things in life as well and experience them in ways you cannot.

Posted on Feb 4
Written by Wayne Hartman