By uscasNcash advance
I’ve never been a big Apple fan. I’ve always thought such people —MacTards or iSheep, as they are often referred to— were gullible hipsters and/or drooling sycophants who religiously hung on every word Steve Jobs uttered, and were willing to spend thousands buying every latest magical Apple product that was announced at their overhyped conferences. Watching videos of these conferences has often made me sick with revulsion wonder in bewilderment at the dedication and adoration these people seem to pour out on the company, its founder, its events, and its products. I simply couldn’t grasp it.
But since the introduction of their touch mobile products (iPods, iPhones, iPads —or collectively, iDevices), my mind has been somewhat transformed.
Just about two years ago now, I purchased my first iDevice: the iPhone. It was a great experience. From purchasing to unboxing, to making my first call, it was incredibly impressive and fun. The packaging was pure class, the construction of the device itself was solid, the look of it was shiny and sleek, and the interface was stylish and beautiful… perfectly designed for hands —my hands.
On top of that was the new adventure of the App Store. The world of apps and games has brought new and wonderful experiences at every turn and even now I’m impressed everyday by the kinds of ideas people come up with. It’s quite incredible and I’ve probably spent more money on apps than I care to find out.
Now, I hear myself saying this and I cringe inwardly thinking, “OMG, I’m one of THEM!! ” One of the brainwashed minions; a mindless automaton who has been subconsciously programmed into the Cult of Mac. But upon further thought I find that I’ve somehow grown to be ok with that, not because I am one of them —I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination— but because on some level, to some degree, I think they think like me. Let me explain.
I truthfully and wholeheartedly admit that I’m a huge fan of technology —and anyone who knows me will testify to this. But more accurately, I consider myself a smart follower of great technology. You see, when I come across a potentially great device —such as the iPhone— I research it and carefully consider whether it’s worth getting. I immerse myself in information about the device; news articles, blogs, user & magazine reviews, company marketing, you name it, I’m there. I’m just not one of those people who has to have every new hyped up contraption on the market and my interest isn’t just centred around Apple products.
In the case of the iPhone, I didn’t jump into the purchase until the 3Gs model was available; and this was primarily because of the negative press I was coming across regarding the annoyances in the software and functionality of the previous generations. While it was groundbreaking and innovative technology, it just hadn’t really matured enough for me to jump into it with any amount of confidence. However, by the time the 3Gs was available, the major bugs and issues had either been already, or were well on the way to being sorted out. Today with the iPhone 4, you have an almost completely stable device with a vast software ecosystem, incredibly solid construction, and a multitude of uses —not simply a phone. And overall I’ve been extremely pleased the purchase.
I took the same approach with the iPad. When it was first announced, I thought it looked great but the features it offered just weren’t appealing enough; it was simply a larger version of an iPod Touch, so I decided to wait and see what the future held. In addition there were simply no apps that made full use of the platform so overall adopting the device in the beginning would’ve been a waste of time and money.
Enter the iPad 2
Although its featureset isn’t exactly groundbreaking in some areas, it does reap the benefit of Apple’s more powerful A5 chip, as well as a boost in memory which speeds the experience dramatically from its predecessor. The slimmer form of this device while keeping comparable battery life was also a positive, as well as the addition of the gyroscope for gaming & other applications.
Unfortunately, according to reports it’s not without a few flaws. Basically, the included cameras aren’t great; it can’t charge from a standard PC USB port while activated; and personally, after having tasted the freedom of the jailbreak world , vanilla iOS just bugs me.
Nevertheless, it seemed like a great device and the time was right, and given my positive experience with the iPhone and generally positive reports for the first generation iPad, I decided I would purchase the iPad 2. The declining rate of the US dollar also made for a definite deciding factor, but since it wasn’t yet available here in Oz at the time I made the decision I decided to order it from the US along with a bunch of peripherals for it.
Five or so weeks later, it finally arrived , and considering the short amount of time I’ve owned this device —which I’ve dubbed the Intrepid , I can already sum up my experience with one word: AMAZING.
Not Just Another Big Boy’s Toy
While it was certainly certainly never meant to be a complete replacement for a proper computing platform, the portability, versatility and convenience of the iPad makes it a phenomenally useful tool to have around. It’s incredibly easy to take with you wherever you go and the convenience of the App Store means you have access to a veritable plethora of apps to satisfy almost every need imaginable.
Moreover, its media capabilities mean I don’t have to miss out on any of my favourite shows, music, movies, or videos. In fact, you’ll often find my iPad sitting in the kitchen playing one of my favourite shows while I cook dinner or wash dishes. It’s pretty awesome. And when I’m sitting around bored I’ll launch a game, or read through my RSS feeds, check Twitter and Facebook, or do some drawing or writing on it, read a book, make some music, browse the web, or any of a multitude of other things for which the App Store has apps. There’s not a lot you can’t do on it.
It’s also very solid. You can feel it when you pick it up; no rattles or squeaks, no loose bits, the buttons are crisp and flush against the casing, the screen and body are free of imperfections, the materials feel durable but look incredibly shiny and sleek. While it’s not something you’d take with you to a construction site without additional protection, it doesn’t seem like it’s something that’s going to give up the ghost easily. I’m sure it’d scratch without too much effort but the damage would be superficial, the insides would still be intact and there’d be no loss of functionality.
In fact, its sleek and shiny design encourages you to take more care with it than you would otherwise.
The peripherals I also purchased are no less meticulously constructed. The Dock, Wireless Keyboard, Smart Cover and even the VGA and USB Adapters are equally as precisely constructed as the devices themselves. In fact one of the things that always strikes me as amazing whenever I receive something from Apple is how sharp, crisp or smooth some of the corners and surfaces are on these products. None of the after-market peripherals I’ve bought elsewhere ever feel as well-designed and built as these. They just… feel solid & weighty.
Say what you will about Apple, its short-spoken founder, its exuberant followers, its secretive nature, and overly restrictive policies, but their approach to technology is just top-notch. Of course I can’t speak for all of their products, but as far as the iPod Touch, iPhone 3Gs and iPad 2 are concerned, I’m thoroughly impressed and won over, and frankly, I’m not sure that a device from any other company would win me over as thoroughly (and that’s not to say I’d be unwilling to try any others; I’m just so extremely pleased with these to want to… ).
And I respect that. I’m obliged to acknowledge that the company has done its work and done it well; from design, to construction, to user interface experience, it has all been thought out and painstakingly arranged to create great mobile products. In addition, though I’ve never been to one personally, I hear that Apple Stores are pretty awesome.
Of course, none of this is to say there’s no room for improvement, but simply that flaws are almost always easily overlooked. I say almost because some things I just can’t abide, but for that, there’s always the jailbreak solution. That, however, is a post for another day.
Be sure to let me know if you have an iDevice and what your thoughts are in general about the device itself and Apple’s overall approach to technology.
This post was (mostly) edited and uploaded with the help of BlogPress from my iPad 2.