I used to have a laptop, and a phone. I mean, I still do – I’m typing this particular article on my Fujitsu Windows 7 thing and my Phone, being Android, is charging. In fact, both bits of kit now need to be plugged into the mains at least once a day but my frustration with my already ‘outdated’ Hero, and HTC’s almost insulting disregard for its own six month old tech, is for another article entirely. My point is that as of yesterday, I felt like I didn’t need either. Or at least, I didn’t need both.
Mobile phones are a strange phenomenon, an inconvenient convenience that we’ve managed to convince ourselves we can’t be seperated from. I’m convinced, but I know I shouldn’t be because I wasn’t for the first, equally happy 20 years of my life. And yet, I’ve recently become transfixed with the way Android phones are constantly connected to the net, pinging, polling and pushing with whatever signal they can get their hands on – multitasking, multithreading, multipurpose.
It’s the desire for information, to be perpetually updated and updating, that smartphones have managed to satiate, and it’s probably fair to say that the peculiarly camel cased Apple range had a fair hand in establishing this coda. I had a launch iPhone – sold only relatively recently to make way to partially fund my current desire for a more open system – and I loved it and regret selling it. I welcomed the arrival of the App Store with open arms, and have since missed it dearly.
Which brings me back to my opening line – yesterday, by virtue of my dear old father out in sunny California I took receipt of Apple’s latest genre defining slab of technology – an iPad – which, apart from the obvious lack of an ability to actually make a call, has in just an instant almost completely replaced the need to carry around the two aforementioned objects save for the odd chat and a handy bit of wifi tethering if there’s no open networks.
I say tethering. For reasons best left to the UK Government and some enterprising couriers, the whole package has, at the last count, cost me £440 and that’s for the base, non-3G model and that running total doesn’t include some rather uneducated App Store guessing this afternoon. And so I’ll still need my phone (or some open wifi connection) when I’m out and about, but that would be the same with my laptop anyway – at least until the 3G version of the iPad appears here in the UK.
But I digress, and here’s the short version: with the iPad, Apple have changed the market yet again. Just as they did with the MP3 player and the smartphone, the iPad has galvanised the so-called tablet PC and crafted a new pigeon-hole in the process. It might come as a shock, but the decision to run the iPad on the same OS as the iPhone was actually a masterstroke, and, if you’ll permit me, I’ll attempt to explain why. I’m still rambling – let’s have a look at this thing, shall we?