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Posted on Jan 31, 2010 in Technology | 0 comments

iPad : Function From Design Desire

I‘ve been watching all the iPad chat with only a passing interest. I’ve only recently got an iMac (which I love) but I don’t have an iPod/iPhone or any other Apple kit. I can, however, see why people like them so much.

I’m not going to add much to the glut of ongoing iPad debate other than to make one observation.

When I first watched the iPad videos I found it hard to see how/when I would use it. I’ve got a lovely wee Linux Eee PC which does everything I need on the move (and quite a few things the iPad doesn’t). The obvious occurred to me that most of the Apple techno-bling never has won the battle on function. Certainly, I’ve avoided the iPhone up to now because there were key things it didn’t do. And yet, massive popularity and the must have tag results.

So, when you consider the iPad, you can argue all day long about what it does and doesn’t do but that doesn’t matter. What Apple seem always to be able to pull off is to make people want their technology. I want an iPad and I have no need for it and I’m not really sure what I’d use it for.

There is undoubtedly something a bit primal at the heart of this. Whether it is a basic need to ‘keep up’ or to reinforce self-worth through possessions the desire alone is enough.

All Apple do is create the desire through glorious design and have a platform open enough for the useful killer app type stuff to come along later. If you create enough desire, enough people are interest in building the apps on the device. It’s all a little back to front, normally you shell out on high price tech because what it will do for you right away. Seems to me that people will buy the iPad just because they want it and knowing that they will find a use for it later.

Contrast with the desirable tech of my youth. When you were deciding whether or not you wanted a BBC Micro, Commodore 64 or a ZX Spectrum, you didn’t care all the much how it looked or what it could do, you were primarily interested in the software/games that ran on it.

There have been tablets before but they have never taken off because they weren’t sexy enough so not enough were sold so there wasn’t enough app investment to make them any kind of game changer. The iPad will sell plenty for being sexy alone and the rest will just happen.

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