Its impossible not to get excited about Apple’s impending new product announcement (9 hours away from launch and counting when writing this) if you’re a full on gadget and computer geek. Apple know how to do shiny desirability better than almost anyone and I use a mac every day as a central part of my creativity in music and video. I’m not an Apple fanboy but also, quite clearly, not going to be a mindless mac detractor.
Right, with that all said, I’m going to say something which has been niggling at the back of my brain for a few weeks now and which has only very recently formed itself into something coherent.
There’s a major aspect to the Apple tablet hype/release which I find to be deeply concerning.
Now, that’s got to be viewed through the eyes of pre-release supposition and speculation, so don’t shoot me just yet if you’re part of the Apple faithful. Going on all the informed (or otherwise) speculation and analysis, however, one unavoidable theme runs through all the beliefs and expectations about this device, but so far I don’t think anyone has said it. So here it is.
The Apple Tablet seems likely to be the World’s first standalone computer device whose entire purpose is to CONSUME.
Huh? What am I on about? Well its only fair that I parse that statement a little. The tablet, whether it connects via wifi, 3G or both, will be “standalone” enough to be used without a larger laptop or desktop computer to support it, as analysts have widely predicted. Some commentators have referred to it as the computer that anyone can use, the computer for the rest of us, the computer that will finally bridge the game between the computer as we know it and the television. Everyone expects that this device WILL be entirely capable of being standalone. Yes, it will be able to connect to your computer, but will that be essential? Apparently not. Arguably its not even intended to be used with your computers.
So, its standalone - but why does that mean its entire purpose is to consume? Think of it like this. You buy a Mac and it includes a suite of (very good) applications for creating things, music, video, text, images. You buy a PC and it has its own alternatives. Not as powerful, but still, they come with software that enables you to create. Even the iPhone or other cellphones have a camera enabling you to take photos or video and instantly upload them. The ability to create your own stuff is central to their success.
But what will the Apple Tablet have? Its supposition right now, but all commentary and analysis suggests that the ability to create your own stuff might even be absent from the Tablet or so incidental as to be negligible. Everything that has been speculated on as a feature of the device revolves around how the device will be used to CONSUME media, not create it. A custom version of iTunes focused on the tablet, serving up apps, video, music. Want to add something to the device other than via iTunes? Tough luck. YES the device will be hacked and jailbroken within days of release, but that a niche geek activity, not a joe public activity. YES engadget and lifehacker etc will be full of funky new things the device can be used for if hacked, but that’s quite clearly NOT the intention of the device.
Apple’s tablet is designed for one primary purpose - to drive even more consumption. We’re invited to purchase a device in which our role is not what we can do with it, but in what we can passively consume on it, via a walled garden of media to which access cannot easily be gained. In that the tablet really is closest to television. We do not create, or participate, merely consume whatever is force fed to us.
What does it say that this is the device being touted as the computer that everyone can use? Are only an elite to be allowed to create in the future, while the role for the rest of us is to consume, consume, consume? Are we being told ever louder that creativity is for “them”, not something we can all take part in?
If the tablet does take off and spawn numerous copycats, then it is the purpose of the device, rather than the form factor or user interface, which will make it a landmark product. Perhaps its only in the future that we’ll know if the tablet is the pioneer of a new type of device, a future in which our role as “consumers” - not people - is confirmed.
For me, that’s a fairly chilling concept. Right now, I’ll choose creativity, thanks. I’d encourage you to do the same too - I mean, at this moment you’re sat in front of a device enabling you to be creative, so why not affirm your own creativity and make something instead?
I do hope I’m wrong about the Tablet. We’ll know in a few hours.
The exquisite, beautiful opportunities of a new morning….
|—||~ Salvador Dali (via gatekeeper)|
I look at this picture and can only dream and think how beautiful and how i need you in my life……
chocolate lava cake
@raglanshire Don’t say I never share mine! :)
@ditzymoi Do you know anything about this????
Yeah, I’m pretty sure the future wasn’t meant to end up like this too :)