North of Northeast is a column that offers commentaries from a Canadian perspective. OK, I'll admit it, I'm a crusty, curmudgeonly kind of guy; the classic "glass half empty" type, but I'm also willing to admit when I'm wrong … and when it comes to the iPad I was very, very wrong indeed.
Now, in my own defence, my first comments were made just days after the device was officially announced, and I had not yet laid my hands on one. Neither had many third-party developers. So all we were seeing were a handful of Apple apps and a bunch of transported iPhone apps. Not much to go by.
That was then, this is now. My own iPad finally arrived yesterday morning, after an epic sixteen day journey from Boston to the southwest shores of Nova Scotia via, it would seem, Timbuktu. I live 440km directly across the Gulf of Maine from Boston. There's nothing but water between us. Sixteen days? What, did they hand it off to the fattest postie in the US Postal Service and ask him to waddle on up here and deliver it? Good thing it was shipped Priority Post! But at least it's finally here, safe and sound, and, thanks to its phenomenal success south of the boarder, still way ahead of the product's release in Canada.
What can I say? This product and its successors will change the way we interact with information technology … period.
It's biggest problem will be trying to break out of the pigeon holes unimaginative technology writers are constantly trying to shove it in. There IS no pigeon hole for this device. It is an entirely new category of device. Like the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone before it, the iPad truly breaks new ground. It is a revolutionary device. It's not like it does things no other device has done before … it doesn't. It's how it does those things and how it so clearly, cleanly, easily and intuitively integrates it all into such a small, energy efficient device. This is the first device that can clearly claim to approach the legendary Star Trek Pad.
Now, before you start wondering who really wrote this article, let me hasten to say that the device is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. What version one device is? But for a version one device, it's pretty amazing none the less. Why it has no forward facing camera is beyond me. Video iChat is a no brainer for sure, but investigation has indicated that there is a place for a camera, so it will come.
Also, version four of the operating system will come this fall, bringing multitasking and a whole raft of welcome additions to the way the device does it's thing. iPhone/iPod applications do run on it almost flawlessly, but they look pretty pitiful with all that real estate. Developers are quickly recognizing this and responding with iPad-specific versions, all with added features.
Now, you'll have to excuse me. Steve's Reality Distortion Field has an extremely strong hold on me at the moment and I can only resist so long. Suffice it to say that not much is going to get done around the house this weekend!
-- Gerry Curry