I’ve found it strangely soothing to lay in bed and tap out a post on the virtual keyboard of the iPad. I do so using the WordPress app rather than loading in this site directly, as the app smooths off the edges of working on a tablet’s smaller display.
Speaking of Macs, I now have a Macbook Air, my first laptop and also my first Mac. I’ve used Macs on and off for years and always resisted the siren call because of price, lack of good gaming choices and as of Windows 7, OS X is no longer a compelling reason to venture over to the Mac side of things.
Regarding the first point (price), ultrabooks (super-slim and light notebooks) and the Macbook Air are pretty much at price parity, with neither side holding a definite advantage on comparable specs. This will probably change over the next year as more Windows 8 ultrabooks come onto the market but for now the pricing and features are close enough to remove it as a deciding factor.
On the gaming front, things have improved in Mac land but it still sucks compared to the PC side, it just sucks less. And that’s why my main machine is still running Windows.
On the third point, OS X has its flaws and strengths much like Windows 8 (which I currently run), so that’s a wash, too.
I opted to get the Macbook Air because it’s especially light (less than three pounds), has excellent battery life and the keyboard is backlit, something I’m always a sucker for. Its primary function will be for writing when I am away from the home machine, so this sucker is ultimately meant to pay for itself. Or at least pay a little for itself. Really, I’d probably be happy if it just paid for the taxes.
Ironically, I made this post on the PC while the Macbook was updating.
Today the iPad went on sale in Canada, the base unit going for $549, $49 more than south of the border, as is the way with Apple’s pricing.
Apple describes the iPad as “a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.” I believe this is the first time Apple has referred to one of its products as magical.
The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
A mysterious quality of enchantment: “For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past” (Max Beerbohm).
I’m going to assume they’re going with #4 here, though who knows, perhaps the iPad runs on pixie dust and mystic rituals. Of course, it’s all too easy to bash Apple these days, as they have become a big, juicy target with the popularity of the iPod, iPhone and Macbook. Wait, Macbook? How’d that one slip through? There’s no ‘i’ in there anywhere! (Ironically, the Macbook replaced the iBook.) I’ve walked by local cafes that appear to have an ‘Apple notebook only’ policy in effect, where you may be forbidden entry should you enter without some flavor of Macbook tucked under your arm. When I ride the bus, a good number of people plugged in to portable music players are wearing the telltale white Apple earphones. The company’s products are everywhere.
Popular companies are popular targets and people love tearing down the big guys, perhaps to allow the little guys to rise up so the process can start all over. A circle of life thing for the petty and jealous, if you will.
I own two iPods (the classic and nano) and they work well enough as music players. iTunes isn’t as horrible for me as it apparently is for others and it’s nice that Apple finally abandoned that horrible brushed metal look on its interface. I was worried they would be adding wood paneling in a future version. I do not hate Apple, even if I don’t embrace their vision of a closed-off, proprietary future where all content is vetted by Apple on your behalf but the iPad is a pretty big meh. For me it fills a niche I don’t need filled. I simply have no pressing need to check my mail, view photos or surf the web in a portable format, especially for $549. I’ll admit if it had supported a pressure-sensitive stylus for input I’d have been mightily tempted, though. Having a portable electronic sketchpad is probably too sexy for me to resist, so I should thank Apple for saving me an “unbelievable” amount of money.
There are a few glitches with the Canadian rollout. One of the selling features of the iPad, shown in the image above, is iBooks, Apple’s answer to the Kindle and other ebook readers — except the iBook store in Canada doesn’t have anything you can actually buy on it yet. Oops. I’m also not sure if I’d want to read a book on an LCD screen, even a really nice one, but if someone wants to loan me an iPad, I’d be willing to run some tests, though. In the interest of science, of course.
I was downtown today and while I was in Pacific Centre I went upstairs to see if there might be a line-up at the Apple store. This was around 3 p.m. and indeed there was a line-up. And security! They had (velvet?) ropes to keep people orderly and a big sign for one line-up labeled “iPad purchases”. The other line, not worthy of an actual sign, may have been for iPad lookie-loos or people just wanting to grab some ear buds for their iPods. The reports of the thing selling out will be arriving shortly, no doubt, so kudos to Apple for another successful product launch. Who’d have thought the same company that put out the Newton, the Macintosh “Portable” that weighed 17 pounds and the original iMac mouse which was designed for hands that have never appeared on humans would end up so blazingly successful?
I do wish they’d stop with the whole iName thing, though. It’s as outdated now as the brushed metal look.