Apparently, there was a revolution this week. No, I’m not talking about the Tea Party. I’m talking about the release of Apple’s iPad.
Though criticized for being a glorified, enlarged iPod Touch, the media latched onto the release of the iPad in adorationg as if it were the moon landing.
Steve Jobs was on the cover of Time. Jenna Wortham’s blog on the New York Times Web site focused on what the lucky, elite owners downloaded onto their new gadget. “Racing games, simplified word processors and stargazing assistants are among the applications capturing the eyes and clicks of iPad owners” was the swooning subhead.
TV stations camped out in front of the Manhattan Apple store, filming the thousands of people camping out in front of the Manhattan Apple store. I’m not sure who is sillier: the people who have nothing better to do than wait in line for a new toy or the people that report on and watch them.
Based on news reports, you would think the iPad is a revolutionary, technological marvel that will change our everyday lives. It will go down in history books, and school children will wonder how people survived without it.
I’m sure the iPad is great. I have no problem with Apple, and I’ve got to give it to its marketing team who has convinced the media that the iPad is worthy of all the attention and free advertising.
But the plain truth is that it’s not. It’s just another electronic device that does what plenty of devices before it has done.
The release of the iPad is not the invention of the printing press, or advent of radio, or the beginning of the Internet-all communication revolutions that changed the way people received information, formed opinions, expressed themselves, and communicated with people far away.
How materialistic are we when a new toy is treated as a must-have, revolutionary innovation?
I’ll admit that while I’m writing this on my laptop, I’m also watching TV, listing to my iPod, and occasionally texting on my phone. Technology is convenient, and in America today, it’s necessary to be connected.
But it is not necessary to get every new gadget with every latest capacity. That’s materialistic. That’s greedy.
If it was just a few Apple fans who were all psyched for the iPad, I wouldn’t bother. We’re all entitled to our hobbies. But when the media religiously follows the latest Apple release with over-the-top focus and discussion, it says something about society as a whole. That we care way too much about the next “coolest” thing. We’re a bunch of kids who still throw a tantrum until we get that sugary cereal in the supermarket.
Are we really willing to be people who place the iPad over earthquakes, mining accidents, and civilian deaths in the hands of U.S. troops?
Let’s get our priorities straight. The iPad is cool. But it’s not worth the attention and certainly not worth adoration. It’s probably not even worth the time I’ve spent complaining about it.