I’ve been looking at the forum, because I was told to by the editor. He told me I should get to know you lot, to interact with the community. So I did, in my own way. I’ve skimmed your mewlings, and have decided to use them, for this week only, to help me decide on a topic. The iPad.
I own an iPad, as my foray into the forum may have revealed to you, and I do use it to lure Apple lovers away from their tortured and bewildered companions. I am not a cruel man, necessarily, and sometimes it is helpful to free the afflicted when they require it.
The man whose house I have commandeered to write this column owns a stuffed creature from Angry Birds. Ordinarily he keeps it next to his bed, but right now he is joyfully triggering the in-built noise machine, causing the thing to chirp into my ear. Oddly, this is somewhat like being sat near someone who owns an iDevice, as within five minutes they will be doing something similar.
‘Hey, people of the world,’ they will shout. ‘Look at this most exclusive of devices I have. It doesn’t even use buttons, that’s how fantastic I am. I can manipulate electrical energy with my merest touch! I AM A GOD AMONGST MEN! Now marvel as I destroy a pig’s house with my bird catapult.’
I’m sure you can understand how irritating that is. You see, the iPad and its ilk can be put to a fantastic use if in the hands of someone of sufficient intelligence. It is a fantastic weapon for distracting the youth, a perfect hypnotism aid for dealing with teenagers especially. It fills the same slot as a television, but is portable and easily modified into a bludgeoning instrument. In a pinch, it also makes a good projectile.
But what is it really for?
A computer can be used for various things, from inducing global apocalypses to collecting information on that girl from your politics lecture. You know the one; she has auburn hair and green eyes, likes horses and the works of Chuck Palahniuk. It is marketed as such, a terminal with which one can access an entire virtual world, all the collected knowledge of mankind, and all its collected filth.
Consoles fall into a similar niche, though the filth tends to extend only so far as one can feel offended by a space Marine with a child’s voice rubbing his crotch in a corpse’s face. It’s no wonder there are people trying to regulate your medium of choice.
And then there is the iPad. The gamers will declare it akin to any other handheld console, and though it rakes in some serious money from the sale of things that would seem to back this up, Apple would rather not label it as such. No, the iPad is advertised as an Apple product. That is its selling point.
I am somewhat envious of this. My ill-fated workshop in Belarus had created technology of fantastic worth for fifteen years when I was forced to close it owing to local tensions. In truth, peddling electric motors to seventeenth century farmers was perhaps not the best course of action, and I can see how they would think it witchcraft, but even these simple folk would not swallow such marketing slogans as “Buy this because we made it.”
Though I sometimes regret the loss of my employees on that fateful night, the destruction of that workshop taught me an important thing: image is important for technology. The iPad is built to be flat because people hate clip boards. Clip boards are boring, dreary things, and yet people love holding them. The power associated with a clip board is a terrible thing, and the way one must hold an iPad feeds this sensation. The simplest of associations help to sell the object.
So what is your iPad? A window into the virtual world, but only in so far as a child’s painting can be said to be a photograph. It is a focus for the sort of man who must be seen to be on the forefront of technological advancement, a Starbucks patron who sits at a table near the door, typing loudly on a Macbook with one hand and prodding at his iPad screen with his nose as he does so. When he does buy a coffee, he relishes in the use of the pretentious nomenclature of the size chart, and never actually consumes his beverage.
It is a lifestyle choice, or the gateway to one at any rate. It is mindless consumerism at its very finest, if you allow it to be. So don’t. If you buy an iPad, make it useful, make it worth something. And if you are going to be a sheep, at least spend your money on more pleasant technology, like something from Silver Industries, perhaps.
Don’t let Steve Jobs tell you how to live your life. You’d be lost without me.
Mercurio Silver is a grumpy misanthropic immortal with bold statements and a narcissistic need to force them on others. With his sharp tongue he shares his most recent realisations and thoughts right here on Midlife Gamer every Sunday.