I have never been a fan of Macs. That confession, especially after the death of Steve Jobs, may label me as a heretic. I’m willing to risk burning at the stake. What turns me off isn’t so much the hardware (they use standard PC parts, if a bit overpriced), or the software (it’s Unix, after all). It’s the people. Most (and by most I mean nearly all) Mac users are rabid cultists intent on making the world see their wisdom. Arguing which is superior, PC or Mac, is like arguing which is the better pet, dogs or cats (cats, obviously), or the better soda, pepsi vs. coke (coke wins). Computers are tools, and I’d no more hold an argument in favor of my PC than I would my cordles drill (it’s a DeWalt and it’s awesome).
Even though I will likely never buy a Mac, I still love my iPad. Apple didn’t invent the tablet or the touch operating system, didn’t invent the integrated processor, didn’t invent the downloadable software store, but they did bring these things together in a tight, easy-to-use package. The iPad/iPhone ecosystem is so user friendly my cats can use it (though they haven’t figured out swipe-to-unlock yet).
Using an iPad brings back that excitement I felt the first time I used my commodore 64 as a kid. It won’t replace my PC or my laptop, but that’s not what it was intended for. The iPad brought the internet to the couch and the bed and the bathroom (don’t try to tell me you don’t use your iPad when you’re doing number two – I won’t believe you).
Steve Jobs will be remembered for more than bringing the web into the potty. While I applaud his drive and determination, his ability to redefine an industry and yank Apple from the brink of failure, the man was not the pure genius and embodiment of perfection Apple-fans will undoubtedly praise him as. The iPad, for all its brilliance, suffers from stifling and distinctly un-American censorship; if Apple doesn’t like your app, it doesn’t go on the marketplace. Everything from gay-related apps and political cartoons to software from competitors gets the axe. And let’s not mention the sweatshops all that gear is manufactured in, places that sound like something from a dystopian science fiction novel. And maybe it’s too soon to mention the fact that Jobs never donated to charity despite his 7-billion net worth (unless, that is, he did so anonymously… which seems unlikely given his personality). The man was a visionary, sure, and shaped a global industry. But he wasn’t a saint.