I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with Apple for many years. The affair started back in the early days of my illustration and design career. It was a time when the print industry was moving away from print-ready artwork. At that point, every aspect of a page design had to be laid out on a board and photographed to make printing plates. But things were already moving over to the desktop-publishing, digital-led processes we use today.
Believe it or not, that was only in the early nineties – for some of us, that doesn’t seem that long ago, even if it was in the last century.
Anyway, that was when I started using Macs. I loved them, because they were less techy and more instinctive than Windows’ PC’s. Also, they more or less cornered the design industry for this reason, so I had to use them. I hated them – and still do – because of the way they control the hardware, narrow your options, and make you pay extra for stuff that comes as standard on every other damn computer ever made. And because of stupid things like having to dump an icon in the wastebasket to remove a piece of hardware, or because my Mac seems to suffer inexplicable mood swings from time to time.
That said, I have been working on this same Mac for years. I won’t tell you how old it is, but there’s a handle at the back for winding it up. Like an old married couple, we understand each other, and stay together for the sake of the work, even if the love is gone.
Which brings me to the iPad.
As someone who reads a lot for pleasure and even more for work, and who spends a fair bit of time on the road, I was really interested to hear about the launch of Apple’s book-sized tablet. I have long wondered when we were going to see something with the readability of an eReader and the functionality of an iPhone.
Surely, this was where mankind’s relationship with text was heading? You can read what you want, the way you want, whenever and wherever you want, and carry it with you without hauling round a laptop case. But then I started reading the reviews. So, to put it in concise fashion, here are the main (and, as usual with Apple, bleeding obvious) reasons why I won’t be picking up an iPad just yet.
- No multi-tasking. This is a major problem for me. If I’m away from my computer and need to make some notes, maybe do some research online, I want to be able to surf and write and, hell, use the dictionary – AT THE SAME TIME, without shutting down and starting up programmes.
- No Flash player – same as the iPhone.
- No USB slot, despite the fact that one of the big ‘selling points’ is that it’s a great tool for sorting and viewing your photos. How do you get them onto the bloody thing off your non-Bluetooth camera? Oh yeah, you have to buy an adapter kit.
- Without the USB slot, there’s no way to plug in a keyboard, unless you want to use a typically expensive Apple one (or perhaps buy an adapter kit). I’m a touch-typist, so the touch-screen keyboard might look good, but would slow me down – and I don’t like Apple keyboards. So I couldn’t use it to type for any extended period of time. If I was travelling, I’d still want my laptop with me. So why carry another device?
- Carrying round lots of adapter kits does away with the whole point of having a convenient, slimline device. So I might as well just carry my laptop around with me.
- There’s a substantial extra charge for giving it a mobile phone connection. That’s just annoying.
- You can only buy software products/files from Apple outlets. See what I mean about controlling? I’m not paying several hundred euros for the pleasure of being able to shop only at the Apps Store, iTunes or iBooks.
- It has a back-lit screen – which is perfectly understandable, given everything it can do. But that means it can’t be read with the same comfort, and for the same duration, as an eReader without giving you eye-strain.
- I have an iPhone, an eReader and a laptop (which I only really use for surfing the web and for work while I’m travelling). Give me something that replaces two of those three and I’ll buy it.
Meanwhile, ‘The Feckin’ Book of Irish Slang’ by Colin Murphy and Donal O’Dea, has gone digital, in the form of the iPaddy app (I think they were forbidden from using the original name by the Apps Store). Part of a series of books that’s great craic for cute hoors and bowsies, this venture into the online world by O’Brien press is pitch-perfect.
As an avid collector of slang, this kind of thing is actually useful for me – although I already have a few of the original books. But for anyone who wants a laugh while they’re out in the pub, or simply wants to learn to speak and swear like a true Paddy, this is an indispensable guide.
On a marketing note, this is just the right kind of thing for OBP to start online with: it’s funny, the kind of thing you read in short snippets, it’s non-linear and lends itself to other media (there are audio files that act as pronunciation guides). It’s a great concept and I hope it does really well for them.