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peterpur

here's why i'm disappointed by the tablet

i have no idea whether the tablet will be a commercial success, or if it will transform the way we use technology. frankly, i don't really care. i will eventually even own one, sooner or later, because some killer app turns up and i'm probably to weak to resist. sigh. 

still, i'm deeply disappointed by the thing. not for technical reasons - i couldn't care less about the things barb dybwad gets excited about - lack of ports, slots and more ports and technologies. 

what it lacks is a vision of usage that fits the changes that our time are undergoing. it's not visionary, it's actually backwards. it will only foster change if people develop software and usage scenarios that go against the purpose it's been designed for. 

the obvious useage scenario of the iPad is media consumption. why else would steve jobs demo it on a couch? the ported iWorks suite is certainly nice to have, but the focus of the device stays with reading, listening, watching, admiring stuff other people (or even you yourself) made using other tools. 

it's not about creating stuff, even if this is on it's way to replace media consumption. let me briefly show a couple of examples. 

- »lost« is a brilliant tv show. it's so complex and well-done that whole communities formed around it's content, trying to collaboratively decypher the little hints and bones they get thrown, trying to find out what it's all about, trying to uncover the secrets. take a look at http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page if you don't believe me. it's only one of many communities. the amount of content produced there minutes after each new show aired is amazing. if you look at it, notice how every article is enrichted by screen caps from the show, sometimes enlarged and enhanced to show small details, to eg. be able to read a newspaper articles that upsets someone in the show, as can be witnessed here: http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Newspaper_clipping other instances include sound from the show that contains hidden or backward messages. 

to be able to produce and contribute such content to the community, you need a platform that lets you do things like that. wouldn't it be great if this kind of active media use is supported on a thing like the iPad? well, i bet it isn't. you can be sure that it will be impossible to make screen shots of video material bought throught the itunes store, as well as to take audio from such content to work with it. 

- youtube is a community that lives not from content taken from broadcasts, but from user created content. take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BudhFVnN2o0 and see how many of these videos or memes you know. heck, some of these memes even made it into old media such as the coke/mentos thing. if you take something like the dramatic chipmunk or charlie bit my finger, these meme live mostly off the fact that hundreds, even thousands of people contribute their interpreation of this stupid little pun. 

if you don´t believe me, watch michael weschs excellent "anthropological introduction to YouTube", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU at least the first half of it, to understand the significance of it. to quote from the video: within 6 months, more video was uploaded onto youtube than was aired (not even produced!) in the total history of television on the three large us networks. it is wishful thinking to hope that the passive consumer, grown up and trained in the read-only culture (labelled rightly so by larry lessig in his ted talk, go watch it now) will stay passive and restrict himself to media consumption only. 

and this is why i'm so disappointed: this was the one chance apple had to make something that actually supports this trend. a gadget that let's you work with all the media in a new way. to interact and creat instead of just consume. this would have been something significant. 

as it is now, it is up to the software developers to deliver this vision. this will eventually happen, as studies of internet usage regulary show that eg. http://www.universalmccann.com/Assets/UM%20Wave%203%20Final_20080505110444.pdf

but at the moment, the ipad lets us down. it's a device made with old media consumption habits in mind, and built for the old media distributors to lock in their content so that all the "abuse" that happens right now finally stops. newspaper publishers will develop software so that people can't copy and paste, even if it's only to rightly quote. movie producers will deliver content that we can watch, probably even only once, without taking pieces from it and using it in brilliant mashups like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAHYftmwY0U it's really a sellout, a betrayal of the next generation that grows up with the potential to revert the 20th century mass media/read only culture back to an participative read/write culture. 

that is why i am so disappointed. even if i will eventually own one. 
Reposted byosloprinzmondkroetekellerabteiltomczkmatisoupfabiancookschickinsoupkei

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