Yes, it’s finally happened. I have iPad shame. Despite my best efforts to secure the new model on release day, i am, as of now, officially retro. Excuse me, asked the elderly gentleman opposite me in the coffee shop (a gentleman well into his sixties as well), “is that an old iPad?”
“Yes it is”, i replied (having rejected Option 2 of lying to him and explaining in faintly patronising tones that this new model had a dual core processor and better battery life). So there it is. I’m officially out of date. Or retro, as i prefer.
I remember another conversation with my friend James, when he was in one of his first jobs. “look at this’, he pronounced one day with great excitement. He was holding a large grey block, about the size of a brick. It had a keypad on the top, but, with a flourish, he cracked the brick in half and it opened out to reveal a second keypad and a slot, which paper started feeding out of. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we present, the Nokia Brick, a mobile phone and fax machine rolled into one. Stuck in the city? Need that urgent document? No problem, with the Brick, the document is just 18 minutes and a faint smell of burning away.
Brilliant. Technology in motion. Who could possibly afford to be seen without a Brick? Of course, soon the Brick was old school, another pioneering piece of technology that proved to be more transient than it’s maker would have hoped for.
The Brick did, at least, get one thing right. It understood that technology was about facilitation, in this case, getting a document into my hands remotely. It was clearly doomed as it’s goldfish memory, glacial lethargy and leaden weight consigned it to history, but it did fulfil, briefly, the role of enabling technology.
The iPad has redefined the working space. It’s the most revolutionary product since the first truly portable mobile phone or laptop (not the first generation ones that worked off a briefcase battery, but the first properly mobile ones). It’s spawned a plethora of copycats and wannabe’s, none of which can steal it’s crown as the first. Some of the recent followers will be smaller, cleverer, cheaper and lighter, better and more popular, but it will always be the first, which is why i’m happy to bask in the retro glory of the original for a little while longer, before consigning it to the attic of history.