[Letters] Are you Apple-compatible?

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[Letters] Are you Apple-compatible?

If aliens were to come and visit us one of these days, they would notice an endless number of peculiar things. One of them would be the long lines of people waiting outside Apple stores all over the Earth, itching to get Steve Jobs’ latest hot gadgets. We buy them as if they were just what we have been waiting for. We’re busy getting used to having the new technology in our hands every day, then we start pointing out the inconveniences of these gadgets that once seemed so perfect. We get tired of them. And right about then, yet another amazing device is introduced to us, and the whole process is repeated.

This culture is perfectly fine, especially considering the unique characteristics of Apple products. For those who simply don’t get what the iPad is, one could explain that it’s basically a gigantic iPod Touch. For those unfamiliar with the iPod Touch, here are the basics that one must not leave out when discussing the iPad:

First, you must know that when the device is turned off and fingerprints - from all that dragging and zooming - are clearly visible.

Next, Apple’s e-book reader application is not as cool as it sounds. There are only a few downloadable publications available, and when using the iPad, you see the screen very well in direct sunlight. Also, holding the iPad gets pretty uncomfortable because of its weight. But most importantly, books in Apple’s store cannot be read on any other machine, not even on other Apple products.

Typing is another issue. The on-screen keyboard definitely looks slick, but just try typing on it once. It’s difficult.

The greatest concern people have about the iPad is how it can’t play Flash video. When so many animations or videos online are replaced by empty white boxes, surfing the Web on your iPad is probably not as fun an experience as one might think.

This issue of multitasking is also important. You can only use one application at a time. And you won’t find USB jacks, camera memory-stick slots, or a camera on an iPad. One can only guess that Apple’s just leaving things out for next year’s upgraded version.

Simply put, using an iPad is inconvenient in many ways.

The point is that Apple products are far from perfect. How pathetic we must look, in the eyes of our alien visitors, struggling to shape our lives a certain way so that they become Apple-compatible. Why buy Apple e-books only to have a hard time reading them? Why wait years for more online material to be iPad-viewable? Why not stick to things that are way more usable, even if they’re not as slick as what Apple might offer?

Clearly, the iPad is not yet good enough to become the must-have item of the year. But the mainstream media is doing a great job exaggerating its benefit. They’re unaware of how much it would cost us to make all these changes and what the end of it all would be. These devices, at last, are becoming our life. After all, isn’t that what Steve Jobbs and his aspirations are all about? A world where humans and high technology coexist? A world where technology becomes life and life becomes mere technology?


Woo Hyo-eun,

student at Seoul Global High School

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