Saturday, 30 January 2010

the iPad!: media in the online age

Steve Jobs' annual presentation at Apple is always hotly anticipated with rumours of new product using flying around for months beforehand. This week, it was widely known that Apple would be unveiling some kind of portable screen device or tablet- trailed by some as the iSlate. In the end, it was called the iPad, but did what was expected- acted as a big 'reader'. Some would say it is just an iPod touch too big to fit in your pocket, or a laptop without the ability to multitask onscreen. But that won't bother Steve Jobs or Apple, who have confidently trashed rivals in recent years with the iPod and then the iPhone. Next up iPad.

It won't be released until the end of March in the USA and possibly not till june in the Uk, but what is it going to do that will make it yet another big selling success for Apple? Well many pundits are suggesting that it will almost certainly kill off the Kindle- the book reader which Amazon sell. In setting up iBooks, Apple hopes to corner the electronic book market in the same way that it captured the market for MP3 downloads with iTunes.


















Set alongside the Kindle, with it's 9.7 inch screen compared to a 6 incher, it immediately looks impressive. Although it will retail at almost twice the price for the most basic model, that is still considerably cheaper than the Macbook.

But as with all new Apple products, the backlash started almost before the product was announced. On Twitter there were endless comments dismissing its capability. More interesting though the web parodies began as soon as the announcement was made. The product name caused some mirth due to its connotations for women (sanitary pads), with the term 'iTampon' quickly trending on Twitter and an old clip from US TV re-emerged on youtube which had sent up the iTunes ads at the time.




There's a link from it to a sendup of Steve Jobs' original presentation where he goes online



And the inevitable meme from Downfall (actually a whole load of them- this is one without swearing)



There's even some spoofs of Jobs himself



The launch coincided with Obama's 'State of the Union' address, which is reflected in this spoof



There's even one made in Machinima here

So what does all this tell us? originally I was going to blog about the significance of the iPad, but as soon as I saw all the spoofs, like most people surfing Youtube, I got caught up with those instead. Once again, looking at these videos- and who knows, by the time you are reading this there may be hundreds more- it is very striking how quickly any news event or cultural occurrence is re-worked and re-made, given new meaning and then viewed by thousands of people in a very short space of time.

oh and if you do want some serious points about the iPad, try Stephen Fry in The Guardian, witty and knowledgeable as always and the video on the Apple site.

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