Is The iPad The Disneyland Of Computers?

from the nice-place-to-visit,-but-you-wouldn't-want-to-live-there dept

It's been interesting to watch the extreme arguments about the iPad fly by over the last few weeks. As I've said before, I think the device will sell quite well and make tons of money for Apple. I just don't think it will "save media" the way some media companies believe. For some reason, a lot of folks interpreted this to mean that I don't like the iPad. That's not true at all. It looks like a beautiful device, and while I don't see a need for one for myself right now, I could see getting one at some point. I have nothing against the device at all -- and just because I don't think it will be the savior for media companies, doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the iPad.

That said, Ed Felten, has put together what I think is the best explanation for how I feel about the iPad: it's the Disneyland of computers. That is, "I like to visit Disneyland, but I wouldn't want to live there."
To me, the iPad is Disneyland.

I like Disneyland. It's clean, safe, and efficient. There are lots of entertaining things to do. Kids can drive cars; adults can wear goofy hats with impunity. There's a parade every afternoon, and an underground medical center in case you get sick.

All of this is possible because of central planning. Every restaurant and store on Disneyland's Main Street is approved in advance by Disney. Every employee is vetted by Disney. Disneyland wouldn't be Disneyland without central planning....

There's a reason the restaurants in Disneyland are bland and stodgy. It's not just that centralized decision processes like Disney's have trouble coping with creative, nimble, and edgy ideas. It's also that customers know who's in charge, so any bad dining experience will be blamed on Disney, making Disney wary of culinary innovation. In Disneyland the trains run on time, but they take you to a station just like the one you left.

I like living in a place where anybody can open a restaurant or store. I like living in a place where anybody can open a bookstore and sell whatever books they want. Here in New Jersey, the trains don't always run on time, but they take you to lots of interesting places.
It goes on from there, and it's about the best explanation I've seen. There's lots to like about the iPad. It really does look like a great device for some stuff. But not everything -- and that's by design. Just like Disneyland isn't designed for people to live there permanently, the iPad isn't designed to take over all your computing needs. And that's fine.

Filed Under: disneyland, ipad
Companies: apple

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  1. icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), 9 Apr 2010 @ 9:22am

    Pretty Vacant

    At least when using 802.11, what we have in the iPad is the best flat form-factor, portable Netflix streaming platform available today. Very pretty display, no less that I expected.

    And Netflix does not charge extra for the client, as usual.

    Still, not my cup o' tea.

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