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click opera - The incredible iPad
February 2010
 
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Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 09:26 am
The incredible iPad

As the tech-savvy amongst you will know, Apple is set to make a major new product announcement tomorrow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Most observers have guessed that Steve Jobs will be unveiling Apple's new tablet computer, and I can confirm that this is indeed the case.



How do I know? Because, since early December, I've been one of a tiny group of privileged iPad beta-testers. The day before I left for Japan, a high-security van -- the kind normally used for delivering cash to banks -- drew up at my house, and I signed for a package about the size of a pizza box, elegantly decorated with splashes of paint, the Apple logo, and the word "iPad". I also had to sign a non-revelation agreement, but since the final date for my period of public silence was listed as January 25th (Apple originally planned to unveil the iPad today), I'm free to speak now. This will all become public knowledge tomorrow anyway.

So, where to begin? The first thing to say is what an incredible machine! If I hadn't been using this gadget myself for the past two months, I truly wouldn't believe its specification possible. Imagine an iPod Touch with a ten-inch screen, running Mac OSX 10.5, and featuring a powerful projector that lets you blow up whatever's on the screen to a bright wall-projection which can rival, for resolution and brilliance, a cinema showing a 70mm film print.



Above you see me using the iPad as a Kindle (the text on the screen is The Book of Jokes), but its abilities so outstrip Amazon's device that it's not even funny. The Apple iPad, for instance, not only shows you the text of a book, but reads it to you. It also has what Apple calls "active catch-up"; if you lose your place in the book, or need a recap, or don't understand the plot, the iPad (in a soothing voice supplied by critic Frank Kermode) gets you up to speed, reminding you what's been happening, and what everything means. It's the semantic version of GPS: you need never be lost in a text again!



But that's just the beginning of the iPad's capabilities. It doesn't stop at reading; this machine can write too! I don't just mean via its touch-screen keyboard (though that's a vast improvement on the stabby, haphazard typing experience of the iPhone / iPod, of course). No, the iPad can actually compose. At the touch of a button marked "create text", the machine will generate any text required, from a blog entry to a technical report, a novel or a poem. Apple has developed a system of "predictive semantics" which learns as it goes along, so it pays to write a few things by your own hand first, just so the machine can get a grasp of your style and your recurrent concerns. After a month or so watching me write, the iPad grasped that I love to use the literary technique known as "lying"; to be honest, it's writing this entry for me now.



There are other powers hidden in the incredible iPad that you probably won't believe until you get your hands on one yourself; for instance, if you can tuck your bum onto the ten-inch tablet and hit the right button, the tablet computer readily transforms into a cross between a hovercraft and a flying carpet. You know how I claimed to have flown to and from Japan via a Finnair Airbus A330? Well, I can now reveal that I went on the iPad, whooshing merrily along a mile or so above Siberia. It was cold, but beggars -- and beta testers -- can't be choosers.

As for the repercussions of all this, we'll have to wait and see how they unfold when the machine goes public. Apple is anticipating big sales; they expect to build ten million iPads in the first year alone. Not everybody will be happy if this machine succeeds, though; travel agents and airlines, literary critics and authors -- not to mention cinema chains -- will all be joining Amazon and Microsoft, crossing their fingers and hoping fervently that each and every Apple iPad crashes, sooner than later, into a mountain.

56CommentReplyShare

petit_paradis
petit_paradis
erik
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)

what do you think of the new stereo total album no controles?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 09:07 am (UTC)

That's their old album, according to their website:



"While you are hopefully enjoying our last album "No Controles" (all in Spanish language), we recorded our new "official" album, which will come out in 2010.
Release-dates are the 26th of April 2010 in Europe (on Disko B) and the 4th of May 2010 in the USA (on Kill Rock Stars). The album is called "Baby Ouh!"... 17 new songs of love, hate and hysteric glamour, in French, German, Spanish, English and Japanese."


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 09:53 am (UTC)

How long did you spend on this piss-weak spoof? Really Momus, you're a fifty-year-old man, it's all a bit sad.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)

Seconded.

Please write funny books and record great music. Do not do stuff that 14 year old Apple fanboys can do a million times better.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)

Amusing enough I guess, but I don't really come to Click Opera for these sorts of entries.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)

Well, I'm guessing that as Apple develops predictive semantics further, the gap between what people expect to read and what they do read will approach zero. Hollywood, mainstream publishing and the major record labels have been working on this algorithm for some time.


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brokenjunior
brokenjunior
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)

nick, what do you think about this and that?

I wonder if, with the introduction of the iWhatever, we will see an ongoing migration of previously free blog content to a magazine-app format that is offered via the iTunes store or something similar then.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 11:46 am (UTC)

Hey, speaking of free content, did you see that some of the Sat3 Japan documentaries are available in their entirety online? Like this one about the train system, for instance.

Did you shave off your beard?


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 12:35 pm (UTC)

Nice blog, shame about the comments. (Including this one.)


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)

One thing I won't miss abotu CO is the self-contracidtion


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)

Ro teh crroect slpeling, fro thta mttaer!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
The Bit is Dead

I suspect this tool will be crushingly minor. We already know we can get text, audio, AV and code from point A to B, or points A through Z. We know there are and will be different business models for it, tending towards the free (post-copyright, post-jobs). We know the box it lives in is changing shape.

Is there anything fresh we can do with the Bit? Books will become more "multi-media"? Ho hum. Gaming and social networking kind of altered the social/antisocial balance. Everything else has been about making the already common commonplace (rolling blogs, Twitter) or easier (Spotify).

Creativity could move from artist-fan hierarchy to become a communal flux, but I honestly see words as a roadblock to that rather than the flow. Write, stop, read, stop, comment, stop, return comment, stop, take offence, stop, etc. Or: analysis, stop, packaging, stop, assessment, stop, absorption, stop, territorialisation, stop, usurp or concur, stop, paranoia versus schizophrenia, stop.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Re: The Bit is Dead

Welcome to centuries of so-called Western thinking/"philosophy"


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC)

heh heh. last time i checked, you didn’t have an iphone either
i’m ashamed to admit it, but i’m actually loosing sleep over this damn announcement tomorrow (only mr jobs -and a handful of others, like you- can do this to me).
just wondering, would the “hotness” of such device bring “reading” back to this generation. hmm… i guess only time will tell.

eDwin


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)

"Reading" is not really the problem. This generation "reads" more words than War & Peace every single day (http://www.fudzilla.com/content/view/16294/2/).
The problem is reading comprehension and information retention.
And no, the ipad won't solve it. It will only exacer...Oh! A tweet mentioned my name! Later guise!1!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)

i believed up to and including Frank Kermode .. 'what a coup', I thought, 'isn't he dead?', and 'will there be an Eagleton "app"?'.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)

Kermode is alive, he's 94, not sure what his voice sounds like. I'd certainly buy the Eagleton app!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Related?

Mr. Momus what do you think of the documentary about Japenese hornets vs. bees? Did you see the part where the European bees tackle the deadly foe one by one, only to be picked to shreds, while the Japanese bees work together (by combining into a warm buzzy killer blanket) to defend their hive? Please please tell your thoughts! I think it's a funny coincidence that the contrast mimics our ideas about western and eastern human cultures, that's all... but I want to hear the Momus angle.

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/japanese-hornets-massacre-bees/19385


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Related?

Wow, kinda gross! But a clear victory for collectivism!


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milky_eyes
milky_eyes
milky_eyes
Tue, Jan. 26th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)

ok... so theoretically this blog could be extended by the use of the ipad... after the cutoff date, you dont need to actually update it anymore, just once and a while skim over whats going on... and even all the comments can be added as well by the ipad... nice, so this blog doesnt need to end as we know it... it doesnt even need an active audience...

on a different subject...
I saw House (housu??) yesterday... (in ny) (amazing film)
American audience was so bad... snickering at everything. I think they were ready for a stupid horror spoof I guess... so they just laughed at every stupid thing.
I mean it is a goofy movie... but that was annoying. The girl I was with (Korean) asked me why everyone was laughing... which relieved me that I wasnt just imagining my annoyance... Hipster american 'white kids' are too much.

but it really is interesting about context. If the film would be shown as an art film, there would be no laughing... the same people would think 'ah, art. How strange'


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 07:06 am (UTC)

"It's the semantic version of GPS: you need never be lost in a text again!"
I am going to MISS your blog a lot!

Also, having read this blog since its inception, I I now realize that it might actually hinder my abilities to speak with actual japanese people. I was talking to this japanese expat here in peru and she was slightly weirded out by all these esoteric parts of japanese culture that I kept bringing up that she had no idea about. Ultimately, I might know more about Japanese culture than she does but only in a superficial googlepop manner. Next time I talk to her, I'll just pretend that I know nothing about her culture bc I really don't.


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fishwithissues
fishwithissues
jordan fish
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)

these photoshops are intense!!! the line across the face thing is the most odd thing ever.


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fishwithissues
fishwithissues
jordan fish
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)

(if you're allowed to comment on artifice. what does your adobe NDA read?)


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 10:56 am (UTC)

The pressure is on, Momus. You have now had two lame entries in a row. Let's not make it a hatrick, eh?


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jan. 27th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)

(By the way, look out for my own blog, COMING SOON TO A LIVEJOURNAL NEAR YOU!)


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 29th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)

Yawn... this blog is well past its sell by date...


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Apr. 3rd, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
Ipad

I went to the store today, the line was

SO LONG................................

Grand Opening day is always huge. I'm going to get an ipad devices soon. One of my friends got one, he was extremely estatic.

Haha, nice to hear you knew about it ahead of time.

~Wuman
wuman@ipaddevices.info


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jul. 20th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC)

these photoshops are intense!!!
for more ipad news (http://bestipadebook.com/)


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