With all my gushing over the iPad (considering I haven’t even touched one yet), I thought I would take a moment to write about the dark side of the device. After all, it very well could miss the mark for fitting into my lifestyle. The more I considered it, the more I realized the potential gadget parallel – the bread machine.
If you’ve ever had a bread machine, or know someone who has, the following probably sounds a little familiar.
- Receive bread machine. Either as gift or because someone told you that you just had to have one.
- Unbox it with extreme excitement.
- Plug it in.
- Find all the ingredients you need, make a loaf of bread.
- Eat the loaf, marveling in the joy of fresh hot bread.
- Tell all your friends about the amazing new bread machine.
- Research more bread recipes.
- Buy different types of grains, flours, seeds, yeasts, and other ingredients.
- Make some “wacky” types of breads. No less than one loaf per day.
- Slowly settle in on your personal favorite.
- Tell all your friends about the amazing new bread machine and that they HAVE to have one.
- Make a loaf every few days.
- Run out of ingredients when you want to make bread, get annoyed.
- Get a little tired of cleaning the bread machine.
- Start buying some bread from stores again.
- Make a loaf or two.
- Move the bread from the middle of the kitchen counter to a cabinet somewhere.
- Buy lots of bread.
- Either put bread machine in the garage, or give it to a friend/relative
Now other than the bread machine enthusiasts who are going to come leave nasty comments, I think I’ve done a fair job recounting the story of the “gadget I didn’t truly need, but had a lot of fun with for a little while.” The iPad may certainly fall into this category. As I’ve previously blogged, I’m quite excited about the device, but still don’t quite know why. My hunch says it won’t be just a novelty that gets shelved in a few weeks or months, but it could happen.
My Flip cam is a bit of a novelty gadget – I still use it from time to time, but not the way I expected to. I’d put bluetooth headsets into this category for most people. Any kind of “power mouse” or other computer accessory that really just adds to the complexity. The Sony Dash. Digital Picture Frames. Most kitchen gadgets (hence the bread machine). My OLPC is my grand champion worthless piece of green plastic. Novelty stuff.
How can you tell if something is just a novelty? I’d say it falls into one, or both of the following definitions: Things that people buy without a clearly defined lifestyle benefit, OR things that don’t provide value in a easier/faster/better way in life. So a digital picture frame has a benefit (see your pictures without using your computer), but it’s actually harder/slower to do so than a computer, so it’s a novelty. Bluetooth headsets have clear benefits, but having to remember to bring them with you AND keep them charged creates more work. The OLPC? Fuggedaboutit!
So the iPad? No clearly defined lifestyle benefit I can think of (I can do all the same things with my laptop). But is it easier/faster/better for doing anything? Yes. This may sound trite, but I firmly believe it will be a easier/faster/better way to do “general Internet things.” And I’m fairly convinced that that category is ill-defined today, but will be a distant memory in the not-all-that-distant future.
Or I could be wrong and you’ll hear about my mom using it in a couple of months…