Like Moses coming down from the mountain, Steve Jobs has given the planet a new holy tablet. And of all the times to do it, he’s bequeathed it to the masses over the Easter and Passover weekend. Resurrection allusion? Flight from persecution metaphor? You decide. The set-up for the first coming of the Apple iPad could’ve only been topped, had it come at Christmas time. Cue the three wise men anyway, plus the angelic choir . . . “Ahhhhhhh!”
The new Commandments, in this case, are not carved out of stone – although they may eventually be. For now, their spirit is encoded in the language of bits and bytes. Translated into plain English (well, actually archaic English that’s been translated from Hebrew and Aramaic), they read something like this (imagine the booming voice of Charlton Heston…yiikes…running through your brain):
1. “Thou shall not covet any other computing device, but this one”.
2. “Thou shall not look at technology the same way ever again”.
3. “Thou shall get used to writing on a virtual keyboard”.
4. “Thou shall not have any use for flash animation or video”. (Crack of thunder in the background.)
We could go on and on, but you get the picture. You can make up the rest, if you’d like. But wait a sec, this is an eBook blog after all, so let’s just do two more…
5. “Thou shall never cast your gaze upon any other eReader device”. (Kindle, repent!)
6. “Thou shall be dazzled by the ability to turn ePages naturally, like a real book”.
In this, the aftermath of the official release day of the iPad, the world has truly changed. Honest. Stoked by the media and Apple itself, the public feeding frenzy that was unleashed over the weekend, makes a school of sharks maniacally circling around a wounded seal look like a tame Sea World attraction. No joke.
Saturday’s sales were over 300,000 units. For the entire weekend…½ a million +, reported so far. Expectations are that they’ll exceed 700,000, when all the figures are in. And that’s on top of what had already been pre-sold. Add over a million iPad apps and 250,000 eBooks downloaded on the first day alone, and this flood is indeed pretty close to Biblical in magnitude.
A lot of blind faith is at play here, obviously. Yes, this is mass consumption fed partly by hype, but it’s also genuine expectation for a revolutionary product from a company that’s already changed the face of contemporary culture…repeatedly! So there’s certainly less exciting things to be excited about than a potentially new and innovative codex for personal computing.
So what does the punditocracy have to say? What’s their verdict so far? “It’s basically a gigantic iPod Touch,” decrees David Pogue in the almighty New York Times. He goes on to state that as an eReader, it isn’t going to rescue the book industry because the iBookstore’s selection is “puny and you can’t read well in direct sunlight.” Hmm…we have the sneaky feeling the “gray lady” is growing grayer by the minute. But wait, the WSJ prophesizes that the laptop is now in its death throes because of the birth of the iPad. USA Today, in turn, declares it “a winner” and claims that there’s no contest between it and the Kindle. While random blogs like this one lament that it’s an eBook “missed opportunity”. Elsewhere on the interwebs, you’ll also find that Amazon’s position is now stronger because it still holds all the cards with its mammoth eBookstore and strong relationship with its customers.
And then, of course, there’s Stephen Colbert (who could possibly ignore him at any genuine, or perceived, sociological fork in the road?) from whom we’ve learned that the iPad filters urine and also makes iSalsa. That settles it. That’s all the proof we need. Agency Model be damned (for now).
Yes Virginia, it looks like the red sea has been parted again.