Taylor Swift may have won the Grammy for Album of the Year Sunday night but the real winner at this year’s Grammy Awards was clearly Apple. In one of the ultimate product placement stunts of all time, Stephen Colbert used an iPad as a prop during his presentation. And although it seemed like a little bit of comedic relief mixed with tech buzz, it also demonstrates one of the central points about the iPad everyone seems to have missed; that the iPad is about finally integrating tech into our lives. That the iPad is ultimately about effortless ubiquity.
Technology has been an everyday part of our lives since the mid 1980s and constant connectivity since the mid 1990s but technology has never been everywhere in an effortless manner. The PCs and Macs of the 1980s represented a massive evolution in personal computing but access to the nascent Internet was expensive, unreliable, and slow.
The Internet revolution of the mid 1990s gave us stable access with decent speeds but the hardware lacked portability. During the 20 year evolution in tech in our everyday lives, either the device or network access has lacked that element to make it a ubiquitous part of our everyday life. Even the smartphone evolution of this previous decade had its shortcomings; expensive network access coupled with devices that were still hard to use. It’s hard to experience the Internet on a 3.5″ screen.
What the iPad represents is the first device to marry useful hardware (both in screen size and processing power), with a familiar user experience, and constant network access. Some may point to Microsoft’s Tablet PC adventures in the 2000s and say that was it but anyone that’s had to lug around one of those earlier devices knows the iPad is a light speed jump forward. And while it may have seemed a bit hokey and arrogant for Steve Jobs to pronounce the iPad as a new class of device, he was actually being truthful. The iPad is the first device in the computing revolution to finally be able to come close to the promise of the always-on Internet; effortless ubiquity.
So while Stephen Colbert got some cheap laughs teasing Jay-Z about not getting one in his gift bag, he also demonstrated how the iPad will come in time to fit into our life with little or no notice. Just like the PC sneaked into our lives in the 80s, the iPad will suddenly appear everywhere this decade.
What do you think? Is the iPad the first stop on the road to effortless ubiquity? Will it so totally integrate into our lives that we won’t even know its there? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.
By: Erin Peterson