Apple’s new gadget won’t immediately revolutionize media

By Lauren Kelly

In the days leading up to the unveiling of Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad, geeks, techies and almost anyone online were engulfed in a massive wave of mystical gossip and speculation about what the device would be capable of. The frenzy surrounding the debut of the top-secret product, whose mere existence had only been a rumor a few months before, dominated the media for weeks prior to its release. Since its debut on Jan. 27, it has been the subject of praise, criticism, reverence and disappointment.

Speculation circulating the Internet got so ridiculous in the days before Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave the keynote address that some technology news sites acknowledged it by posting a humorous list of “20 things we already know about Apple’s ultra-hyped iTablet/iSlate.” On the list were things like, “It will have one really surprising feature,” “You’ll eventually get over its name” and “Early adopters will be heartbroken when v2 of the product comes out.”

The buzz of excitement reverberated over the Wi-Fi waves and got so loud that it nearly drowned out any voice of reason. Apple’s press and public relations scheme even sucked me in for awhile. Bombarded with hype and impressed by the device’s sleek design once it was finally released, I briefly felt the spell that seemed to have fallen over much of the United States. Luckily, it didn’t last long.

While computer nerds were wondering what operating system it would have, how long its battery life would last or if it would have Bluetooth capabilities, much of the public was concerned with how the device would impact the current landscape of media communication outlets and personal electronic devices.

From the claims made on technology news sites, it seemed that the iPad would put Kindle out of business, single-handedly save journalism, become the new standard laptop and make the printed book obsolete in a few short days after it was made available to the public.

But the iPad isn’t going to immediately revolutionize the way media is delivered like some are predicting. Even at a relatively affordable price of $499, not everyone is going to rush out and suddenly buy an iPad. The device doesn’t have enough power and storage to replace the laptop, and the journalism industry needs more than a magic tablet to be saved.

After its release, the iPad is not likely to completely dominate the market for tablet gadgets either. Mere days after the its unveiling, other companies announced plans for similar gadgets. Google Chrome’s Tablet may prove to be a big competitor and the famed Kindle will still have a considerable share of the market.

However, tablet devices in general will probably become the new standard of portable media delivery gadgets—eventually. Just like how the iPod contributed to eliminating people’s use of portable CD and cassette players by becoming the main device for portable audio, within time, smart tablets will likely become the dominant devices in portable gaming and

media consumption.

But this advancement won’t happen overnight. Technology needs time to be phased out. According to Moore’s Law, computer processing and memory power doubles approximately every two years. This exponential growth means the iPad, too, will be obsolete sooner than people think.

Old communication devices from the 1980s, such as car phones or pagers, have been long-forgotten. But more recent technologies are starting to fall by the wayside as the speed of technological advancement increases. When can you remember seeing someone with a primitive Nokia brick with a green screen? Today, smart phones are extremely common and the baseline standard for cell phone technology has been raised even in just the past five years.

Although the iPad isn’t the best thing since sliced bread, it is a stepping stone along the way to having more advanced technology become the new standard for the general public. The journey it takes will be interesting to witness and I, for one, am excited to see how it plays out.