March 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

In case you’ve been under a rock today the iPad2 was indeed announced and I’m actually excited.

You might ask “But Brennan, you already have an iPad1, surely you aren’t thinking of switching already?!” and I would reply “Nah, I’m not interested in buying one right now.” and you look quizzical at my apparent paradox.  Let me explain.

Why it’s great:

I really didn’t mind the first iPad’s weight. Lots of reviewers mentioned with disgust it’s heft, but I’m really not sure what they’re referring to since it’s much lighter than a laptop and comparable to a flimsy plastic netbook. Either way, it’s thinner and lighter now which increases it’s ability to be that omnipresent device, such as mine already is.

Among other things they’ve also added two cameras and a dual core processor but honestly, I could care less about those.

The beauty, the sheer elegance of such a device is staggering, if you take a step back 1 year, or 5, or 10. This is stuff of science fiction, really. Even the first Iron Man, which came out in 2008 -a mere three years ago- had Tony’s touchscreen tablet and I thought that was the coolest thing ever; a piece of small tech with web access to anything in the world or your local computer network that can pull up anything you want on the fly. That was this magic Marvel universe future, a future surrounded by robotic suits and holographic tables. We might not have those yet, but as far as practicality and design, this is by far the best of those.

What we as designers can learn:

This is a tricky balance but the philosophy is this -and Apple and IKEA both believe deeply in the concept: don’t make products based on what people want. Make products that fill the gaps people don’t even know they need or want yet. There’s a quote that goes something like “A good player will go to where the puck is,  great player will go to where the puck is going to be.” and although I’m not much into football (hockey?) it works as a design mantra.

Apple designed this thing  (perhaps they stole it, there have been tablets before yada yada, so people complain) and they made it applicable to people’s every day lives. We have these flat faces that can become literally whatever we want them to be, fill such a variety of needs and become, to a large extend, a part of us as digital assistants. Sound familiar? PDAs of the 90s were trying so hard at this but they failed at making a versatile product without widespread wireless internet being available.

So, point 2: Use the technology you have, but always think about how failures of the past can be successes in the future because of a revisit with new technology or method.

Another quote, by Buckminster is similar: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Sum it up:

Fill a niche no one knows they have. It’s tricky, and many are just plain bad ideas, but there are a few golden ones out there. Capitalize! Design for a better world.

Stay Awesome.


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