The joy of iPad


Apple is about to introduce a new iPad. Good — for I need to buy a new one. I left my old one with my mother. When visiting my folks in India, I decided to leave my Macbook Air at home — I didn’t want to write and just wanted to spend some quality time with the family. Instead, I carried my iPad 2. (I don’t leave home without it.)

When at home, I did a FaceTime call with my siblings who also live overseas. I handed over the iPad to my mom. She had this look of amazement, one of pure unadulterated joy as she chatted with her grandson.

Being a broadband nerd who cannot stop thinking and talking about the need for speed and connectivity, I felt this moment captured essentially what I, and by extension GigaOM, am all about — connectedness and the change it brings. For once, the technology didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter how it was happening — just that she could talk to her grandson who was oceans apart from her. If there ever was a moment that captured the emotion in a piece technology, that was it. The look on her face made me realize how lucky I am to write about an industry that makes such things possible. I also thought to myself, maybe somewhere Steve Jobs is smiling too.

Apple, clearly, is not for everyone. But for me that moment of joy experienced by my mother is enough of a reason why there will be no other computer company. Apple’s competitors will do their own thing. Some, like Samsung, will do spectacularly well. But for me, Apple finds ways to delight people, pushing technology into the background. When Steve Jobs passed away, I wrote:

Jobs put life and soul into inanimate objects. Everyone saw steel, silicon and software; he saw an opportunity to paint his Mona Lisa. People saw a phone; Steve saw a transporter of love. People saw a tablet; he saw smiles and wide-eyed amazement. They made computers; he made time machines that brought us all together through a camera, screen and a connection.

The smile on my mother’s face captures what I wrote the best.The iPad is now with mom. She set up her iCloud account. She figured out Skype, browsing and email. She knows how to send iMessages. More importantly, she has created FaceTime connections for all those who matter to her. I get a feeling that her Windows PC will gather dust and she will be bothering me a lot — right in the middle of a meeting in San Francisco. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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