For weeks, we’ve been hearing rumors of the new Apple tablet computer. There was much speculation about what Apple would call its sure-to-be-revolutionary device–I heard suggestions like iTab and iTablet but Apple went with iPad (which makes me think of sanitary pads but I’m sure that’s not what they had in mind). The hype today has been amazing (but not unprecedented) to me. In his announcement of the product, Steve Jobs said that it is “magical” and “at the intersection of technology and liberal arts” (whatever that means).
The hype reminds me of what happened in 2001 when Dean Kamen announced the development of the product he was then calling “Ginger.” I heard report after report about how this product (whatever it was going to be–no one knew) was going to revolutionize our everyday lives, allowing us to live and work in new, never before imagined, ways. The hype continued after the product was revealed but now, several years on, we realize that it’s a cool product but our lives have remained just about exactly the same as before. What did that product turn out to be? The Segway. Very cool but also very, very over-hyped. The hype about the iPad feels very similar to me. Only time will tell.