British wit and tech maestro Stephen Fry has - rather predictably - scribed a 2180-word essay about the iPad, after we spotted him skulking around with the whiskey-drinking Jonathan Ive. If only he'd written it on an actual iPad.
Infamously purchasing the second Mac to be sold in the UK (after Douglas Adams), Fry has admitted yesterday's event was the first time he's "joined the congregation at the Church of Apple for a new product launch".
Sticking with the religious metaphor, he described the launch:
"Like the first iPhone, iPad 1.0 is a John the Baptist preparing the way of what is to come, but also like iPhone 1.0 (and Jokanaan himself too come to that) iPad 1.0 is still fantastic enough in its own right to be classed as a stunningly exciting object, one that you will want NOW and one that will not be matched this year by any company."
Looking towards the next generation of iPad:
"In the future, when it has two cameras for fully featured video conferencing, GPS and who knows what else built in (1080 HD TV reception and recording and nano projection, for example) and when the iBook store has recorded its 100 millionth download and the thousands of accessories and peripherals that have invented uses for iPad that we simply can't now imagine – when that has happened it will all have seemed so natural and inevitable that today's nay-sayers and sceptics will have forgotten that they ever doubted its potential."
While he's quick to point out his adoration of the iPad, he's not blinkered to its shortcomings:
"There are many issues you could have with the iPad. No multitasking, still no Flash. No camera, no GPS. They all fall away the minute you use it. I cannot emphasise enough this point: "Hold your judgment until you've spent five minutes with it". No YouTube film, no promotional video, no keynote address, no list of features can even hint at the extraordinary feeling you get from actually using and interacting with one of these magical objects."
Listing the reasons to buy one, he admits the Apple badge is reason enough:
"2. It is made by Apple. I'm not being cute here. If it was made by Hewlett Packard, they wouldn't have global control over the OS or the online retail outlets. If it was made by Google, they would have tendered out the hardware manufacture to HTC. Apple - and it is one of the reasons some people distrust or dislike them - control it all. They've designed the silicon, the A4 chip that runs it all, they've designed the batteries, they've overseen every detail of the commercial, technological, design and software elements. No other company on earth does that. And being Apple it hasn't been released without (you can be sure) Steve Jobs being wholly convinced that it was ready. "Not good enough, start again. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough." How many other CEOs say until their employees want to murder them? That's the difference."
His diatribe goes on for several pages, so if you've got enough time it's worth a read - ;if only for his sparkling sense of humour cutting through the many gushings of adoration. [Stephen Fry via T3]