All hail!

All hail!

Typically, government organizations (and particularly the military) are not at the forefront of consumer technology. However, with the Dark Lord at the helm, the J6 is full participating member in the Church of Jobs – Sauron himself wields a 24″ iMac, a Macbook Air, and an iPhone (all paid by your tax dollars, natch).

Apropos our cult membership, we got three iPads yesterday. Apparently the plan is to replace BlackBerries with iPads for senior staff, since our yearly phone service bill is astronomical. I guess all the field-grade officers will have to get tactical man-purses now.

As far as I can tell from my day with the device, it really is just nine iPhones taped together. This is not surprising, since the device runs the iPhone OS, but it is a little disappointing. I spent most of the first day frantically waving the thing around, trying to get the screen to tilt, until today Saint Gene discovered that there’s a tilt-lock switch on the side. I guess I figured that Apple wouldn’t stoop to something so pedestrian as a physical switch to lock out the tilt sensor, so I never thought to look for it.

The screen is indeed gorgeous – it’s an IPS-type LCD, from what I understand, which gives it excellent viewing angles and no color distortion, even at extreme angles. It’s bright and contrasty, and makes all of the carefully designed icons look quite lickable. However, I stand by my assertion that e-ink devices like the Kindle and nook are superior for long-term reading operations; as nice as the iPad’s screen is, it’s still an LCD, and the backlight makes for tired eyes over long periods.

I doubt the thing will be a “game-changer” like the iPhone arguably has been – the market for phones with shiny things is much larger than tablets with shiny things, and without phone company subsidies, the price is steep – $500 for this one, with only 16GB of storage and no 3G networking (only WiFi). As some have said, it’s a good media consumption device; I could see the utility for someone who travels a lot, or a student who’s on the go and needs to watch cat videos and check up on FarmVille and stalk ex-girlfriends on Facebook. But for guys like me, who work at a computer all day, then go home to several computers in a small house, and who rarely is out at the local coffee shop with horn-rimmed glasses and turtleneck, I don’t see much point.