My daughter (9) came running into our bedroom this morning very excited. She held in her hand my iPad 2 and was waving it around exuberantly. “It’s so much better dad, I love it. When did you get it?”
Having been reading over my shoulder on the weekend (on the iPad as it happens) she had been intrigued about how much better the new iPad from Apple would be. However, she hadn’t realized that my new iPad hadn’t arrived yet and seeing my iPad 2 on the sofa thought it was the new device.
The fact that I had just bought a new cover and given it a bit of a clean (in preparation to pass it on to my wife) probably helped with the illusion, but I was fascinated by the mix up. This got us into a conversation that lasted the rest of the weekend, about how one computer screen could be better or worse than another.
Upon hearing that the screen was made up of lots of tiny pixels she held it to her face and shrieked with laughter. Apparently the idea that the iPad’s output was made of lots of tiny dots wasn’t something she had expected. This led to her getting nose-close to various other screens in the house to test them out, which in turn led to close inspection of various printed materials.
Having grown up with dot-matrix printers hammering away in the background of my memories, I guess the idea of images being made of dots was something that seemed natural to me. Of course, my children don’t have the same history. In fact, the iPad 3 (shall we call it that?) and its retina display will probably be the first screen my son (4) remembers.
We spent the rest of the weekend creating our own dot pictures using felt tip pens. After some experimentation we even limited ourselves to three colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) using a combination of dots to create the illusion of each color we needed for our pictures.
It would be easy to laugh at the mistake made by my daughter, and she actually found it quite funny herself. However, the confusion is quite understandable, and not helped by the fact that the new iPad has a similar form factor and non-distinct name. For instance, looking up the new iPad on Amazon by searching for “iPad 3” leaves you having to dig through search results to find the newest device.
I presume that this blurring of the generations is intentional from Apple, who don’t want consumers to fret over exactly which version they have. They took a similar approach to the iPod which quickly dropped its generational moniker to just be an iPod. It will be interesting to see whether they can stick to their guns when introducing more distinctive new features in future iPads.
My daughter’s reaction was that calling it just the iPad was “silly,” and “it should have a proper name.” When prompted her suggestion was the “iPad No Dots” or “iPad ND.” Maybe it will catch on.
The new iPad (3) is available from Amazon from $569.99.