Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Why an iPad is not a "need".

Short while ago my attention was drawn to an online bit purporting to be 4 reasons you don't really need an iPad. It was a waffley bit with bogus reasons like "maybe you can't afford one"? Awwww ... poor people who cannot afford something - obviously they don't need it then.

I have ridiculed the arguments in another discussion - however, it occurred to me to that I could do better. Actually, it should be trivial - the position includes the word "really" which tends to be self-defining ... it becomes a "no real Scotsman..." argument if you're not careful. The non-trivial reasons should avoid this - even if most of them revolve around the different ways of saying that an iPad is not a need. Lets see if I can find four...

The real reasons you don't really need an iPad (tablet PC) -

#1. Economics:
An iPad is not a need. It is a want.
There's no really about it. In economics, a need is something you have to have, something you can't do without. A good example is food. If you don't eat, you won't survive for long. Many people have gone days without eating, but they eventually ate a lot of food. You might not need a whole lot of food, but you do need to eat.

A want is something you would like to have. It is not absolutely necessary, but it my be a good thing to have. Though there are many people who will insist they cannot live without their iPad, it is physically possible to do without one for many years and you don't eventually go through a lot of them just to make up for the iStarvation.

#2. Psychology
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, all of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans.

In this hierarchy - an iPad does not even register. Lets go through them one at a time to check:

It is not Physiological - you can live without it though some people would benefit from it's removal there is no-one who would benefit from having one inserted... however satisfying it may be for the rest of us.

It is not a safety need. It will not, for example, act to protect you from gunfire or to cushion a fall.

If you find your iPad fulfilling a love/belonging need you are a sad individual indeed. Admittedly it is more acceptable to take your iPad to dinner than an inflatable partner... I have been told... but Maslow was referring to healthy psychology, not delusions.

Although Apple spend a lot of money trying to make it an Esteem/Self-respect need, it is not. You may feel like a worthwhile human being once owning one but the feeling soon fades when you realize the way to self-worth is to be worthy in yourself.

In terms of Self Actualization - there is a faint, distant, possibility it could provide for a problem-solving need. This is where it gets a bit tricky - how closely defined does a problem have to get before a tablet PC becomes the solution-provider?

I thought I'd have to write a long section on this but it seems someone else has already done it for me:
... nuff said.

#3. Anti-Tech
And none of us needs that.
Apple has gone a long way with the "less is more" philosophy - convincing so many people that less is actually more. Many years of advances in computer technology has yielded a computer many thousands of times more powerful than the kind of thing we used to use to predict the weather or explore the fabric of space and time. And it is a glorified clipboard.

#4. Encourages antisocial behavior
You heard.
Apple and the tablets are part of an economic model that brought us Digital Restrictions Management, Defective by Design, and the Amazon Swindle.

Is this really the direction we need computers to develop in?

android I hear from the back someplace?
This is about owning your own computer - it is about demanding that your tech works for you and not some other person. I'm sure everyone reading this has seen the arguments.

I'm not going to insist that absolutely no proprietary software should exist at all. But I will also acknowledge that locking down the tech and removing transparency is, where not outright antisocial, encourages antisocial software to persist. In turn, this encourages antisocial legislation like SOPA ... I know Apple et al came out against SOPA (eventually) but that is like a decrying oppressive dictatorships while selling them arms.

It is quite easy to come out with four non-trivial reasons you don't need an iPad - even to generalize to tablet PCs. Of course, none of these arguments/reasons are complete. That would take too long. So, naturally, they are full of holes.

It's just that I want people to notice what happens to an article when even a small amount of actual research goes into it. Then. maybe, we'll see more interesting shares ... oh hope of hopes.

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