After avoiding all the iPad hype since its release on April 3rd, I felt it necessary to at least comment on the latest iPad “app” (if you can even call it an app).
In an effort to find useful real-world applications for the all-new iPad, a company called Maya has developed an application to allow cyclists to communicate their signals by strapping a $500+ iPad to their back while riding a bike.
This application is completely impractical – the turn signal doesn’t trigger until you lean into your turn, and the “stop” signal doesn’t trigger until you “sit up” on the bike.
At least the designers of the application admit that this is a “silly example of having fun with an iPad”. Wired.com seemed to take this ridiculous contraption seriously in its article on April 16th which led to 30,000 video views on that day alone.
Maya refers to this usage of the iPad as an example of “precycling”, whereby you find a useful purpose for the device for when it becomes worthless – and because they claim the iPad will only be worth $50 in two years, this is an example of something the “worthless” iPad could do.
This illustrates one of the reasons I will probably never buy an Apple product – the notion that you need to buy the latest Apple product every year if you want to be cool. It reminds me of the automobile industry where they convince consumers that for some reason they need to purchase a new automobile every 2 years – it’s completely ludicrous to think you need a new car every two years.
Corporations have become so greedy (and smart), because they have convinced the masses that they need to perpetually consume their products every year or two if they want to “keep up with the Joneses”.
(At least Apple has Moore’s law as an excuse for perpetual consumption – the auto manufacturers only have greed and bankruptcy as excuses).
Maya also provides a list of other hair-brained ideas that people suggested for the iPad:
- Put it on the front as a networked programmable t-shirt graphic
- Wear it with a group to have coordinated networked protest graphics when you go on your next march
- Give it to crossing guards
- Sell advertisement on people (afterall isn’t that how the world goes round?)
- Broadcast coordinated imagery across a crowd of people at your next big football game to make a giant mosaic on everyone’s t-shirts
- Hang an iphone with the camera pointing outward from your back and an iPad in a Sprocket Pocket on your front and you’ve got a window right through your body where the sun shines through
- Put one on the front and back of your shirt and use it as a touch, tilt, tag football game (remember by this time iPads sell for $1 and are disposable)
- Wear it on your hand and play hacky-sack pinball with a group of friends
- Mount it on your handlebars and have a GPS dashboard
This just about sums up the reasons why you won’t see me buying an iPad anytime soon.
James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at email@example.com.
- Corporatocracy (Dec, 2006)
- Systematic Indoctrination and Manipulation of Society (May 2005)
- Exxon sets a new record (Jan 2006)
- Single-minded Inc. (May 2006)
Although it is completely useless – it is a clever idea. One that might prompt development of an actual, practical, useful turn signal using the accelerometer technology found in iPads. Pretty cool.
I don’t know if I agree Claire. I mean, people who have the intention to signal their turn will continue to signal their turns. These are the people who might use an application like this.
However, the people who currently don’t signal their turns aren’t the ones who would use this application, so I still don’t see any value in it.
I have nothing against using technology to improve certain things, but this is really stretching it… I think it takes away from the whole cycling experience.
If I wanted turn signals, I could easily add motorcycle-like turn signals to my bike. But there’s a reason I don’t.
OH no, I wasn’t suggesting it was a good idea for someone to strap an iPad to their backs instead of signaling your turns – but I see value in the idea. It would be interesting to see how the accelerometer (not the app) could be used or adapted in other ways.
I would never use it, and I don’t think it’ll ever catch on, but it does make me smile. It’s the ingenuity of the thing, not the thing itself. You know?
Oh, yeah there’s definitely some great opportunities to use that technology in other ways. Totally agreed Claire.
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