Why Apple’s revolutionary iPad is a creativity, not just consumption, machine

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“When blogs first hit, professional journalists slammed the medium as dumbed down proof of the coming idiocracy. But now nearly all journalists and news publications have blogs,” Mike Elgan writes for Computerworld. “TV news commentators first laughed at Twitter as a place where people only broadcast the minutia of their daily lives. Now CNN has entire shows built around Twitter.”

“It’s important to understand who these people are,” Elgan writes. “They’re the same kind of people who said automobiles are just a fad, who said nobody wants to hear movie actors talk, who said graphical computing isn’t real computing.”

MacDailyNews Take: Cough – Dvorak – cough.

Elgan continues, “They believe themselves to be enlightened skeptics. In fact, they’re just the kind of people that always come out of the woodwork when something breathtakingly new emerges. They can’t see — refuse to see — the obvious possibilities in the new because it threatens their advantages in the old… The iPad-can’t-create-content insanity tells much about how far we’ve drifted off course as a creative animal.”

“In Japan, millions of novels have been written on cell phones,” Elgan reminds. “My great-grandfather wrote his Ph.D. dissertation with a #2 pencil. Chaucer, Shakespeare and Jefferson wrote their brilliant works with bird feathers. Yet the iPad’s critics say creation is impossible using a device that would have been a Pentagon supercomputer 20 years ago. The computers that today’s writers say are absolutely necessary for writing didn’t even exist 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Is that when they think literacy started?”

“The iPad screen is incredible. The Apple Bluetooth keyboard is one of the best keyboards you can buy. And Apple’s Pages app is perfectly adequate for writing. You also might want reference materials and Internet access. Of course, the iPad has that, too… For artists, the iPad’s touch interface removes a layer of separation and abstraction… The notion that iPad can’t be used for content creation is patently, provably, laughably false,” Elgan writes. “Those repeating this absurd notion owe their readers, listeners and followers an apology, followed by a correction. It doesn’t matter if you want the iPad to exclusively serve content, the fact is that people are creating content on it every day. And the avalanche of creativity apps hasn’t even started yet.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I’ll be right back with lots more kool aid for you guys who keep finding more and more ways to advance my new magical device further and further into the twilight zone.

    Pretty soon it’s going to become supernatural, reverse global warming, calm the seas, shut off the volcano, legalize same sex marriage, and finally bring world peace to mankind everywhere.

    Beam me up Scotty… this is beyond my greatest expectations. I have completely outdone myself!

  2. @ breeze.
    “That’s right, one-fifth of Americans own some type of Apple hardware. What’s more is that 21.6% doesn’t included under-18s — and how many teens have you seen without an iPod?”

    The avalanche has already started and its gathering snow (leopard) at a fast pace. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Just a thought,

  3. Mike Elgan & John Dvorak – cut from the same cloth.

    So Elgan finally gets lucky and writes something MDN agrees with. MDN will be all over his case come next week.

  4. To buy an iPad or not to buy an iPad: the arguments in this article might provide the tipping point. I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to justify buying a device that’s good for little more than consuming media. But Elgan makes an excellent case for the iPad’s creative potential. Yay!!!

  5. We have 6 macs in my house, and all we use are macs.

    Having said that, if u consider typing as a creativity device, that’s fair enough for most people. But for me, my ipad is still a consumption device. I use my mac for the photoshop/Illustrator, etc, and those programs need horsepower.

  6. @ jambo

    True, those programs need horsepower.
    But then, what are you really doing? Is your objective to ‘run photoshop’, or is it to create images? Maybe the iPad can’t run desktop Photoshop, but I bet it would be a great Camera Raw editor with something like Lightroom or Aperture running on it. Editing on a multi-touch screen would be like nothing you’ve ever been able to do in PS.
    For now, I need to run CS apps for heavy lifting, too. But those are just tools, and if a better one comes along that’s simpler and cheaper I’d be all over it.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.