I have lived through a period of great innovation in consumer electronics. I remember when there were only about 20 channels on TV and some of those didn’t come in very well. I remember when you had to get up and walk across the room to change the channel, even. I remember having a stereo in the living room that could play 8-track tapes. I used to buy record albums or LPs.
I remember taking pictures on film and having to think about the shot before you hit the shutter button (I remember cameras with shutters!) because you only had 24 shots per roll of film. And, it cost money to develop your pictures. And, you had to wait a couple days for the pictures to be developed, until they came up with 1 hour photo processing.
I remember when compact discs came out. My dad bought our first CD player in about 1986. It was this little black deal and we had just a couple of CDs for it. I still remember the first two CDs I bought: “Rage for Order” by Queensryche and “Under Lock and Key” by Dokken. True story. I remember distinctly discussing with friends how I didn’t think that CDs were all that much better than records. Records sounded good enough. Who needs these shiny discs?
And then I heard a CD.
No hissing. No pops. Just the music, clear and bright. (Turns out that brightness became a liability in some ears, but not mine. I still don’t really think records sound better.) From then on, I wanted CDs and didn’t like listening to records.
Then, DVDs started coming out. Well, by this time, I had seen Laserdiscs and coveted them dearly over VHS. Those little tapes seemed muddy, washed out and blurry compared to Laserdiscs. And, DVDs were marketed for mass approval. They seemed poised to take over. So, I was pretty sold on DVD players from the get-go.
A few years ago, HDTVs started coming out. I had a similar reaction again. How much better can High Definition be? Sure, they are widescreen, and since I’d been to film school, I preferred to watch things in widescreen. I much preferred the black bars on my screen to the awfulness of pan and scan fullscreen.
Then, I saw a high def TV in person. Good lord, it was beautiful. Clear, crystalline, life-like. I had to have it. Today, I can’t stand watching stuff in standard definition. It bugs me.
So, a few years ago, I bought an iPad. I knew from the moment they were announced that I wanted one. And, when the newest iPad was announced, the third generation, I wanted one again. This time I believed that the screen was superior, that it would be an improvement for sure. And it was. But, like with CDs and HDTVs, that old iPad just looks bad now. I can see the pixels now. Text looks a little fuzzy. Damn iPad 3 has ruined me again.
So, if you’re wondering, is the new iPad really better, then yes, yes it is. Many people, especially those with the iPad 2, can probably still do without upgrading. But, if you have been holding out, then now is the time to buy a very nice tablet computer. You will be happy.
I thought I would also throw out there that I just got a new phone, a Nokia Lumia 710 with Windows Phone 7 on it. I very much enjoy using it so far. It isn’t iOS, but that isn’t bothering me right now, except that it’s outside the iCloud/iTunes ecosystem. Windows Phone 7 is elegant and easy to use. And, once I put in my Facebook and Google accounts, it had my contacts. That was pretty cool. I didn’t have to post on Facebook that I needed everyone’s contact info again. Facebook is the new phonebook. Along with Twitter. But, Facebook is people you really know. Twitter is for people you know of.
Technology is cool. I like Technology.