I wholeheartedly agree with John Biggs’ blog post regarding Apple’s use of “magical” as a way of describing their products. The iPad isn’t magic. It’s a big iPhone. There is no brand new technology in the iPad that we haven’t seen before. Of course, according to Clarke’s three laws of prediction:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Just because an advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic doesn’t make it equal to magic. You may not be able to tell the difference, but underneath the facade is an explainable, repeatable process. We’ve all seen card tricks and slight-of-hand tricks performed by magicians. There is a reason that magicians don’t show how their tricks are performed; they lose their magic. In fact once a magician’s secrets have been revealed, the end result usually turns out to be mechanical in nature. This planet has had the benefit of the iPhone for almost 3 years now; all of the media coverage, both in the technical and mainstream environments, have stripped the iPhone of any semblance of its magical qualities.
The iPad is no different; this is the same “sufficiently advanced technology” that powers the iPhone. Yes, it is a form factor that may change the landscape of personal computing. As the software matures and utilizes the iPad to its fullest extent, we (hopefully) gain the benefit of increased productivity. However, it’s still the same hardware in the same form factor. We know how it works; the illusion is broken. It’s not magic anymore.
Now, if you can turn the iPad into a flying carpet, that would be magical (at least until those secrets were revealed.)