Mr. President and His iPad

In a stunning reversal of his previous claims about the iPad as a “distraction” device, the Leader of the Free World, Barack Obama, has confessed to using a computer, a Blackeberry and an iPad. At his commencement speech at Virginia Hampton University on May 11th in 2010, Obama stated, “information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.” His claim is certainly true—in our 24-hour news age of madness, information certainly abounds in a numbing way. It becomes hard to tune out irrelevant because we are tuned in so much of our time.

So what happened? Is this some kind of ploy for Obama to ride his presently upward, but always undulating wave of popularity? Has he realized the sheer joy of playing Angry Birds on such a large screen? Or has he simply had a change of heart about the iPad and its capabilities?

As Alan has so adeptly pointed out, the iPad is not just a device for catapulting unwilling birds across a screen, but a truly capable tool for business. With the iPad becoming more and more widespread, more and more people are discovering the breadth and diversity of this device. Those who once complained about the iPad being a puzzling and irrelevant creation can probably be spotted guiltlessly indulging in its offerings.

While it’s difficult to discern too much from Obama’s admission (perhaps he just enjoys the iPad’s convenience and uses it similarly to how one uses a computer), it’s hard not to read into it.

Since Obama needs constant communication and information, the iPad is the ideal device. More newspapers and magazines are shifting their focus to the iPad, and more readers are enjoying that. Though there is a certain joy in the sheer mass of the Sunday New York Times, there is an even greater pleasure in being able to access it all on the iPad without even earning ink-stained fingers. Instead of having to lug around an arsenal of newspapers and magazines, iPad users can pleasantly stroll with all their necessary information in their beloved, portable device.

With this handy device from Zagg, the awkwardness of typing on the iPad (something that I fully believe one can become easily acclimated to) becomes reduced to nothing. By using the iPad’s copy and paste features, one can keep others up to date with what you have been reading and what’s important to know.

And though Barack must have a busier schedule than any of us can imagine, he has to cut out time for himself, and he iPad is ultimate work-and-play device. Obama can go back and forth between reading policy briefs and (yes, I’ll return to the same angry image) knocking down structures by throwing birds. The iPad presents an integrated model of life: where we can seamlessly shift between our work selves, social selves, and whatever other selves we keep up our sleeves.

Apple probably could not receive a more ringing endorsement. And the rest of us feel just a little bit more legitimized in celebrating and using this device.