Obama Drama Over iPad Fad

Could it really be true? Could Barack Obama be less technically competent than his predecessor?

If a recent speech by Obama is anything to go by, the answer could be yes. Speaking to the graduating class at Hampton University in Virginia, Obama said:

“With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations – none of which I know how to work – information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.”

That’s raised some eyebrows given that the New York Times revealed in 2005 that then-President George Bush owned an iPod (though he’d only put 250 songs on it despite its 10,000 song capacity.) It’s also created some irritation among Apple enthusiasts who are disgruntled to see the iPad mentioned in the same breath as purely entertainment devices.

On closer inspection it’s tough to take the words literally: it’s well known that Obama can and does use a BlackBerry and, even though that’s a fairly simple device to use, it’s arguably less intuitive than an iPod. The chances are Obama was simply trying to make a joke and acknowledge that a 48-year old with a fairly busy schedule probably has a different experience of consumer technology than your average student.

Still, the iPad does have some fans in the world of political leadership. The President Prime Minister of Norway recently revealed that while stranded in New York thanks to the recent volcanic ash cloud over Europe, he was able to work at the airport using a cellphone and an iPad.

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22 Responses to Obama Drama Over iPad Fad

  1. Just a small correction: We don't have a president in Norway, we're a monarchy ;) So you're probably referring to our prime minister :) Sorry, I'm nitpicking!

  2. Just a small correction: We don’t have a president in Norway, we’re a monarchy ;) So you’re probably referring to our prime minister :) Sorry, I’m nitpicking!

  3. I think you may be missing the guts of what he was trying to say. He wonders what the average person does with all the information they have at their fingertips. It's sensory overload. Task saturation. Theres so much news available, its like reading the garfield strip in the paper.

  4. I think you may be missing the guts of what he was trying to say. He wonders what the average person does with all the information they have at their fingertips. It’s sensory overload. Task saturation. Theres so much news available, its like reading the garfield strip in the paper.

  5. Minor correction: Norway doesn't have a president. We do, however, have an iPad-using prime minister :-)

  6. Minor correction: Norway doesn’t have a president. We do, however, have an iPad-using prime minister :-)

  7. I agree with cov, with all the information constantly available, no one takes the time to actually know anything anymore.

  8. I agree with cov, with all the information constantly available, no one takes the time to actually know anything anymore.

  9. Well, it's safe to say you are a bit biased with your "BlackBerry and, even though that’s a fairly simple device to use, it’s arguably less intuitive than an iPod" comment. Less intuitive than an iPod? I think not.

    The iPad is purely an entertainment device. What is it being associated with besides ebooks, web browsing, video watching, games? It's not being used to type up reports, send out mass emails, video conferencing, etc nor will it ever be because it's not efficient.

    iPads will never top netbooks or keyboard laptops and iPods are definitely not more intuitive than a BlackBerry smartphone.

    • Do you know what inituive means?

      "intuitive – obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation"

      The full (intended, not jailbroken) capabilities of an iPod can be learnt easily by simply using the minimal amount of buttons without accidentally screwing everything up. Without being shown how to, and everything happens logically – you almost 'pull' a list down or up with the wheel.

      I can guarantee a person won't be able to access the full capabilities of a BlackBerry without being shown how, and it's not entirely logical.

      It has nothing to do with what it's used for.

  10. Well, it’s safe to say you are a bit biased with your “BlackBerry and, even though that’s a fairly simple device to use, it’s arguably less intuitive than an iPod” comment. Less intuitive than an iPod? I think not.

    The iPad is purely an entertainment device. What is it being associated with besides ebooks, web browsing, video watching, games? It’s not being used to type up reports, send out mass emails, video conferencing, etc nor will it ever be because it’s not efficient.

    iPads will never top netbooks or keyboard laptops and iPods are definitely not more intuitive than a BlackBerry smartphone.

    • Do you know what inituive means?

      “intuitive – obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation”

      The full (intended, not jailbroken) capabilities of an iPod can be learnt easily by simply using the minimal amount of buttons without accidentally screwing everything up. Without being shown how to, and everything happens logically – you almost ‘pull’ a list down or up with the wheel.

      I can guarantee a person won’t be able to access the full capabilities of a BlackBerry without being shown how, and it’s not entirely logical.

      It has nothing to do with what it’s used for.

  11. You're all missing the point. What kind of lame generalization is President Obama making? He's speaking at a college graduation bemoaning that someone out there is suffering from information overload, yet does not even use the technology that he claims contributes to information overload?

    Please do not empower the American government or Norwegian government or any government to decide what information should be censored to prevent overload. The message in this speech is not reassuring, as I've pondered what the President was trying to say.

    To Mauricio, the iPad is not purely entertainment. In fact in my case, it is purely educational. I use it for my daily briefings in the morning, training materials during the day, note taking with Evernote, etc. Education does not always equal entertainment.

    The iPad is a compelling educational device (as is the iPod for podcasts, the XBOX and PS3 and Wii for that matter can deliver the internet to your T.V. the way you choose to have it delivered via RSS or favorite sites).

    But whatever the technology, someone else's inability to find value in it should not be a deciding factor in your ability to find value.

  12. You’re all missing the point. What kind of lame generalization is President Obama making? He’s speaking at a college graduation bemoaning that someone out there is suffering from information overload, yet does not even use the technology that he claims contributes to information overload?

    Please do not empower the American government or Norwegian government or any government to decide what information should be censored to prevent overload. The message in this speech is not reassuring, as I’ve pondered what the President was trying to say.

    To Mauricio, the iPad is not purely entertainment. In fact in my case, it is purely educational. I use it for my daily briefings in the morning, training materials during the day, note taking with Evernote, etc. Education does not always equal entertainment.

    The iPad is a compelling educational device (as is the iPod for podcasts, the XBOX and PS3 and Wii for that matter can deliver the internet to your T.V. the way you choose to have it delivered via RSS or favorite sites).

    But whatever the technology, someone else’s inability to find value in it should not be a deciding factor in your ability to find value.

  13. Video games are information overload? I thought people played HALO so that they didn't have to think. *is making a joke*

  14. Video games are information overload? I thought people played HALO so that they didn’t have to think. *is making a joke*

  15. Why delete my post..? Don't want people to see the other side's opinion? Or is it because I called your messiah a narcissist? Yes, I believe he's a controlling narcissist who has no regard for the US Constitution.

  16. Why delete my post..? Don’t want people to see the other side’s opinion? Or is it because I called your messiah a narcissist? Yes, I believe he’s a controlling narcissist who has no regard for the US Constitution.

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