The Couch Surfer: 'I tried to avoid being hypnotised by Steve's Dianetic brainwashers'

Tim Walker: 'It’s a bit like being surrounded by over-enthusiastic religious types being really, reeeally nice to you’

Related Topics

If you got back to Earth from the International Space Station over the weekend, you'll know by now that the Apple Tablet is finally here, it's called the iPad, and its edges are too big.

Since I won't actually own one until at least the device's second generation – let's say Christmas 2011, by which point it ought to be both slightly better and slightly cheaper – I'll have to content myself in the meantime with watching all the associated tech-porn videos. And since the unboxing clips won't start rolling in until the thing ships to customers in two months' time, for now I'm stuck with Apple's own eight-minute corporate iPad introduction clip. It's a bit like stumbling into an Alpha Course session by mistake and finding yourself surrounded by over-enthusiastic religious types, all falling over themselves to be really, reeeally nice to you. In a word, terrifying.

The glossy video opens with Jonathan Ive, the British designer who – as Apple's senior VP for design – can take much of the credit for the creation of the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad. Except that he's not Jonathan anymore, apparently. Instead, his caption reads "Jony". Which is presumably meant to be pronounced "Jonny", even though it looks like "Joanie". Two of the other cast members in the video are "Bob" (Mansfield; senior VP, hardware) and "Phil" (Schiller; senior VP, marketing). Maybe all of Apple's employees are instructed to shorten their names where possible, just like "Steve" Jobs, in order to maintain the company's studied aura of friendliness. Though these days, if you know anything about Apple's ferocious control-freakery, that image fits about as snugly as Steve's black turtleneck and blue jeans: not very.

Back to the video. "When something exceeds your ability to understand how it works," Ive claims, "it sort of becomes magical." Well, I have no idea how the O2 monthly tariff for my iPhone works – but let me tell you, Joanie, it ain't magical. Still, Ives' wanky design-speak is nothing; he's just a warm-up act for the horrors to come. The one who really scares the crap out of me is Scott Forstall (senior VP, software), who appears, grinning madly, after about a minute and a half. His eyes, white and wide as iPod wheels, seem to bore into my soul as he insists: "It just FEELS RIGHT to HOLD the internet IN YOUR HANDS." The eyes! The eyes! Don't look in the eyes! "If you see something you like, you just REACH OUT and TAP IT. You don't even THINK about it. You JUST DO."

Compulsive YouTube clips now accompany pretty much any major technology launch, with varying degrees of success and weirdness. Microsoft's creepy viral campaign for its Windows 7 operating system revolved around the idea of users holding their own ethnically diverse "Windows 7 parties", complete with Pringles and balloons, where guests could learn how to use the software together. Google makes gorgeous animations to advertise its Chrome web browser, but when it launched the Google Wave email/instant-messaging thingy, it just put two chubby nerds in a room with a camcorder. Perhaps they already knew Wave was a bit rubbish and didn't want to waste the marketing budget.

Sadly, I spent almost all eight minutes of the Apple film trying to avoid being hypnotised by Steve's team of Dianetic brainwashers, which distracted me from all the brilliant stuff the iPad has to offer: like the iBooks store, a new way to browse The New York Times, the deeply cool-looking calendar, the crystal clear video and the intuitive maps app. The iPad might be the perfect device – not for creating content, but for consuming it, which is what I use at least half my screen time on these days anyway. With apologies to Asus and Sony, I'd turn in my netbook and my e-Reader in a second if I could part-exchange the pair of them for one of Apple's latest creations.

The British Museum used to be somewhere my brother and I would visit to see the shrivelled corpse of the long-dead Egyptian dude, before being forced to spend the rest of the day waiting for our dad to read what seemed like every information label in the whole darn place. But Radio 4's A History of The World in 100 Objects, a Reithian tour of human existence via the British Museum's collection – presented by its director Neil MacGregor – has brought this magnificent resource to life again. Each 15-minute episode is unmissable. I'm already gripped by the possibility of an Apple product appearing between objects 98 and 100.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: the paraphernalia of a practised burglar – screwdrivers, gloves, children

Guy Keleny
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits  

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?