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’

Share
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

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone