Tech Novice Goes to the Apple Store

Yesterday, Apple revealed their latest product, the iPad. Jokes about Steve Jobs’ menstrual cycle aside, I’m sure it’s a wondrous magical device with a killer app to project holograms that make French toast. I’m fully convinced that I want one, even though I’m not yet sure what it does. Personally, I’m still using a fourth-generation iPod that weighs as much as fat quintuplets, so I’m easily impressed. It’s not that I don’t want a shiny, toast-making computer phone, it’s because sometimes I forget that I actually live in the future. I forget that I can have shiny future things.

Today, I am heading to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue to remind myself that technology exists, that it is readily available, usually awesome, and that I should probably own more of it.

Tech Novice Goes to the Apple Store
This is my phone. It is made from buffalo hides and the teeth of unruly captors.

To enter the underground Apple Store, patrons descend through an empty, three-story glass cube, to a mall-like atmosphere with tourists posing next to laptops because it’s too cold for a Central Park carriage ride. By the time I reach the iPod Touch, I’ve already been in two vacation photos. It feels like entering the Fortress of Solitude only to discover there’s a Cheesecake Factory inside.

Immediately, I want everything that surrounds me, including the adorable sales clerk with the full tattoo sleeve. Mainly, I want a phone that can search the internet and doesn’t cost me $900 every time I email myself a photo. I want a laptop that makes more laptops. I want things.

I’m hiding my trilobite of an iPod in my Harvey’s Seatbelt messenger bag, when I look up to see an Orthodox Jew asking a salesman what colors the Nano comes in. God has spoken: I need better technology.

When I first pick up the Touch, I get stuck in a World of Warcraft-style game called Glyder (actually, first I giggle to myself and sing “Sometimes when we iPod Touch, the honesty’s too much” because I cultivate my sense of humor to alienate myself from others). Glyder bores me quickly, but I don’t see an option to exit, so I pull the classic ‘Grandma trying to check call waiting’ move and hit the power button, figuring I’ll start over. Instead of shutting off, however, I’m taken back to the main screen. Score one for the iPod touch. That’s my kind of idiot proof. Meanwhile, the Orthodox man is making French toast on a turquoise Nano.

Ultimately, I know I won’t be using the Touch to help Toki Tori find his eggs, I’ll be using it to listen to music. The interface is straightforward, and the addition of a ‘search’ function makes my toddler-sized iPod feel like a crank Victrola.

(By the way, the iPod Touch is just like an iPhone, without a phone. It took me 20 minutes to figure this out. So, if you have any experience with an iPhone, I might as well be reviewing the Playstation by explaining that video game systems hook up to your television. This is the level of amazement I’m at with the musical search function.)

I finish listening to Young MC and notice that if I owned a Touch, I would be able to hear my music while I play a game. This is a great feature, because I’ll be entertained while a gang of kids steals it out of my hand on the 6 train.

It takes me five tries to open my personal website, and I’m feeling like Sasquatch trying to make lace. I know I’m crotchety, but I’m baffled that anyone with less than a pencil-tip of a finger would be able to navigate this interface. Wahhh! They say there are no stupid questions, but even I know these questions are really very dumb, so I keep them to myself.

After 30 minutes of Toki Tori and Akon, I decide that I definitely want one of these Touch thingies, but not for $400. Not when an iPhone is $300, anyway. With 30 hours of audio and six hours of video, I guess the Touch holds more data, and that’s important to me, but I really need to make phone calls. It also has voice control, but that’s not important to me. I’m not a paraplegic, I can press buttons without considering it an extra chore.

Personally, I would buy an iPhone before the Touch. Who wants to carry more than one thing? I don’t live in the future to have to carry multiple things. I live in the future for French toast.

Am I wrong about the Touch? Is it better than an iPhone? Tell me what I missed in the comments.

(Next week: The iPad vs. the TI-99)

Tech Novice Goes to the Apple Store
The first computer I ever owned, beginning a lifelong disinterest in the usefulness of both technology and Texas Instruments.
Kyria Abrahams is the author of ’I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing.’ Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian home, she had two video more


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