Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

ISO The Digital Sidewalk Critic

Last week Slate ran an example of the design criticism I am missing: “I hate my iPad,” by John Swansburg.

I admit that I bought my iPad for the wrong reasons. I got one because it seemed like everyone I knew had gotten one for Christmas and, well, I felt left out. I didn’t think about how it would fit in with the gadgets I already owned (laptop, Kindle, iPhone), and I didn’t borrow a friend’s and take it on a test drive. Now I just feel annoyed, having spent $600 on a device that hasn’t done anything to improve my life. A salad spinner would have been a better investment, and I don’t even eat that much salad.I don’t think the iPad is useless.

There’s no question that it makes browsing the Web while sitting on the couch easier. Though I have a relatively svelte laptop, it’s kind of a pain to tote around the apartment. But am I the kind of person who pays $600 to save the effort of detaching some USB cables from time to time? I don’t want to be that kind of person.
And so on. Swansburg disusses the tablet’s browsability and readability, distractions of the internet and requests for payment from iTunes. Then he gets into an IM duscussion with his tech-loving colleagues, and wins a few points.