Thousands of blogs mocked the iPad as pointless, and even now scientists are working to breed rapid-fire chickens to generate enough egg for their faces. The iPad single-handedly created the tablet market, mainly by being it until other companies scrambled to catch up. That “catching up” is still ongoing. The core of the iPad’s success is understanding the effects of shape instead of a string of numbers. It might not have the most powerful processors, but this simple hand-held portal into computing has become essential for millions of users, and its accessibility means it’s being brought into efforts where netbooks simply wouldn’t fit.
Where people used to ask “what on Earth can you used it for?” Now they’re asking “what else can we use it for?” And they’re coming up with some insane answers. Which is why we’re looking at the craziest things iPads have been fused with.
The Segway’s launch was the opposite of the iPad: it had a clearly defined function but made a terrible impression. Every good intention about easy transport was cancelled out by looking “dorky,” because humanity is still a species prepared to stop eating if they think it’ll make them more attractive. Now Double Robotics is bringing the two together, hoping to cancel out uncool with cool and keep the useful bits of both.
The “Double” is an iPad mounted on a Segway. It eliminates the feeling of being trapped in a corner of the office, allowing a remote user to travel around the destination and chat with everyone they see. A height-adjustable motor allows the Double to talk with those sitting or standing, or simply search in the world’s least-terrifying version of robots-hunting-humans.
For a truly terrifying Apple-fan horror mvoie, check out artist Austin Yang’s iTypewriter.
We already have iPad keyboards, but those don’t slam against the screen in the most mechanically horrifying sound since the Terminators. The iTypewriter is fully functional, with keys levering up (padded) hammers to slam against the touchscreen keyboard on the iPad. The pitch talks of the importance of memory and enjoying haptic feedback, but the best way to use this would be to deploy it in an Apple store and watch everyone else squirm with every strike.
The iPad has the potential for Tony Stark-level technology, incredibly sophisticated hardware controlled by the sweeping gestures of one man. Who’s enjoying the hell out of it. And John Shuttleworth has made that real. The Adastra, a compression of the latin phrase “to the stars,” is the ultimate long-range voyager right here on Earth. The forty-meter superyacht is how Hong Kong millionaires are sailing out to the ultimate in privacy while still enjoying every advantage society has to offer.
I don’t mind using horrific cliches when they’re this cool: because if you want to control a luxury superyacht single-handed, there’s an app for that.
Developed by Palladium Technologies, this app is more science fiction than the Star Trek communicator. Anyone could have imagined that we’d work out how to carry phones. But I guarantee you’ve never imaged multi-touch control of fifteen million dollars of seafaring style. It’s not so much “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” as “if you even remember what money is why are you wasting their time.”
The iPad’s accessibility endears it to the creative. It’s less a computing component than a window into the virtual world. Joelle Aeschlimann has crafted a combination of the most antique entertainment with this embodiment of electronic ease, wooden musical boxes which speak directly to software.
The hand-crafted chunks of tree hide customized touchpads, allowing an app to recognise which box is being played and react accordingly. It’s one of the most wonderfully pointless projects we’ve ever seen. And even if you couldn’t care less about the symbolism of simple musical boxes bouncing virtual objects, it sounds quite nice too. It’s not going to rival iTunes. But for sheer silly beauty, iTunes can’t rival it either.
Image credit: iLounge / Flickr