Reports claim that the iPad's silly name won't hurt sales. But you know what will hurt the iPad? The same stuff that killed every other gadget you've had. In an effort to avoid this, we sought professional advice.
Gadget survival is a tricky thing: Take the Walkman, for instance. I can't even count how many I owned when I was young, but I know that they all died different deaths. Cassette tape tangled in the gears, battery acid rot, demise via being dropped on subway train tracks. A digital camera I had ceased to function when grains of sand from the beach flew into the shutter mechanism. And laptops are easy to kill: Spill liquid on your keyboard or drop it, and it's toast.
Worried about the fate of my theoretical future iPad, I called Apple customer service and asked a few questions:
Me: I'm interested in getting an iPad, but I have some questions. Like, what if it gets wet?
Apple: Well, you can buy a rugged case or something, but it is not waterproof. Are you going to be in the yard or next to a pool?
Me: Maybe! I just really want to work outside. [Although I have no yard or pool.]
Apple: What are you doing? Walking around taking surveys, or…
Apple: Well do you have a pool bar, or one of those swim-up counters…
Me: No, but could I use it there?
Apple: No, I would not recommend that. You can use it by the pool, say 10 feet away, and you know, look at the pool, and have a margarita…
Apple: Do you have a laptop? You should really treat it like a laptop.
Me: I have a laptop I use as a desktop, but I want to be more mobile.
Apple: My kids will walk around the house with the laptop, with it open, and I just don't think it's a great idea. You have to be careful. It is a piece of electronics.
Me: So no water?
Apple: No, it's a a sophisticated computing device. You can't take a shower with it.
Me: Well I was thinking more about if it started raining.
Apple: If it starts raining you should take it inside. Once water gets inside — it is not a good thing. And you know, the case folds in two different ways; you could have the case folded so that the case is facing the pool. That way water would have to go all the way over the top in order to damage it.
Me: And what about the sun? If I am working outside all day, in the sun, is it going to die?
Apple: Leave it in the shade. Nothing electronic is going to be okay left in the sun all day. Just get one of those pool umbrellas.
Me: But it gets hot, right? My friend has a laptop and it gets so hot she has burned her thigh.
Apple: Well it shouldn't really — Do you have an iPhone?
Apple: Does your iPhone get hot?
Me: Sometimes! Against my cheek, I can feel the heat.
Apple: Well you should use the iPad on a counter, or table. It should be fine.
Me: Okay, and obviously dropping it is going to kill it, too.
Apple: Right. But you know, it only weighs a pound and a half…
Me: Wait, let me just ask you, if I drop it in the bathtub, will I get electrocuted?
Apple: Well, no, because it's battery-powered… The power supply limits the voltage. You can't get electrocuted.
Me: But the iPad will die.
Apple: If you drop it in the bathtub, it's probably going to die.
Me: Okay, well, thank you, you have answered a lot of my questions.
Apple: Would you like to reserve one? Right now you can get a ship date of April 12.
Me: Nah, I need to think about more ways I might kill it first.
IPad's Widely Mocked Name Won't Stifle Sales [BusinessWeek]