I’ve left the iPad tag off this story for a reason, because whether you hate Apple or love Apple. Whether you await Saturday’s ascension of the iPad as a second holy day that weekend, or plan to ignore the day’s event entirely. Actor, writer, comedian, the man who gave voice to LittleBigPlanet Stephen Fry’s take on the iPad is an absolute must read.
Fry’s description of his first personal encounter with the iPad, moments after sitting and chatting nervously with Steve Jobs for an hour, as falling on it like “lions on an antelope” and forming a bond with the device similar to that one may form with a person are almost irrelevant to the article.
What makes this the most important thing for you to read today is the clever, humorous, touching way in which Fry describes his relationship with Apple products and weaves that into a tightly reported story about the rise of the company and the way in which they’ve developed their most important products: The iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.
He talks to Jobs, to game developers, to famed Apple designer Jonathan Ive. He also talks about his lasting friendship with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams and how they spent the 80s practically worshiping their Macs. (They even had little desktop icon design contests.)
The four-page Time piece entitled Apple’s iPad: The Mothership Prepares for Launch is filled with Fry’s witticisms and crafty writing. Whether he’s telling us about how Michel Guillemot, founder of Gameloft, thinks that the iPad is the “fourth step of the game evolution” or how Ive is most proud of what’s NOT in the iPad, he does so with panache.
But the most touching moment of this article, yes spoilers ahead, is how he concludes it. Growing up reading Douglas Adams, I was heartbroken to learn of his death at a relatively young age, so maybe this ending touching me more than others.
One melancholy thought occurs as my fingers glide and flow over the surface of this astonishing object: Douglas Adams is not alive to see the closest thing to his Hitchhiker’s Guide that humankind has yet devised.