iPad: almost as good as a typewriter

by | Aug 13, 2013 | Uncategorized | 15 comments

The iPad: it’s almost as good as a book, almost as good as a camera, and almost as good as a typewriter!

Should we be appalled at the presumption that a flickering pane of glass can substitute for a typewriter, or delighted at the fact that resemblance to a typewriter is seen as a selling point?

The app shown is miTypewriter.


  1. Scott K

    Could always just buy a typewriter! Even the more expensive traveller typewriters are a fraction of the iPad price.

    Mind you, I own an iPad, and I love it. But it sure isn't a typewriter.

  2. Ton S.

    Sorry, I have resisted buying an iPad or any other tablet.

  3. Miguel Chávez

    For Pete's sake, why would I want to have an electronic device that tries to mimic an old analogue machine?

    Keyword here: "almost". The thing is "almost" useful: It can "almost" substitute a laptop (unless you are so unsofisticated as to want to actually create documents, presentations or spreadhseets in your device); It can "almost" surf the Net (unless they already managed to run Java on them). It can "almost" do a lot of things. Alas, it doesn't do anything completely well. In my book, and until those things can be used for actual work, they are nothing but fancy, expensive toys that pretend to substitute for the real things they imitate. An allegory for today's digital world?

    … Yes, I don't like iPads and their kin; does it show?

  4. teeritz

    I will use my ACTUAL Olympus Trip 35 for as long as I can still get film for it, I will use my standard digital camera ( that LOOKS like a camera, not some Philippe Starck-style chopping board), I will continue to read books PRINTED ON PAPER, and I will continue using my typewriters because they offer no distractions from Angry Birds or 63,000 useless 'Apps' that are designed to occupy people's heads (and fingers) rather than allowing them to live an actual life.
    Don't get me wrong. iPads are great and they have their uses and their place. Just not everywhere and everything.
    Full disclosure- I'm writing this on my iPod Touch because I'm too lazy to fire up my laptop to reply, but I ain't always this slack. Thanks Apple. You make some nifty stuff, but we don't all wanna run our lives with it all the time, and there are some things out there that an iPad just cannot replicate, so stop trying to convince us otherwise.

  5. Bill M

    An iPad will never be a real camera, a real book, or a typewriter.

    I still use my SRT-102 from college as well as many other film cameras. A computer will never have the feel of a real book, nor will it search a book or page through one as fast as I can with a real book. I like reading ebooks because many are scanned out of print books that are not available otherwise.

    A typewriter?! and iPad does not even have a keyboard. PC keyboards are really crappy for feel. No! and iPad will never be a typewriter. Besides an iPad will wear out or be unsupported in 3 to 5 years. Typewriters are useable for centuries.

    So, would I refuse an iPad? Would I refuse to use an iPad or any tablet? No. I probably will never own any Apple products even thought they are the best. They are too highly over priced.

  6. Rob Bowker

    Cut me and iBleed Apple juice. But sort of emulating a typewriter doesn't exactly make the most of an iPad's potential. It isn't retro, it isn't cool. And it doesn't have to be. L'Etranger was one of the first books I read in French. And then, later, in English. I even became something of a Camus fan for a while – more for the ideas than the writing. In my opinion, no book could be less well associated with an iPad than L'Etranger. It doesn't exactly put you closer to visceral sensations of life… or death.

  7. notagain

    I can't get past the superimposed keyboard getting in the way of what you're writing.

  8. teeritz

    I just realized- that iPad billboard advert is showing items that its target market would not recognize. "Who the hell is Albert Cammiss!!??" "Why's that keyboard got a piece of paper sticking out of it?", and on and on.

  9. Brian

    Had an iPad. After weeks of trying, could not for the life of me find any reason or purpose for its existence. Back it went, shocking and appalling everyone, who could not imagine not wanting the latest plugin drug.

  10. Peter

    Last night on NPR, I listened to a segment about new apps that allow novices to create "music" with a few swipes of the finger and no musical talent whatsoever. So I suppose future ads will also feature iDevice simulations of real life, old fashioned musical instuments.

    The iPad itself has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. I myself use an iPhone, and use it pretty heavily. But when I want a larger screen or more computing power, I will turn to a conventional laptop computer with a physical keyboard, on which I can do real work. This nether region that the iPad occupies has always seemed an invented market to me, and their immense popularity confounds me.

    So, I fully accept the utility of digital devices, while I very much appreciate the allure of analog ones, like film cameras and typewriters. (One exception, perhaps, is digital videography, which is far superior in almost every way to film. I can do more, faster and cheaperand better with my iPhone than I could in the old days with my 8mm Bolex.) But as has been mentioned here and elsewhere, digital devices have a long way to go before they and their products attain the durability of typewritten documents and film photographs.

  11. Unknown

    Having an iPad is nice but I like taking pictures with my camera and writing with my manual typewriter. I do love the typewriter keyboard on the iPad, looks great!

  12. Vikram

    Hmm. Lots of relatively heated opinions on the iPad in this thread. For what it's worth, I thoroughly enjoy using my Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet, portable and light enough to read e-Textbooks (which run about 50% or less of the cost of print books), with enough battery to last for a few hours even when running 3D games or streaming online movies.
    Tablets have their place for their convenience and speed; would you rather boot up a computer to show a client a presentation or a PDF, or just awaken your tablet and have it instantly? Not to mention tablets are MUCH thinner and lighter than the equivalent amount of paper or a computer with as good a screen. (Barring the much-more-expensive Ultrabooks, which can run upwards of $1200.)
    Don't get me wrong; as far as emulation of "retro" stuff, it's better to go with the real thing, but for those who are downplaying the utility of such devices, they have their place.

  13. RobertG

    I'd vote for 'delighted'; neat to note that the tw is the 'icon' for writing. To illustrate the various uses of the tablet (reading, take pictures, write stuff) the analog single-function object is used as the 'icon'; for the writing the tw (and the very old, original archetype even!) is still the recognized 'icon'.

  14. Richard P

    Good point. I was pleased to see that too!


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