Category Archives: apps

The Waste Land for iPad – a waste?

When I got wind of this beautiful, beautiful thing, I knew I was destined to get an iPad. Not anytime soon, of course, but that was what made the deal. Until now, I’ve always sworn off the iPad – much like the Macbook Air – because it didn’t deliver enough power for what I would want (i.e. Adobe Anything). There was also the $500-price tag.

Now I’m second-guessing myself because, my goodness, if you were a huge techie geek person with a love for T.S. Eliot, wouldn’t you want that on your iPad?

I didn’t need to watch the entire demo video to fall in love with this app. The videos, the annotation, the poems read by Ted Hughes and T.S. Eliot himself – what more could a girl want besides being able to load EPUB files on a Kindle?

I shared the above link via Facebook and a friend of mine raised a concern: “It’s silly [such an app/experience] is only available on an iPad.” The interactivity, she said, could be had through a computer. Why isn’t there, pardon the expression, an app for that?

The only way I see such a product packaged for computers and laptops is through a specialized HTML5 site. I don’t think the demand is there for packaged software, unless it’s bundled with a physical book; and even then, would it be worth all those hours of designing and programming to create an experience meant as a mere supplement for the printed text? That doesn’t make sense.

I also said,

I don’t think I would buy this app if it was available for my MacBook. The app’s appeal directly stems from the fact that it’s specifically an iPad experience. And I can see why that would be unfair – only those with an iPad or access to one can experience the text in such a profoundly innovative way. But the medium for the poetry is just as important as the poetry itself, as well as the market [in this case].

So what are you paying for? Certainly not the text, as it’s in the public domain. T.S. Eliot’s voice? No, not that either. Honestly, I see it as a matter of convenience; I won’t need to pull out my hard copy of Eliot’s original manuscript while his booming voice plays in my earbuds – though I could. I always could.

But why would I? For the smell of the paper? To handwrite my notes? I question those tangible aspects of reading and annotating for pleasure.

The answer to that question, for me, would be to save $513.99.