Thursday, 19 September 2013

All Kinds of Swank

They stopped updating my iPad back when Jonathan Ive still had hair and the pecs under his tight figure hugging t-shirt weren’t made from vulcanised rubber. It means that my iOS is stuck in the low fives and the release of iOS 7 now makes me the last man on the planet supposedly stuck in skeumorphic hell. Skeumorphism, if you don’t know and (frankly) who does, is the trick computers typically use to make you think you’re interacting with a real object. A button might have a bevelled edge to give a sense of it standing proud of the screen. Skeumorphism is the theory that it makes sense that the corner of a page should peel back when you’re leafing through an ebook. It’s also that trick Apple use when they film their spokespeople whispering pretentiously against a white background and make you suspect they’re members of a strange Polynesian sect of bamboo worshippers awaiting the birth of the great coconut god.

iOS 7 does away with all of that for a clean flat aesthetic. It’s an interesting design concept with raises one important question: will I ever get a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition) tablet to review?

Personally, I don’t mind a bit of skeumorphism. In fact, I quite enjoy it. I get excited when I read that the Note recognises when you remove the stylus and plays a noise like a sword being drawn from its sheath. Will I ever get to hear that myself? I begin to worry that I won’t. It’s less than a week from the rumoured release date for the new Samsung’s Note 10.1 and I still can’t recommend it to the many thousands of you waiting on my judgement. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Ines van Gennip, Samsung UK’s Marketing Director, hadn’t read my letter and that my cartoon and book have already been recycled and are now on their way to shops reconstituted as baby nappies.

It’s this kind of shabby treatment that could turn a man off Samsung and begin to look for a new object for his affections such as the new Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid. If I’m going to have unconsummated love for an electrical device then I could easily lust after one of these beauties. Except I’m not such a fickle lover. I have confessed my love for the Samsung Note 10.1 (2014 edition) and I refuse to look at another, even if that other does have a 13 inch display and 2048 levels of pen sensitivity!

I suppose you could say I’m struggling with the old Hilary Swank dilemma. Just when you decide that there’s room in your life for one toothy brunette film star along comes Amanda Peet. What’s a man to do? I had enough trouble justifying my wanting to see ‘The Core’ without my needing to come up with excuses to see ‘2012’ as well. There’s only so much bad science fiction I can profess to enjoy without things beginning to look suspicious.

For the moment, then, I remain a Samsung lover as I also remain a Swank man. I like her teeth. I suppose you could say there’s a bit of skeumorphism going on there as well. They make me feel like she’s more than a virtual presence up on the big screen. In an ideal world, both would think that such loyalty deserves rewarding.

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