December 8, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 40°F


Devices balance use with looks

Like every red-blooded heterosexual male who’s seen “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” Princess Leia was my first love. While the Millennium Falcon and lightsabers jump-started my techno-lust, it’s Leia’s beauty and bikini that have stuck with me — and had me searching for a something that can balance both functionality and good looks.

From the Gameboy to the iPhone 4, functionality and design have been a marriage that has mirrored the current state of tech. Twenty years ago, it was about how much memory the newest device had, but today it’s not how fast your device processes apps, it’s how it looks processing apps fast.

I’m not going to lie, my first lime green Gameboy Color was probably the most beautiful piece of technology I’d ever set my hands on at the time — aside from my Tamagotchi named Sparky. Looking back — through the 5.0 megapixel camera of my iPhone 4 — I’ve come to grips with the fact that technology is just as much about zeros and ones as it is look and feel.

With Apple’s newest release, or should I say update, of the Macbook Air, it might be the sexiest baking tray on the market, but it’s evident that Apple has concentrated on its body image. The outer casing is something straight out of Iron Man — aside from being aluminum ­— and the slim shape would make even Subway’s Jared Fogle hit the treadmill hard. But it’s clear that people want sexy technology, and it’s slowly becoming a theme among manufacturers to design something that looks pretty and to ultimately let users determine the practical use of the device.

While the MacBook Air doesn’t have a touchscreen and Apple’s master and commander Steve Jobs will tell the market that a multi-touch track pad is more practical, not having a touch interface meant that Apple had to take it one step further in the physical design.

With the recent flood of touchscreen devices in response to the iPad — from the Samsung Galaxy Tab running Google’s Android operating system to Blackberry’s PlayBook — the appeal of these shiny, flat-panel devices is being driven by the market’s lust to touch.

Even our fearless leader President Barack Obama can’t resist the appeal of a touchscreen, recently signing a supporter’s iPad at a rally in Seattle, Wash., at the University of Washington, marking the first instance where an iPad has received the presidential signature. While the industry is continually suffocated under tablet after tablet device, at least for the time being, Apple’s newest release is a breath of fresh air.