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Stephen Fry: An iPad is like a pet dog

updated 08:10 pm EDT, Fri October 1, 2010

Actor, author chats at UK iPad conference

UK personality and bon vivant Stephen Fry believes the iPad is like a pet dog; a canine can perform a limited set of functions, but people don't buy dogs for their "feature list," he argues, so much as for the sheer enjoyment they give their owners. Fry made the remarks at the iPad Entertainment Summit in London, where he extolled his affection for the device. The summit is a gathering of iPad content producers across Europe who are there to attend programming sessions, examine case studies with successful iPad apps, and learn how to publish, promote and expand their apps and brands.

Fry, who is a popular tech blogger and frequently champions new technologies with a special regard for Apple (not unlike his late compatriot Douglas Adams), has compared the iPad to a family pet before; he made similar remarks to tech website T3 earlier this summer, but at today's conference he expanded on the analogy, as reported by Parmy Olsen on Forbes' web site.

"[People] want engagement. They want to stroke and feel and use all their senses to enjoy something. You can dress it up in words like 'immersive' and try to control it. But you have to forget all that and go for the gut and the heart," he said.

He also defended the iPad and other e-readers against charges that they will kill off real books and traditional reading: "I love the smell and feel of books ... I also like horses, and I'm still going to drive a car." The invention of the car, he argues, didn't render the horse obsolete, but merely relieved it of one of its many functions. Fry compared the outrage of monks in 1451 who were aghast at Gutenberg's mechanically-produced books to present attitudes, and predicted such views will pass with time and acceptance.

A book, he said, is just an older piece of technology. Apple's products - and success - are about the "emotional" side of computing, says Fry, and as was proven when books went from being hand-made to mass-produced, users can still have an emotional connection to them, which makes them valuable even if their "functionality" is limited.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Someone who gets it.

    All of the PC people who have been bashing Macs for years saying they could get such and such list of specs cheaper from Dell than from Apple.

    They never once thought about enjoyment and overall productivity - something not easily measured and compared on a spec sheet.

  1. nitram_again

    Joined: Dec 1969



    If stateside readers haven't seen Stephen Fry compering QI, do yourself a favour and check it out. He is educated, snobbish, elitist ... and hilarious.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Someone that gets it?

    Are you sure about that? The iPad sucks for reading books. In fact I got the new Kindle after selling my iPad which I had bought for readings books, and for anyone that's ever used a Kindle, there's no way they'd prefer an iPad for reading.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Some people like reading books on the iPad

    and some people don't. I guess its just a matter of choice.

  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's up with these idiots

    making these vaguely condescending comments?

    The only thing they're good for is when you need a barf bag to puke on.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ MyRightEye

    Haysek has it right on. "enjoyment and overall productivity"

    What you can do with an iPad over a Kindle is not even a comparison. If Apple made an eBook reader, then your comparison would be spot on. They dont. Take make a multifunction device with a built in eReader.

    What you did was buy a Ferrari and used it for grocery shopping. It works but not what is was made for. :/

  1. YangZone

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who's pet dog behaves that well???

    He must have a plug-in dog.

  1. headgnu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just a thought but...

    I wonder if his iPad pisses on the furniture?

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