February 8, 2010

iPad, circa 1843



The first iPad?

The first iPad?

We missed this post from futureofthebook.com last week showcasing a Columbian Press from 1843 — the early nineteenth century iPad.

According to futureofthebook (devoted to the “preservation and persistence of the  changing book”), the printing press, recently donated to the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa “represents an early American contribution to world-wide printing technology….

This innovative U.S. export product, introduced in the early 19th century, was destined to capture a huge market in England. That product success occurred at a time of outright war between the two countries and the ornate motifs of U.S. ascendance could hardly have been more distasteful to the English. But the allure of new technology was just irresistible.

The introduction of Apple tablet pad replays many of these themes. At a time of economic adversity an innovative media technology again attempts to succeed wildly.”

Fututerofthebook goes on to contrast the i-pad with “dedicated hand-held readers” (like the Kindle) and notes their popularity among “genre avid readers, children, seniors, and academics.”
Of course, “the most dedicated hand-held reader is the print book.”

Dan O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Melville House.