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iPad: Ultimate Controller or Tool of the Devil? Let’s Discuss

          Affirmative: In this debate, I will be taking the side of “Yes, the iPad IS the control system of the future“ and as a secondary point of fact that we should all accept it before it destroys us. Negative: I will be arguing the side of, “The iPad is the spawn of Lucifer himsel

Affirmative: In this debate, I will be taking the side of “Yes, the iPad IS the control system of the future“ and as a secondary point of fact that we should all accept it before it destroys us.

Negative: I will be arguing the side of, “The iPad is the spawn of Lucifer himself.” Viewing with appreciation my opponent’s posit on his secondary point, I’m in full accord that it WILL destroy us; however I shall prove that said destruction only comes IF we accept it.

Aff: (Cough * Douche! * Cough.) To set the framework for our motion, we believe it is necessary to propose the following definitions: “Control System” shall refer to a device that one would use to control their system…

Neg: Point of order, here. Under this overly broad definition, wouldn’t my finger then actually be a control system for say, poking a button?

Aff: I concede that your finger, like you, is a tool of questionable usefulness. Continuing on, the term, “One” shall be considered any person whom could otherwise never in a million years be able to operate said system without use of previously defined Control System. The terms “awesome“ and “super crazy awesome” shall be used to describe the iPad in its role as Control System. May I start by asking my opponent to kindly empty his pockets?

Neg: Point of Information, Sir, I don’t see what that…

Aff: Please. If the chair will oblige me for a moment.

Neg: Fine. (Empties pockets.)

Aff: I’m going to ignore the old-person hard candies and just focus on the electronics. Your phone…an Evo? You bought it cause of that cartoon video didn’t you? (Under breath) PwnedNoobsayswhat.

Neg: What? Uh, no. I just like, uh, HTC’s service.

Aff: Sure. Enjoy your Gee-Bees and Wi-Fis. And, oh, God, and is that a, oh it is, it’s a Zune! Dude! You’re an Apple hater!

Neg: (Cramming items back into pockets.) I…uh…what?! This debate has nothing to do with my feelings for or against Apple. I just happen to like the Evo. And the Zune was a gift from my mom.

Aff: (Cough * Double Douche! * Cough.) OK, first point of fact, the size of the iPad’s screen offers an unprecended amount of real estate as a control system. With it’s 9.7-inch screen…

Neg: Is the speaker not aware that Crestron makes a 15-inch touchscreen? So if “bigger is better“ is your argument, then we might as well pack up and leave now.

Aff: Yes, Crestron DOES make a 15-inch touchscreen. Absolutely. And Savant made a killer 40-inch touchtable. And if you want to drop $8,000-plus for a large, hardwired screen then, yes, buy the Crestron. And if you’ve got $35,000 for a 40-inch Rosie Coffee Table controller, then I would love to come over and play with it. But since you drove here in a beater Mazda, I think we know the answer to both of those rhetorical questions. As I was saying before the pointless interruption, the 9.7-inch screen is unprecedented at the $500 price point. The closest thing the control industry has to this in a wireless controller would be both smaller and significantly more expensive.

Neg: (Whispers) Dude, not cool to bash my car. Let’s keep this professional. Isn’t it true that the iPad won’t run Flash AND doesn’t include a camera?

Aff: What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Neg: I’m just saying, that, you know, it isn’t perfect.

Aff: OK. Yes, I concede that it doesn’t run Flash and doesn’t have a camera. I also concede that a Ferrari won’t tow a boat and that an H&K MP5 is effective yet terrible for turning off your lights. Neither of those items in any way affects the iPad’s performance as a control system.

Neg: The iPad. It is very slick and glossy looking. Where are the, uh, buttons?

Aff: There are no buttons. Well, there’s a kind of power-ish button. It is all touchscreen.

Neg: So, as you say, essentially no buttons. Don’t you find that most people are more comfortable with their control system having actual buttons… for that tactile feedback?

Aff: Did we just time travel back to the ’80s? Is that Magnum PI ‘stash your dad is rockin‘ cool again? And you still making fire with a flint and banging out memos on your IBM Selectric, Og? Sure, there is a segment – I’ll say an older segment – of the control market that is initially more comfortable with hard buttons. But that is only until they see the power and potential of the iPad.

Neg: So how do you propose to use this buttonless tablet in the dark? It has no backlight, correct?

Aff: You’re thinking of a Kindle or a Nook, aren’t you. God, you totally are! You’ve never even used an iPad have you?

Neg: Well, um, no. The store was sold out when I went to buy, I mean, look at one.

Aff: (Handing over an iPad.) Here you go. Take mine for a spin.

Neg: How long do I have…

Aff: To wait for it to power on? Yeah. It’s pretty much instant.

Neg: Probably dies after like two hours.

Aff: Yeah. Try like nine hours.

Neg: We’ll see. Hey! Why is there a picture of my mom on here?

Aff: Dude, your mom is an attractive older model. Be proud. That’s called customizing my wallpaper.

Neg: Not cool. What are all these things?

Aff: Those are called apps.

Neg: What do they do?

Aff: Everything. Here, click this one that says Control 4 My Home.

Neg: Wait. What’s this Safari thing?

Aff: That’s a Web browser.

Neg: Wait? I thought this was a controller. It surfs the Web too?

Aff: Uh, yeah. It’s basically a portable computer. Press this Red 4.

Neg: (Taps lights. Lights come on. Taps Security. Doors lock and unlock. Taps Watch. TV comes on movie starts playing.) OK. I guess it is kind of cool. So I guess it only works with Control4, right?

Aff: Yeah, Control4. And Crestron. And Savant. And Lutron. And HAI. And ELAN. And…

Neg: But how much money can you make selling this.

Aff: Selling the iPad? None. In fact, I can’t even sell it at all.

Neg: Ah-ha! And exactly how much do you make selling these so-called apps?

Aff: Generally none. Most of them are free. And if there is a charge it usually goes to the developer.

Neg: And the programming time involved…

Aff: Again, basically none. The apps generally install and run without any additional programming required.

Neg: Yes! I knew it! So, it may very well BE generally accepted that this a wonderful controller and all, but to make a point, how can you possibly stay in business if you, as you’ve gone on record admitting, can’t charge for it, sell the apps OR get any money for programming! You might as well install a “Go out of business“ app! Ha!

Aff: You’d better take your pills before you get too worked up. OK, here’s how it works: The iPad helps me sell all the peripherals it controls. Those lights you turned on? Sold them for $129 each. That security system you armed and disarmed? Sold that and installed it. All the electronics that it controls? Sold them and integrated them. And the brain to interface it all? Sold and installed that. And when they want to add something new, who do they call? That’s right. Me. Plus, the happy customer then tells all of his friends what he is now able to do with his new iPad because of the integration I provided. THAT is what keeps me in business.

Neg: Umm, one must take into account that, uh, I hear what the opposition is saying, but, uh they’ve made some good points, however, this is, uh, a complex issue with many sides that seem plausible at first glance, but uh…

Aff: Dude! You’re totally stalling. And don’t think that I didn’t see you slip my iPad into your briefcase.

Neg: I yield the floor.