Apple’s iPad: The Mothership Prepares for Launch

On the Mother Ship. a self-confessed Apple fanboy gets finger time with the ipad – and face time with Steve Jobs

Article “Apple’s iPad: The Mothership Prepares for Launch” published on Thursday 1st April 2010 in TIME Magazine” – Time Magazine headline.

It is a gorgeous spring day when I arrive at the coolest address in the universe: 1 infinite Loop, Cupertino, Calif., where apple has been headquartered since 1993. The campus, for such they call it, is enormous yet not big enough to contain apple’s current rate of expansion. An additional site is being designed and built. after stocking up on “I visited the mother- ship” t-shirts at the company store (we fanboys are pathetic, I readily confess), i am shown around the canteen, lawns and public spaces. It is right to call this a campus, for everyone looks and dresses like a student. I should imagine the only people ever caught wearing suits here have been visiting politicians.

I am here at apple’s invitation to try out the iPad, and later in my visit I will spend an hour with the company’s boss, Steve Jobs—the first time I’ve ever spent any real time with him.

Read this article at TIME.com

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43 comments on “Apple’s iPad: The Mothership Prepares for Launch”

  1. Johnny_on says:

    I’m getting one aslong as i can have ‘don’t panic’ as my background

  2. daycoder says:

    Just noticed that this site isn’t rendering properly in either Chrome or NetNewsWire. Odd, as they’re both Webkit. Safari is fine, as is Firefox.

    Thought you may like to know.

  3. Chessur Marlowe says:

    Oh, that’s a brilliant idea! iHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy… bit of a long title though. ;D

  4. nonoyesyes says:

    I have just had a great romp through the portals of the grand entrance into the life and soul of the article written for `Time’ magazine – an interesting insight of things to come with the introduction of the ipad!
    The excitement leapt off the page, via each and every word!
    Not that I wasn’t excited myself, however, as I am personally extremely interested in the ipad and with it’s introduction onto the world’s stage.
    For me, it means so much more. I cannot write about it’s full significance for me personally yet as I am woefully uneducated in the direction of the total and exact usages of the ipad however, I will be in the first queue to make it mine if I’ve got anything to do with it!
    Congratulations on a grand article: all expressions of enthusiasm very well received!

  5. nonoyesyes says:

    A funny coincidence: just now on Australian television they are about to do a spot on the arrival of the ipad!
    A ‘must see’!

  6. ptogel says:

    “There’s a negative way of saying that,” says Schiller, “and a positive. ‘Oh, it’s just a big iPhone … boo!’ or ‘Hey, it’s like a big iPhone … cool!’

    Well Mr. Schiller – it is just a big iPod Touch. There is no camera in the iPad …. ;-)

  7. wilvo says:

    Flying to New York to get one tomorrow. Me a fanboy? :-)

  8. nemelle says:

    Apple may have got a new… not a fan yet, but definitely an admirer: me. All thanks to you.:) Knowledge and pure passion make a combination that works miracles on people – but whom do I talk about it…
    Thank you for another brilliant article, Stephen! And it’s so good to have you back on Twitter. So very very good.:)))

  9. hikariuk says:

    I do believe I shall get one as soon as my bank balance won’t cry at me for doing so.

    Then, I suspect, I will mostly use it for reading comics on the train; Comixology have made a for the iPad. The screen is actually very close to the 6 ⅝” × 10 ¼” dimensions of a standard comic book.

  10. Spider Griffin says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable article, Mr Fry. I really am itching to the seams to get hold of the Apple Antelope, I mean iPad. A small tear at the end when reading about Douglas Adams not being here to see it.

  11. Phoenix says:

    I’m pretty sure Apple have the second coolest address in the universe.
    My #1 goes to CellarDoor at: Zero Aldwych, London, UK

    I teared up a little at the Douglas Adams comment too.

  12. AntiThetical says:

    Stephen, I’m not sure if anyone has told you this but you’re a bit of a geek.

    Not that I wouldn’t behave in exactly the same way mind you.

  13. muchmor says:

    Another thoroughly entertaining article and we’re looking forward to playing with the iPad once we poor people in Canada are granted access.

  14. Fryphile says:

    “Throughout the next decade I would regularly go round to Douglas’ London house, floppy discs under my arm, and ring the doorbell.

    “Is he in?” I would pant excitedly. Douglas’ wife Jane would point with resigned amusement to the stairs, and I would hurl myself up them to swap files and play.”

    The muchness is TOO MUCH. You are unageable and adorable.

  15. jillydoc says:

    I love it! Thanks Stephen, wonderfully written. I’ve missed you my dear and cannot wait. iWant my iPad! xoxoxo

  16. AnCBeck23 says:

    Oh, you adorable Apple geek, you! But in all seriousness, Mr. Fry, great article. I started using a MacBook a few years ago before I started college, and I cannot even begin to explain what a relief it was after so many years of using a PC and dealing with its “blue screens of death” and convoluted ways of doing things. I find Macs to be far more reliable, easy, and self-explanatory. And all of this makes it a lot more enjoyable to use. Even though I won’t be getting an iPad, at least not any time soon, I’m sure it’s awesome and I can definitely understand your excitement, because Apple made me feel that way about one of their more basic products when I first got it. Once you go Mac, you never go back!
    Okay, I’m done talking too much as usual. Have fun with the iPad, and thanks for sharing your brilliant thoughts with us as always! :)

  17. Mr Centrillion says:

    Read the article and took note of the reference to the words of CH; when I get to own my iPad, you will have to try hard to pry it out of my ‘rigid digital digits’.

  18. HudD says:

    hey, Stephen – why not use your new toy to listen to me – http://www.myspace.com/hudd2 – put on ‘the cans’ and melt to the mellifluous tones of a crooning celt.

  19. exoskeleton says:

    I’m sure it’s mostly to do with iPad hype but it makes me really happy to see that this article is the top emailed and most popular on the TIME website! It’s cool to read that classic Fry style in one of my favorite magazines. I can’t wait to touch an iPad someday. For now I’ll get along with my close personal friend iPod Touch.

  20. GadgetGav says:

    It’s great to read that article – headlining in Time is pretty neat. It’s fun to live vicariously though you too, but it’s a crying shame how Time Inc butchered the article with ad links. Couldn’t they at least have made them relevant to the key article on the iPad the day the embargo lifted? “See the best netbooks and netbook accessories”, “See 25 websites you can’t life without” and right after the paragraph about Douglas Adams, “See the 50 best websites of 2009″. Awful. Who cares about 2009’s websites in April of 2010 when their reading an article about the future of mobile computing. I for one won’t be putting a Time Inc app on my iPad..!

    And they wonder why traditional print media is dying – they just don’t get the web…

  21. theruddyswin says:

    Very good article. Off to read about your unpacking. I’m completely jealous and can’t wait to get one.

  22. MacLadybug says:

    I used to feel that the phrase “it will change your life” was so dramatic and over-used… that was until I purchased an iMac almost 3 years ago. Nothing is the same anymore… our work, our hobbies, our family time… it’s all enhanced/enriched by the infusion of Apple technology in our home. I’d rather wait in line for a new shiny Apple buttonless device than shop for shoes! I told myself I didn’t need an iPad, but I guess I’m a true MacAdict and the more I read about it (Like your article in Time) the more I think I have to have one. I mainly want it for book reading.

    Tell me what you think about the iPad as an eReader. Do you find your eyes getting tired from the backlighting? Do you miss it’s not being able to multi-task? Did you get one with 3G? Who am I kidding. I want it and I want one now!

  23. masternav says:

    Stephen old man, you are one of the archetypes I use to demonstrate why I’m a bloody Anglophile. Delightful Time article, delivered just so. The dog’s bollocks sir. I hope to wander over and do a little unobtrusive pilgrimage to Adam’s old place, with Don’t Panic stenciled neatly on the back of my iPad, and hold it up briefly (don’t want to alarm the neighbors) in case his bonny shade is knocking about the place. One of my now-converted technical friends messaged me the other day with his personal revelation that this is the very device that Jean-Luc Picard had laying about his ready room on Star Trek:Next Generation, only perhaps better. It made me smile. If you ever manage to make over here again on a lark, my house is open to you without reservation.

  24. Gertrude Susanne says:

    You have even been mentioned in an iPad-related article published in an Austrian newspaper today!! Holy a…, that´s almost as exciting as the gadget itself ! Sadly, for Austrian Apple Aficionados, I´ve read that the launch of the new iPad has been delayed indefinitely (I assume we have to wait until the really big markets have been supplied :o) ) But: don´t panic! it´ll come ! Thanks for the excellent review and: No, fanboys are NOT pathetic, just adorable… GSx

  25. percipio says:

    Sorry, I forgot to mention. The revolution I am talking is the one described in comments in your E-pad article.
    The “mobile wearable human factor computing system” also called “behavioral interface” : Percipio

  26. GarethFoster says:

    I can only say one work………LUCKY

  27. Ghiest says:


    As a developer this is pretty much why I wont be buying a ipad (or in turn a iphone), after being a life long fan of Apple, I find my self turning my back on them for more developer friendly platforms.

  28. klanghus says:

    Great article! what caught my attention is the “realtionship” factor that you clearly explain. It is true , I have said time and time again, I love my Ipod… but I never catch myself saying I love my computer (Windows XP), in fact, I feel that my computer is dispensable. I am not sure if its because I know how to fix it.. or it just that I have no emotional ties with it?

    In any case, I think I might get an Ipad when it supports flash.. I can see the digital divide slowly getting smaller.


  29. Bobb23 says:

    Dear Stephen, I do marville at your work and your website, and I canoot see what is the fuss about Ipod, its nothing more than an Iphone, only bigger screen. Or maybe I’m still a novice to “i” gadgets?
    Yours sincerely, Bobby Chai

  30. venuskitten says:

    Hello Stephen – You are so lucky to have an iPad – and your iPad is lucky to have such a good home.

    I had two immediate thoughts about your recent articles and tweets – firstly, they made me want an iPad. I don’t need one, and I know that it’s not yet a perfect device (no multitasking, no Flash) but the enthusiasm and excitement around it is infectious, and I think it has great potential to change the way that most people interact with the internet. I expect I’ll be first in the queue when the iPad lands in the UK.

    Secondly, you are the only person who has commented that the iPad is bundled with Winnie the Pooh (one of my favourite children’s books)- what a stroke of genius to put them together!

    Now that you have been using the iPad for a few days and taking it everywhere with you, may I ask if you are still as impressed as when it first arrived, and what you find it most useful for?

  31. venuskitten says:

    Just another thought – I agree with all the comments about the relationship that some people have with gadgets. I never leave the house without my iPod, BlackBerry and TomTom, and if I went to live on a desert island, I would have to take an extra travel bag to put them in. I can imagine that the iPad would become similarly indispensable – it’s the instant appeal factor.

  32. manicman89 says:

    What an infectious read. Not only do you portray Jobs as the man he is but you make me want to get an iPad even more. This device will change the way we go about our digital live. Why might you say well this is only the beginning for apple new invention.

    It will be another 18 months (Ipredict before the iPad has a huge overhaul and has huge flash memory camera interface and more reasonable data plans plus faster connectivity.

    Thank you Stephen for a wonderful article on Jobs in Time magazine and hope you are enjoying the ipad.

    Oh and flash will be gone soon as everyone will move toward HTML5……..and they say apple does not have an influence over the market.

  33. ericxpenner says:

    Stephen – as I was working today in southern California, I was listening to a technology show on our local public radio affiliate. After getting back into the work vehicle, I heard a familiar voice discussing the iPad on the radio – that voice that I’ve come to warmly associate with Oscar Wilde and QI. Your dedication to the iPad and descriptions of all of its glorious specifications have made me want one even more. Though my iPhone will have to do for now, as money is an issue.

    Please, Stephen, grace our local public radio station with your presence and sense of humour more often.

  34. gertjaas says:

    stephen fry is god

  35. DeepFRYer says:

    Alas, over here in Australia we still don’t have a confirmed date for the ipad, so i have to get my joy of ownership vicariously through people like you Stephen.

  36. Kelldragon says:

    A great read!, I’m glad I took the time to read it through, it took me back to a memory of fondness that I have for computers & technology. My thoughts are now planning on selling my least used possessions to buy one! :)

  37. crookgeo says:

    This recent Time article brings one back to the heady days of reading the glorious little glimpses into underwater diving machines, the functions of MSWord for Mactinosh or the woes of SCSI chaining. Being able to pick up random media articles on seemingly random subjects and reading them over and over because they started with three wonderful words: “By…Douglas…Adams”.

    Wonderful story. Much like the ipad’s reported personal experience this article feels less like an article, but more as a transcript of a conversation we had about it when we stopped by 1 Infinite Loop together. Brilliant, staggeringly funny and well done. Looking forward to searhcing for three new words:”By…Stephen…Fry”.


  38. raghumk says:

    Stephen’s bio in the Time article says he has written “two volumes of autobiography.” I have only read his brilliant “Moab Is My Washpot.” Can someone point to this other book? He did mention on twitter that he was writing another one. It isn’t already, is it?

  39. Haralabis says:

    The article in Time made me google “Stephen Fry”. I was surprised to see your photo, since I thought you are only an actor… (shame on me….)

    You have a new follower….

    Greetings from Greece,


  40. flupmakintosh says:

    does steve jobs realy have a touch screen face?!?!. I don’t know, the advances in technology these days, eh!

  41. markrosengarten says:

    I was skeptical of the iPad when it was first announced…I was hoping for an OS X package and that isn’t what we got. Reluctantly I went to the Apple Store two weeks ago and got my hands on one. Two minutes later, my friend said “You should see the look on your face”. In a trembling voice, I said “It’s not fair. Apple played dirty!!!” I had been playing with a synth app and fell in love. I thought this might be a revolutionary device for music production, and with the release of the Korg iElectribe, that potential is well on its way to being realized. They are sold out pretty much everywhere, so I ordered mine from MacMall last night.

    My impressions? It would be pointless…the iPad is like the Matrix. No one can be told what the iPad is, one must see and experience the iPad for themselves. What it is entirely depends on the user, because it is a blank slate that can be anything you want it to be, provided there is an app for it. It is truly an amazing little gadget…even this gadget freak is impressed.

  42. Janers says:

    Oh Stephen…what a wonderful artical! It sums up perfectly what Apple products mean to me – a relationship. It’s never been utilitarian and every product makes me smile. A wide, happy, insane smile.

    I too visited 1 Infinite Loop once – coolest address indeed – and bought t-shirts. That’s where the similarity ends ‘cos I didn’t meet anyone famous :) Glad I was able to live vicariously through your visit.

    Jobs is definitely on the right track to putting microcomputers in everyone’s hand. The iPad will revolutionise the way people work and live. I’m happy you’re enjoying yours. No idea when it’ll come to Singapore. And my heart sank a bit re: Douglas Adams. He would’ve loved it, I’m sure.

  43. elise says:

    Only recently did I turn from pc to apple and realise how low my expectations for a computer had become! I expected them to crash, to be slow, to be clunky and to dive deeply to the depths of unworkableness. And now – a happy convert. I don’t even mind the MacTax because it supports excellence and the joy of lovely design. There is a place for that. What a pleasure to find something that does what it was designed to do, and does it elegantly. And so I am buying an iPad – and will actually be able to use it for work (as an illustrator, frequently out and about and needing my reference material). And unlike so many people – I will not be unhappy when it doesn’t function as a computer – because it is not a computer. Why is everyone so confused about that? I’m excited about converting my picture books to this format too.

    First post for me upon joining. I will be a brevitite hereafter.

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