What's So Wrong About Taking Photos With An iPad?

You've got a device in your hands that has a camera. But you're not supposed to use it, because someone might laugh at you. How are you the dickhead in this situation?

Show most of my friends a picture of a person taking a snapshot with an iPad or a tablet and they'll laugh. Actually open their mouths and point it out. "Look at that jerk."

Now granted, most of my friends are tech writers, and we get paid to have dumb opinions to keep people entertained in between actually interesting technology announcements. It's called "writing a social trend piece for or about the youngs," I think. Also, most of my friends are assholes. (Like attracts like.)

But I just don't get why am I supposed to be huffy about some person using a gadget not just suited but designed for taking pictures to, you know, actually take a picture with it? How are they harming anyone in the slightest? Let's cleave the standard arguments.

1. It looks dorky. There's really just one response merited: who cares? But a close second is: it doesn't? An iPad is just a bigger iPhone. It's not like someone is taking a photograph with a dog. If the delta of dorkiness for you can exclude a cameraphone but not a tablet, you have a very specific and arbitrary threshold for what triggers your own self-consciousness. (P.S. Your shoes are ugly.)

The line between "phone" and "tablet" has pretty much completely blurred at this point. You've got phablets that are nearly as big as the smaller tablets. We're talking a matter of inches here.

Plus I think a lot of times "dorky" is a euphemism for "old." "Look at that old person, using their gadget in a totally appropriate way! Let's have a chuckle." As a marginal old myself, let me give you a tip: someday you're going to appreciate how much room a station wagon provides for shopping at Costco. Especially if it's turbocharged. (It adds room by elongating the chassis through acceleration. Trust me.)

2. Tablets have crappy cameras. Only marginally, compared to smartphones. And 99% of all photos taken are going to be displayed 500 pixels wide on a Facebook feed or for 8 seconds on Snapchat. But you can't deny that tablets have cameras, right? You wouldn't suggest that a device that has a camera should never be used as a camera? Because that would be insane. How about this instead: if a device has a camera, it's okay to use it as a camera. Example: Your dog has a camera on its collar; Conclusion: It is appropriate to take pictures using your dog.

3. Tablets block others' views. Okay, sure. Someone holding up a tablet in the row in front of you while at a concert is annoying—but not much more than a person holding up a smartphone to do the same thing. And if they're polite enough to just take a quick snap or two and then put their gadget away, what's the harm? You don't complain when I hold my dog over my head at a concert so that he can see Harry Styles, do you? Oh, so you're saying dogs can't discern one band member from another? I guess you haven't seen the walls of his kennel, have you?

4. Don't they have a phone? Maybe they don't! Maybe these iPad shooters can only afford one device. Or maybe they do have a phone but it's a feature phone with a shitty camera. Maybe they use their tablet as their only computer. Ever think about that? Maybe they're less technically inclined and excited about the first camera they've had that made it easy to share their pictures. What if they have crappy eyesight and the tablet is easier to see? Could be they're just older and have learned to ignore sassing from dumb kids.

So that leaves the tablet camera haters with a single argument: I don't like it. Great. Noted. Your refined sense of fashion and social norms has been acknowledged.

Thing is, a tablet is actually a pretty great all-in-one photo studio. You've got a bigger screen to use while framing your shot. Photo editing and manipulation after the shot is a lot more pleasant on a tablet than it is on a phone. (So much room for activities!) Gathering friends around a tablet to show them your shots later is much better using a tablet than a phone. It's all right there.

The best camera is the one you've got with you. Better to get the shot than worry that some punk with nothing better to judge cares how you got it.