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Why some people are so angry about the iPad

Engadget has temporarily closed down its comments over angry iPad postings. Why has the iPad launch stirred such extreme emotions? One angry person offers her view.

Some people get angry about anything to do with Apple. It's not for me to suggest they should get a life, because I am sure they feel they already have one, thank you very much.

However, the launch of the iPad seems to have revealed a rather more base and extreme level of emotional outpouring, last seen, perhaps, when Sports Illustrated created its first swimsuit edition.

Engadget, for example, decided to shut down its comments for a while in order to let the bile float off down the Nile.

For those outside the Fanboy Funhouse, it all seems rather odd. Which is why I was moved to pay attention to an e-mail I received from Sandee Cohen, self-confessed angry person. Cohen is no ordinary angry person. For a start, she is running a two-day seminar at next week's MacWorld Expo. How many angry people could do that?

Cohen is a mistress of the Adobe Creative Suite, but, as an intelligent angry person she has some theories as to why she and others are experiencing their negative emotions.

"Mac users feel they have some sort of investment in Apple. The older ones kept with the Mac platform when it was in danger of dying out. They may feel that since they supported the Mac, they have a right to tell Apple how to make products, operating system, etc.," she told me.

Are some people firing paintballs at him? CC Matt Buchanan/Flickr

And you more junior, unwashed enthusiasts, well, you have some issues too, apparently.

"Younger ones may feel that since they spent that extra amount to buy a Mac instead of a Windows machine that Apple should listen to their needs," believes Cohen.

Interestingly, she also brings up the idea of the Stockholm Syndrome, first posited by Danish thinkers, Strand Consult, as they described iPhone users as "delusional." The Mac platform, according to angry (but, I'm sure, very nice) Cohen, "is seen as constantly under fire. This creates a bonding of Mac users together with the company. Again, the users feel that Apple should be listening to them."

Finally, she offers that "since so many Mac users are in the creative area, they may feel that they have the experience and talent to be directing Apple's future development. So when Apple doesn't follow their wishes, they get angry."

For all I know, some of the above may, indeed, be entirely true. But from my own distant perch up here in the mental woods, there might be a simpler explanation: the iPad is for real, ordinary people. Real, ordinary people who just want things to work simply. In fact, even more simply than they already do.

They want those things to have as few buttons as possible. They want those things to look welcoming, rather than intimidating. If those things happen to work beautifully, too, as many Apple products do, this is a pleasure beyond their most ravished imaginings.

The iPad makes things that are important to real people--not necessarily to those people with a slight excess of technological enthusiasm-- more accessible in a way that suits a normal human life.

It isn't perfect. Neither are real people. But at least they might not have to ask their nephews, daughters, or hairy strangers at the shopping mall how it works and what it does. You see, that's what makes real people really, really angry.