Obama's got an iPad, and he tethers too

The tech-savvy president admits to being an iPad owner during an interview, despite condemning the device as a distraction less than a year ago.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
President Obama on a computer in Northern Michigan University last month.
President Obama on a computer in Northern Michigan University last month. Pete Souza/The White House

Despite calling Apple's iPad, among other modern-day entertainment gadgets, a conduit for distraction less than a year ago, U.S. President Barack Obama has been outed as an iPad owner himself.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Obama detailed that fact during a town hall meeting with Spanish-language network Univision, which took place earlier today.

During an interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, Obama said he does in fact have an iPad, and even tethers it to his high-security BlackBerry cell phone. Obama also noted that he owns his own computer, joking to Ramos and the audience about the idea of him having to borrow one from someone else:

Ramos: Not long ago I was having a conversation with my son. He's only 12 years old, and he couldn't believe that I grew up in a world where there were no cell phones, no Internet, no computers. (Laughter.) So do you have your BlackBerry with you, or do you have an iPhone? What do you have?
Obama: You know, I took my BlackBerry off for this show, because I didn't want it going off, and that would be really embarrassing. But usually I carry a BlackBerry around.
Ramos: Do you have an iPad?
Obama: I do have an iPad.
Ramos: Your own [a] computer?
Obama: I've got my own computer.
Ramos: Very well. (Laughter.)
Obama: I mean, Jorge, I'm the President of the United States. You think I've got a -- (laughter and applause) -- you think I've got to go borrow somebody's computer? (Laughter.) Hey, man, can I borrow your computer? (Laughter.) How about you? You've got one?

In a commencement speech to students of Hampton University last May, Obama admitted to not knowing how to work Apple's iPod or iPad, or Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation game consoles. Obama had also referred to the devices as turning information into a "distraction, a diversion," and "a form of entertainment" that kept people from empowering themselves.

The flip-flop on that particular topic is certainly a testament to the iPad being more than an entertainment device, even if that's what Obama is using his for. Perhaps we'll soon have a list of Obama's favorite apps if he's as happy to share them as he was with his NCAA basketball tournament picks.