In his commencement address at Hampton University, a historically black college founded in 1861 to teach escaped slaves, President Obama had some harsh words about the iPad, as well as iPods and video game consoles:
"You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter," he told the students. "And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."
I would respectfully suggest that if Obama doesn’t even know how to work them, he might not be in the best position to judge how “distracting” they would necessarily be. Some colleges are issuing iPads to their students to use in lieu of paper textbooks. Would they do that if they felt they would be detrimental to the students’ education?
On the other hand, given how attached he was to his Blackberry, maybe he’s speaking from personal experience in that regard.
If I were Apple, I’d very publicly send Obama an iPad “so he could learn how to work it.”