We doubt the "Smart Pad" debuting here can do much of anything along the lines of downloading apps, accessing music or letting users video chat with each other. But who cares? If cartoonist Tom Batiuk wants us all to be using Smart Pads, then so be it!
Appearance of this likely fictional gadget is emblematic of an odd problem in the funnies biz: Cartoonists seem to fear using real products in their strips. Would Apple file a lawsuit if the characters in this Sept. 4 comic used an actual iPad? Is Batiuk's name funnier than that of the actual Apple gizmo, or does it provide some sort of arch commentary on our citizenry's obsession with the sleek device?
Neither, we suspect. And indeed, if the residents of Funky-town are as enamored of the Smart Pad as we readers are of the iPad, then it must do something to help them keep their spirits up in what has arguably become the World's Most Depressing Comic. Does the Smart Pad have a Siri-like function that listens to the characters talk about their hopes and fears? Does it let them express themselves via an app that depicts only a Rorschach test? Can the Smart Pad identify desperate texts, IMs and emails so its users can sort them from the rest of the pack for more organized reading?
Google and Microsoft ought to pay heed: The Smart Pad could be the breakout contraption of 2013.
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