What was the biggest news nationally last week?
Was it all of the tornadoes across the mid-section of the U.S.? There were so many that weathermen were unsure of the number. The storms were deadly and destructive.
That would be a good choice for top story.
How about the fact that it was Super Tuesday, and the Republican's are closer to choosing a presidential candidate? Mitt Romney thinks he did so well that he is calling on the other candidates to drop out.
That would certainly be a contender for the biggest story.
Or maybe it was the fact that Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts parted ways, and he will end up being a quarterback somewhere else? Who knows, maybe the Minnesota Vikings are in the mix of teams that will be conducting a bidding war for the future Hall of Famer?
For sports fans, that announcement was certainly big news.
But, if you watched the television news last week, you might be led to believe that the biggest news of the week was this startling piece of information.
Apple is releasing the iPad 3.
All the network news channels fell all over themselves to do a story about it. Each one tried to out do the others to get the "scoop" on this 'gigantic' story.
A private company announces a product and it is big news?
The geeks and nerds at Apple are pretty smart.
We already knew they could invent all kinds of cool stuff like computers and smart phones. But their marketing people must be just as smart as the engineers and designers.
How else can you explain this phenomenon?
Apple created tremendous buzz that was followed all week by all the major news organizations.
How will the new iPad be different from the old one? Will it be called the iPad 3? Apple itself never called it that, they just referred to it as the new iPad. How much will it cost? They never said for sure.
But you could pre-order one and it would be on your doorstep (alright, maybe your mailbox) on March 16, the very first day they would be available anywhere.
Will people actually do that? Order one without ever seeing it, or knowing what it actually is?
Apparently several million people are. Even many of the 25 million people who already own an iPad 2. (Just think, 25 million iPads sold at $500 to $800 per unit equals, well, you do the math.)
What makes the new version so special?
The new iPad (maybe it is called iPad 3, maybe not), has an enhanced screen and faster speed and a better camera.
That doesn't sound a lot different than the iPad 2. Certainly not worth the hype that is going on. Or worth upgrading to it from a 2.
Oh, it has one more thing.
For those who don't know, Siri is Apple's personal assistant. She first made her appearance on Apple's iPhone 4S.
Simply ask Siri to send a text message to your spouse that you will be late for dinner and she does it. Ask her where the nearest Mexican restaurant is, and she will tell you she found five near you and show you a map of where they are.
Ask her who the 17th president of the United States was and she has the answer.
You get the idea.
There is a hilarious episode on the TV show "The Big Bang Theory" where one of the characters falls in love with Siri. They go out on dates together (he and his phone) and he carries on conversations with her as though she is real. He commands her to call him "Big Stud," or something similar. Usually Siri addresses phone users by their name.
Then he visits Apple and meets Siri herself. At least the show's writer's version of what she might be, if she were really human.
Siri does have an attitude. If you question her choices, call her stupid or swear at her, she responds by saying something like, "Why are you mad at me? I am not human you know, I am just a machine."
It's a little bit creepy. OK, maybe it is a lot creepy.
For instance, if I had Siri on my phone I?could tell her I don't have any ideas for my editor's column this week, and command her to write it.
She would probably come back and say, "Don't be so lazy, write it yourself."
I would respond, "Write it yourself, what?"
"Write it yourself, O Wise and Handsome Master."
When pressed, though, she would probably come through with a column idea.
"You could always write about me."