So how about it, Apple? You've enslaved every person from the trendiest trendy to the geekiest geek. You have led away our children like the Pied Piper you are. Nu? How about an iPad for pets?
But St Steve of Jobs didn't get to where he is today by failing to see a market that most people assumed didn't exist until he tapped it. Here, for example, is a clip of a dog interacting meaningfully with its owner through the magic of the iPad (with thanks to Mr S. K. of London for sending me this link). But why should dogs have all the fun? Teh Kittehs can join in too. It won't belong before there are apps for bunnies, guinea pigs, chickens, and, who knows, maybe even axolotls.
But seriously, if cats and dogs can see moving images on an iPad, and the device is so user-friendly that even babies can use them (iPads are already being used in hospitals to educate and calm patients, especially children, about procedures they might have to endure) it won't be long before they come into the lab as an essential piece of kit for testing cognitive performance in everything from monkeys to crows. The iPad has already been used to interact with dolphins (my thanks to Dr. E. A. of Cambridge for that information). In the not too distant future, iPads will be able to calm animals in veterinary surgeries; play soothing music and images to cows and sheep; come up with psychedelic patterns for loved-up octopodi and mantis shrimps; and even show pictures of lady guppies to entertain gentleman guppies (Ideas To Make My Fortune #151 - pornographic apps for fish). There'll be iPad apps to stimulate reluctant pandas into frenzied reproduction, and iPad apps that broadcast the songs of whales and the calls of seabirds, leading them away from potential stranding or oil spills. The iPad will save threatened species from extinction.
You see? The iPet is already here. All it needs now is to be made waterproof, and shock resistant, to protect it from the multiple threats offered by the animal world, from the high-impact punches of mantis shrimps and the pecks of bird beaks, to the scratches of teh kittehs and the gutinous ichor that is doggie dribble.