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No need for iPad: Obama has human apps

By Shawna Shepherd, CNN White House Producer
President Obama walks with personal aide Reggie Love to a fitness center in Washington in September.
President Obama walks with personal aide Reggie Love to a fitness center in Washington in September.
  • Obama and other world leaders are in Japan for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit
  • A pool reporter hears Obama and the Thai prime minister talk about iPads
  • The Oval Office has a phone, but no computer

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Washington (CNN) -- Apparently President Barack Obama doesn't need an iPad; he's got an aide for that: iReggie.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' retreat in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday, a print pool reporter was within earshot of a brief exchange between the president and an iPad owner, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

"So you like your iPad?" Obama asked.

The Thai leader nodded and asked Obama if he had one.

"These days mostly I have someone carrying my books. So that's my iPad," Obama said, referring to personal aide Reggie Love.

Obama said as much in a New York Times interview last month. "I have an iReggie, who has my books, my newspapers, my music all in one place," he told the newspaper.

Not everyone has an arsenal of human apps like the president's: a personal aide, several advisers, cabinet secretaries, a press shop and military leaders at his beck and call.

Obama may not have a personal iPad, but he's not too disconnected from Apple's latest technological craze. According to the pool reporter, Jonathan Weisman, the president told Abhisit that he recently bought an iPad for first lady Michelle Obama.

At a rally in Seattle last month, the president was approached by someone with an iPad that said, "Mr. President, sign my iPad." Obama penned his signature with the swipe of a finger instead of a pen.

Obama is the first president to carry a smartphone with Internet and e-mail access, but the public rarely sees him using his BlackBerry. He may be considered tech-savvy, but the Oval Office isn't.

The president's Resolute Desk, the large wooden partner's desk built from the timbers of the British exploration ship Resolute, has a telephone but conspicuously no computer. So what does the president do when he needs one? On at least one occasion, the president borrowed his personal secretary's computer.

The White House posted a photo of the president sitting at personal secretary Katie Johnson's desk. He was due to deliver remarks that day and made last-minute edits on her computer.

Maybe there's not an app for everything.