tablets

No iPad? Pope lights 'tree' with Sony tablet

Dec. 7, 2011 at 11:44 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI touched a Sony tablet Wednesday, lighting "the biggest Christmas tree in the world." 

Wait, the Pope didn't go with the iPad?

The "tree" is actually a 2,132-foot-high lighting display on a Mount Ingino above the Italian town of Gubbio, and as you can see in the above video — by msnbc.com's Dara Brown — the Pope did the "lighting" by pressing a virtual button on the tablet from his home, 130 miles away.

A press release published by the Vatican Information Service on Tuesday explained the process:

(Pope Benedict) will touch the screen of a Sony "Tablet" with an "Android" operating system which, via the Internet, will transmit the command to switch on the electric current to the tree.

Our question about the iPad isn't just iOS snobbery — Sony's tablet is elegant looking, and perfectly suited to the task. But it was previously reported that the pontiff would use Apple's tablet. In fact, the Rome Reports video below, which shared news of the lighting, shows him playing with one:

We've reached out to the Vatican, as well as Apple and Sony, to find out the reason for the switch, or if the earlier reports were inaccurate. Regardless of what tablet he used, the intention of the display — to project a "sign of universal peace and brotherhood among peoples" all across the world — remains the same.

(Hat tip to CatholicCulture.org, which reported on both the Sony tablet news and, earlier, the iPad tree-lighting plan.)

More on the iPad's cultural impact from TODAY.com:

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