October 22nd, 2010
06:20 PM ET

Could this be President Obama's first iPad signature?

President Obama signed Sylvester Cann's iPad at a rally Thursday.

Sylvester Cann didn't think it would work. But he figured it was worth a try.

And, lo and behold, where others seeking President Obama's signature with a pen and paper had failed, Cann obtained the commander in chief's autograph on his iPad, in what's believed to be the first instance of the president signing an iPad for an autograph-seeker.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The legislative aide was at a rally Thursday at the University of Washington in Seattle when the idea came to him. He was on the rope line, right near where the president would pass by, and he didn't have a pen and paper.

But he did have his iPad.

"I thought, I won't be able to give him a pen, so I might as well pull up a drawing app on the iPad and see if I can make it happen," said Cann, a University of Washington alumnus.

Using the Adobe Ideas app, he wrote his request on the iPad screen - "Mr. President, sign my iPad" - and held it up as Sen. Patty Murray made her way down the line, followed by President Obama.

At first, a Secret Service agent nodded disapprovingly at the iPad, Cann said. But, when Cann shook Obama's hand and gestured toward the iPad, the president appeared to be intrigued.

"I said, 'you can sign it with your finger,' and I showed him how to do it in the corner," he said.

A YouTube video shows the president signing the screen and smiling at Cann before walking off.

"I definitely got the sense that he was surprised. It didn’t seem like he had done it before," Cann said. "But I also got the sense he thought it was a cool idea, because he looked back up at me quickly, like he thought it was fun."

People around him with pens and paper were not allowed to obtain a signature, Cann said, so they took pictures of his iPad.

At first, Cann thought little of the digital autograph, until friends pointed out that it could be the first-ever "Obama iPad signature."

Since then, Cann's phone has been ringing, and he has set up a website and posted the YouTube video documenting the encounter.

"I think it’s fun," he said. "I'm a big fan of technology, so when people are able to do things like this, it's using technology to its fullest advantage. It's cool."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Technology
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Bex

    Love it!

    October 23, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ed

    He'll sign an iPod but would not send my son a congratulations letter when he made Eagle Scout. I guess he didn't think it was hip enough.

    October 23, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ROCKWOOD

    iPads are a communist conspiracy against humanity......

    October 23, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Earthling

      What the heck are you talking about, idiot !

      October 23, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. adam

    Interesting... access to a presidential fingerprint....

    October 23, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ted

    OBAMA AND DEMS ARE DESTROYING AMERICA....KICK THEM OUT.....Obama and Reid started the 'Falling Dominoes" When they Told Companies MANY TIMES ON TV and Tourists to STAY AWAY FROM LAS VEGAS...Shortly after Obama's Election. Nevada has been in FREE FALL EVER SINCE....REID HAS WRECKED NEVADA WITH NO JOBS..FORECLOSURES..AND NV. HASN'T BEGAN RECOVERY SINCE. ...REID AND OBAMA HAVE ADDED TO NEVADA'S DISASTER WITH STIMULUS...TAXES...WRECKING HEALTH CARE...ON AND ON IT GOES. NOW REID MUST GO!

    October 23, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Zandan Khan

    Thanks GOD! I'm not a US citizen... Look at the hate US citizen have for there President. ref to "Jim Brieske"
    He is crunching under a ton of hate for his own Country leadership. While your country fellow citizen fight and die for cause not know clearly to half the world. Yet people like Jim Brieske are still running in circle trying to justify World order. First it was Iraq then comes Iran then comes Pakistan then comes any tiny Island nation may be Cuba. But never blame Israel .... Only Country in the world that has grown by occupation since 1948. DO I need to pull out a 1948 map of Israel to prove I am wrong.

    People like Jim Brieske need to know mutual respect work both ways. As humans .. we are all equal.

    October 23, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Lisa Obama

    WHO CARES!!!!?????

    October 23, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. BlahBlahBlah

    Pen and paper are ok if you're paying 15k a plate at a fund raising dinner – not some college campus rally. You wouldn't want some student selling that autograph on eBay to pay for books – but seriously the Secret Service did tell the guy no – but why are they telling everyone no (pen or ipad)?

    October 23, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. hawaiian

    reply to me clinton went out with money in the plus. Bush came in and ran this country to the ground. Who ruined what?

    October 23, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. T-2000

    Barack Obama is THE GREATEST PRESIDENT OF ALL TIME!!!

    October 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. T-2000

    Vote for me in 2012! I promise you FREE Healthcare and Fruity Pebbles for everyone!

    October 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jeff in Virginia

    So this is a news story, but Palin desecrating an American flag isn't? Typical.

    October 23, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Why Listen to Jim Brieske

    Have a good nap, Jim. Please call a doctor in the morning.

    October 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. T-2000

    SPOILER ALERT!! Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father!!! Can you believe it?!!

    October 24, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Nathan Sokalski

    This is not a signature, it is just letters drawn by the president. If you compare what your signature looks like (whether written on paper or using a stylus on some electronic device) it will look very different from "signing" something with your finger. Because the position of your hand is very different, so is the result. Why do you think all those credit card machines at stores that you sign digitally have sticks attached to them? And the reason the president wouldn't sign all the people with pen and paper is because that could be used in places where a signature is needed, this is nothing but a memorial from the event for Cann to take with him.

    October 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nyonben

      Please tell me how a signature isn't drawn letters.

      October 24, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nathan Sokalski

      When writing your signature using a pen and paper, you are using mostly (maybe not entirely, but mostly) the muscles in your fingers. When drawing on a touch-screen device such as an iPad using your finger (not a stylus), you are primarily using the muscles in your arm. The precision and consistency of using your fingers is much greater than using your arm. This is why we hold pens the way we do, rather than using a fist, which would require us to use our arm muscles. Yes, a signature is drawn letters, but it is the technique used to draw them that is of significance here.

      October 25, 2010 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
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