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. Mike

    Who cares and why is this news? It's nice that we have a "hip" president who gets technology but this def doesn't need to be on the front page.

    October 22, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      I find it interesting how the president won't sign with pen and paper these days. I guess the pens are all guns and the paper high explosive or something in the SS eyes...
      Next up, six inch lexan wall between the president's "adoring public" and himself, maybe shake hands through a kevlar glovebox...

      October 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Agreed, cool and all, but hardly news.

      October 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • pringles

      Mr CNN,
      stfu about ipads =)

      October 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • SteveStrifeX

      @Wzrd1, it's more likely the president doesn't autograph anything because those autographs could be sold on ebay for a hefty profit, and the office of the presidency is not supposed to be used for any profiteering (there was an issue about a forward in a book awhile back, they took the presidential forward out for this reason).

      October 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmusedAtTimes

      Honestly? It is a human interest story. Are you not human? You must be at least somewhat human because you read it.

      All I can think of is that if he spurned the kid, y'all would be making nasty remarks about how mean he was to a little boy.

      October 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ME

      Right they care about this BS what about the hundreds of years it took to build up this country..the one he is ruining

      October 23, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • ElTonto

      @ME, you mean the country George Bush let waste for eight years right?

      October 23, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I think it is cool because it is just something positive for a change. There is a lot of negativity on the CNN front page and to read a story like this is kind of cool! Of course the haters are going to howl that it is not news, but that is not unusual!

      October 23, 2010 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • GEdwards

      @ElTonto, no, The the country that thrived under George Bush and the Repub Congress for six years, but the Dem Congress let waste for four years, with Barack Obama helping for the past two.

      October 23, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      @Me and ElTonto:

      See El, Me is just a little confused. Basically hes just woken up out of an 8 year slumber while bush and congress (yeah including some democrats, lets be honest, but mostly republicans) ruined the country in favor of corporations. Now hes kinda awake, looking around at what a mess we are in, and looking for a scapegoat. Bush is in hiding (hes not as stupid as we think) , so the most convenient target is the current president.

      Hopefully he will really wake up and see that our President is doing his best, with a huge, wide range of problems left by his predecessor. He wont get everything right, but I kinda feel that right now he at least has a good heart and means well.

      Those who are most vocal against his actions, such as with health care, are doing what the uninformed and ilinformed usually do; act against thier own best interests. They will suffer for it later, but in the meantime they will drag us all down.

      October 23, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. getoverit

    Soooo ?????

    October 22, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Well, of course it made the news, CNN has their nose pressed up against the nether regions of APPLE. Anything that they can do to help APPLE, they jump at.

      October 23, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. kabong30

    Wow, you can sign all the legislation you want with that.

    October 22, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lenic

      we've got an app for that 😀

      October 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • LAD

      @Lenic, LMAO!!! Be careful, Apple copyrighted the phrase. The apple agents may come after you. lol

      October 25, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Buy it!

    One more reason to buy the iPad? So you can get people to sign it? "There's an app® for that!"

    October 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Klw

    Let's not turn this into an advertisement for Apple now . . .

    October 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Hughes

      Oh don't worry, you'll have a precious Android Tablet soon that you can brag to your nerdy friends about. Of course, it it will have a clunky OS, cost most than an iPad and have a smaller screen, but I'm sure you Apple haters will defend it anyway.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Larry Simon

    This iPad is probably worth more right now than it was brand new.

    October 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    *facepalm*. I'm off to some other news site.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Buy it!

    I don't think he actually signed his name though. It clearly says, "Boyeee!" So he was giving a written 'shout out', really.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jedite83

    Cool? Yes.
    News? No.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Yeah, that guy

    Why is this news again?

    October 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. LiberalNN

    I hope if anyone makes any bucks off this they donate it to charity.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lbl

    And another Apple commercial from CNN masquerading as news.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Hughes

      Ahhhhhh.... Is someone bitter that there isn't an Android tablet out yet?

      October 23, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Troy

    This is dope. Its not life changing news but it is certainly a new meme. Good stuff to Sly Cann for the new use of the iPad.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bremen3011

    Wow, thats is the coolest thing since sliced bread. This is most important article of the decade, honestly and Ipad, I cant believe it.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hornsofjerichodotcom

    Who gives a s**t...

    October 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
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