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iPad

So Apple announced the iPad. I was hoping for something more than just a big iPhone. I was also hoping for some advanced form of electronic paper display, maybe one that did color and had a reasonable refresh rate, but I guess no one really develops that kind of thing in secret anymore. It’s an IPS TFT display, but that’s not new. I have to admit to a bit of a yawn over the product. I have a MacBook, I have an iPhone, I don’t think I have a use for an iPad.

If Apple wanted to fill the niche between the iPhone and the Laptop, I think they should have picked a more capable user interface than that of the iPhone. At the least, I would expect this kind of device to handle concurrently running applications.

16 Responses to “iPad”

  1. Matt says:

    The price point is attractive. Very attractive. However, given I already have an iPod Touch 2G 64GB, the iPad is going to have to offered some compelling advantages to me over the iPod in the area of interaction.

    I’m going to check out the videos but what I wonder is if they’ve advanced the UI with multitouch and new interaction models due to the larger surface. Finger twist controls, drag-and-drop metaphors, new gestures and the like. I want something in a notepad form factor to complement my iPod rather than be a bigger version of it.

    I have hobby interests in it as well. A 10″ touch screen is ideal for some of the projects I am looking to pursue.

    Given a recent nice bonus at work, I think I may decide to part with $600 and try it out.

  2. alan says:

    I’m “meh” about it too. It’s a big iTouch, nothing more.

  3. Bitter says:

    I still don’t understand who they are marketing this to and for what purpose. From everything I’ve read in the hands on reviews, it really is for entertainment only.

    The keyboard is apparently awkward (hence the need for a docking station with one) which makes it functionally worthless for any serious work uses. All the hype in advance really focused on the status as a reader for e-books, but that was likely only because it was known that NYT had staffers working at Apple in advance of the launch and the McGraw-Hill guy opened his trap yesterday on CNBC. But even with that, if it can’t even survive a trip to visit my grandmother (~11 hours non-stop from Newark), then it’s worthless as a reader.

    I just can’t see huge demand for a bigger-than-an-iPhone gaming/video device. I don’t even count the pictures much since there’s no camera. (Although apparently Apple did try to make the pitch that it makes a nice photo frame when on the plain dock. Really?)

    And let’s face it, the name alone banishes it from this house. Do they not have a woman working there at all?

  4. I agreed at first. Didn’t tablets in general kind of sputter and fail as whole toward the beginning of the decade?

    But I’m slowly, and somewhat coming around to it. It’s no laptop replacement , imho. But it just might wind up being a MacBook Air replacement… If I can get some minor editing software on there, that’s a mobile podcasting studio for stuff like GRPC or NRA Annual Meetings. With killer battery life and a fraction of a MacBook’s cost…?

    I’m not saying I’m on board. But I’m not saying “no” immediately, either. (Wonder if we’ll be able to tether iPhones to it, and skip the 3G add-on.)

  5. Brad says:

    I would have liked a netbook. A cheap $300-$400 laptop would have won them a lot of fans and upped the exposure of MacOS X. Right now the only solution is to hackintosh a Windows netbook, and the last time I checked, it won’t work with 10.6 since Apple put in a special line of code to disable MacOS running on atom processors.

  6. Reputo says:

    Since everyone else is putting a plug in for the iPad, I thought I might as well.

  7. Ian Argent says:

    This is a reminder that Apple is a hardware company; not a software company. By having it run the iPhone OS, Apple gets a piece of every app sold, and has tight controls over every piece of software. That lets them more easily control product quality; which leads to the perception of their stuff not crashing… Microsoft and Google have open-development mobile OS – you don’t HAVE to go through the app stores to put your app in front of end users. On the iPhone, you have to deal with Apple. (Jailbreaking excepted – and that’s never going to result in a big market)

    I’m not as convinved this was a brilliant move by Apple, actually. If ASUS, HP, or another player in the netbook space can’t put a similar device, with USB ports, Win7 and the power necessary to run it, and a WWAN module not tied to a single carrier out in 6 months with COTS parts and a smaller price tag; I would want to know why. Win7 does multitouch natively; and you can do it with commodity parts. Dell can probably do with with nearly the same amount of style.

    Plus, WTF was ATT thinking?

  8. Flighterdoc says:

    I too am somewhat underwhelmed….but as an e-reader I think I’d rather have an Ipad than a Kindle. Thats about all the functionality it has for me.

    What a disappointment

  9. anon says:

    Yep… An iBook Touch with ressurected Newton-esque handwriting recognition that ran iPhone apps in a window was what I expected. I was disappointed. This device will not separate me from my cash.

    I think students could end up being the big audience if they fill the textbook promises & get the publishers onboard. It could be useful for taking notes in any number of applications as well. Might find field use applications as well.

    Thought of as a computer/tablet is looks ‘meh’ bordering on ‘fail’… but thought of as a Kindle that hosts apps… it starts to look quite good. It will find an audience and it may well kill the Kindle and other dedicated eBook readers. But ultimately, I don’t see myself buying one.

    • Bitter says:

      I don’t see it as a good competitor with the Kindle if I can’t go through a full day of travel without recharging it. (Maybe I’ve just had one too many long haul flights or days spent at an airport waiting on delayed planes, but this is a huge factor if I’m going to go down the road of an e-reader. For now, I read traditional books.)

      But more on the publishing thing you bring up, anon. I noticed one glaring thing about the list of major publishers slide today. McGraw-Hill wasn’t listed. Their CEO said yesterday they were already working with Apple on it, and since 95% of their textbook collection already came in an electronic form, it would be an easy transition. So if they already have a full catalog and were working on something for it, where were they today? It is possible that they never planned to do more than NYT as a reading-type app demo, but I’d be curious to know if they were booted or left off the slide of publishers as punishment for the CEO running his mouth. (UPDATE: Turns out they were cut from the presentation as punishment.)

      That said, I’m not sure how much the textbook sector will really take off as much with any e-reader as people seem to assume. Maybe it was just the complexity of my major, but I rarely used what could be defined as a textbook. I think the only ones were for the large classes at a nearby state school and my bio class. Beyond that, all of my textbooks were “regular” books that are less likely to be offered electronically. Looking up some of the books I still have, not a single one is available for Kindle anyway.

  10. anon says:

    “which leads to the perception of their stuff not crashing”…

    My PowerMac (G5) hasn’t crashed in the 6 years I’ve owned it. Firefox locks up on occasion and needs to be ‘force quit’ though.

    My iPhone 3Gs (32Gb) on the other hand needs to be rebooted every few days. Lot’s of safari use makes it sluggish and it will occasionally freeze up. Educated Guess: memory leaks.

  11. Andy says:

    Oh, yeah, Apple spanks if you speak out of turn.

    As for uses, I can toss in a few ideas. For example, back around ’96 I was working with a prof on an advanced college classroom project. He had some sort of tablet computer (what it was, I can’t remember), had his slides already pre-loaded on each. Students came in, grabbed a tablet from the shelves and took their notes with the slides. At the end, the tablets were placed back on the shelves and the slides/notes were loaded to the class website, where students could compare notes, etc. VIdeo of the lecture was also loaded, and indexed with the slides. I think it was RealVideo then. A tablet that is bigger, nicer, holds every slide and notes for the past year plus the textbooks would fit in well in that sort of concept. And that was work many moons ago.

    How about a super media console. It’s got the screen to bring in the functions of at least a Harmony but one of the nicer home theatre remotes. Let’s add in, say, Netflix streaming. Pick up iPad, turn on system, crank off video stream. Place iPad in dock, video goes to home system. Pull iPad off dock, video starts playing on small screen. I pulled Netflix out of the air, I know there are several methods of streaming it down already. The source isn’t important. It can the one place for video, Pandora or whatever content, easily accessible with the ability to send output to more larger/capable components. Could I do that now with a media center PC? Sure. Can I do it as easily?

    What else? How about as a replacement for all the PC carts in hospitals that docs and nurses shove around? A kiosk with a built in touch screen? And don’t deny the gaming potential. The iPhone app store is loaded with those, and they are popular. Oh, and a presentation device.. enter the meeting room with your iPad, a dock dongle to hook the projector, and off you go.

    Now, personally… meh. Doesn’t fill a need right this minute. Get my RSS feeds (including here) via Google Reader, available via laptop or iPhone. I still try and read the paper, given time in the day. I still prefer a plain ol’ book (Neaderthal!). But, yeah, I can certainly see a place. And, of course, everyone was pretty lukewarm about the iPod as well.

  12. Ian Argent says:

    @Andy: All of that can be done with a conventional tablet PC or a netbook, though. HP is advertising 9.75 hr of battery life for their current convertible tablet; which is a full-up Windows PC with a keyboard as well, at . The iPad is smaller and lighter, admittedly, but it’s not a general-purpose PC; and you have to pay Apple to develop on it.

    @Anon: Anecdote != data. Badly written drivers are the #1 cause of Windows instability, followed by badly written memory handling (memory leaks). Apple can, to a much greater extent than MS can, prevent the first on their general-purpose machines. The second is a result of shoddy programming – which is a result of cost-of-app.

    We will see – I thought that the market for netbooks would be squeezed out between full-up laptops and more-capable PDAs. OTOH, it appears the netbook and desktop-replacement laptops are squeezing out the midrange laptop (and that “netbooks” are becoming more fully-featured all the time. Thank you Gordon Moore).

    At $829 for the 64 GB + 3G model, though, I’d rather have HP’s tm2 convertible touchpad laptop. In either case I still have to tote a cellphone (which apple would prefer I carried an iPhone); but the extra money I spend on the HP means I don’t have to rebuy all my apps; I get my choice of carriers for the 3G.

    As I said, I give ASUS 6 months to have an Eee Touch (or, if they’re feeling particularly twee, a Hand-Eee) on the market, with roughly the same form factor, running Win7 Home, with a USB port or two. Dunno about the linux variants since I don’t know where Linux support for touchscreens and multitouch is; but I’m sure someone will step up for it.

  13. Andy says:

    Your right, lots of hardware can do those tasks. And there’s no reason some other company can’t put together a product using the items you mentioned to do them. But, for some reason, Apple still dominates these kinds of markets. The iPod rules the niche. The iPhone was a major game changer, it remains to be seen how well Google does against it (still early). While overall computer footprint remains small, Apple dominates the high end market.

    I don’t think it’s a really big secret. Patents, aggressive protection of IP and eyes toward appealing design and sensible UI make the products sell. They just announced $3 billion in profit and sitting on a big chest of cash, I’m not sure they care what their install footprint is.

  14. Sebastian says:

    The iPhone really was revolutionary. I think it was the first Smart Phone I tried where I felt like “Finally! Someone has made a smart phone that doesn’t suck!”

  15. Ian Argent says:

    Apple wants this to be a super-iPhone – a market in which they are in fact the leader due to MS dropping the ball on Windows Mobile, RIM focusing on the enterprise email space, and Nokia just not getting into the US market. But I remember when Palm ruled the PDA market- carried a Palm Vx for a couple of years and swore (at the time) that I’d never go to WinMo – those iPAQs were too bulky, too short a battery life, I had too much software invested in the palm platform, etc.But Palm never really innovated after that. Sure, they added color and higher res screens – but the underlying OS up through the death of Palm OS was essentially unchanged. In that same period, MS innovated. Once they no longer had to compete with Palm, though, they sat on their laurels; and the mobile world overtook them.

    Apple doesn’t do well when they have aggressive competition. Apple arguably invented the personal computer, and they certainly generalized the GUI interface. They innovate like mad when Steve Jobs is at the helm. But they rarely follow up on their successes. Outside of the iPod, I can’t think of a single Apple product where Apple has managed to dominate the sector that they created.And I don’t believe they will continue to dominate the smartphone market – there’s too much aggressive, smart, competition. The iPhone leads because there was no comparable mobile OS. But the iPad is going to be hobbled by the iPhone OS (no multitasking, the app store as the only software loader, etc). I think if they had run OSX on it, it would have legs. As a gloified iPod touch?

    Steve Jobs is demonstrably smarter and more market-savvy than I am. He may know something I don’t. But when all the Macophiles I know are saying “Meh”, and I can see that one of the netbook builders can have the exact same product out with a PC OS in 6 months?

    There’s no equivalent of iTunes for this – a source of content that is impossible to duplicate. That’s what really drove (and still drifes) the iPod success story; for all those years when the only way to legally put music on your player was to rip the CD or buy it on iTunes. And itunes only works with the iPod… If anything, Amazon has that angle on the Kinlde; but they make a kindle app for Windows.

    It will not be a failure for Apple, no more so than any of their computers are failures. But it won’t do what Apple dreams of(kill the netbook and bring the users to the Apple Empire).

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