I think Apple has finally screwed up (err, since 2000)

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AmazingDM

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Because really the iPad fills a niche that never existed. It really isn't all that functional compared to a simple netbook.. it's big and bulky..

well I mean I'm sure most of you can see where I'm going with this. No need to really explain, I just think this is going to be one of those things [MEANT to be a big deal] that's going to flop. Like that iPod speaker thing and the apple TV thing.
 

PG4G

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Screwed up? I'm not sure about that...

But the issue here, in my mind at least, is simple.

This product is:

1. Half-baked.
Apple seems to be trailing behind in the way they are designing their interfaces etc. The iPhone's current design paradigms were never created for a screen of the iPad's size. They were designed for the iPhone. They work on a palm-based device. But the fact is that building apps that run in "small or 2x mode" is pathetic. These apps should be full screen, or nothing. And that home screen? Er... what the heck happened there? It looks horrible. They scaled the iPhone's screen up and are now using a tonne of space for very little.

2. This product is simply not ergonomic.
Physically, this product is not designed with a human in mind. The computer interface as we have it (screen in front, keyboard below) is designed with hands in the correct ergonomic position, and with face directly forward. This device seems to be just a recipe for a sore neck, or sore hands.

Apple should have been a bit more careful in certain areas of the device. They should have designed a new home screen, not rebaked (and burned) an old idea. There are plenty of better ideas out there. Hopefully they are coming in iPhone OS 4.0. Its just like this is tacked on, and that's not how Apple usually work. It saddens me.
 

gonzobman

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To the contrary

I for one really like the device. I'll agree that it may be a niche device (only time will tell). BUT, it's still small and light. And yet also gives you a full screen for surfing - roughly the same size as a netbook. (And if you REALLY need a keyboard, use the wireless one they already have via Bluetooth.)

As far as the games are concerned, yes, many of the games will PROBABLY need an enhancement to take advantage of the larger screen. But, maybe not. What if they DO scale up well?

I'll also agree that it is essentially, a Touch with a 10" screen. But why is that bad? Look at all the things a touch can do? Now imagine being able to do all that (and more) with the larger screen.

Failings? I can see one issue. It will still only be single-threaded. That is, it will still only be able to run one app at a time. With the larger screen, it would be nice to have multi-threading going on. Maybe in O/S 4.0?

Imagine this use (someday?). At some point they've added phone capabilities (now it's an iPhone with a large screen). You are sitting reading the NY Times, maybe even doing the crossword puzzle or reading a book and a window pops up saying you have a phone call, maybe even displaying a picture of the person calling. You tap the window to answer the call. You talk with your friend for a minute. He even helps you with one of the words you've been struggling trying to figure out. When the conversation ends, you tap the window again to hang up and continue working on your crossword (or reading he Times or a book) by yourself.

Why is the device now bad? Granted it's not an iPhone, but still, a Touch with a big screen?!?!?! Why is that a bad thing? Seems to me it would be perfect for traveling and surfing on the go.

-G
 

PG4G

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Failings? I can see one issue. It will still only be single-threaded. That is, it will still only be able to run one app at a time. With the larger screen, it would be nice to have multi-threading going on. Maybe in O/S 4.0?
I'll clear up your terminology here. The iPhone does multithreading. In fact, it would be impossible for a computer to work without it on current day processors. At any one time, a standard iPhone actually runs around 260 threads at all times. Applications can use multiple threads, and can run (if allowed) in the background.

What you're referring to is background processes. That is, applications that work while they don't actually appear to be doing so, or are working at the same time as another application.

Apple has background applications/processes on the iPhone, iPod touch, and will have on the iPad. They will include the Mail app, to receive notifications when you are not in Mail, running the iPod in the background, alarms, etc.

Apple, however, do not allow 2 things:

1. Multiple 3rd party apps to be on the screen at once.
2. 3rd party apps cannot run when closed. (someone has hit the home button)

Apple does this because applications that run in the background are basically taking precious resources away from the front app, the one you are using. One app runs with most of the devices resources. A little is reserved for the phone, mail, iPod, safari, etc apps, but most of it goes to the one you are using.

The problem is, if apps could run while closed... then... they could do anything they like, and you could end up with 50 apps running at once. That's going to make the front application you are using absolutely pathetic in performance.

Should they allow this? Maybe with iPhone OS 4.0, but restricted to very "specially selected apps that pass stringent tests". Basically, Apple might have to vet apps and go "hey wait a sec - when you're in the background you're using way too much of the system and slowing apps down - you can't run in the background till you improve your performance."

Apple might also restrict it perhaps for 3GS, iPod touch 3g and iPad.

Who knows?...

But threading is different to applications, and that is my point :)
 

rsa777

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Well, I waited forever for the iPad. I was hoping it would replace my Archos as my portable DVR and be my ebook reader. Archos has screwed it's US owners by discontinuing it's TV guide service. I don't see anywhere that the iPad can be connected to my cable box to allow recording of cable content. This is a huge disappointment.
 

revmike

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I was hoping for it to be portable, 9.7" screen, might as well carry a netbook or small laptop. I use my touch at my daughter's basketball games during half-time, reading, playing games or on the web if wifi available and it fits in my pocket, but a somewhat bigger screen would have been nice. I tried the Archos 5, it arrived one day and I sent it back the next. ipad, iwon't.
 

Code Monkey

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"Screwed up" is probably the wrong phrase since that implies Apple will actually lose money or market share due to the iPad, and as critical as I am of the device, I don't believe for a second they're going to lose money on it. The price point alone means they could probably only sell 1/3 of their manufactured units and they'll still turn a profit since, barring the display, there isn't really anything in there that's not in a touch and they're not even constrained by needing such minature components as a touch or iPhone for the iPad. At $500 to $830, and with what will probably be a very controlled production cycle, they will be getting their money back on the investment.

The source of many of our disappointments is that it is a very cautious device, really nothing more than an "iPod touch plus". The "new" and "custom" processor, appears to simply be a re-branded integrated chip version of two off the shelf components. The screen tech is them scaling up what they've been doing for years with the iPhone and touch. The OS is barely modified. There's only a handful of modified apps by Apple for the device, with the rest of the work being left up to 3rd party developers. Basically, for something they were allegedly working on for years, it rather looks like something they cobbled together quickly with the chief mantra being to not spend too much, relatively speaking, on its development.

So, it's not really a screw up so much as it's an uninspired sure thing. What they're putting out there will gain enough early adopters to justify their initial investment in the product. Then, based on strength of adoption and consumer reaction they can iteratively improve the product or simply discontinue it with no significant net financial cost.

Truthfully, the real risk is being placed on the 3rd party developers. Apple is big enough that throwing together lite versions of a few of their applications and cobbling together an enlarged version of the iPhone OS is small time and will likely be recouped in short order from the, I'm betting, record even for Apple profit margins. It's the developers who are being placed in the position of needing to go back and retrofit their existing properties or be seen as "antiquated" in the app store and bet future development projects on whether or not the iPad is here for the long haul or just a short visit.
 

AmazingDM

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Tablets are future of personal computing?

Erhh.. uhh... really?

Do people just all type so slow on average that they don't care that things don't have keyboards? Sorry I type over 100wpm. I need a freaking keyboard.
 

paranoidxe

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Tablet devices are the future of personal computing. Check back in 10 years, and see if I was right.
Cold hard fact remains that a keyboard is a superior navigational/input device vs any touch screen, its a fact. especially if you are fluent in shortcuts.

I don't see tablet PCs being anymore than glorified PDAs, they won't be replacing work machines unless they find a faster way to input stuff, a hybrid maybe.

Same with the mouse, your finger isn't pin point accurate for say drafting. Always throw in a pen, but the mouse is still more precise than a pen would be.

The only benefit a touch screen has is touch navigation, no need to drag your mouse pointer over the screen to get somewhere you just use your finger.

I'm not going to say touch screen computers won't have a space in the world they definitely will but I don't see them over running standard computers and laptops.

-------------

As far as the iPad goes, its going to sell and it'll probably sell pretty good because there are some people that just have to have the latest trend.

I am very disappointed that the device depends on iTunes to run, its a glorified iPod Touch [which I'm sure has been repeated a million times already].

I think its ridiculous to pay that much for a device that can't even act like a computer. Right now you could get a laptop with 6x the capacity, 4x the speed, and limitless possibilities for the same price as the 64GB 3G.
 

Code Monkey

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Tablet devices are the future of personal computing. Check back in 10 years, and see if I was right.
In ten years, I doubt it. Not sure exactly where we'll be in ten years, but I don't see the desktop/full sized laptop going anywhere in that short of a span as the mainstays of personal computing. Tablets have been around for a decade now already and they haven't made much of a splash outside of a few niche uses. And, not to be too blunt, but the company that is still clinging to a single digit computer market share most likely isn't going to turn around trends that have lasted decades with an oversized smartphone that doesn't make phonecalls.

Now, I figure we'll see a lot more devices in the general direction of the iPad, basically the sort of entertainment class stuff Archos has been doing for years, but finally mainstream, over the next ten years, but I don't see much computing getting done on them.
 

kornchild2002

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Tablets are future of personal computing?

Erhh.. uhh... really?

Do people just all type so slow on average that they don't care that things don't have keyboards? Sorry I type over 100wpm. I need a freaking keyboard.
Actually, there are many people who cannot type. They will hunt and peck for the keys. It will often take people over 15 minutes of pure typing just to hammer out a paragraph. It is sad but that is the truth. I can walk into the office and see over 25 people who don't know how to properly type. Teens, tweens, young teens (they are different than tweens), and many college students can actually type faster on a touch screen device and a standard cellphone (where you have to press a single button three or four times just to get to the letter C) than with a standard keyboard.

I have no doubt that tablets represent the future of computing. Just look at the netbooks and tablets from CES. The HP slate and that notebook from Toshiba (at least I think it was them). They had a notebook where the screen could be detached and used as a slab. The whole process is painless, just pick up the screen (even when the computer is running) and carry it with you. HP has long been innovating the tablet arena by ditching those pen stylus units (though they still offer them for people who are writing on the screen), allowing multi-touch, and packing in some capable hardware. Before, tablets had always been equipped with underpowered processors with Intel GMA graphics. Bleh. HP introduced tablets running dual-core AMD processors with HD ATI graphics. They weren't the only company doing this but they were one of the major companies behind the tablet platform.

Now we have the iPad... Actually, we will have it here in two months. I don't think Apple messed with the physical design. It is definitely far from being big and bulky. The whole unit fits within the same dimensions as the 10" panel housing for an Eee PC 1005HA netbook. That means that the iPad is about 1/4 the size of an already thin and sleek netbook. I also don't know of a "simple" netbook that can playback 720p videos without issues. The generic Atom N270/N280/N450 and Intel GMA 950/3xxx can technically handle 720p playback but it won't be smooth and battery life will definitely be in the 3 hour range.

The iPad can definitely pull off some feats that the average netbook can't. Sure, netbooks with either the Nvidia ION or Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator platforms have no trouble playing back full 1080p HD videos. However, the ION platform is still expensive (an HP Mini 311 comes out to $399 with the bare basics) and isn't at power efficient as what Apple is using (which is looking more and more like a re-branded Nvidia Tegra 2 system).

Apple is going after the market of people looking for a companion device. They don't want to carry around their 6+ lb notebooks or they only have a desktop. They want a device that can surf the internet, play their media, is simple to use, fits in a small package, and allows them some office productivity. That is what the iPad does. Is it perfect? No, far from it. My perfect iPad would be running Mac OS X, have 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD drive, and cost $499. Apple hasn't done that but they have come out with a nice companion device.

I think people would be singing a different tune if Apple didn't say that the iPad was a magical and revolutionary device. Apple should have put more emphasis on the ebook capabilities by saying that the iPad is going directly after the Kindle, nook, craptacular Sony e-readers, etc. Then said "oh, and ours can browse the internet, access the full iTunes Store, watch HD videos, play games, and we are making a special version of iWork." A Kindle with a 9.7" screen is the same price as a 16GB iPad. I think Apple's biggest mistake is the price and not including 3G in every model. Then they could have worked out a deal with at&t that allows people to freely use 3G to download ebooks only. Customers could then have the option to pay a monthly fee to access everything else through 3G.
 

AmazingDM

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I don't doubt that tablets are awesome. I'd love to have one... but it seems like all this effort is going into reproducing what we've already had for many years.. fully functional PCs and Macs.

Seems like Apple had two choices, a tablet Mac or a tablet iPhone and with the popularity of the app store they went with the later. I'm sure in the future maybe they'll have like a tablet netbook with foldable keyboard. That'd be pretty sweet. I'd get that.
 

PG4G

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I don't think they could have done a tablet mac, full stop. Apple has been quite clear all along that Mac OS X Desktop doesn't lend itself to touch well. Its designed for a mouse.

The iPhone could have been developed with mac stylings. They decided instead that buttons need to be at the very least a certain size, and that it needs to be designed with touch from the start.

Microsoft has tried to slowly integrate touch into Windows, with elements like the Ribbon. Its about making the mouse and finger targets bigger. The problem is that, sadly, you can't make all developers change and update for touch simultanously. They've designed for mouse, not touch. You can't force developers to update.

In my mind it was clear they would use the basis of the iPhone OS, because Touch was its core, as was portability.

However, it seems in my eyes that they played too safe. They've designed something that is just an iPhone, blown up, especially with the Home Screen.

What changes would I make?

16/9 screen.
Landscape only.
Slightly smaller.
Different home screen.

Ergonomically it seems a bit weird to me, but taking it to 16/9 with the 9.7" screen would shave some size off, and I'd say make it somewhat better.
 

BrennerM

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What changes would I make?

16/9 screen.
Landscape only.
Slightly smaller.
Different home screen.

Ergonomically it seems a bit weird to me, but taking it to 16/9 with the 9.7" screen would shave some size off, and I'd say make it somewhat better.
I agree with 16:9 but IMO one of the best features of the iPhone is the ability to switch between landscape and portrait modes for different content, especially when surfing the web. That is just as important for the iPad, especially since they seem to be using the two modes differently in some of the new apps: portrait mode is cleaner (i.e. just the body of an email), landscape adds sidebars with more information or functions (the inbox plus an email preview). This could be even better if the screen was 16:9 ratio.

I often use my iPod Touch as an e-book reader so that I can read in bed at night without the light on (this allows my wife to sleep easier). The e-ink readers don't allow that unless they have a built-in light (which most don't). The iPad would allow me to read in the same way as the iPod Touch, only with more screen real-estate.

Plus of course the iPad would be great for travelling. I use my Touch for that too today but the screen is a bit too small to really enjoy a full movie on a plane (I often watch TV episodes though).

Still not sure if I will buy one but it is definitely tempting...first I want to see more details on iBooks and support for importing non-iBooks content (I have a library of content in ePub format already which partially mirrors my paper book collection).
 

Code Monkey

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I think people would be singing a different tune if Apple didn't say that the iPad was a magical and revolutionary device.
Agree on this part. Their hype is so bad that even in the initial, more heated comments on the front page, there wasn't one defender taking the position that it in any way matched the claims, only that they were perfectly satisfied being offered a large screen iPod touch for several hundred dollars. Apple always spins their products as the greatest thing ever, but I actually found myself giggling at their official promo video they put out for the iPad. It plays like a parody it's so devoid of substance and yet so chock full of nonsense.

Apple should have put more emphasis on the ebook capabilities by saying that the iPad is going directly after the Kindle, nook, craptacular Sony e-readers, etc. Then said "oh, and ours can browse the internet, access the full iTunes Store, watch HD videos, play games, and we are making a special version of iWork." A Kindle with a 9.7" screen is the same price as a 16GB iPad.
This I can't disagree with enough. I realize there is a market out there for the iPad as an eReader, after all, eBooks on something as seemingly inappropriate as the iPhone and touch have proven a relative success. Yet, it IS a backlit screen of the same general technology as we've been using on laptops and computers for well over a decade. If this type of display worked to the satisfaction of the very sort of people who would most want a portable reading device, color e-Ink (expected in the later half of 2010) wouldn't be such a hotly contended holy grail for the electronic book publishing industry. It would have been a huge misstep for Apple to promote it any more heavily than they did as an eReader because it's simply not an eReader in the same class as an e-Ink device. For some users, reading on a backlit computer screen (or even cell phone screen) is perfectly satisfactory, and, for them, the e-Reader app and ePub support on the iPad is going to be seen as a great feature, but for the rest of the reading world who finds that sort of display as unacceptable for reading a novel on, it just would have been a bad way to market it. As many mistakes as they made with the iPad, not pushing the e-Reader aspect any more than they did wasn't one of them.

On the other hand, I hope it does push Amazon to be more competitive with the Kindle. Go ahead, sell me a wi-fi only Kindle for less money, I'd love to save the intrinsic wireless cell connectivity charge.

Besides, ignoring the issues of display types, I'm just not sure the e-Reader market is big enough to make hyping the iPad as an e-Reader that does this other stuff on top of it a winning strategy. Apple is probably also correct in not putting the focus on any one element of such an open device.
 

kornchild2002

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My main reason for making the e-reader focus comment was that it would quiet many peoples' complaints. "Oh look, it doesn't support Flash." Then Apple could have responded: it is an e-reader with a browser, what more can you expect? "Oh look, it isn't running OS X!" Again: it is an e-reader with added features, what more can you expect? Enjoy browsing the web on the Kindle.

Apple is looking at going after netbooks, e-readers, and small tablets (such as the terrible Asus Eee PC tablet) all in one swoop. Instead, they could have just released the iPad by focusing on the ebook capabilities first and then revealed all of the other options. In my opinion, Apple went at it all wrong. It would have been the same as Apple showing off the 1G iPhone and then said it is going to take down the PSP or DS along with all land line phone companies, digital photo phrames, iPods, home console devices, etc. Apple should have toned thing down with the iPad. Sure, include all of the features. I actually look forward to being able to write something in Pages and then e-mail it to all of the people who use MS Word. However, don't try to take everything on out of the gate. Apple is trying to take over the Kindle, netbooks, portable gaming devices (though the iPad can produce graphics better than the PS2 so it appears to be a logical choice, I would definitely welcome paying $9.99-$14.99 over $40-$50 as I do for DSi and PSP games), and many other facets.

So, by saying that the iPad is an e-reader with these added features, they could dodge some of the complaints. Look at the PS3 as an example. It is first and foremost a gaming console with a truly crap web browser. The browser is so slow that my HTC (running Droid) can access a page over EDGE a lot faster than the PS3's browser opening up the same page on my 25Mbps fiber optic home connection. People complain about the PS3's browser but, in the end, it is just an added on feature and definitely not the main focus of the device. So people can't complain too loudly about something that the device really wasn't destined to do (even though the iPad is more than capable of completing the tasks Apple is marketing it for).

I actually welcome a backlight screen for reading ebooks. A relative purchased a Sony e-reader for me this past Christmas. It was the inexpensive model but that didn't matter. I could easily carry it around in any bag and I actually had quite a few jeans and slacks that would hold the e-reader in their pockets. Well, the lack of a backlight meant that I would have to turn a light on in order to read it. I went through this with every version of the Game Boy up until the Game Boy Advance SP despite my much older Sega Game Gear having a full color LCD with a backlight. If I am laying in bed getting more tired with every moment, I don't want to further relax by turning every light in my bedroom on just to read a chapter or two.

I ended up returning the Sony e-reader because I found myself in low light conditions on a daily basis straining my eye even more. Fire up my notebok or netbook and boom, my eyes can relax and I can read chapters and chapters of text without any strain, headache, or anything like that. Traditionalists will never like e-readers as hardback books are a complete experience. The book cover, liner notes, possibility of an autograph (what, is someone going to ask Stephen King to sign their Kindle or iPad?), the feel of the paper texture, the smell of a new or old book, etc. These type of people enjoy cracking open a book, sitting right next to a light, and reading through a few chapters. They will never like e-readers as it takes away from the whole experience. So e-reader devices will never win with them.

I would take a backlight LCD display over an e-ink display any day.
 

Code Monkey

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I ended up returning the Sony e-reader because I found myself in low light conditions on a daily basis straining my eye even more. Fire up my notebok or netbook and boom, my eyes can relax and I can read chapters and chapters of text without any strain, headache, or anything like that.
Right, there are plenty who do find this type of reading experience fine or even preferable. It is not, however, how most people like to read with or without a digital presentation.

Traditionalists will never like e-readers as hardback books are a complete experience. The book cover, liner notes, possibility of an autograph (what, is someone going to ask Stephen King to sign their Kindle or iPad?), the feel of the paper texture, the smell of a new or old book, etc. These type of people enjoy cracking open a book, sitting right next to a light, and reading through a few chapters. They will never like e-readers as it takes away from the whole experience. So e-reader devices will never win with them.
And that is one whopper of a straw man. Arguing that that the backlit LCD, which plenty of market research and user tests with different e-Readers has shown is generally disliked compared to the non-backlit e-ink style readers, is actually just as good because there is a demographic of people who won't like any e-Reader is a non-point.


I would take a backlight LCD display over an e-ink display any day.
Good for you, I wouldn't, and the majority of people interested in e-Readers won't either. I am very much interested in e-Readers, have been since the early 80s when they were nothing but the stuff of science fiction. I have shelves of books, and even more in boxes, and I'll be more than happy to trade all of that (keeping my Neil Gaiman bound Sandman collection, though :D) for some drive space just as soon as the experience and cost intersect. That is not going to come from the backlit LCD type screen for me and most avid readers.

So, again, I think you're mixing your own personal bias (backlit screen superior to something that replicates the experience of the printed page, i.e. needs light) up with the general market's bias, which is in favor of the e-ink/transflective non backlit LCD type screen readers. Had Apple positioned this as an e-Reader that did a bunch of other stuff I think it would have been even worse received.
 
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