Wednesday, January 27, 2010


can someone explain to me the allure of the iPad? Megan hasn't gotten around to saying why she wants one yet, so I'm in the dark. I see a giant iPod touch that costs more and does less than an iPhone, but then I'm not comparing it to a Kindle.
But ffs, it can't handle flash, and it doesn't have any way to access media not on its own HD (or imported via iTunes, to be clear), no disc drive, no usb port in. That's fine for a phone but not for a potential media player. iTunes is not the limit of the media universe. Apple has finally made something I have no interest in owning.


D Johnston said...

The only articles I've read about the iPad are about how awful it's going to be, so I'm not one to speak. I know that Apple is alleging that it will somehow bridge the gap between home computers and the iPhone, something that is already amply done by laptops and netbooks. It's not as powerful as either and more expensive (The quintessential Apple product, then *rimshot*), and not as portable as a Smart Phone. The only people who would have any use for it are those with careers in which they are moving around constantly but need to have a computer at the ready (Doctors and foremen being the most common examples).

It's almost as it Apple is running an experiment to see just how stupid early-adopters are.

Bruce Webb said...

Let's see.

What if I wanted a single product that served as:

An alarm clock that woke me up with music and gave me windows showing live updates of weather and morning news from streaming video.

That I could pull from it's dock and have at my elbow as I reviewed my calender, e-mail and morning newspaper as I ate breakfest and prepared for work.

That when I left the door I could toggle to either display transit schedules or if in a car be a GPS device tied in in real time to traffic conditions.

After arrival at work it converts to the textual tool of choice whether that be Building Code or Warehouse Inventory right there in your hand only to convert on your break into a Soduko/Grisham novel/MSNBC updated whatever.

After work it turns into a Social Networking tool to allow you to update with all your Facebook/MySpace peeps on way to your drinking encounter where it serves as an all purpose answer machine.

At which point you either use it to direct you to a restaurant or deliver you recipes and a cooking clock for dinner, after which it serves as a media controller/player fot the rest of the evening at which point you hope to plug it back into the dock in a way that allows it to repeat it's function as alarm clock.

brad said...

What that you just described can't be done on the iPhone, or a Blackberry, or any other smartphone?

fish said...

Watching video, reading books, do not work well on an iPhone. In about a year, the full potential of such a product will become evident as the software catches up to the platform. A 1.5 pound fully functional computer/media player/game tablet sounds awesome for traveling. If I could do powerpoint presentations from it, I am sold.

M. Bouffant said...

Got me. I'm waiting for neural WiFi implants, anything else is robot bullshit.

Mr. Webb, on the other hand, apparently wants to place his brain inside a box that's entirely separate from his body.

To each his own, I suppose.

brad said...

The iPad and the iPhone have more or less identical internet connections and abilities as far as i can see, so any streaming video should work the same on either. I use my iPhone to watch the occasional encoded for iTunes video, and it works just fine. But for a tablet I want 1080 resolution and the ability to use 3rd party video players and formats, and a usb port for flash drives and external hds and disc drives.
It's better than a Kindle, but that's not really an achievement, or a selling point. All this does is show how useless a Kindle really is.
I agree about books but in that sense I remain a Luddite who wants trees to die and give me print copies.

Clever Pseudonym said...

I'm not getting the iPad at all. Everything Bruce described can be done by an iPod Touch or iPhone, except both of those are more convenient because of their size.

As far as reading books goes, I remain a stout Luddite and intend to stick to the kind that do not require batteries.

bulbul said...

What that you just described can't be done on the iPhone, or a Blackberry, or any other smartphone?
Sure, but with iPad, the difference in quantity (size) becomes a difference in quality.
I will be getting one, mostly for my ebook collection. And by ebook collection, I don't mean my Grishams and Crichtons and Harry Potters, but rather my 12GB+ of all kinds PDFs of weird linguistic shit and manuscript reproductions and so forth. No, an e-ink reader can't do any of those things - believe me, I tried.
Plus, it's got a browser and an email client and it can run all kinds of apps. I essentially use my ipod touch as a portable dictionary and I expect to treat the ipad the same way.
All these other things Bruce mentioned are just nice extras.

Walt French said...

“It doesn't have any way to access media not on its own HD, no disc drive, no usb port in.”

There's a dongle for that.

More generally, you're trying to shoehorn this very differently-streamlined device into the identity of my old laptop and it's a bad fit. There'll be MANY ways to effect the same, e.g., thru the cloud.

And I can count on the thumbs of my left hand how many times I've wanted to move “files” onto my iPhone that didn't originate in an app that syncs to my laptop. Maybe more with a more general purpose computer than the iPhone, but the app store is all about "where there's a will (and a product opportunity), there's a way."

Unknown said...

I'm more excited about the possibility of an iPhone for Verizon, even though this will be the third calendar year that they've cockteased us about that.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

fish, you're a smart fish, abandon that kludgy old Powerpoint and use Keynote. It runs on the iPad.

I am hoping to see some nice graphics apps for it. It's got the potential to run things that the iPhone can't.

And I hadn't even considered the travel aspect of it. Games, email, books, and movies on a plane, all without having to unfold a laptop?

NutellaonToast said...

Wow. This comment thread is the first place I've seen anyone saying anything nice about the maxiPad.

A netbook weighs approx 1lb extra, can do infinitely more, and costs significantly less.

Also, it has an operating system.

brad said...

I can see where, in a few generations, this might be an awesome idea. Given an actual OS with a desktop environ of some kind with more control over your files than iTunes offers, the ability to play all types of media files, a 1080p capable screen, a built in camera for video chat, and 4g connections to make cloud computing more feasible in reality, and it could be quite a toy. But in the here and now it's just a giant iPod touch that doesn't do nearly enough to justify the price.
And how long until there's an iPhone with a built in, or attachable, projector which makes the whole tablet concept pointless?

bulbul said...


you're hanging out at the wrong tube, dude.
And let me just say one thing here: I don't give a flying fuck about netbooks. To me, it's a wtf category - too small to be really usable as an input device (you know, to get any actual work done, much like laptops), too fucking big and unwieldy a reading device. For what I need/want, iPad sounds pretty damn good. YMMV, of course.

bulbul said...

Given an actual OS with a desktop environ of some kind with more control over your files than iTunes offers
That's the only reasonable counter-iShit argument I have ever heard. Yes, file management is a sore point - iPod touch is basically useless without wifi.
Otherwise fuck your Flash, fuck your camera for video chat (fuck video chat while we're at it) and pray tell me, what's the point of full HD on a 10-inch screen?
iPad ain't no God's miracle, but as toys come, it's pretty fucking cool.

fish said...

fish, you're a smart fish, abandon that kludgy old Powerpoint and use Keynote.

I do use Keynote, I said PP so luddites would understand me...

NutellaonToast said...

Wait, bul, that's the first time you heard someone explain that you can't do anything with it and that's why it sucks? I think you're on the wrong tube :P

bulbul said...


shit! How do I get home? :)

NutellaonToast said...

just give me your login name and password and I'll get you back safe.

Mr. Wonderful said...

You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd, and you can't multi-task on an Apple iPad. That seems kind of petty and spiteful. bulbul's use of it as a reader sounds exactly like its best use (and for text books, if the swine text publishers will charge something commensurate with how much it costs them to provide a digital text book), but don't look at me. I work at a Dell desktop, at home, and still get off on flipping open and shut my hamster-powered LG cell phone. Like Captain Kirk!

bulbul said...

Mr. Wonderful,

Like Captain Kirk!
Self-assembled desktop. And when I saw iPad, I was thinking either Spock or the folks on Stargate Atlantis.
I'm kinda hoping against hope Apple will drag academic publishers like OUP or Brill to the ebook market. I mean Brill with is the perfect candidate - let them published their 200USD volumes for the libraries like they do know, the rest of us will buy their stuff digitally for like 20 bucks.

Dhalgren said...

The iPad appeals to certain people who are addicted to the Apple iPhone App Store. In other words, hard core, employed, annoying iPhone users in San Francisco, Boston, and New York. No thanks. This product will fail.

bulbul said...

We'll see, my friend, we'll see.
Also, the best variation on the theme so far.

bulbul said...

FYI, this guy makes a couple of good points.