Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Did the world change? Well . . . no

I hope you realize that last night's breathless post about the (then unnamed) Apple tablet was hyperbolic and tongue-in-cheek.

But today . . . TODAY . . . things got real.

People have been reacting all day to the announcement of the iPad--and YES, most people have confined much of their reaction to the name itself (negative reactions by almost all women I've spoken to and some men as well). Personally, I don't mind the name choice. I think it speaks to a conscious connection to Star Trek: The Next Generation's ubiquitous PADD device. If Apple designers and hardware engineers weren't thinking of this fictional thing when brainstorming what their own iPad would be . . . well, then I think I could get a job there.

Now . . . is it a GOOD device that Mr. Jobs has presented to the conspicuous consumption crowd?

On the face of it, yes. (I'll not bother to put links to the details of the device here, as you probably already know where to go to learn about it--both negatively and positively. It is historically short-sighted of my blogging not to trace my thoughts to the source material, but in the future when a digiarchaeologist tries to decipher who I was from WWYG?! the links would all be broken anyway.)

Back to the thought at hand. Yes, it seems like a good device. Works intiutively and leverages the experience of all those who have used an iPhone. Nothing new to teach there. But that is also the source of its greatest set of weaknesses. By not making it anything more than a larger iPhone, the iPhone's limitations are simply magnified and made MORE visible:

  • no multi-tasking
  • no Flash support
  • no USB connections
  • __________________
Those first two limitations are, frankly, amazing to me. How could Apple produce this product and continue to allow its mobile competitors to hammer away on these very obvious weaknesses? I just can't believe that this should continue down the road.

I am still worried that the virtual keyboard won't be as easy to type on as claimed, but I was cheered by the option of a dockable keyboard.

And most of all I was surprised by the (reasonable?) prices. Anything with only three digits is more than I was expecting. And that's all I've got time to devote to the topic tonight.


David said...

I want to temper this post a bit, which probably seems more negative than positive.

I said this over on the Facebook page:

"I think I'm in the 'cautious' stage right now--still trying to sort out where it fits for my (potential) computing life. When I am faced with replacing my laptop, it will be a consideration, I guess--cheaper for sure.

For what I do with my laptop, it would be useful--as long as the virtual keyboard is as advertised (or the dockable board isn't expensive or flimsy).

there MUST be some way for the iPad to wirelessly recognize your files and stuff, so maybe no USB port isn't an issue? Doesn't the MacBook Air work this way?

I've got more research to do."

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