Love It or Leave It: Extremist Views on iPad Obscure the Important Points

| Analysis

There seem to be two distinct camps digging in for a fight over the subject of Apple’s newly announced and forthcoming iPad. On the one hand are the “fanboys” -- those mindless, zombie-like lemmings, hypnotized into submission by Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field, ready to take the food out of their babies’ mouths in order to be first on line to pay way too much for whatever shiny bauble the Mothership tells the faithful it suddenly must have.

On the other hand are the “haters” -- rabid, anti-Apple zealots who wouldn’t say a kind word about anything that comes out of Cupertino, even if it was accompanied by a coupon good for a free unicorn that poops 18-karat gold nuggets and could cure acne with a lick of its strawberry-flavored tongue. They relish in poring over every rumor that had been circulated, pointing to each that remained unfulfilled as proof the device was a sham, an also-ran -- a disappointment destined for failure and leading to the ultimate collapse of Apple itself.

There are, of course, other camps, although they get far less of the media spotlight. They tend to include those of us who would like to actually see a shipping device before weighing in on whether the iPad will be our entrée to a magical utopian future or doom Apple to oblivion. But not being from either the fanboy or the haters camp, we are seen by each as belonging to the other and therefore eyed with suspicion and derision.

Mere hours after Apple introduced the iPad, I was interviewed by Chuck Joiner on his excellent MacVoices podcast. I was traveling on business that day, so I had not seen the event itself, nor even read the liveblogs of the announcement. As I boarded my plane that morning, I left a world in which the iPad did not yet exist -- at least not publicly. I touched down later that afternoon, stepping out into a brave new world that was forever changed by a device I had only guessed at.

Whether it was the fact that I flew above the reach of Mr. Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field or that my earlier speculation about the device had been pretty much on the mark, the reports on the iPad I read as I prepared for my podcast didn’t fill me with the techno-lust I was seeing around some of my usual neighborhoods on the web. As I Tweeted the day before the announcement, I was not feeling a gap in my technology needs. After reading about the iPad’s features and capabilities, I was still feeling, well -- gapless.

I -- along with many others -- had pretty much correctly predicted the iPad’s form factor, user interface, compatibility with existing iPhone apps, WiFi and 3G networking, etc. I had also predicted the iPad-versions of productivity applications, like Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Even its price was in line with what I expected -- around $800 for the storage capacity and networking capabilities I predicted. What I missed was the idea of paring down features to reach a $500 entry point -- a risky move, I think, for the lower-end customers who may not realize what they are giving up.

There were two predictions I made that didn’t materialize, though. The first was a front-facing camera. I was hoping Apple believes it’s time for mobile version of video iChat. But even more than that, I’ve come to rely on the camera in my iPhone for a host of utilities not having anything to do with taking photographs or video. No, the real power in the iPhone’s camera comes from things like “augmented reality” apps; apps like Red Laser that scan products and search the Internet for information and prices; apps that let you add a bottle of wine to a database -- even apps that act as document scanners.

The second unrealized prediction was something much less tangible, but much more important. I said that the real key feature for Apple to include was something no one had figured out -- something that we never knew we wanted, but -- once Apple showed it -- none of us would want to live without. Admittedly, that’s easy to say. It’s like the old joke about teaching someone how to become a millionaire: Step One -- get a million dollars. But for me, it was crucial in order for Apple to make the iPad a truly compelling device. I was looking for something the iPad could do that I couldn’t do with either my iPhone or my MacBook Pro. Something that would make me forego the convenience of having a device that fits in my pocket; something that would sway me from just taking my laptop as long as I was going to have to carry something anyway. Without that, the iPad risks remaining a novelty -- a very cool one, no doubt -- but a novelty nonetheless, attractive to a niche market.

Please don’t be mistaken -- I am not predicting the iPad will be a failure. I believe that it is indeed a different class of device and that as it matures, it may well become the transcendent supplement to iPhone and laptop I am hoping for. I think it will probably sell just fine, even in its first incarnation. Between now and the time it’s released, Apple may well add that certain something that makes me have to have it. It may not happen until iPad 2.0.

For now, then, the iPad is still an open question to me. It’s a device that utterly emanates potential, to be sure. Potential that could well change the face, not only of computing, but of consumer electronics. But potential that -- for now, at least -- remains unrealized.

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Comments

Norm

In my opinion, as a business owner, the thing that they introduced that we can’t live without is the iWork apps for the iPad.
I am VERY interested to see how they play out and what kind of other apps they will inspire.
I in no way see the iPad as a replacement for my computer or my smartphone (Im a BB user) but for short travel and onsite pricing the iWork apps have me eagerly watching this device.

I won’t be the first to buy it but I will be right up there in line to test it out.

gplawhorn

I don’t think that the “certain something” that sets the iPad apart will come from Apple, at least not directly. My iPod Touch is simply an iPod - in fact, an iPod with far less memory. But I still carry it with me everywhere I go.

What sets my Touch apart isn’t so much what Apple did, but what Apple allowed others to do - Apps. While I do use the Calendar and Contact features once in a while, my Touch’s real attraction comes from the third-party applications that sync up with my Macbook Pro.

I think that the same will prove true for the iPad. It’s not what Apple ships that will make the difference (anybody still using MacPaint? How about MacWrite?) but what other people can creatively do with the environment that matters (I’ll use both Photoshop and Word today).

The iPad’s challenge will be to be more than a large-format iPod Touch, but it’s not much of a challenge; developers are going to quickly provide the real reasons to own one.

geoduck

For me the question of what the iPad can do that the iPod Touch cannot is simple. The iPad is big enough. Big enough to do something with. Older eyes, and thick mechanics fingers don’t work well with a smartphone. It’s the reason that I hate the BlackBerry my employer gave me. It’s just too damn small to use comfortably. The iPad gives me one compelling feature: real estate. It’s an iPod Touch with a keyboard I can actually type on. A screen on which I can see a whole page without having to scan and pan. Yes there will be other features and third party apps will greatly enhance its capabilities. For me though, the bottom line is given the choice between playing a game, checking e-mail, surfing, or using an app for work on the iPT/iPhone or the iPad I know which one I will choose. The one that’s more comfortable.

Ref Librarian

LOL I see the problem as being that the people who are writing all these hate the iPad, love the iPad and don’t have a use for the iPad (like above) articles are in the computer business.

I’m not in the computer business and I don’t have a need for a MacBook Pro and never will. Let the people who have to have that kind of computing power lug it around! I’m a woman who doesn’t like to carry heavy things. I have discovered with my iPhone the joy of apps that do just the things I want it to do, too. Who needs full fledged programs when a touch will open up just what you need? I don’t want a computer that weighs a ton and it big and bulky. I don’t want a computer that could conceivably do everything that a rocket scientist wants it to do now and in the future. I don’t need that.

I want a lightweight, easy to view, with great graphics, screen, that I can read my email on, watch a video or interview on, read the newspaper and see what the latest fashions are on a magazine, read or listen to a book, take to-do notes, figure out my calendar, play a game or two, look to see what LL Bean has put on sale and catch up with a couple of forums I belong to. And I want to be able to do that when I am traveling or in the car or waiting for the kids to finish up riding the ponies. I want a tablet that I can hand to a kid or an adult to keep them quiet for a while. I want something I can watch in the tub or car or plane or for goodness sakes when I am eating in a restaurant (or coffee house) all alone.

So I don’t care what y’all think. An iPad is going to strike a huge cord in all the people who have taken to the iPhone but want a little bit more.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Chuck, the part you missed is that it is a *magical* device. It turns Flash animations and applications into Lego bricks. It focusses even the most ardent ADHD case on one task at a time. It keeps readers from developing cataracts from too much book reading in the sun. And it’s going to make old men sitting on couches cool again. Heck, it even seems to have done more for the stubby beard than Brett Favre!

For me though, it isn’t just love or hate. It’s love/hate. I love that this will usher in a plethora of fairly affordable Windows and Android tablet devices that will do more than display pictures and browse the web in a pinch. I love that this might eventually bring an Apple MacTablet into play. Or maybe Wacom will solve that need with a wireless Cintiq. I hate that the device is locked down. I hate that Apple fans have for the most part swallowed the company line and are walking around extolling the virtues of Big Steve protecting them from all that is evil and unpure. Roll the 1984 commercial…

Ref Librarian

It sounds a little like someone who has left a religion but still can’t “leave” it, Bosco, when you give your devils nicknames like “Big Steve” and mistake people who like a product from a company and are happy with what it does with cult followers of “Big Steve.”

ghanna

The people complaining about no camera and other features forget about USB, Bluetooth and Wifi. Third party manufacturers can make all sorts of cameras.
The Potential has no yet been realized. Bluetooth Cameras, WebCams, Alarm Systems, Personal Weather Station, Baby monitors, etc….

jragosta

There’s one way to see whether the iPad fans or haters are correct - see if it sells.

In the countries where preorders are allowed, it’s selling like crazy. Several countries have already stopped sales because preorders exceed expected supply.

It’s going to sell like crazy because most people are smarter than analysts and the average Apple-hater.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

More iPad *magic*... It turns reference librarians into psycho-analysts and turns “it’s the future” into a substantive argument.

Here’s something I can promise you… A touch on the iPad will not always “open what you need”. The communication landscape (and notice I didn’t say “computer landscape”) is far too rich for one company to stay on top of all existing and emerging file formats and even informal communication protocols. At best, a device like this will let you access of fair to good portion of the information you receive in a pinch.

Meanwhile, literally hundreds of companies will leverage open standards (not necessarily “free” standards, just ones where companies behind them are willing to license technologies) to deliver devices that compete on every conceivable axis. Collectively, they will invest 10x more capital and 100x more creative manpower than Apple could conceivably muster. From this market will emerge form factors and feature sets that beat Apple on price and performance at the expense of purity and elegance. 15% or so will opt for Apple’s planned community, while 85% go with what just emerged to meet their needs. You’ll pay a dollar premium for the Apple logo and you’ll pay a social premium in not being totally compatible with your friends and associates. Your iPad won’t work with all the cool 3rd party devices either. Apple will wall you off from the rest of the word, and you’ll think that’s a feature!

@ghanna… There is no current way with the publicly available APIs and API usage policies for developers to make these devices available to other applications. So, for example, a videoconferencing app would have to include device support for particular cameras. Or a productivity app would have to include drivers for particular printers. A MacTablet would not have this kind of problem. Windows and Android tablets will not have this kind of problem.

rabber

I am no Apple fanboy. I enjoy using some of Apple’s products and at the same time wouldn’t use others if you gave them to me.

The iPad solves some critical issues for me that I have been struggling with over the past year. It does not solve all of them, but it solves enough to make this a must have product. I spend my day traveling locally on sales calls and meeting with business partners. My car is full of samples that have to be shown to customer - video-conferencing would never work. Unfortunately, I have about 10” of notebooks that are full of datasheets, product photos, application photos, etc that I also need to haul around. Since all of these files are available in electronic format, I could “carry” them around on my iPad. I am also asked for pricing during my meetings. I am unwilling to carry around an end user price list on paper, but I could easily create these in a variety of spreadsheets and review them with my customers on the iPad.

I currently carry around my MacBookPro, but I find it slow to start, bulky to carry into my meetings and, most importantly, a little too intimidating. The iPad solves these issues and would allow me to rid myself of the laptop. I would still need a computer, but now I can get an iMac for when I am at my desk. This would be a more powerful computer that woudlbe faster at getting soem tasks done than my 3 year old MBP.

Whiel I still need to verify that the iPad will allow me to load up a bunch of PDF files and photos for showing to customers, I think this will easily be done. Count on me to be buying one in the first few weeks.

Ref Librarian

@bosco

You are making a statement - that it will not always open what I need without knowing me or the things that I open. This product that hasn’t been released may not always open what *you* need in the misty future, and if it doesn’t I hope you won’t buy the thing or will return it quickly if you do, and will even post to attest to that here. So far the Apple products that I own have served me well and I haven’t had any of the problems that you go on about.

I don’t know why you are so against planned communities, in real life or for computers. I live in a planned community now and I like it just fine. If you don’t, don’t live in a planned community. If you don’t like Apple products, don’t buy them. It is very simple.

Sky

I said that the real key feature for Apple to include was something no one had figured out—something that we never knew we wanted, but—once Apple showed it—none of us would want to live without.

That is where developers and apps come in. The iPhone is good, but the apps make it great.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Ref Librarian… The iPad is not like your Mac. Since it is my business and has been my business for 20 years to know what typical users are trying to do with their computers—it’s how I know what software to write so that I get paid—I can guarantee that unless you are a purposely uninteresting person with no friends or coworkers (a possibility I totally discount), you will run into data they want to share with you on your iPad that you can’t open or view. It will happen with Flash and PowerPoint right out of the box. If you are an avid Facebook user, it will (because of Flash) affect most of the social games available on Facebook. I just imagine you as an interesting person. I will say that rabber is the first here to specify a real world scenario where the iPad makes sense. The caveat being easy transfer of PDFs. Knowing the lengths iPhone developers go in syncing non-iTunes content right now, that strikes me as iffy.

Here’s why I am “against” planning… Lake Forest, CA, where I live. No dog park. We contract animal services with a kill shelter north of the 55 rather than with a neighboring city that would save us money and save our pets when they get lost. We have a glut of office space on the 241 corridor because the planners thought it should all be built up in the late 90s and early 2000s. We are using eminent domain to take a families dream property from them to swap land with the county for a sports park that will not include even a tiny dog park facility. We tore down (via eminent domain) a shopping center and turned El Toro road into the biggest traffic cluster——imaginable. We have unoccupied storefronts in all the malls, large and small, old and new. In the brand new master planned Arbor, we can’t keep the old people from driving their cars into the shops because parking is that close to retail. RIP Coldstone Creamery. What planners do is amass and exercise vast amounts of power contrary to the interests of their subjects, primarily to satisfy their sense of aesthetic. And it’s no different with the control freaks behind the iPad. The joke will be on the users.

Ref Librarian

Hello! I’ve had Macs off and on since the early 1980s. I think I got my first in 1983. At work we have Microsoft products and flash and adobe has problems playing and opening all the time. You should hear the patron complaints like I do! And often there is no sound. The tech guys have job security trying to patch all the cracks in the dam every day. There doesn’t seem to be enough of them. Then I come home to my iMac or turn on my iPhone, both of which just work.

I get Facebook just fine on my iPhone. I will on my iPad. So far I haven’t had any problems opening anything and until I do, I don’t relate to what you are saying.

Just because your planned community has leaders and voters that are idiots doesn’t mean that my community is the same. Thank goodness it is doing very well.

Ref Librarian

That sounded unsympathetic, and I’m sorry about that. I think you should move to a new community where you will be happier. I realize that the patrons and our pitiful Microsoft system may not be the norm and more like your home community - badly organized and run - which is why I don’t care for Microsoft at the moment. It may work better for other companies. Lots of people like Microsoft products.

John Elberling

Good start:

“They tend to include those of us who would like to actually see a shipping device before weighing in on whether the iPad will be our entr?e to a magical utopian future or doom Apple to oblivion.”

Bad finish:

“But potential that—for now, at least—remains unrealized.”

you stepped on your own lede.

JulesLt

They did show what it does that neither the iPhone or MacBook do, and the clue was the comfortable leather chair on stage - it’s the perfect form for browsing the Internet.

Well, actually I think slightly larger will be better still, but not at the cost of weight.

Bosco - I’m sure people will live without Flash games. They already do with their mobiles - i.e. they see Facebook as Facebook on mobiles, even if they can’t access Farmville. And Farmville could easily use Flash-to-iPhone compilation to actually sell an iPhone version of Farmville to those people who do want it on their mobile.

More to the point, if this really does become an issue, adding Flash support is a software update (and with 10.1 giving acceptable performance on non-Windows systems for the first time, a viable one).

Interestingly, Adobe have already (just) confirmed that Flash 10.1 needs Android 2.1, cutting off support for anything older than 12 months - and their own estimate is 53% Flash support on smartphones by 2012.

Or, if it means that much to you, you’ll buy an Android tablet with Flash, but won’t be able to use any of the iPhone app library.

In short, we are out of the age of ubiquity / domination of a single software platform - which solved file compatibility for many people, but at significant cost.

(Having been involved with computers since 1981, I consider the pre-PC era, of many competing different systems, to have been more innovative than the PC era, which has imposed a basic architecture that can’t really be changed, only built on top of).

Another point - while I agree we’ll see Android tablets reasonably soon, with similar functionality, I think you’re way off with Windows ones that come anywhere close in a meaningful timescale. For starters, Windows is stuck with Intel CPU’s and Atom is still way off ARM in power consumption - and while Windows supports multi-touch, unlike Android or the iPhone OS, it lacks a touch-oriented application development framework.

Lastly, the operating system itself just isn’t designed to be used that way - Apple didn’t just bung Mac OS X on here and say ‘job done’.

I’d have thought they’d be better scaling up Windows Mobile 7, than trying to squeeze Windows down, especially as Windows compatibility isn’t a significant advantage in this category (again, the vast majority of existing Windows software is not well designed for this form).

Maybe Courier will be Microsoft’s answer.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

JulesLT, what you are missing with your solution to the FarmVille problem is that Zynga updates that particular application more often than you would believe. They even have several versions of it running at a time to live-test new features with some users. The extreme dynamism is one of the things that makes the game so interesting for 70+ million people!

While Apple goes on its touch everything revolutionary tangent, the rest of the market will see penning and touching as an augmentation of the traditional UI, i.e. an incremental improvement. I tried out an Asus Eee PC T91MT this week. If it ran Mac OS X, it would be perfect, but Windows 7 isn’t horrible. Apps with controls too small for fingers continue to work with a mouse or the stylus just as anyone would expect. Asus ships with a few pen and touch optimized apps. There’s also an opportunity to deliver them with existing development tools and without a gatekeeper. I can guarantee when my educational customers ask me about the iPad, I will point them at the T91MT and they’ll be glad I did. Right now, we give these customers a choice of using “pro” activation codes on Mac or Windows versions of our software. It just works. Incorporating iPad into that scheme would violate Apple’s store agreement. So we would add hassle for the customer so Apple can get the cut they so richly think they deserve. The best part of the T91MT is that this model is the first out the door. There will be many and they will get better and cheaper. Surely one will look like a giant iPod Touch for those who can’t get enough of those curves.

JulesLt

And the problem there is? They need to compile their Flash code into SWF binary form for delivery via Facebook. Compiling a second build and uploading onto the AppStore, and pushing out updates isn’t significantly different. Ensuring you’re running compatible versions on different platforms - ditto.

I don’t buy the augmentation angle - it’s what we’ve had for the last decade - I was one of those happy Palm users, and at work we’ve been using stylus driven smartphones for work. I’ve used XP on a 9” screen and I know that it works . . . but not well. Ditto OS X on small screens.

But I can recognise what the iPhone and iPad represent. Ignoring it is, well, it reminds me of people whose reaction to GUI was pretty much shoving their CPM & DOS applications inside a window and hoping the fad would go away.

I’d agree with you that the App Store causes problems for certain types of development - it’s focused very much on sales to individual consumers, as are the devices - we’re going with web apps for that reason, and for wider device compatibility - but still acknowledging the basic UI change smartphones, and touch tablets represent.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@JulesLT Zynga, the FarmVille developer, people have stated in various interviews that they often update the FarmVille application many times per day depending on what they’re experimenting with and what load issues they may be encountering. They may deliver different versions of the app to different users, depending on what they’re experimenting with.

So, Flash as delivery platform running inside the browser lets them update their app several times a day, with different builds for different users. Flash compiled to iPhone app and pushed through the App Store _______________. Complete that sentence and you’ll see why FarmVille will not run on the iPad.

70+ million users. Think of that as 1 user per pound of testicle tissue that Steve Jobs thinks he has for standing up against Flash. He’s not caving. He already painted himself into a corner. And the issue has nothing to do with performance or crashes and everything to do with controlling delivery.

Ref Librarian

Personally I’ve blocked Farmville like most of my friends who don’t want to play it.  Those people who buy a computer or handheld device to play the game should most definitely buy a machine that runs flash. That isn’t a priority with me.

I don’t like flash for the reasons that have to do with performance and crashing of the public computers. I am glad that Apple is not backing it. Once it stops crashing the public computers, I’ll change my mind.

JulesLt

You’re right about the crashes - my experience is that iPhone apps are buggier than Flash, in general.

However, I think it’s more about controlling the platform than the delivery. They’re happy with web apps - and once pretended that was the way things should be developed.

My interpretation is that Apple do not want to be dependent on third parties for any component of their systems - as it is, even if Apple has wanted to deliver the iPad with Flash, they couldn’t, because there is no shipping version of Flash 10 for any ARM-based devices - only a beta - a fact oft overlooked in coverage.

I don’t think Jobs has painted himself into a corner, either - Apple have made no public statement for or against Flash - only leaks, and their obvious absence from Adobe’s Open Screen Project.

The one public statement is the one from Jobs about Flash Lite being too restricted, and full Flash too slow on mobiles - this was when the iPhone first launched. We might be there now with Flash 10.1 as a standalone runtime, but it looks like there are still issues with it as a browser plugin (disabled by default in mobile Firefox beta).

anovelli

I’m wondering about a couple of different things:

1) Will tethering be opened up? It seems ridiculous to have to have distinct data plans for an iPhone and an iPad.

2) When tethered, could the iPhone act as the camera? This would allow video chat (perhaps a tad clumsily) as well as showing someone your environs. I can see cool applications of this, though the onboard camera may be cheap enough to even do both.

3) I fully assume we will see a camera and iChat over 3G+ and wifi… this device BEGS for it, especially the way it is being touted as a more “intimate” experience than a laptop. Maybe streaming vid is a part of an expanded MobileMe and everyone can video blog soon?

wab95

Many of the most enduring revolutions have had inauspicious beginnings, and their destabilising, transformative potential unsuspected by all but a very few.

Think ‘iPod’ - the original. It left many a pundit and reviewer, many of them long-time Mac users, bemused, nonplussed. There was nothing obviously revolutionary in it; the skies didn’t open, the seas didn’t part. But it was easy to use, did what people wanted, and then the revolution became apparent.

The people discovered all the things that they could do with it. It even created a whole new communications industry that even took its name (despite Apple not having invented the ‘podcast’), while others rediscovered the joy music and having it with them wherever/whenever they wanted because the device facilitated it by being easy to use and doing what people wanted.

Will the iPad make people rediscover the joy of reading and having all their media, including whole libraries with them? That depends on the people.

It’s not the device; it’s the people that make a revolution. All that the device has to do is be easy to use and do what people want. The people will take it from there.

I, for one, see a device that is easy to use. The question is, will it do what people want.

JulesLt

re. Flash crashing and performance. Download the 10.1 Beta. Far better OS X performance, and it uses a similar mechanism to Chrome, in isolating individual SWF into self-contained threads/processes, so a single SWF crash doesn’t bring down the whole player, bringing down the browser, etc. . . it’s easy to presume Adobe doesn’t care about these issues, and it’s easy to underestimate how difficult they are to fix (this isn’t a program, it’s a language and a runtime).

jecrawford

I wonder how Bosco manages to spend so much time and effort contributing to this forum?

And why does he sound like a missionary trying to persuade the rest of us of the error of our ways?

I suspect Bosco is not a lady, but “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

Might you just be a trifle arrogant, Bosco? Or even patronising? Apple fanboys are probably a lot smarter than you give them credit for.

John

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I type fast. It’s research. If it annoys you, mouse over the little sprocket and select “ignore member”.

I’d really like to flush out some compelling uses for this thing. In all the discussions here, I’ve seen one. The only thing game changing about the iPad is that it’s a portable portrait-mode device, and that’s really what the particular application purports to take advantage of. I would hope that Apple’s true fans would think critically about this device before welcoming it. Apple, unfortunately, has a one-track mind. It does not focus well on multiple large tasks. The effort they put into this new product is effort taken away from the Mac line. And because they don’t license the OS, there is nobody to pull up the slack. Inexpensive tablets (that do portable portrait mode and do all the things PCs do) will proliferate in the Windows market and even the nascent Android market this year, driven initially in response to the iPad. Meanwhile, nothing for Mac users.

Gadget people have already figured this out. iPad is not magical. It does not display the whole web. It’s not for novices. It doesn’t even work without a host computer. You can’t even print with it. You can’t install your own software on it. Hell, they won’t even approve Opera for those that want a different browsing experience. This tight control might fly on your phone because the extras are a novelty. But they shouldn’t fly with devices like this. It’s time for the Mac community to call Apple out on this too. It’s just sanction of the victim if we don’t.

Oh, even the Wall Street Journal gets this. Read here.

jecrawford

Research like this?
http://www.opera.com/press/releases/2010/02/10/

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Exactly. And if you paid any attention to discussion of Opera Mini, you’d know that it has not been approved for the App Store and that Opera doesn’t expect it to be approved. So you’ll never get to run that on your iPhone or iPad unless you jailbreak and Opera distributes on Cydia (highly unlikely). This discussion has been going on for more than a year. See, for example, here.

Opera is making a point with this private demo to tech press. They’re being careful not to state it explicitly (see comments here), but they’re letting the tech press connect the dots.

JulesLt

Bosco - I still don’t buy the argument that inexpensive Windows tablets will proliferate, based on my previous points - it’s going to be hard for any Intel-based machine to match this performance level.

I’d be amazed if Windows 7 even ran in the (likely) amount of RAM they’re using here, nor is there the equivalent Intel system-on-a-chip combination (Atom + GPU + system ram on one die).

Android is the far more likely option, being already close in terms of hardware support, SDK and apps.

And personally, I think you’re seeing this too much as a computer, when it’s more like a games console.

Much the same as the iPod Touch (more than the iPhone where operator restrictions apply) - we can see it’s clearly a general purpose computer and operating system with artificial restrictions put on it. But the majority of people who have them don’t see them that way.

They don’t see their TiVo as a Linux box, or their WiFi router as a locked down computer either.

That’s another part of the commoditization story - expensive general purpose devices get replaced by cheap specialized single purpose devices. And I think this is more like a ‘device’ in most peoples minds, except the tech industry.

Ref Librarian

The general public doesn’t care if a device is locked down or not. All they care about is if it is easy to use, doesn’t crash and does what they want it to do, and that is mainly simple tasks. They would really prefer not to have to know or learn anything about a computer. You ask most of the public what OS is on the computer they are using or what web browser and they don’t know. They don’t care either. No kidding. This is the group that the iPad is aimed at, IMO.

GU1T4R_5T4R

It’s not a computer so it’s never going to replace your laptop, and people can not do their online schooling on it. So, it seems like it’s nothing more than a platform for apple to try out their new processor, and they know they have a “built in” core of people who will waste their money buying these giant Touch screen iPods.

JulesLt

Small thought on the Asus Eee PC T91MT - can you imagine using it in a tablet manner i.e. holding it in one hand, like a pad of paper?

To me, that’s been the flaw with almost all existing tablets - their bulk pretty much reduces the point of the tablet mode.

JulesLt

Why would you want it to replace your laptop?

Put another way - how many TVs or radios (or devices capable of playing TV & radio) do you have?

Do you own a games console as well as a PC?

GU1T4R_5T4R

Why would you want it to replace your laptop?

Put another way - how many TVs or radios (or devices capable of playing TV & radio) do you have?

Do you own a games console as well as a PC?

Exactly, how many of these stupid things do you need. Why isn’t apple focusing on making computers? Apple, we love your computers, we don’t want a giant iPhone without a phone, or a giant touch screen DVD player without the DVD player.

jragosta

“Why isn?t apple focusing on making computers? Apple, we love your computers, we don?t want a giant iPhone without a phone, or a giant touch screen DVD player without the DVD player.”

That’s a silly argument

Wy can’t Honda focus on making lawn mowers? Why can’t Hyundai focus on making bicycles? Why can’t Sony focus on making Walkman players?

Apple has decided to add a new product line. Millions of people are applauding that move. Once you’ve created a business worth $100 + billion and revolutionized several markets, they might care what you have to say.

Until then, if you don’t like it, don’t buy one. Millions of people DO like it and plan to buy one. It’s that simple.

Ref Librarian

I don’t want a laptop. I have one. It’s heavy and bulky and big. I want a small device that I can take with me on weekends and other places where I don’t want to carry a laptop. I don’t see why some people are so infatuated with the idea of bulk and weight that they want to foist it off on everyone else.

Hey people, if a world without a laptop fills you with fear and loathing, I have big news for you! It isn’t happening this year.

GU1T4R_5T4R

Wy can?t Honda focus on making lawn mowers? Why can?t Hyundai focus on making bicycles? Why can?t Sony focus on making Walkman players?

Apple has decided to add a new product line. Millions of people are applauding that move. Once you?ve created a business worth $100 + billion and revolutionized several markets, they might care what you have to say.

Until then, if you don?t like it, don?t buy one. Millions of people DO like it and plan to buy one. It?s that simple.

I see no validity in your comparisons. Exactly where is this new product line you refer to, and who is applauding it? I know you are trying to convince yourself that when you buy this iTampon i mean iPad, that you won’t be wasting your money. How exactly will you use this thing, and how will it be different than what you already use?
And, i assume by your comments, that you are the sole creator of some 100+ Billion dollar company, which company is that? The iPad, like MacBook Air, and Apple TV, are distractions that are causing latency of the development useful products. There are certainly much more useful things Apple could be creating, but of course they are going to create cheap toys that mindless zombies are going to throw their money at.

Ref Librarian

I am appluding it. The new product is an iPad. If you don’t want to buy one I hope you won’t.

Signed,
A Happy Mindless Zombie Who Is Glad She Has Apple Stock

Ref Librarian

That would be “applauding,” as in “wild cheering.”

jragosta

“I see no validity in your comparisons. Exactly where is this new product line you refer to, and who is applauding it? “

I guess you’re the one person in the universe who missed the iPad announcement?

As for the people applauding it, maybe you should open your eyes. One report says 20% of doctors plan to buy one. One says that 9% of the surveyed audience plans to buy one within the first year (which would vastly exceed even the most optimistic estimates). Or look at the countries where it was possible to pre-order the iPad. Several of them have already stopped preorders because demand is greater than any conceivable supply.

Your silly remark about the name makes it clear that you’re incapable of any rational discussion on the topic. If you have something intelligent to say, do so. But you really need to learn that “I don’t want one” is not the same as “No one wants one”.

geoduck

How exactly will you use this thing, and how will it be different than what you already use?

Fair question. I’m applauding it and am looking at getting one. The 16 or 32Gb version without the G3 at this point, though everything is subject to change once I handle the thing.

Theoretically, if it does what I want what would I use it for?
WarDriving. I need something lighter than the company Lenovo laptop to check WiFi in my companies resorts.
Reading. I read palaeontology texts for fun ( yeah I’m weird that way). This will with luck let me get them in a lighter and hopefully cheaper format than the $100 4-6 pound monstrosities I currently carry around on vacation.
Games. I like the look of a number of the games for the iPT and iPhone but I don’t have either. This will let me play them on a screen that is easier for these old eyes to see.
Pictures. It’s easier, and lighter to hand around when we’re showing photo’s to family and friends.
That’s enough for me to consider an iPad. If it will do this then it would be enough for me to plunk down ~$500. I will likely discover other uses for it over time but for a start this would be enough.

It will NOT replace our MacBooks. It’s not capable enough at this point. I’m hoping that it will do some things the MacBook won’t do as well, or at all, but I still need the MacBook for other things. I look at it like my iPod. I COULD play music on the MacBook and I do when I’m at my desk, but when I’m working in the yard the iPod is much more convenient. Under particular circumstances that are important to me it looks like it might be of value.

I don’t understand some people’s angry opposition to the device. It’s a new product, possibly to grow into a new line over time much as the iPod has. If it does something you want then get one. If it’s not going to be of value then don’t. Simple as that.

JulesLt

The opposition is much the same as people who couldn’t see what a laptop did that their desktop computer didn’t do better (me, for the first decade of laptops) or who didn’t see what a GUI system did that a DOS-system couldn’t do.

The answer was nothing at all.

It was just the wrong question to ask.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually, the people I know who think the iPad is stupid are mostly annoyed that Apple gets diverted from its Mac customers for a product that has fail in its genes. We’re annoyed that Steve Jobs picks fights over issues he is absolutely wrong about. We pray that none of our older family members will want one of these and all the trouble they will bring, like not being able to open attachments from friends, not being able to use their favorite web sites, etc. We also know we’re gonna be annoyed by the d-bags who will inevitably carry these dumb things into Starbucks and act like they are all that. As a software developer, I have a problem with the walled garden and will support more open systems. It’s not just a moral crusade. The more open systems are a better value for my customers.

Really, there is no reason to hate anything unless it is the embodiment of true evil. Sadly, the iPad passes that test.

Ref Librarian

LOL If you think the iPad is the embodiment of “true evil,” you must have been going la-la-la-la in your history classes, yes?

Joe

@Bosco
“Really, there is no reason to hate anything unless it is the embodiment of true evil. Sadly, the iPad passes that test.”

This is, of course, absurd. Apple thinks it’s going to be a success. Millions of people think it’s going to be a success (look at the countries where pre-orders have been halted because sales were greater than anticipated supply). I’ll put Apple’s ability to judge the success of the product against yours any day - and I guarantee you’ll lose (how many markets have YOU revolutionized? How many billion dollar products have YOU created?).

Not to mention, of course, that your claim that the Mac has been neglected is, of course, absurd. Mac sales have been growing quite handily lately. So you know more than the entire rest of the world put together?

Maybe you should get a life and stop attacking a product that you’ve never used and don’t know anything about just because you think you’re too good for it.

Ref Librarian

Is anyone here familiar with Fandom Wank? I think we need a Geek Wank site because I have to say some of this stuff is pretty hilarious. The only card that hasn’t been played so far is the Hitler card. Bosco, there’s still time.

geoduck

You mean this one?

http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/hitler-ipad-video-hitler-slams-apples-tablet-ipad

Ref Librarian

LOL!!!! Thank you! That made my night.

JulesLt

Joe - and while we’re on the subject, we’ve also seen some really interesting improvements to the core of Mac OS X (GCD, blocks, OpenCL) which are rapidly moving up into other layers (MacRuby). We’ve seen huge amounts of work going into LLVM/Clang which will in turn allow for better development tools to be built on top than are possible with gcc - but this stuff is of no interest at all if you’re not going to use it. . .

>The more open systems are a better value for my customers.
I’d say that’s an unproven statement, until someone ships something equivalent for less.  And do you support Linux???

Joe

Interesting that you should mention Linux.

I personally expect that this will be the first Apple product purchased in quantity (not just one or two people) specifically to run Linux. The form factor will be appealing to a lot of people and it should be fast enough for a reasonably stripped down Linux.  Since there’s a version of Linux for the iPhone, I would expect to see one for the iPad.

That’s not to say that I expect millions of people to do so, but I suspect it will be a significant number.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Maybe you should get a life and stop attacking a product that you?ve never used and don?t know anything about just because you think you?re too good for it.

Joe, I need to apologize. I really didn’t mean to say those things about your Mom. It was out of line.

@JulesLT… Actually, it is a proven statement. Many of my customers who run into issues or want to test out some idea I might be working on will get a build in email they can try out, often the same day they report the issue. With the App Store way of doing things, it gets much more involved than “unzip this on your desktop, restart product, let me know what you think”. So yes, the more open systems are a better value for my customers. Just speaking from experience here…

Ref Librarian

@Bosco Now come the mom insults. Vintage Geek Wank.

Closed systems are all my customers are ever going to get. Best value for their money, and really I am speaking from experience…

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So you wouldn’t want your customers to use Macs? And they call me the troll! Unbelievable.

Ref Librarian

Oh no, I will continue to encourage my customers to buy Macs as I do, the ones who ask me. I think I am beginning to see what the problem is. Your customers are developers. My customer is the Public, the same people that Apple is targeting with the iPad.

Have you ever seen a middle aged man who is unable to silence his phone? I see it all the time. People have these marvelous phones that can do all kinds of things but all they know how to do with them is call a few family members and friends. If they would carry a book around with them, maybe they could learn about the phone and all the marvelous things they could do with it, but they don’t and they are never going to do that. That is the same person who only knows how to do a few limited things on the computer. That’s the kind of person I see in the thousands every week.

They are probably never going to download a bunch of apps unless someone does it for them. That is why it is very important that iPad comes loaded with the ones that the average person will want, just like the iPhone did. Apple knows that. The public will take to the iPad like ducks to water because they don’t have to carry around a book to learn how to use it. They will just tap an icon to email their family and tap another icon to read a book. Making computers accessible like that to everyone is genius IMO.

I have no idea why people call you a troll. Would you like to explore that?

Nookster

I have no idea why people call you a troll.

To detract from their own troll worthy behaviour.

Bosco disparages Product?. This in turn compels others to disparage Bosco.

geoduck

Bosco disparages Product?.

Film at Eleven

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

You nailed it Ref Librarian! My customers are developers. These 8, 9, and 10 year olds, along with their developer teachers and developer parents, develop picture books and share them with others. Schools pay for the software and associated services so that the little developers can improve their literacy. In fact, the product is popular with young developers in Native American schools and disadvantaged public schools.

I think the other thing you nailed that I really didn’t understand before is that the iPad will be an obvious public statement that owners need the training wheels. I don’t have the same dim view of most people’s ability to use computers because I talk to computer non-experts all the time to help them do things with my product and I can hear the “aha” moments over the phone. In fact, I know I’ll have more success helping out a teacher who doesn’t know how to organize the icons that fill up her desktop than an IT guy who includes all his certifications in his email footer and insists on having all apps and files stored on a server, with 30 kids trying to launch and then open 5 MB media files simultaneously over the network.

But I also think your premise that the iPad will be *magically* easier is off. From a relative ease of use standpoint, it’s basically Microsoft Bob except it won’t run on your existing PC. Go Apple innovation!!

In one of Guy Kawasaki’s books, he wrote that if you think your employees aren’t creative, go watch what they do from Friday close of business to Monday morning. Similarly, if you think people are just too stupid to use computers, go watch what some of the strugglers manage to accomplish with them. As a product developer, when you do that, and you see how they anchor themselves to the familiar and test the waters with the unfamiliar, you’ll see the necessary incremental improvements reveal themselves. I think that Apple, instead of taking the asset they have in the Mac and making the incremental improvements to play in this tweener space or actually compete in the phenomenally growing netbook space, decided to go “revolutionary” and wrap itself in “innovation” by bringing a jumbo iPod Touch into play, and hoping to scale up the mobile app market. To me, it seems about as silly as trying to sell ring-tones to desktop Skype users. These walled gardens work with mobile phones because of the form factor and convenience, and not particularly because of utility.

Ref Librarian

Ah Bosco you are an elitist and so out of touch with the majority of Americans!

The public I was talking about are the homeless, the less advantaged, the aging population, the handicapped, the ones just out of prison, on welfare, the high school drop outs, and all the people who are not in college right now and who do not have a handy elitist computer guy on call like yourself.

Anytime you’d like to come down to your local urban library and teach them classes, we’d be glad to see you and put you right to work! Then you could here the people say “I don’t want to know all that. I just want to see my granddaughter’s picture.”

You miss out on the Public, you know. They don’t want to learn more, they want machines that serve them they way they want to be served. It is such a glaring point that you miss. Isn’t it Mr. Ferrell, the ice cream man, who gives motovitional customer service talks about giving people what they want? That’s lesson one. Second? The customer is the boss.

Ref Librarian

@Bosco. I saw the film. Was that you, Hitler? (see the link above for the film)

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

That is very noble work, Ref Librarian. Would you like a cookie? It’s also a skewed view of “the public”. About 85% of American adults have high school degrees. About 30% have college degrees. A majority actually have some college. Regardless, kids that have access to computers in school or at home tend to be exceptionally adept with them and quickly develop the basic motor skills and mental models needed to use them effectively. Rich interactions and occasional problems help them develop problem solving skills in a low cost, low consequence environment.

The people you serve are not going to find the iPad any easier than a whole host of devices they have trouble with. One of my grandfathers is literally scared of the ATM at his bank. My Mom loves her iPhone, but is not terribly adventurous with it. And when I find her things like Pandora, she doesn’t get why she can’t send a text message without it stopping. The locked down nature of the iPad has nothing to do with ease of use or accessibility, and everything to do with an App Store cash grab. The irony of unleashing that on the homeless and the disadvantaged would be bitingly funny if the homeless and disadvantaged weren’t involved. Instead, it’s just biting.

daemon

The public I was talking about are the homeless, the less advantaged, the aging population, the handicapped, the ones just out of prison, on welfare, the high school drop outs, and all the people who are not in college right now and who do not have a handy elitist computer guy on call like yourself.

Yeah, because those are Apple’s customers.

Oh wait, that’s right, they’re not.

Ref Librarian

Well, daemon and Bosco you are both wrong. They are Apple’s customers. The aging population (let’s say anyone over 40 or would you prefer 50?) have money, the less advantaged than you have money, and so on. The homeless, not so much, but they are a small fraction. Oh, and Bosco, I don’t need a cookie since I am paid pretty well to do what I do for a living, but thank you. I do like homemade cookies.

What you are both mistaking is “don’t want to” doesn’t mean stupid. It isn’t that. It means “I don’t want to learn that.” For example, I could get training to run AutoCAD. I am certainly smart enough to learn. I don’t want to. Instead I prefer to let my daughter do it.

A lot of people are smart enough to learn to use a computer. They don’t want to and if they are forced to do it, they shoot themselves in the foot sometimes because they just don’t enjoy it. They want something different to do the things they want to do. Just as Bosco’s Mom *loves* her iPhone, she and people like her are going to love an iPad because it is the same type of device as a iPhone. The iPhone is friendly and tactile and provides a different experience than a computer does. One size does not fit all when it comes to computer interfaces.

I am very excited to see iPads show up at the library. I don’t think everyone has to use the type of computers that I enjoy. I want companies to develop different types of them so that everyone has the opportunity to discover the kind of computer and computer device that they like best.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

And the mistake you make, Ref Librarian, is confusing simple and easy. The iPad may be simple to control, but it won’t be easy, for example, to listen to Pandora while reading email. It won’t be easy to share links to interesting websites on Twitter.

My Mom won’t love her iPad because she won’t get one grin. Much like when I was a child and she saved me from wearing dorky clothes, I will save her now from having a dumbed down crippled computing device. Arguably, the model is fine for a mobile phone, but not for a computing device. And they don’t need a $500 coffee table picture frame.

You know, here’s another thing I’m thinking about as I sit on the couch, MBP in lap this evening… How is that really going to work with the iPad. Do you hold it up with one hand and operate with the other. Do you hunch over it? Must you use it at a counter? Anyone wanna help me out? My iPhone is small enough to cradle in 3 fingers and operate mostly with my thumb.

Ref Librarian

Why should your mom listen to Pandora while reading email? Why can’t she listen to iTunes? But if she insists on Pandora, perhaps she will ulitmately end up with a different device or something will be worked out. If sharing interesting websites isn’t easy for your Mom, perhaps she won’t do it in the future. Or she will find herself some device to use that she prefers. Either way, it’s her choice isn’t it?

It is a great pity that you prevent your Mom from trying out new things. I suspect that you aren’t doing her any favors and stopping her from having fun. If it is her money, she might as well spend it on whatever she wants, be it a $500 iPad or $500 shoes, eh?

I think that people who go to the Apple store and try out the iPad will decide how they like to hold it, or if they do like to.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Why should your mom listen to Pandora while reading email? Why can?t she listen to iTunes?

And now we’ve arrived at the core of why the iPad is evil… Your simplifying decisions or Steve Jobs’ simplifying decisions—in this case, no multitasking—are not the objective best simplifying decisions. The particular set of such decisions, including no multi-tasking, no self-installed software, no Flash, no Opera or Firefox web browser, no porn apps, I could go on and on… This particular set is what makes the iPad a dud and something that I personally hope will fail bigtime.

By contrast, the netbook manufacturers that will venture into Windows 7 and Android tablets this year know their place. They’ll deliver spec/price proportional devices that remain mostly open. They’ll add features that simplify while keeping things people want to do that they haven’t imagined beforehand easy. Sure, I’d be happier if those devices could run the Mac OS, but that’ll be a place where my Mom will compromise. She’s already got a Windows laptop to run the embroidery CAD software she uses.

My Mom can spend her money on whatever she wants. If she asks about an iPad, I’ll tell her I think she should spend her money on a couple pairs of limited edition Nike sneakers. She would never be disappointed with those. If she buys an iPad and has trouble with it, I’ll suggest she take it back. Simple as that. But she knows I look out for her on the computing and gadget front and wouldn’t do something stupid like buy an iPad anyway grin.

Joe

@bosco
“And now we?ve arrived at the core of why the iPad is evil? Your simplifying decisions or Steve Jobs? simplifying decisions?in this case, no multitasking?are not the objective best simplifying decisions”

IN YOUR OPINION. Having a different opinion than you is not evil. Offering a limited number of choices.

Is Mercedes evil because they don’t offer a pickup truck? Is American Airlines evil because they don’t offer a flight to South Africa? Is Bose evil because they don’t offer a $19.99 portable MP3 player?

Apple made a series of decisions on what their product should offer. Experience has shown that Apple does very well in determining which features MANY (but, obviously, not all) potential customers want. The fact that they left out a few features that mostly geeks would want doesn’t make them evil by any stretch of the imagination.

It simply further reinforces the fact that you’re completely incapable of rational thought when it comes to Apple.

(And the fact that you’d recommend a pair of sneakers to your mother if what she really wants is a portable media device speaks worlds about your irrationality).

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

(And the fact that you?d recommend a pair of sneakers to your mother if what she really wants is a portable media device speaks worlds about your irrationality).

Nike doesn’t intentionally cripple their SB Dunks. Get back to me when you can listen to Pandora and play Scrabble simultaneously on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. If she wants a portable intentionally crippled media device (PICMD), sure, the iPad would be great. If she wants a functional portable media device anytime soon, I’d point her to an Archos 9.

Joe

@bozo
“Nike doesn?t intentionally cripple their SB Dunks. Get back to me when you can listen to Pandora and play Scrabble simultaneously on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. If she wants a portable intentionally crippled media device (PICMD), sure, the iPad would be great. If she wants a functional portable media device anytime soon, I?d point her to an Archos 9.”

Get back to me when you can play Scrabble while listening to Pandora on your Nike shoes.

Let’s go through the conversation:
- You said the iPad wouldn’t multitask
- I pointed out that it could and you could listen to music while playing a game
- You responded “sure, but not the way I want to”
- I pointed out that the fact that it doesn’t do it your way is irrelevant
- You responded that if your mother wanted a media player, you’d suggest that she buy a pair of shoes instead

Get the picture? You’re irrational, not to mention your constant moving of the goal posts. If you had said up front that if your mother wanted an iPad that you’d recommend the Archos, that might have made some sense. But your inane recommendation of a pair of shoes to someone who wants a media device proves beyond any doubt that you’re either stupid, blinded by your hatred of anything from Apple, or purely irrational. Or all three.

But at least you’ve dropped the ‘Apple is evil because they won’t give me exactly what I want the way I want it, wah, wah, wah’ nonsense.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Joe, I’m not arguing with you. But one thing you point out is how much of a Rohrschach/Douche Test the iPad can be. The test is simple. Take any obvious shortcoming of the iPad and predict a fanboy’s reponse.

The iPad looks nice, but it doesn’t multitask. So why can’t you just listen to iTunes while playing DoodleJump like a normal person?

The iPad looks nice, but it won’t play Flash games in the browser. Flash is a resource hog and Adobe is lazy and you don’t need those games.

The iPad looks nice, but I can’t install my own softwarte. Apple is protecting you from all the problems you had with your Windows or Mac computer because you and most other people just aren’t smart enough to handle all that power wisely.

What it really comes down to Joe, is that when I walk into Starbucks without an iPad, nobody is going to think that I’m such a weak-ass that I need Apple’s managed experience to safely use a computing device or that I am compensating in a big, publicly visible way for having a small, limp unit. If you carry your iPad into Starbucks, and you don’t know what the rest of the people are thinking, I’m sure there will be an app for that grin.

Joe

@bozo:
So your point is that you are incapable of deciding what your needs are and determining whether it meets those needs. Rather, you make your ‘technical’ decisions on the basis of what others might think of you.

I’m not surprised that you can’t think for yourself. You haven’t shown much in the way of thinking skills in your posts here.

JulesLt

Trying to return a little civility into the discussion - Bosco, for what it?s worth, it looks like you can bypass the App Store for ?enterprise? / private applications, via the Enterprise developer program.

There are more hoops to jump through to register, but looks intended for business-to-business application sales and internal proprietary application development. This completely bypasses the App Store as part of the deployment process (i.e. once your business is approved, you don?t need to get each software version approved).

You can also have up to 100 ?test? devices as part of this ? so fast roll-out of Betas to nominated test users is still possible - but it looks like you need to decide who those users are, to authenticate them.

So, not a completely open system for selling to consumers, but from what I can see of your business, you only need ?open? to the point of the people managing systems, rather than the end users.

Flash - just done a quick check and running Farmville on Flash 10.1 as a browser plugin required 60Mb of RAM (real, not virtual). I think that’s a reasonable check as 10.1 has the mobile optimisations in there. The typical current smartphone has 128-196Mb of RAM. The Nexus One has 512Mb.

I still have the suspicion that most of what we’re seeing here is politics (Apple can’t be the only player in the market to ignore Flash, but they can until other devices ship it. They don’t want to give their backing to Adobe’s Open Screen Project, but at the same time as the public bad-mouthing from Adobe, and the private leaks from Apple, the Flash and Safari developers have been collaborating on the desktop version. And of course none of that collaboration would be relevant to a mobile version.
 
Multitasking - some of the things mentioned that can’t be done - like sharing a link - suggest to me something more like the ‘services’ architecture in OS X - some way of linking content types between Apps, and bringing up a mini-window with an action (that maybe runs and exits the called app, automatically?).

As for how you’ll use it - I’d imagine that you will, indeed, hold it in one hand and operate with the other, much like you can see people doing in the videos. It strikes me as a very natural device, being a similar size to a magazine or A4 pad - I can imagine using it in similar ways.

And this is why people think you’re a troll - on the one hand, you’ll make a criticism of the concept/form - on the other, it’s Apple’s implementation of the form that is wrong, and open firms will do better.

(And I still stand by everything I said about Windows 7 as a basis for this kind of device. Wrong hardware architecture. Windows Mobile 7 maybe).

jragosta

@JulesLt:
“(And I still stand by everything I said about Windows 7 as a basis for this kind of device. Wrong hardware architecture. Windows Mobile 7 maybe).”

Except for one problem - Windows Mobile 7 won’t run Flash. If Bosco has any integrity at all, he’s be attacking Microsoft for that just as much as he’s been attacking Apple.

OTOH, if Bosco has any intelligence, he’ll realize that both Apple and Microsoft had good reasons for that and that the devices will still be useful without Flash.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@JulesLT… We’ve been through this Enterprise program thing before. No, it’s not suitable. We have thousands of kids and teachers running the ebook software, not just 100. You make the mistaken assumption that we’d want to play in that space given the current restrictions and the history of Draconian Apple management of the platform. If we did support the iPad, it would be through the browser, much as we support the iPhone now. App approval is a non-starter. Period.

@jragosta WM7S won’t even ship until 2010 holiday season. In it’s first incarnation, it’s a phone, not a MID/tablet. If you “had any intelligence”, you could appreciate the difference. Let me spell it out for you. On a small screen like a phone that you can realistically put in your pocket and take with you everywhere, web access is a delightful bonus. On a large screen like iPad that you might use for a significant portion of your browsing of the web, web access is a necessity, and being able to view common content on the web is a necessity. Whether by engineering or by politics a device in this space can’t view Flash apps, it’s an epic fail (as the kids say).

It’s still not known how open WM7S will be to third party software. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important to me in devices I develop for. Android appears to have 3rd party openness as a core value. iPhone OS does not. WM7S is an unknown at this point, and likely will be for the better part of a month until Microsoft lays some of that stuff out at its next WM7S media event.

jragosta

@bosco:
Thanks for proving my point. If a device is from Apple (be it phone or tablet), lack of Flash is an unforgiveable oversight and will absolutely cause the device to fail in the marketplace.

If the device is from Microsoft, it’s OK that it doesn’t have Flash.

Can you say ‘hypocrite’?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jragosta Perhaps you need help with reading comprehension? If you read carefully what I wrote, the iPhone and a WM7S phone are acceptable in my highly respected opinion without Flash in the browser. The iPhone is made by Apple. Therefore, your conclusion shows a complete lack of deductive ability.

I would very much like to see Flash on both of these devices, for two reasons. It provides a rich platform with robust tools for developing software that could target them. It would take the phone vendor out of the developer/customer relationship. What I find most interesting is that most people here just side with Apple when it’s clearly not in their interest to do so. If you actually loved Apple, you’d be critical where it’s warranted.

JulesLt

>@JulesLT? We?ve been through this Enterprise program thing before. No, it?s >not suitable.
From what I understand, you’re not limited to 100 installs - only 100 test devices - and there is no App approval, only company approval - i.e. once signed up, you can roll out as many production installs as you like. I presume part of the criteria is that you’re dealing B2B, not B2C, and won’t use the program to runaround the App Store to the general public.

I’m not making any presumption about what you’d want to do - like you, we’re going with web apps, although our reasoning is device portability more than any issue with Apple’s control - given the size of the likely user base we can’t justify native development. If there was market demand for an iPhone/iPad native front-end, we’d do it.

But it’s worth getting the facts straight (although Apple’s site is short on the detail).

I still disagree that the absence of Flash is an ‘epic fail’ - and we have several production applications dependent on it. Once upon a time, you could have said the same for Active-X, or IE6 - that you couldn’t use the web without them. It was a true statement, but not a good argument for keeping things that way.

daemon

If the device is from Microsoft, it?s OK that it doesn?t have Flash.

Adobe has said previously there will be Flash 10.1 on Windows Mobile 7. It’s not like Steve Ballmer came out and said “No Flash on Windows Mobile 7!” like Steve Jobs did for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch.

JulesLt

And he said that when, exactly?

That is part of your problem - Jobs has NEVER said ‘No Flash for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch’ - his only on the record official comment was no Java, but that with Flash the problem was with it’s performance.

No journalist has been able to get an on the record commitment from Apple that there will never be Flash on the iPhone.

There are facts that can lead you to conclude that :
1) Their absence, along with Microsoft, from the Open Screen Project (Adobe’s alliance with phone and set-top box manufacturers, to bring full Flash to other OS).
2) The TOC of the App Store forbidding interpreters & no plug-in architecture for Safari. All that means is that it would need to be shipped with the OS.
3) Comments from Adobe towards Apple.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

JulesLT missed the part where the CEO of Apple called Adobe “lazy” and stated that a majority of Mac OS X crashes were Flash related. Perhaps Mr. Jobs would release data that supports the latter statement. A majority would be 1 crash over 50%. Having seen a lot of places where Mac OS X crashes (especially within QickTime), I would put money on that being a bit of an exaggeration.

When your CEO talks crap like that and elevates (likely exaggerated) technical issues to personal attacks, there is no way out for him other than to say sorry. When was the last time Jobs apologized for anything? What else would he have been wrong about and need to apologize for? The list would get too long for Apple PR to keep up with. That’s why there won’t be Flash on iPad or iPhone.

Here’s another thing… All this Apple talk about HTML5 and they don’t even have the <audio> tag working in mobile Safari. Why has that been such a challenge?

daemon

No journalist has been able to get an on the record commitment from Apple that there will never be Flash on the iPhone.

LoL! Just like with the Federal investigation into Apple’s app approval processes! What did Apple say in defense of their rejection of the Google Voice app? Oh yeah, “Apple hasn’t rejected the Google Voice app, we’re still reviewing it.” Complete lie!

Hey you want an on the record comment about Apple products? Apple TV sucks, Steve Jobs said so!

JulesLt

I didn’t miss anything - there’s just a difference between an official corporate line, and a leak (managed as no doubt the leak was).

Simple question - why has no journalist been able to get an Apple representative to go on the record and state ‘no Flash, ever’ as they have with Java. Why take an official line with one but not the other?

Officially, at the WWDC, Apple referred to ‘plugins’ as being the majority of crash reports on OS X, not Flash.

Again, there is a difference between the public channel, and the private channel, and there are usually reasons for that.

(t’s also a meaningless statistic, in that it presumably reflects the popularity of Flash, but it iIS true that most browser crashes are down to Flash. Think of Chrome (Windows) or Firefox - they all try to isolate Flash programs from the main browser process. Flash 10.1 isolates individual Flash scripts from each other, so that a crash in one doesn’t bring down the others. But of course, that wasn’t required!

JulesLt

A professional opinion on Flash, from someone with several production front-ends developed in Flex.

I wouldn?t call the tools robust - when we were developing using Flex 2.0, my team estimated they lost 25% of their time to bugs in the tools and framework. Things have improved since then, but are still no way as mature as, say, Java, .NET or Cocoa. We still spend too much time trying to get things to lay out as we?d like them too. I can?t make an informed comparison with UIKit. 

Secondly, it?s too easy to produce stuff that kills the performance of machines (medium spec Dell laptop). We have one app that sets the fans going whenever it runs, and another with a memory leak that will slowly bring your machine to a halt, unless you quit the app every few hours (or used Firefox). The leak was tracked down to an Adobe component in the Flex framework, rather than our own code.  This is fixed in the next version, but we?re not there yet.

Outside of work, there?s the fact that simple static Flash banner ads, even on a minimised or hidden page, can easily take 25% off my battery lifespan.

I?m not going to bash Adobe up too much about this - developing languages, compilers, runtimes and frameworks is hard.  Cocoa and .NET frameworks have their bugs which frustrate developers. Java was slow and a resource hog for most of it?s first decade. More importantly, these issues were not, historically, much of a concern ? Flash content would run for a few seconds or minutes while a page was open, and could be disposed of when you closed the page. There was no need to focus on memory management, or CPU impact.

But as soon as you start treating Flash as an application runtime, rather than an animation plugin, these things do become issues ? which Adobe have been addressing, but not quickly enough for a lot of people (who seem to have the idea that it?s the kind of thing you can address overnight). 

It has potential as a Universal runtime / language, but has yet to prove itself. Wanting it to be one, because it suits how you want to develop, won?t make it so, any more than my wish for a better language than JavaScript for client-side browser development is going to come true.

Again, think Java ? people put a bet on Sun?s promises and were caught short. By the time they delivered what they promised / machines got fast enough not to notice, it was too late ? fatally for some firms. Or think J2ME, which should have been the universal mobile language, but was a genuine ?epic fail?.

It?s also telling that both Android and Palm?s WebOS have added native SDKs, primarily for games development, having originally started with a VM-based approach ? they can?t even get their first-party SDKs to deliver in terms of performance - and Google is not lacking in smart programmers.

I’d put more of a bet on cross-platform tooling (like REAL Basic) over cross-platform runtimes. Or alternatively, what both our companies are actually doing (web apps). I don’t see the point in being half-pregnant.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Steve Jobs, quoted in this article:

About Adobe: They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don?t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it?s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

While the word majority was a misquote in this context, the conveyed meaning is the same, i.e. more than half of crashes are due to Flash. I don’t think he could be any clearer about whether Apple will support Flash on iPad and iPhone. If you know anything about Steve and anything about his detractors, you know it would be more painful for him to u-turn on that than to stick with it and make his customers suffer. Eric Schmidt showing off Flash 10.1 on Android today knows he has two years and then some to rub Steve’s face in this.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@JulesLT… Flash isn’t a chicken/egg issue. This decision to not include Flash is nothing like, for example, a hypothetical decision to not include a Silverlight player. There is a tremendous amount of mainstream content on the web now in Flash format. Ignoring it literally leaves a hole in the web, filled with a tiny lego-esque block. Schmidt’s keynote at MWC actually showed Android browsing the New York Times and the Flash pieces playing as they should. So here’s the deal… Flash is already ubiquitous. Competing platforms in the mobile to MID space will support it. Steve Jobs is being obstinate and backed himself into a corner too early. Furthermore, he was just inflammatory and essentially wrong in his facts and reasoning. I just don’t know how one guy could be so out of touch and how there isn’t one employee there who has the testicular fortitude to tell him he’s wrong. I mean, Jesus Howard Christoperopolis on a pogo stick!! If he fired you on the spot, you could turn that into a best-selling book!!

Cosmically speaking, he needs to pay a price for being such an ass. The open question is whether he will pay that price himself upfront so that his customers do not suffer, or whether competitors will get to spend 2 or 3 years ceaselessly mocking Apple products for not even showing the whole web.

JulesLt

This is getting a little fruitless, but . . .

You?re saying that Jobs is being inflammatory, wrong in his facts, and previously, a liar, about Flash. Now, Jobs is definitely a liar. He?s told lies, on the record. But that does not make any particular statement he makes ? on or off the record, a lie.

That?s making an ad hominem attack ? that what someone is saying is undermined by their motive.

Equally, even if Jobs was utterly lying in every way about Flash, that doesn?t make it good ? if A and B are theories, disproving A does not prove B true ? although that is the typical level of debate in the media (?If I prove you wrong, I must be right?).

The art of FUD is not to lie about your opponent, but actually to make irrelevant criticisms ? in this case, everything Jobs has said about Flash is true ? it is the source of most browser crashes, it performs poorly (in terms of CPU and memory usage), FlashLite was an inadequate substitute for real Flash, and that Adobe have been slow to address this (ask a Linux user how long they were locked out of the Web by Adobe).

The proof - Flash 10.1 is late by Adobe?s own (mid-09) target, and their own marketing emphasises how it tackles all the points
problems.

Whether those criticisms are valid is another matter ? no real users ever bothered about Flash sometimes crashing (20 million crash reports may still be once per year per user), or how much CPU it uses. A joint development program with commitment on both sides would have delivered something by now.

The real motivation is definitely not any of the public ones ? my best guess is that Apple don?t want to support a cross-platform runtime because it would reduce the number of iPhone-only apps (which help sell iPhones). Everyone else is motivated to support Flash on their phone for exactly the same reason.

Even so, with 10.1, Adobe?s documentation warns us against re-using the same code (i.e. our apps developed in Adobe Flex) for mobile systems, and emphasise that developers should target areas like memory usage. In short, it is NOT going to run all available Flash based web content, even on machines with Flash available. That contrasts with the demonstrations they?ve made ? I guess like anyone doing a sensible demonstration, they will be carefully selected to show content that runs well.

So is that an ?epic fail? on Adobe?s part?? Or on device manufacturers for not putting enough memory in there?

Personal view ? as you say, rival MID and mobiles will support it (most potential manufacturers are in the Open Screen project). And I strongly suspect that Apple will be forced to follow ? like Exchange support, it?s just a software update. I don?t see that Jobs has backed himself into a corner over this at all ? his criticisms have all been on implementation, and all he needs to do to is say ?Well, at last, Adobe have delivered a good enough version?. That?s not even an apology. Microsoft and Apple say nastier things about each other, yet both produce software for the rival platform. Business is business. Adobe would not turn down the chance to get Flash onto the iPhone, just to get one back at Jobs for saying something spiteful.

This also reminds me of the reactions to when Ballmer says something critical about Apple - like, say, dismissing the iPhone with some ridiculous statement, while getting the Windows Mobile team to start working on something similar . . . it?s not a mental delusion, it?s business. People say things they don?t believe, for business reasons. Jobs isn?t being stupid, he?s preserving Apple?s advantage for as long as possible ? and yes, at cost to Apple?s customers, and some software developers.

Adobe, and Google for that matter, are doing exactly the same, no matter what ?Open? initiatives they pursue.

jecrawford

Thank JulesLt

A breath of fresh air, and a great deal of (business) common sense.

jecrawford

That’s “Thanks JulesLt”.

Joe

@daemon:
“LoL! Just like with the Federal investigation into Apple?s app approval processes! What did Apple say in defense of their rejection of the Google Voice app? Oh yeah, ?Apple hasn?t rejected the Google Voice app, we?re still reviewing it.? Complete lie!”

If it’s a lie, then Google should be able to show a letter or email from Apple rejecting the app. That’s all it would take to settle this.  Where is it?

JulesLt

Well, I think Bosco’s right that they haven’t spent all this time reviewing the App. . . stalling can be as good as saying no, without the consequences.

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