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European Tribune - Comments - The Magical iPad

3. The Computer For Everyone Else

This is the perhaps the most interesting but also the most nebulous part of the proposal.
[...]

The idea that you can browse and send email - netbook stylee - without all the cruft and crap accumulated by a 'proper' OS is an interesting one. Up to a point. So - grandma can get online. That's good, right?


This idea has already been commented here or here  (with h/t to Ted Welch).

Frankly, I'm not buying it. Oh, my parents and your parents can certainly appreciate the ease of use and low maintenance nature of the iPad, but there are a couple of big problems here.

  • Keyboard: even when you do "just email & Facebook", you need to type some sentences (even if you're not writing letters on Word), and frankly, the older you get, the less patience you have for midget-sized tactile keyboards.

  • It's a pad: you're supposed to keep it on your lap? My mom would lay it on the table first thing -- and have to lean over it to read what she types. Not really convenient. (and you've already my mom has little tolerance to impractical things)

  • Web browsing: there is more and more video content: YouTube, DailyMotion; which codec are they using? Even sans video, a lot of web sites for casual browser use flash. Did Apple come with an app for that?

  • Oh, and my dad ditched his faithful 35mm camera and went digital a couple of years ago. So where's the USB?

The Mac Mini makes more sense in that respect.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 03:47:44 PM EST
Think Marketing Strategy.

No USB means no competition with the Apple notebooks line.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 03:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... or Mac, for those who prefer a big screen, a big keyboard and frankly don't care two figs about carrying their computer everywhere.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 04:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That too.

Also.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 04:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't taken the laptop out of the house in nearly 3 years. I gave up when continually faced by a hedge of laptop lids facing me round the meeting table. Barriers.

So I started taking a small moleskines pad with me and a pen. I occasionally whip it out with a  flourish and jot something down - otherwise it's attentive listening and observation of body language and reactions, and a better understanding of where the meeting is going.

Since I started this, there are fewer and fewer laptop lids in evidence. It's not me - it was just a fad, and now people have discovered for themselves that it was an unproductive fad.

Meetings! My father wrote a book about meetings, company secretary that he was. I shall have to diary my meetings thoughts, but not for a while. BTW after 40 years, I now accept that my father was right. Most meetings need to be structured to ensure the optimal decision-making process (Optimal for robust decisions, enduring motivation and cost). I suspect Frank S. might think the same.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 12:27:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"Most meetings need to be structured to ensure the optimal decision-making process"

Absolutely, I sat through so many rambling meetings at Uni, the supposed chairman allowing people to wander off-topic, discussing things we'd been over  before and about which they had nothing constructive to add.  

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 02:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Let's have another meeting to find out why we're not getting any work done."

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 02:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... I think of the IBM PCjr, with a keyboard deliberately constrained to be a chiclet keyboard to avoid competing with the IBM PC, and then made wireless so you could keep it on your lap while the PCjr was hooked up to the TV but ...

... why would you want to keep it on your lap? ... because it was a bloody useless chiclet keyboard!

The Commodore 64 ate it for a mid-morning snack ... until of course Commodore Business Machines started to catch too much Marketing Strategy itself and was lapped by the market.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 06:39:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernard:
midget-sized tactile keyboards.

i like the iphone typepad in horizontal mode especially, i'm much faster on it that any other phone i had. if the ipad's is proportionally larger than the iphone's, or best expandable to measure, i don't really see a problem, especially if you can make it disappear when not in use. i see it more in nursing homes as a personal tv, sitting in a rack where it can be comfortably watched, takes up a lot less space than the customary little tvs like in hospitals everywhere now, and less of a writer thing, though the market for the more um, active user will be huge anyway..

the usb, yes dumb omission. whack in firewire and a slot flashcard reader too.

its success will depend a lot on its reliability. if it has a flakey side, that could kill it dead, as people expect a level of relative excellence and sturdiness to go with the apple prices. if it's a drop-it-once-it's-history toy, then....ppfffft.

cuz it's slotted for prime time, after its elder cousins' achievements, that's a high wire...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 04:15:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Hands-on with the Apple iPad - it does make sense

January 28, 2010 By ANDY IHNATKO

Keyboard

I have to say that it's more touch-tappable than touch-typeable. Typing at my normal speed was ... unproductive. But if I slowed down, I could type very fast using both hands. It's fine for writing emails, but probably poor for writing an essay or a column. Nonetheless I'm certain that I could do a whole 800-word column on the virtual keyboard without suffering too much.

The virtual keyboard doesn't have to be as good as a real one, anyway. There are two options for mechanical keyboards: a keyboard dock that holds the iPad like an easel and incorporates a notebook-sized keyboard, and Apple's standard wireless Bluetooth keyboard.
...
Flash

Months ago, I installed a browser plugin for Safari called "ClickToFlash." It blocks all Flash content. You'll see a placeholder image in the webpage and if you want to view the content, give it a click and it'll load in. I have not noticed any drop in my ability to enjoy the Web. What I have noticed is that my browser is faster and more responsive, and that I can leave a couple of dozen tabs and windows up for weeks without having to force-restart my Mac.
...
Multi-tasking

the iPad (like the iPhone) doesn't multitask third-party apps. You can listen to music from the iPod app while you work on your mail, but you can't listen to music streaming from a Pandora client. But on an iPad, switching between two apps is lightning-fast and intuitive, and if it's anything like an iPhone, this "one third-party app at a time" policy will result in a far more stable computer.
An Android tablet does true multitasking. But this feature makes Android devices a little crashy, it slows down performance (sometimes to the point where you need to restart the device), and it really demands that you download and use a special app that does nothing but help you manage this herd of skittish and sometimes quite angry sheep.
These differences don't mean that the iPad is under-featured or that an Android-based tablet is so backward that it might as well have been made from sticks and dried animal skins. It's a difference in philosophy.
...
Most of my admiration for the iPad comes from the fact that I left that demo room with absolutely no complaints about the speed, comfort, or simplicity of my user experience.

http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/2017907,ihnatko-ipad-hands-on-012810.article

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 05:26:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The keyboard is probably going to be fine.  There'll be a bit of a learning curve, but it'll make sense.  The carrying case they're selling as an accessory looks like it'll do a lot for the angle of the thing while typing, too.

Jobs is right about Flash, in my opinion.  It's not great in Windows, but it's impressively bad in OS X.

The speed is a good selling point.  It looks like it's a good bit more fluid than the iPhone 3G.  Not sure about the 3GS, which felt much faster than the 3G.  But, still, speed makes a world of difference in the user experience, and these sound like fairly impressive chips.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 05:41:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flash is out because Darth Jobs doesn't want anyone else's software interfering with his vision thing.

And also because HTML5 is coming soon.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 09:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... like a Microsoft operating system release date. I remember when the Onion reported that Microsoft had bought 2001 and renamed it 2000v2, so that they could ship Windows2000 in 2000v2.

Of course, a big question is whether Google and Apple can come up with key parts that can draw broad based industry support before HTML5 reaches Candidate Recommendation stage, expected by some observers in 2012.

This is likely to be one reason why Flash is (finally) getting serious about working to get Flash 10.1 out on Windows Mobile, Palm Pre, Google Android, Symbian, and Blackberry platforms early this year, before HTML5 is able to settle on an open codec with reasonable performance and without submarine patent worries for its <video> tag.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 09:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd assumed --beginning with Apple Store launch music and VoD-- that was all about Adobe-Apple DRM standards competition, ergo revenue share lock-in with "content" providers.

'course, now, Amazon product is straight up MP3...

long-tail, indie P2P music and VoD distribution...

and all that ripping shareware to subvert iTunes...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 09:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also that outside of Windows, Flash has always been a bit cruddy.

And Apple is probably on the inside track ... Adobe has to get its roll out of Flash 10.1 to a broad range of devices right or they all end up migrating to "something else", which can't be Window's Flash-killer, and whatever "else" that is, Apple will support it to sidestep Adobe.

Meanwhile, as with Crunchyroll's iPhone app alpha, knowing that Apple will not support Flash, so that Flash 10.1 will not give an "easy road" into iPhone / iPod Touch, Crunchyroll's second system specific app after Boxee is Apple iPhone OS 3.0 (including iPod Touch and, I presume, automatically including the iSlab).

Knowing Apple's stance regarding Flash drives content provider's to put Apple-specific app development to the front of the queue.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 10:59:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apple is on the inside track to the extent that one of the co-designers of HTML 5 works for Apple and is lead developer of Safari and WebKit.

So - not so much being on the inside track as owning the stadium and having a harem of enthusiastic cheerleaders.

Which is actually kind of annoying. Apart from bad implementation, which could easily be fixed, there's not much wrong with Flash. It's almost a standard. A lot of people use it and know it.

There's a lot wrong with HTML, especially if you want a simple way to do world class graphic design on the web. But instead of that, we're getting video and sound and animations. And stuff. In a moving standard that probably won't be finalised for another ten years - when it's already obsolete.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 11:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant inside track in the market - the inside track in the HTML5 development process when the co-editors are from Apple and Google is only here or there if HTML5 starts getting relied on in lieu of plugins, and well in advance of formal standardization.

The inside track in the market is that Adobe may have one shot to get it right, and even if they win Apple can still proceed without Flash, while if Adobe trips up, Flash can very easily get knocked out its present market position.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 11:13:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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