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The Apple iPad
January 27, 2010 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Apple announces something: The iPad, which all signs say is a tablet computer. Various people, from the Ceo of textbook and magazine publisher McGraw-Hill and Weblogs. Inc founder Jason Calacanis have talked about their experiences using and testing the device. But the most interesting aspect of the computer may not be the technology, but rather its potential for use in creating and participating in content creation which could revolutionize digital magazines and newspapers
posted by mpbx (1255 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh I hadn't heard about this.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2010 [83 favorites]


I've got the oddest feeling of deja vu.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:04 AM on January 27, 2010


Here's a live stream of the event courtesy of the deleted FPP.
posted by delmoi at 11:05 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe wait until the demo is over before we begin the whole "It sucks" vs. "it rules" thing.
posted by bondcliff at 11:05 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


A giant iPhone? Really?
posted by hiteleven at 11:05 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Wake me when there's a tablet that runs OS X and isn't just a big iPod Touch.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:06 AM on January 27, 2010 [24 favorites]


You've misspelt iPod.
posted by dng at 11:06 AM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


I figure it doesn't really need to be posted as 'best of the web' until it's on Apple's own friggin' site.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:06 AM on January 27, 2010


The "iBooks" app uses open-format ePub. Good on ya, Steve.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hmm, they should have called it the Newton II
posted by The Power Nap at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow! A portable computer with a touchscreen! Apple is revolutionary again!
posted by Big_B at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not wired. Less space than a PADD. Lame.
posted by niles at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


I felt a great disturbance in the TwitterVerse, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out "meh," and were suddenly disappointed.
posted by shmegegge at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [36 favorites]


The next iteration will be called the iPad Max. Or more appropriately, the Max iPad.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [68 favorites]


Let it be known that I made a Newton comparison in a previously deleted thread. I would like that remark to be inserted back into the records.
posted by hiteleven at 11:07 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I want to ask all you advance detractors something: Would you honestly say you prefer the usability of the OS to that of the iPhone? I mean, yes, it does more, it's more powerful, but that's the device, not the OS. The iPhone's interface is vastly more usable for what it is. Taking that and making it more powerful sounds like exactly what I wish I was typing on right now.

Also: ten-hour battery life? Color me impressed.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:08 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Name Jason Calacanis
Location Los Angeles, CA
Bio I'm a cereal entrepreneur...


He doesn't seem to have a single tasty breakfast grain creation to his credit, though.
posted by weston at 11:08 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Let it be known that I made a Newton comparison in a previously deleted thread. I would like that remark to be inserted back into the records.

It is written.
posted by jckll at 11:08 AM on January 27, 2010


Allow me to be one of the first to agree with everyone below when I say color me unimpressed by the giant iPod Touch. Show's not over, but looks like it still doesn't support multiple processes or flash.

Not quite powerful enough to be a computer, not quite small enough to be a mobile device, this is the uncanny valley of gadgetry.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2010 [26 favorites]


Don't forget the Apple device that helps people sufferring from incontinence, iPeed.
posted by BeerFilter at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its called iPad because Steve Jobs is just padding his pockets with money after reusing the same old ideas and names.
posted by lilkeith07 at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


They've had the iPad for quite a long time in New England. It is wicked assome.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2010 [42 favorites]


I want to ask all you advance detractors something: Would you honestly say you prefer the usability of the OS to that of the iPhone?

what
posted by eyeballkid at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I had a meeting, so I'm kind of reading through the engadget notes backwards...

So far it looks really cool. Basically the ultimate iphone/kindle super-gizmo. It may even make the NYT paywall less suicidally stupid.

The little dig at netbooks was kind of dickish though. You know what? given the choice between my netbook and a really cool giant iphone I'm keeping the netbook. Cheers, thanks!
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


How much is it and can you look at old copies of Juggs with it?
posted by Mister_A at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Simpsons visit the Mapple Store

And part II

Because I believe nothing in life is truly complete without a Simpsons reference. And I was too late for the monorail thread.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


But the most interesting aspect of the computer may not be the technology, but rather its potential for use in creating and participating in content creation

You mean like a computer!!?!?!

The hype on this is ridiculous, the device doesn't allow you to do anything new, except perhaps being the first large-screen multitouch device out there. It's just a slightly more convenient package for carrying around.

The business model stuff is actually a step backwards moving to a locked down, approved by apple, DRM larded world that previously was only used by game consoles and cellphones.

Rather then taking the open nature of personal computers and bringing them to the portable world, we're moving towards having the locked-down style of cellphones on larger and larger devices.
posted by delmoi at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [101 favorites]


It seems that they think of this as very much a one-way device, from the "content creators" to consumers. There's very limited connectivity, for example, no way to plug in a USB hard drive. Can one mount a network share on it? Does it have a user accessible file store, or is it just "apps", like an iPhone?
posted by bonehead at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Taking that and making it more powerful sounds like exactly what I wish I was typing on right now.

really? you'd rather be typing on a not-quite-ten-inch touch screen than a keyboard? I was expecting to be wowed by a macbook with a touchscreen and a full mac OSX app store to revolutionize the non-gaming app sales marketplace. this is a huge phone. color me unimpressed.
posted by shmegegge at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


hiteleven: "A giant iPhone? Really?"

I hope it comes with earbuds the size of golf balls.
posted by brundlefly at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [35 favorites]


Jobs said the iPad will be lightning fast: "It screams," he told a crowd.

iScream? sorry
posted by cashman at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


We really need to just have a template thread for Apple announcements since we can pretty much predict ahead of time how they're going to go.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Come on, Steve, just think—think, dammit—you're running out of time," the exhausted CEO said as he glued nine separate iPhones to the back of a plastic cafeteria tray.
- Frantic Steve Jobs Stays Up All Night Designing Apple Tablet
posted by griphus at 11:10 AM on January 27, 2010 [13 favorites]


Andre the Giant has an iPod.
posted by demiurge at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Not quite powerful enough to be a computer, not quite small enough to be a mobile device, this is the uncanny valley of gadgetry.

On that note, I'm sure The Polar Express looks swell on it.
posted by hiteleven at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, how would a comic book page look on this device? Has anyone seen a dpi count yet?
posted by bonehead at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010


Or the iPood, for the constipated.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kinda kept hoping Steve would walk up on the stage, scream "PSYCH!!!", and then walk off silently.
posted by briank at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


Skip the technobabble, just tell me how this will revolutionize porn!!!
posted by Theta States at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2010


Being cruel is not mentioning the Newton... being cruel is mentioning the eMate.
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, isn't this going to cause some serious customer service/in-store sales issues in locations where "iPad" and "iPod" are homophones?
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


We really need to just have a template thread for Apple announcements since we can pretty much predict ahead of time how they're going to go.

And it would include that comment at least eighteen times.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:12 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is the device my mum has been waiting for. She really can't use computers, but loves the iPhone. Her only complaint is it's too small to use without specs. Combine that appeal with books for students and iWork and this is a macbook killer, I think.
posted by bonaldi at 11:13 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, how would a comic book page look on this device? Has anyone seen a dpi count yet?

They call it "pixel doubling" when they upscale an old iPhone app, so that suggests that the resolution must be.... 960x640?
posted by rokusan at 11:13 AM on January 27, 2010


Farewell JooJoo. We hardly knew ye.
posted by spilon at 11:13 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


really? you'd rather be typing on a not-quite-ten-inch touch screen than a keyboard? I was expecting to be wowed by a macbook with a touchscreen and a full mac OSX app store to revolutionize the non-gaming app sales marketplace. this is a huge phone. color me unimpressed.

I don't mind touch typing. I write extensively on my iPod as-is. Not just small things but mini-essays. Yesterday I wrote a five-paragraph paper in the middle of my class.

Give me a larger keyboard and I'm set. That's what I see this as.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:13 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps Ive gone curmudgeon, but Im an Apple fanboy and this just doesnt seem very "OMG I NEED THAT" to me.

Oh and having a netbook does me NO GOOD if I cant play the videos I want to.

No VLC = eat shit

Im not paying you dicks $9.99 just because I get a wild hair up my ass to watch Summer Rental
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Lots of talk about comcis folks about how this might be the future of the medium... there was that with the iPhone as well of course, but in the end the things that worked bets were these one panel views which removed a lot of the point - this thing obviously doesn't have that. Warren Ellis moans about his data plan here, but really I think syncing by wire would be a more likely way of doing it.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve snarks on Netbooks because they're slow then raves about how his 1GHz processor "screams?"

Yeah, ok...
posted by jckll at 11:14 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


$29/mo unlimited data with no contract sounds awfully nice.
posted by rokusan at 11:15 AM on January 27, 2010


spilon: "Farewell JooJoo. We hardly knew ye."

How come? Did you visit that link? It's already playing Avatar, man!
posted by Joe Beese at 11:15 AM on January 27, 2010


And it would include that comment at least eighteen times.

Which is why I set up my macros on Tuesday.
posted by bondcliff at 11:15 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


ArtW- I would appreciate never again having to suffer the mental image of Warren Ellis moaning, thanks.
posted by griphus at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010


The netbook snark really is the turd in the punchbowl.

WTF is your Air for Steve? Sweet fuck all and fail, that's what.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Can you replace the battery without sending it to Apple and losing stored content?
posted by rocket88 at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


$29/mo unlimited data with no contract sounds awfully nice.

And unlocked.
posted by rokusan at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010


I guess iPad's a relief of sorts, but now I'll have to deal with the inevitable glut of "... with wings!" jokes. To be fair, though, I personally think I'd really prefer a vertical screen web-browsing experience, and am curious about how a comic page would look on the thing.

And it goes without saying that I'm happy that the rabid Apple people have found a new reason to live that will last them for the next twelve months or so.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010


I want a tablet. I was excited when TechCrunch came out with theres. But this? This is gonna be too expensive for what amounts to a big iPod Touch.

As a geek the thing I am most curious about is the A4 processor.

Otherwise, meh. Unless it were cheap as shit, but knowing apple, it isn't.
posted by symbioid at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too am waiting to see how this thing handles my archive of CBR and CBZ files...
posted by Theta States at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010


Skip the technobabble, just tell me how this will revolutionize porn!!!

You can hold the screen directly against your junk without that pesky keyboard getting in the way.

Also: No keyboard = no sticky keys.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010


for example, no way to plug in a USB hard drive

Is this true? Is there any way to get content you already own onto the thing, other than through download? That would make it something I'm just not at all interested in. I have a hell of a lot of content, so I would kind of need a content delivery device to be able to access it at speeds that don't suck.
posted by OmieWise at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


resolution must be.... 960x640?

For a 10" (diag) screen, that's about 115-120 dpi. Not great really for a book reader. Comic book pages will be legible but not pretty at that resolution.
posted by bonehead at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not since the Wii has a such gimicky piece of technology picked such an ill-advised name.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Not quite powerful enough to be a computer, not quite small enough to be a mobile device, this is the uncanny valley of gadgetry.

If that's true of the iPad, it's true of eReaders and Netbooks.
posted by weston at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


AT&T?
posted by R. Mutt at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2010


Unlocked GSM? Hmmmm...keep talking.
posted by reformedjerk at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2010


Eagerly awaiting the iPed, the iPid, the iPud, and the iPyd.
posted by flatluigi at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2010


griphus - Eh? Any post by Warren Ellis is 3 parts moaning, 2 parts New Scientist and 1 part letching over cam girls.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This can't be safe...
posted by davey_darling at 11:17 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


And the Welsh-exlusive iPwd.
posted by flatluigi at 11:18 AM on January 27, 2010 [18 favorites]


(it counts sheep)
posted by flatluigi at 11:18 AM on January 27, 2010


The no contract data plan is pretty sweet.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:18 AM on January 27, 2010


Only on Metafilter would 5 of the first 50 comments be related to the device's ability to display comics...
posted by jckll at 11:18 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


$499
posted by bonaldi at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010


$499
posted by R. Mutt at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


no way to plug in a USB hard drive

Is this true?


It appears to be. No mention of a USB plug anywhere in the announcements, though maybe I missed something. Rather a weird omission, IMO, but then this is Apple.
posted by bonehead at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010


delmoi: Computers are shit. We joke all the time about how shitty computers are. There is so much wrong with even OS X, which I love and cuddle with, that chances are no one person is aware of just all that's wrong with them.

This is a revision of the concept of computing. Yes, it's an extension of the iPhone, so it's more evolutionary than revolutionary, but this is the first time that same design is big enough to consider using it as an actual workstation.

Clamshell laptops (i.e. most laptops) are pretty damn ugly. You have a single point of interaction, the trackpad, and moving and clicking with it are two separate steps. Scrolling is another. Typing is another. We're all used to it because we've had it for twenty years, but it's not good. My grandparents hate it. They don't get it. They'll get this.

Here, you tap the calendar and you have a full-functioned calendar. No app folder. No complicated things. It responds to your touch. My grandparents get the iPhone; well, this is the same thing, but it's a computer in full.

$499 is a pretty acceptable price for all that it is.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


$499, KTHNXBAI!
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ohh, the price point $499. Pretty cheap. Cheaper then I expected, and something that competes pretty well with netbooks.
posted by delmoi at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sweet fancy fuck! I think that's pretty good pricing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


From $629 with 3G radio or $499 with WiFi only.
posted by rokusan at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2010


If that's true of the iPad, it's true of eReaders and Netbooks.

Not really. eReaders use e-ink paper, which was what eventually turned the tide for avid readers.

Netbooks are essentially small, cheap, portable, fully-functioning computers. I can jump from me regular laptop to my netbook with a USB key full of files and not miss a beat.
posted by hiteleven at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


$499. At least the price point is fair for it.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2010


Also: ten-hour battery life? Color me impressed.

Yes, I am sure this figure will turn out to be no more wishful thinking than the same spec on every mobile device ever.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


No mention of an SD card reader either, which is frankly weirder. No pictures on your iPad? That's a really strange design choice.
posted by bonehead at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2010


I'll sit and wait for the non-idiot price.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"So $499 for 16GB of iPad. That's our base model. 32GB is $599, 64GB is $799. 3G models cost an extra $130. $629, 729, and 829 with 3G."

I am disappoint.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:21 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


But... is there one more thing?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:21 AM on January 27, 2010


I personally am rather disappointed that Steve Jobs was not actually using this opportunity to unveil the doomsday device (which, let's face it, we all know he is designing) with which he plans to rule the universe, crush his enemies, lamentations of their women, &c.
posted by elizardbits at 11:21 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The docking charger is a real keyboard. Cute.
posted by rokusan at 11:21 AM on January 27, 2010


just tell me how this will revolutionize porn!!

no front-facing camera :( or wings ;)
posted by kliuless at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2010


$499 is the cheapest

16GB/32GB/64GB
WIFI $499/$599/$699
WIFI+3G $629/$729/$829

So $729 + $29/mo ... under $1000 indeed
posted by jckll at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2010


Adam, have you followed any Apple announcement in the last 5 years? They've never lied about their iPhone/Macbook battery claims. If they say 10 hours, I buy that they have 10 hours.

They just announced a keyboard dock. This keynote isn't fucking over. If you're going to snark then wait till after Steve Jobs tells you how dumb you are.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2010


Lack of background processing/multitasking is a dealbreaker. If I can't read my Spanish newspaper, then switch to a dictionary to help with the problem words without opening and closing each program (and then having to find my place again in the paper), I'm not in.
posted by hiteleven at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


This keynote isn't fucking over. If you're going to snark then wait till after Steve Jobs tells you how dumb you are.

THIS IS SO NOT OVER!!!!!!1
posted by jckll at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Computers are shit. We joke all the time about how shitty computers are.

this whole comment is pretty funny. you are hard up to love this thing, man. If you want a netbook/ereader without a keyboard, then go you. but to go from that to "computers are shit, and this is the future of computing" is kind of absurd.
posted by shmegegge at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


ArtW - "Any post by Warren Ellis is 3 parts moaning, 2 parts New Scientist and 1 part letching over cam girls."

How's that mind's eye holding up?
posted by griphus at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2010


Except for the keyboard they just announced, Shmegegge?
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2010


I really want to suggest a moratorium on lame and obvious jokes about feminine hygiene products, including all use of the words wings, maxi and workflow and any remark about a danging white power cable.

...but if I do that, one of you jackasses will accuse me of posting during a bad time of the month.
posted by rokusan at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


The hype on this is ridiculous, the device doesn't allow you to do anything new, except perhaps being the first large-screen multitouch device out there.

HP's version will let you play Frogger!
posted by zarq at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2010


Keyboard dock. I could replace my MacBook Pro with this for SSHing into work from the coffee shop.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


$29/mo unlimited data with no contract sounds awfully nice.

It's nice, but not by any means revolutionary. I'm already getting the same thing from T-Mobile on my Android phone for $25/mo, and it's tetherable to boot.
posted by teraflop at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2010


This keynote isn't fucking over.

Was this keynote over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!
posted by chinston at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


iPad or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

That being SAID. having a portable sketchpad with a decent stylus then I would be fucking happy camper.
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you're going to snark then wait till after Steve Jobs tells you how dumb you are.

14:30 "YOU ARE EXACTLY THIS DUMB," SAYS JOBS WHILE GESTURING TO A TAPIR
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2010 [80 favorites]


Eat up martha
posted by wcfields at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
posted by nicepersonality at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


And I am really shocked by the price. Who else sells a touchscreen netbook for $499?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2010


Google has already come out with a giant version of the iPod touch
posted by KokuRyu at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


OH AND ONE MORE THING
As CEO of Apple, I review all of our purchases. And lately, I've been noticing that one thing, one little thing, has been way out of whack: printers. Ink cartridges, ink nozzles, every thing about them is just super expensive.

Until today.

Introducing the world's first wireless, bluetooth capable printer that doesn't use any ink. At all. We call it... The iTherm. It uses standard, open thermal printing technology to print out semi-glossy copies of whatever documents you want. 60DPI quick printing, and a crisp, super readable 120DPI for your more important things. You'll never have to worry about "Letter or Legal?" because the paper's on a spool. Today, we're making printing easy... The Apple Way.

hello rmazar
posted by boo_radley at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


This keynote isn't fucking over. If you're going to snark then wait till after Steve Jobs tells you how dumb you are.

Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by OmieWise at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2010


Can I tether my iPhone to it? That'd being the price down to "might be able to convince my wife" levels.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2010


delmoi: Computers are shit. We joke all the time about how shitty computers are. ... Clamshell laptops (i.e. most laptops) are pretty damn ugly.

Man, talk about spoiled. I mean, you can buy a machine with more computing power then existed in the whole world in, I dunno, 1980 and it's "shit" You can surf the internet, watch video online, play 3d games, or whatever else you want to do but they're "shit" because... well I don't even know you didn't actually say what was wrong with them just that "people aren't aware of all that's wrong with them"

But if what's "wrong" with them is the user interaction (which is the only difference here) then how is it even possible for there to be problems that people don't know about?

This is the kind of "wrong" that only exists because amateur UI nerds feel that the computer doesn't implement their pet theories. Just because a UI doesn't work the way you, personally, would have it work doesn't actually mean it's "wrong"

And anyway, I don't exactly know what the huge problem is, I don't have any trouble using a computer. Most people don't. They haven't had problems with crashing in almost 10 years and the problems of spyware are mostly in the past as well.

As far as laptops being ugly, uh, I disagree. A lot of them look fine these days.
posted by delmoi at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2010 [16 favorites]


I find 10 hours a little hard to believe given iPhone battery life... still, plenty of space in there.

I am frankly amazed at the kind of price jack-ups they expect to get away with to give the thing a sensible amount of flash memory. I'll definitely be letting someone else subsidise their fantasies until that's sorted out.

Still, snark asside, though the iPhone looked cool as a slideshow the proof of the thing was in the way you could play with the thing for five minutes and know that you definately needed to have one... if this thing generates the same reaction then they'll be raking in the gold.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2010


It sucks.
posted by theCroft at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It rules!
posted by theCroft at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Goddammit, it's fairly priced?

I had a week's worth of snark saved up for this...

Hmmm, still wondering how it handles CBR files...
posted by Theta States at 11:28 AM on January 27, 2010


I find 10 hours a little hard to believe given iPhone battery life...

A month of standby power surprises me more, actually.
posted by rokusan at 11:29 AM on January 27, 2010


Are you fucking kidding me?

Considering half the things people were complaining about here were all announced minutes after they snarked, I'm not. This keyboardless thousanddollar tablet does suck; it's a good thing Apple announced neither.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:29 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


TWITTER HAS FAILED TO CRASH, APPLE IS OVER.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not quite powerful enough to be a computer, not quite small enough to be a mobile device, this is the uncanny valley of gadgetry.

Or for those of us getting older and clumsier; something portable enough for me want to take to take it places and unwieldy enough for me to drop.
posted by jalexei at 11:29 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


zarq: "HP's version will let you play Frogger!"

Did you see that thing? It's like... 3/4" thick! Disgusting.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


And I am really shocked by the price. Who else sells a touchscreen netbook for $499?

I'd take multitasking over touchscreen.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


I have real doubts about the typing.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


WHERE MY 256 GB IPOD CLASSIC AT?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


No mention of an SD card reader either, which is frankly weirder. No pictures on your iPad? That's a really strange design choice.

You plug in a USB cable and plug it into your computer and it syncs, like an iPhone.

. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Can you bother to pay attention for five seconds? It has wifi.
posted by rtha at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2010


The iPod and iPhone were smash hits not because of Apple die-hards, but because they appealed to the lawyer & dentist crowd...they became yuppie must-haves. Somehow I don't see that happening with this thing.

Over to you, Google.
posted by hiteleven at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could replace my MacBook Pro with this for SSHing into work from the coffee shop.

I've SSH'd from my iPhone 3G a few times. It works well enough for restarting something or slapping some script that isn't working right, but I wouldn't want to type more than a half-page or so.

Same as anything else on a phone, I guess.
posted by rokusan at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2010


It's possible to note the existence of this device without some kind of reaction, you konw.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve, can you wrap this up? I need to get back to work.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'll sit and wait for the non-idiot price.

Were there other Apple products that dropped as sharply in price as the iPhone? Considering that I've seen $1k as the projected price, $499 seems like a really reasonable price for a tablet computer / upsized iPod Touch ($199 for 8gb, up to $399 for 64gb), and they have so much infrastructure built around the iPhone/iPod Touch that this seems like something of an upgrade to what they already have vs. something experimental and new.

I'm all fanboy over this, mostly because I've wanted a tablet for quite a while, and that pricepoint is great, especially against Tablet PC prices (mind you, the iPad is slate, where those other models at $1,500 USD+ are either convertable tablet PCs of one sort or another). But given the lack of solid specs and details (external HD use, line-in jack, resolution and touch sensitivity, potential to be used as a tablet for a desktop PC/Mac), I'm waiting for more solid info.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2010


No mention of an SD card reader either, which is frankly weirder. No pictures on your iPad? That's a really strange design choice.

Just goes to show that these devices are designed for consumption, not for your creative participation, or for creative production. The dominant mode is pay and download.

Of course, people will hack it wide open, but it would be so much cooler if someone designed something specifically to make shitloads of awesome art on, IN ADDITION to making the most lucrative content-stuffer ever.
posted by fake at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyone see an accessory port on it? And the dock port doesn't count since it will be occupied when, er, docked. This thing would make a decent platform for a videophone app if you could stick a camera on it. Preferably one that could be made to face forward or backward depending on what you were using it for.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still hate the idea of having to purchase a separate connection plan for every. fucking. device. Internet + phone at home, internet + phone on my actual phone, and now you want me to pay another thirty bucks for yet another internet connection? Can't I just pay one price and carry my connection around with me?
posted by backseatpilot at 11:33 AM on January 27, 2010 [27 favorites]


There's very little that this does that i wouldn't rather do on the iphone or my macbook.
posted by empath at 11:33 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


SD cards are one of those things that Apple is solidly against, like radios on MP3 players and second buttons on mice that aren't some weird multitouch thing... I'd be hugely suprised to see one.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Daddy Google is noting your concerns with the new iPad and will have something out shortly.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:34 AM on January 27, 2010


Starting at $500 is actually a good bit better than I thought. Not being able to connect a USB is an issue, though.
posted by Mister_A at 11:34 AM on January 27, 2010


It really seems like it's just going to be a stepping stone for better products down the road.
It got a big 'meh' out of me, and I've been an Apple fangirl since I was a child.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010


No mention of an SD card reader either, which is frankly weirder. No pictures on your iPad? That's a really strange design choice.

You sync with iPhoto to get your pics, apparently. The video they're showing now seems to have one too many holes, but maybe it's a second dock connector and not an SD card slot.

That being SAID. having a portable sketchpad with a decent stylus then I would be fucking happy camper.

There's a company that makes a stylus that's compatible with Apple-style capacitive touchscreens, but there's no pressure sensitivity. At least not built into the iPad's screen. Possibly someone could make a powered Bluetooth stylus that transmitted pressure information to a drawing app.

Big questions for me: why no camera of any kind? I was hoping for a front facing camera with software and hardware to correct for perspective distortion. That is, a mechanism for keeping the user looking more or less as though they were facing head on even if they're holding the tablet at an angle.

Second big question: no mic, but can it at least accept an iPhone style headphone + mic? How about a Bluetooth headset? 3G is all well and good but much better if it can do Skype calls.

I still hate the idea of having to purchase a separate connection plan for every. fucking. device. Can't I just pay one price and carry my connection around with me?

Yeah, this, seriously.

SD cards are one of those things that Apple is solidly against

Which is they started installing SD card readers in their laptops...
posted by jedicus at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010


You plug in a USB cable and plug it into your computer and it syncs, like an iPhone.

Yes, I much prefer the clunky, Big Brother-esque monster that is iTunes to simply plugging in a USB key and moving my own files around.
posted by hiteleven at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


Google can fuck off until their phone has multitouch. Until then it is worthless.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010


Any video out of usage? Text entry in particular?
posted by phrontist at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010


If I didn't just get a new laptop, I would actually consider getting this - and I say that as someone who doesn't worship at the Church of Steve. Good battery, neat verticalness, decent price (In USD, at least). Obviously, the price would be higher in Canada and I'd need to know more about what exactly it can and can't do, but still, initially I am more impressed than I thought it would be.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010


oh man I just burned my cookies! Rats - I may have to bake another batch.
I can't believe your getting an IPS screen on this thing for less than 500.
posted by zenon at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2010


Two years from now, when you can't go into a coffee shop without seeing people working on their iPad, and the product itself has transformed dramatically, and every freaking laptop in the world has become an iPad knockoff, and we can't believe we were ever okay with using mouses or little touch pads because the way we interact with the Web using a touchscreen is so much more intuituve and provides so many unexpected and useful options --

Well, this thread is going to look awfully short-sited.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2010 [48 favorites]


You plug in a USB cable and plug it into your computer and it syncs, like an iPhone.

So, like an iPod touch, this is not a primary device then. Apple sees this as secondary to a main computer, not as a primary device, a central hub that is all one needs to work on the web, store and retrieve files, etc.... That's a very strange and disappointing choice. I had high hopes that this could be, well, a stand-alone device, a netbook (which mostly are ugly, I'll freely admit) done right. Instead, it's a big iPod.
posted by bonehead at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


as far as laptops being ugly, uh, I disagree. A lot of them look fine these days.

They're bulky. There's a lot of abstraction going on that could be done without. There are many aesthetically nice ones, but I'm referring to usability.

But if what's "wrong" with them is the user interaction (which is the only difference here) then how is it even possible for there to be problems that people don't know about?

In every OS market there exist hundreds of small little applications that exist for no purpose other than to manage small little niggling irritations. Window management issues. File management and browsing. Right now I'm running an app that gives me a different menubar clock, another one that functions as a launcher for all my various things, one for quick keyboard file access, etc. They're all trying to cover up a lot of holes that exist because the desktop abstraction's got a lot of issues with it.

When Apple introduced the iPhone, there was a lot of acclaim from usability experts for the design, which does away with any and all interface ambiguity. No scrollbars. No issues with knowing what button does what. There's no dock that you need to comprehend, no weird metaphors you need to comprehend things.

I know it's fun being an ignorant jackass and conflating my appraise of this thing with my being a jizzing fanboy, but that's not what I said. What I said was: This is handling computing in a very different way than my laptop does, and I really like how it's doing it. I said that about my iPod touch, too, but my iPod is too small to read books on, or watch movies on, or write essays on. The iPad? None of those problems. It has the same gorgeous interface, but it's bigger, and adjusted so that I can use it more seriously.

It's not like this will crumble away everything else overnight. But this is a step forward, and I appreciate that. Ten years from now more things will look like the iPad than will look like Windows or OS X.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


"Can't I just pay one price and carry my connection around with me?"

I could have sworn one of the mobile providers was releasing a 3g-to-WiFi mobile hotspot, which you could share all your mobile devices on.
posted by potch at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find 10 hours a little hard to believe given iPhone battery life... still, plenty of space in there.

I agree, but there's been some significant advantages in the power draw of new processors. Apple acquired PA Semi and some other chip makers during the last year. PA Semi is an impressive firm and it sounds like they put the entire company entirely on this project. This and Apple's iPhone OS team's experience with working on a mobile, battery only platform make me think there's some significant optimizations on a lot of fronts.

It is even more impressive given that the 3GS runs at 600mhz, there's a good 40% gain in processing power. This is really a significant jump, though I'm guessing if I use this like I use my computer now, with multiple tabs running intensive javascript applications, it will probably feel slow in comparison.
posted by geoff. at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2010


SD cards are one of those things that Apple is solidly against

Which is they started installing SD card readers in their laptops...


SD cards in media players and phones and whatever this category of thing is going to wind up being.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2010


For a trip through the wires, MeFi discusses this newfangled 'iPod' thing, back in 2001.

As many predicted, of course, it was a gigantic failure.
posted by rokusan at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2010 [33 favorites]


The other Apple iPad.

The problem with searching for "iPad" on apple.com is that there are a lot of mis-spellings of iPod littering the results. Strange, as the A and O keys are not exactly side-by-side on the keyboard.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not really. eReaders use e-ink paper, which was what eventually turned the tide for avid readers....Netbooks are essentially small, cheap, portable, fully-functioning computers.

I'm responding to the idea that there exists an "uncanny valley" where if a device isn't either small enough to fit in your pocket or as powerful as a full-sized laptop, there isn't a use for it. Both eReaders and Netbooks are refutations of this. e-Ink is nice and it's one compelling feature that gets people into this niche, but there's no rule that says it's the one and only such feature. And as for "small, cheap, portable, fully-functioning computer" ... that's what you're looking at here.
posted by weston at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2010


I can't wait for next year, when Apple introduces a 8'x10' version called the iFloor. Apps would include disco floors and the giant keyboard from Big.

Seriously, I hope they invent that.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Let's put this in There Will Be Blood terms...the iPad does not drink your milkshake...it just doesn't.
posted by hiteleven at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google can fuck off until their phone has multitouch. Until then it is worthless.

All recent Android phones have multitouch hardware and software support. It's deactivated for phones sold in the US market because, IIRC, Apple holds a patent on the technology and refuses to license it.
posted by teraflop at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2010


Real web page, specs and pretty video online now at www.apple.com/ipad/
posted by rokusan at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why people hate on Apple, in one smug photo.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can see the utility of this, though. Not necessarily as a laptop replacement, but certainly as a media gadget. Read the newspaper in the morning, listen to some music while going over paperwork or e-mail on the subway to work, watch a movie on an airplane - sure! Serious data entry, photo editing, or business applications? No way. However, I could see myself carrying something like this with my work computer on a business trip.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


SD cards are one of those things that Apple is solidly against, like radios on MP3 players

How hugely against them can they be when macbooks have SD slots and the iPod nano has an FM tuner?

and second buttons on mice that aren't some weird multitouch thing

I've been using my prev-gen "magic" apple mouse as a two-button mouse for years. It's just a setting in OSX to enable it, and the feel is just about indistinguishable from two separate physical buttons.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2010


To answer the question above, the answer is 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi), which is more than double the iPhone, so there must be some letterboxing going on in "2x" mode.
posted by rokusan at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2010


Two years from now, when you can't go into a coffee shop without seeing people working on their iPad, and the product itself has transformed dramatically, and every freaking laptop in the world has become an iPad knockoff, and we can't believe we were ever okay with using mouses or little touch pads because the way we interact with the Web using a touchscreen is so much more intuituve and provides so many unexpected and useful options --

Well, this thread is going to look awfully short-sited.


I definitely see the potential here, but it's not Jesus Phone potential. To me, this honestly looks like Apple TV caliber stuff. I can't imagine anyone I know buying one, and I most likely won't buy it, unless someone comes up with some cool audio stuff to do with it (using it to run Ableton would be AWESOME)
posted by empath at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2010


Yeah no USB plugs either. It has apple-made office apps for $9, but you're not going to be able to run any software you want.

Plus, it actually seems like Apple was a little behind Microsoft this time. Balmer introduced the HP slate about two weeks ago, which is an ordinary PC that runs a full OS.
posted by delmoi at 11:41 AM on January 27, 2010


Not being able to connect a USB is an issue, though.

It syncs over USB just like an iPhone or an iPod, according to Engadget's liveblog.
posted by spilon at 11:41 AM on January 27, 2010


. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Can you bother to pay attention for five seconds? It has wifi.


ahem.
posted by niles at 11:41 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Well, this thread is going to look awfully short-sited.

That's because you're viewing it in landscape mode.
posted by chara at 11:41 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well, this thread is going to look awfully short-sited.

Most Apple products are very good two years down the line. That's still a long time to fix the initial project. What's your point?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


delmoi: The fact that the HP Slate runs the full OS is a BAD thing, for the same reason every Windows and Mac tablet is unpopular and unloved. But apparently you've been living in a cave for ten years where people like using touch screens for operating systems that weren't specifically designed for touch screens.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, this thread is going to look awfully short-sited.

Indeed. Some of this thread reads as LudditeFilter, which is disappointing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two years from now, when you can't go into a coffee shop without seeing people working on their iPad, and the product itself has transformed dramatically, and every freaking laptop in the world has become an iPad knockoff, and we can't believe we were ever okay with using mouses or little touch pads because the way we interact with the Web using a touchscreen is so much more intuituve and provides so many unexpected and useful options --

Well, this thread is going to look awfully short-sited.


The major caveat to this is, even if it's true, what makes the iPad the tablet to own? There's nothing majorly new here...unless you call all the tablets made in the past 10 years iPad "knockoffs" by anachronistic conceit.
posted by hiteleven at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also this is going to be the most amazing universal remote. Ever.
posted by geoff. at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Plus, it actually seems like Apple was a little behind Microsoft this time. Balmer introduced the HP slate about two weeks ago, which is an ordinary PC that runs a full OS.

Theres been tablet PCs around for ages, like the ones with the styluses and the little fold around keyboards - in general they pretty much suck, and are a good argument for a custom OS.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2010


There's very little that this does that i wouldn't rather do on the iphone or my macbook.

Yeah, me too, I think. Maybe I'll change my mind once I've played with one, but even seeing photos of Steve all curled up in his chair playing with the iPad made me think it would be physically awkward to use. My ipod touch I can hold in one hand; my laptop sits comfortably on my lap, with the screen up there where I can see it.

Still. A $14.99/mo data plan, unlocked device....Hmmm.
posted by rtha at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2010


"iTampon" is already trending on twitter. Oy.
posted by fight or flight at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2010


The major caveat to this is, even if it's true, what makes the iPad the tablet to own? There's nothing majorly new here...unless you call all the tablets made in the past 10 years iPad "knockoffs" by anachronistic conceit.

What makes the iPod the mp3 player to own? Or the iPhone the phone to own? Surely some time within the next 10 years somebody will make an mp3 player that beats out the iPod.

If Microsoft makes an mp3 player...? Boy! Apple would be TOAST!
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


not necessarily as a laptop replacement, but certainly as a media gadget. Read the newspaper in the morning, listen to some music while going over paperwork or e-mail on the subway to work, watch a movie on an airplane - sure!

The thing is, i already do all this with the iphone and that fits in my pocket.
posted by empath at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


what makes the iPad the tablet to own?

The software? Are there really "killer apps" that make a Windows tablet a compelling purchase at this point for most people, compared with an iPad?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010


There's nothing majorly new here...unless you call all the tablets made in the past 10 years iPad "knockoffs" by anachronistic conceit.

iPod managed to make itself the original mp3 player retroactively...
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Except for the keyboard they just announced, Shmegegge?

not really. does it need one or not? I'm certainly glad they're not making it so you HAVE to type on the touchscreen, but that still doesn't make it "the future of computing." it's still a middle ground device that isn't sufficiently meeting any needs except as a color ereader/web browser, which isn't revolutionary. again, if it meets your needs, go you. but the hype is out of control on this.
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The price on this thing is reasonable, especially for Apple and double-especially with the cheap no-contract unlimited 3G data plan they somehow got ATT to give up.

That said, it's still a bit expensive for a couch-surfing gadget, which is about all I think I'd want it for, so I'll probably pass on version 1, myself.

I do expect to see some great wall-mount accessories though. It could be nice in a kitchen, for example.
posted by rokusan at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe for $300 with tethering. Otherwise, it's hard for me to justify getting my 2007 MacBook Pro and 4G (yes, 4th gen!) iPod a friend.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010


The major caveat to this is, even if it's true, what makes the iPad the tablet to own?
It's $499 and the software doesn't blow goats, basically.
posted by bonaldi at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


There will be much howling when someone drops one.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


ahem.

Ah!
posted by rtha at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2010


(using it to run Ableton would be AWESOME)

Seriously. Make it connect to my Mac-based Pro Tools system via bluetooth and allow multiple co-producers in the same room to edit sessions as a group without everyone having to nudge the control-desk guy away from the mouse everytime someone wants to show the group a little idea. I'd buy one then.
posted by The World Famous at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, it's 132 dpi (dimensions included besel), which implies a 7 3/4 by 5.8 inch screen, or 9.6" diagonal. No mention of SD or USB connectors, and yeah I think it's kinda important that a real computer be able to function as a USB host rather than just a client.

Can you print off of this thing, for example? Store files?

Two years from now, when you can't go into a coffee shop without seeing people working on their iPad

Maybe that's true, but this isn't my Jesus device. It's close, but I want some I can create with, not just consume creations on. Apple, again has made a primo consumer device, but I don't (just) want to be a consumer.
posted by bonehead at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing is, i already do all this with the iphone and that fits in my pocket.

David Lynch has something to say to you.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2010 [13 favorites]


I can see the utility of this, though. Not necessarily as a laptop replacement, but certainly as a media gadget.

Yeah, as it is now I would use this around the house or someplace with WiFi for media consumption/internet and email use but not as a replacement for my laptop for doing actual remote work. It would just be an alternative to breaking out the laptop.

But anyway, the idea of a ubiquitous data pad is nothing new and this first gen iPad is a step towards that. What would be ideal is to have something that seamlessly folded out from pocket sized to iPad sized with full features in either of its modes. Something like that is probably a good decade away, and will be dependent upon better molecular-level manufacturing processes.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still can't figure out who they're marketing this to. Many people (myself included) already have a Macbook and an iPhone. Even if you already own just one of those, I'm not sure why you'd buy the iPad.
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


As both a user of Apple products and a Kindle(DX) owner, I don't think this poses any threat to the Kindle. What I want in an e-reader is orthogonal to what I want in a multipurpose computer. In an e-reader, I want exceptional battery life, passive screen, and no distractions. What I want in a computing device (notebook, tablet, etc.) is performance, a bright, crisp screen, and access to all kinds of stuff.
posted by potch at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'll wait until it has a built-in user-facing camera (you know it's coming in v2). Video chat on this device would be wonderous.
posted by xthlc at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll sit and wait for the non-idiot price.

Considering the problems people have been having with the most recent iMacs, I'd wait to make sure it really works.
posted by homunculus at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2010


It also works with any bluetooth keyboard, which is nice, because that keyboard dock looks a little hickish.
posted by rokusan at 11:48 AM on January 27, 2010


All recent Android phones have multitouch hardware and software support. It's deactivated for phones sold in the US market because, IIRC, Apple holds a patent on the technology and refuses to license it.

Palm seemed happy to implement multitouch on the Pre. Microsoft and other companies are using pinch-to-zoom and other multitouch gestures. Anyway, Apple isn't stupid. They applied for multi-touch patents in Europe, South Korea, Canada, and Australia as well as the US, so if it's the patent that's the problem it's a little strange that they would take their chances everywhere but here.
posted by jedicus at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2010


I can't see using it myself to fill the gap between iPhone and laptop, becuase, really, I don't see a gap there.

But, I absolutely see myself buying this for my 70+ year old parents. Intuitive use + big enough to see = WIN
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


(using it to run Ableton would be AWESOME)

And it's a pretty safe bet that DJ and Band-In-A-Box types of apps are going to be huge on this thing.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2010


And as for "small, cheap, portable, fully-functioning computer" ... that's what you're looking at here.

A proper computer runs Emacs. Anything else is just a TV with chrome and tail-fins. </luddite>
posted by enn at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2010 [16 favorites]


I look forwards to buying broken ones on eBay a couple years from now for $10, fixing them, and attaching them to trees in the woods to freak out the hippies at music festivals.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


The problem that I have with this is that it still has the issues that rankle me about the iPhone. Apps have to get approved by Apple before they can be distributed. No multitasking/background processing. No real filesystem access. I don't think the restrictive sandbox approach makes sense on a device like this. On a phone maybe. But if someone tried to sell you a laptop with these kind of restrictions, you would probably tell them to shove it, and this device looks more like a laptop than a phone to me.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


iPad is an awful name.

and why on earth are they sticking with AT&T? do they not realize the profit to be made from putting iphone on verizon (or other carriers)?

this iCrap will only work with AT&T apparently. not that'll i be getting one.
i'll wait for about 7 interations. my iTouch is just fine and serves as a Kindle as well. all for under $200 and no data plan required.

bleh.
posted by sio42 at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The software? Are there really "killer apps" that make a Windows tablet a compelling purchase at this point for most people, compared with an iPad?

in truth, I hope the software DOES set it apart. I'm a little skeptical, since I was hoping for a full OS X tablet. on the windows side, I work with a guy who use an old windows tablet for all kinds of networking stuff because he has all of their standard software working on it out of the box. that windows' touchscreen support is shit is his kind of consistent lament, so I feel confident this would have that advantage. But on the other hand, he's perfectly happy using a laptop or netbook for the same shit, so... this particular device may not be a significant plus for him.

I think that's what earns the biggest meh for me. it seems like it's a very restrictive upside, and you may have to accept a pretty steep lack of functionality until they make the full OS version in some too-short amount of time.
posted by shmegegge at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skip the technobabble, just tell me how this will revolutionize porn!!!

A window wiper pops out of a recessed opening at the top, and has an 'intermittent' setting.
posted by fatbird at 11:51 AM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


They've never lied about their iPhone/Macbook battery claims.

I own an iPhone 3GS. Their claims for its battery life are, frankly, overblown. It has never, from day one, gotten the life they claim for it. It's not terrible, but it's not 5 hours of 3G browsing, either. Before you ask, no, I don't keep it in the glove compartment; I follow battery best practices, and I still don't get what they say I should. No mobile device I have used has ever lived up to its battery life claims. Not a single one.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:51 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't figure out who would want to watch TV on a computer! You already have a TV... who needs another screen??? And I don't get why people want to buy an Xbox when my PC already plays games just fine! I already have a camera who wants a camera on a phone that would be even worse??

Email on a phone ? Look guys people just don't ever need something that does things something else already does
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:51 AM on January 27, 2010


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
posted by localhuman at 11:51 AM on January 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


not that i really had my heart set on some apple breakthrough product, but i'm pretty underwhelmed by this announcement. the amount of secrecy and speculation is SO disproportionate to the actual product. Fine, it's pretty small and is high capacity..but these are all incremental changes. Apple changes the hubcaps and proclaims that they've reinvented the wheel :P
posted by Damn That Television at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


There will be much howling when someone drops one.

Oh, they'll have to come up with a new word for that. "He just went padless"?, for starters.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2010


delmoi: "The business model stuff is actually a step backwards moving to a locked down, approved by apple, DRM larded world that previously was only used by game consoles and cellphones. "

This.

The iPad is a cool thing, yes. It's slick, and the interface is exactly as beautiful as I was expecting from Apple. But will I be buying one, so that I may only consume what Apple has approved and create with apps that only Apple has approved? No.
posted by Plutor at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


What makes the iPod the mp3 player to own? Or the iPhone the phone to own? Surely some time within the next 10 years somebody will make an mp3 player that beats out the iPod.

Both were light years ahead of similar products in terms to functionality. And, I'm sorry, this just isn't the case here.

Sure, Microsoft software sucks, but it's also the software that most people use to store documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.

What will iPad software be like? I was a little disturbed that so much of the presentation focused on the ability to use existing iPhone apps. Unless there are decent productivity applications available soon, they'll lose that market.
posted by hiteleven at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2010


I can't imagine anyone I know buying one, and I most likely won't buy it, unless someone comes up with some cool audio stuff to do with it (using it to run Ableton would be AWESOME)

See, that is what I wanted. Something that would make audio and video editing easier. A tablet running Snow Leopard with a couple of USB ports would be awesome for manipulating audio and video. But the iPad won't be able to do this for a few reasons. The primary being that there's no direct disc access or any kind of port to import data outside of the standard iPod/iPhone connector. So you're stuck with recording/filming what you need, copying it up to an intermediary device, a laptop most likely, and then, like iPhone apps, using an http connection through local wifi to transfer. And then transferring it back to the laptop for storage.

Which means that I could just upload it to my MacBook Pro with a USB connection and not bother with the iPad.

As it stands, this thing doesn't do anything my iPhone doesn't and my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro do more. So, yeah, don't really see myself buying it.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's cute. It does pretty much what everyone thought it would, plus or minus a couple of things. It will probably sell quite well. I will never buy one until (not unless; I've made my mind up) I hit the lottery, as an iPhone is quite enough portable computer for me, but I would probably enjoy one if I owned one.

I'm again not getting the things that people choose to get worked up over. There is a wide variety of consumer electronics available for purchase as we speak, some of which will almost certainly suit your needs even if this one doesn't. Apple benefits from your attention whether it's positive or negative; if you don't like its products, ignore them. (And on the other side...well, maybe "get a life" is too harsh, but a few of you do need to work on your objectivity.)
posted by Epenthesis at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2010


Google can fuck off until their phone has multitouch. Until then it is worthless.

Yeah, what do they think we want, a portable telephone? Idiots.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


"this iCrap will only work with AT&T apparently. not that'll i be getting one."

I know "metafilter.com" and "slashdot.org" are spelled really similar, but do try to be more careful in the future. Thanks.
posted by potch at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Spittle is strong here.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


ATTENTION: I AM MORE CYNICAL AND THEREFORE MORE INTELLIGENT THAN YOU.
posted by aramaic at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2010 [19 favorites]


Amazon has changed the text on their front-page Kindle ad to "Easy to Read, Even in Bright Sunlight." Well played, Amazon. Your e-reader shall soon be mine.
posted by moviehawk at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


So far this seems to be the best option for an eBook reader, plus all the other apps make it kind of neat, but it's just "kind of" neat, not "oh my god" neat the way the iPhone was when it came out.

I'm not sure what else people were expecting. It's a tablet thingy, not a computer. Why do people always throw a nutty when it doesn't have their favorite feature?

Really, it's the Newspad from 2001, which when you think about it is kind of cool. At least something came true.
posted by bondcliff at 11:55 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


There was an iPod with a tuner? I'd missed that. I'm more than a little suprised.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on January 27, 2010


I'm not sure what else people were expecting.

Well... pretty much this. Which makes it all the odder than now it's here I'm not that fussed about it.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2010


Well, it's impressively cheap. I just paid more than the base model price for my Nexus One. Maybe it'll be desirable when people start writing iPad-only apps for it, but "it's like a giant iPhone" doesn't make me go "whee" at all.

But then again I'm an artist, who's been married to Adobe Illustrator for ten years; I won't be interested in something like this until I can run AI (or some iPad-specific vector art tool that has certain esoteric AI features my whole workflow relies on) on it.
posted by egypturnash at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2010


So I'm feeling this inevitable letdown even though this is a pretty great device. The hype gets me whipped up for no rational reason. My lizard brain is connected to my gadget brain somehow in some sort of evolutionary short circuit.

Anyway, here we are. My very important thoughts.

1. Apple built a processor. This is a pretty big deal. This is really break-out stuff that will be hard to match. That's where 10 hours of battery life comes from. No Intel-based slate PC can compete on the battery life front, even with CULV and other improvements. ARM has come from behind here with a huge win.

2. This is a media consumption device. Apple is the new universal media middleman. An upgrade from the new music middleman. Now it's music, video, books, games. If you wear special glasses during the keynote the projector is really showing words like "CONSUME" and "OBEY" in 5,000 point type. Anyway, this thing is all about horizontal media consumption, preferably where the user pays per item. No support for streaming services, subscription services, whatever. No Netflix, no Pandora, no Rhapsody et al for a very specific strategic reason. media companies love this because it's sexy and because it drives unit sales. None of this subscription bullshit.

3. Cheap 3G. I wager AT&T knows that this thing will be light on bandwidth compared to a 3G data stick. No one is going to run torrents or WebEx meetings or other super-consumers of bandwidth. I don't think AT&T is going to lose money at $30 monthly unlimited.

4. It's not a computer. It's a consumer media device with an attached ecosystem of consumables. You can do computer-like stuff on it. But that's secondary. It's a media device made possible by microprocessors and IPS screens and such.

5. The price is pretty impressive. $499 is a great low end price point.

6. Exact CPU specs? 1 GHz doesn't mean that much. Screen resolution? Is it really just double an ipod? That would mean 480x320 becomes 960x640? That would be pixel quadrupling and not doubling for iPhone apps, but that's hair-splitting. Honestly, the resolution is underwhelming but it's sufficient. Actual RAM separate from device storage? 256 MB runtime RAM is still pretty stinky. Apple buyers are not actually tech spec weenies no none of this stuff is likely to matter much.

7. Keyboard dock? WTF? Let me drop this on you: BLUETOOTH. WTF would I want a wired keyboard for? Give me the basic dock and let me use my wireless bluetooth keyboard. This is old tech. No idea why they wouldn't support this but apparently it's still not on the iPhone/iTouch.

8. Still no multitasking? Alerts are probably unimportant for this device as you won't have it in your pocket. It's really a laptop usage model. But it seems odd that they feel no pressure to innovate in this area.

9. If Reed Hastings had come on stage I would have ordered one already. As is, call me when you get the subscription based services on board.
posted by GuyZero at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


I was hoping for a camera embedded in the screen, but it looks like there's no camera at all.
posted by stopgap at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2010


A proper computer runs Emacs. Anything else is just a TV with chrome and tail-fins

emacs on iPod touch

(Actually, emacs on a Mac Plus emulated on an iPod touch.)
posted by weston at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


cashman
iScream?

uScream ...

I gave up my home computer awhile ago, but plan to replace it one day.

My first impression of the iPad is, it looks excellent for browsing & watching movies, and ok for social networking (Facebook is not as robust on the iPhone as on a full computer), but I can't figure out if you can download applications and programs that aren't in iTunes.

(I feel like an iIdiot for typing "i" in front of all these brand names.)

Has anyone figured out if this pad can handle programs like Office (or Open Office), Mozilla, photo editing freeware, or MixMeister? If I can't have those, I don't want it.

But if it does, yeah ... I want one.
posted by kanewai at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2010


Apple loads gun, shoots self in foot. The Mac fans applaud and coo at the beauty of the hole. Everyone realizes the hole is ugly and walks by.

Shall we dance again? :)
posted by Damn That Television at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Plus, it actually seems like Apple was a little behind Microsoft this time. Balmer introduced the HP slate about two weeks ago, which is an ordinary PC that runs a full OS.

Two weeks ago? Try again.

Of course, Apple was ahead there, too.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2010


using it to run Ableton would be AWESOME

You can already do this with the OSC protocol. Check out iOSC (brief demo).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


3. Cheap 3G. I wager AT&T knows that this thing will be light on bandwidth compared to a 3G data stick. No one is going to run torrents or WebEx meetings or other super-consumers of bandwidth. I don't think AT&T is going to lose money at $30 monthly unlimited.

I don't know about that. They're getting hammered by iPhone data usage, how is this any different? Sure, probably less units (probably) but you can feasibly use a LOT more bandwidth on one of these than an iPhone.
posted by jckll at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It can only output up to 1024x768 on an external screen. That's kind of crap, frankly.

# UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
# GSM/EDGE (850, 900,1800, 1900 MHz)

So it won't work with T-Mobile's 3G network even if it gets unlocked. That's too bad. But at least you should, hopefully, be able to take it abroad, plug in a pre-paid SIM card, and get data access wherever you are.

Regarding SD cards and acting as a USB host:

"iPad Camera Connection Kit
The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card."
posted by jedicus at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama's STOU opening line: "Unlike the iPad, I can multitask".
posted by hiteleven at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry, SOTU.
posted by hiteleven at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2010


There was an iPod with a tuner? I'd missed that. I'm more than a little suprised.

You can thank the Zune for that.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:58 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


ok, GuyZero just answered my questions. "Media Consumption Device" pretty much covers it.
posted by kanewai at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was hoping for a camera embedded in the screen, but it looks like there's no camera at all.

That's definitely a downside. It would have raised the price considerably, and it may have introduced a forced orientation to the device. Right now, you can pick up and use the device in any orientation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010


I know it's fun being an ignorant jackass and conflating my appraise of this thing with my being a jizzing fanboy


I've been waiting a month for this announcement. It's like a holiday for my favorite hobby.


Turns out, no conflation necessary.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


What will iPad software be like? I was a little disturbed that so much of the presentation focused on the ability to use existing iPhone apps. Unless there are decent productivity applications available soon, they'll lose that market.

Did you see the demos of iTunes, iPhoto, the calendar, etc.? They didn't just upscale the applications; they added a lot of functionality. Ditto the Brushes app and the NY Times one.

It's not just the bigger screen, it's the addition of a lot of extra horsepower. Developers suddenly have a lot of freedom to make things, and they're building it in the same iPhone context that encourages gorgeous, elegant design.

Both were light years ahead of similar products in terms to functionality. And, I'm sorry, this just isn't the case here.

I think if you compare it to the iPod and the Macbook, you're right: It's kind of taking the best of each, but it's not breakthrough. But now compare it to other products in the $500 multipurpose computational device category and it looks pretty breakthrough.

The reason it won't be surpassed is that its biggest selling points are going to be things like ease of use and gorgeousness. That's what makes people buy things. Other companies have to play catch-up to Apple right now, and they haven't shown they can do a good job even once they spend a lot of time recovering.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


This would be better gift than the iMac I got for my Mum. It's cheap enough to be a gift and I won't need to close down 10 running applications every time I visit. She only ever uses 1 at a time. It looks like it would be simpler to explain.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's a cookbook!
posted by doctorschlock at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


delmoi: " Apple was a little behind Microsoft this time. Balmer introduced the HP slate about two weeks ago, which is an ordinary PC that runs a full OS."

That was only first-gen. Next up: the Microsoft Plank!

The Plank comes with a patented "ooze" mode that lets you transfer files to another Plank user at battery-saving low baud rates.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010


No Netflix, no Pandora, no Rhapsody et al for a very specific strategic reason.

Is the Pandora app not going to work on it?

Of course $499 is a lot for something that's going to sit in a corner and play web streamed music at you without being able to do anything else at the same time.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, "It also comes with a headphone jack and a built-in microphone." So you will be able to do Skype calls at least, just without video. It is pretty startling that they didn't just go whole hog and throw in a video camera. I wonder if AT&T refused to offer cheap 3G if there was a camera. I imagine their network would fall to pieces (well, even smaller pieces) if video conferencing over the cellular network became common.
posted by jedicus at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2010


The audience at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is decidedly underwhelmed, Lyons says; early excitement is "draining away." Some in the crowd are just browsing the Web on their own devices, not even paying attention to the Apple presentation.
posted by hiteleven at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2010


Kindle v. iPad: I still think the glareless e-paper wins out. I don't need color books.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The iPad: A prediction from 2001.
posted by flatluigi at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


If they could figure out a way to incorporate e-ink into the display in a way that allowed you to use it as a e-book reader (unlit, no power being used except to change pages) and a color, lit, LCD screen capable of video, you'd truly have a killer device. It's the right size and form factor to pull this off, too.

But it doesn't do that. So for the moment, I remain unimpressed.

Then, I haven't switched to an iPhone yet either, so perhaps there is some awesome quality to this that I'm not getting. Either way, I'll wait till gen-3 before I'd even bother considering it.
posted by quin at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2010


7. Keyboard dock? WTF? Let me drop this on you: BLUETOOTH. WTF would I want a wired keyboard for?

Elsewhere people are saying any bluetooth keyboard works. I hope so -- in fact, I hope Apple's smart enough to support every big bluetooth option here -- DUN, FTP/OBEX, A2DP, HID, HFP, the whole shebang. But they've made me a doubter with the history of the iPod Touch.
posted by weston at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2010


Screw the soft keyboard, with the size and and this quality of this touchscreen, I want every app to support handwriting recognition, in-place. There's plenty of CPU available these days and what are Apple programmers good at if not usability improvements? Handwriting recognition's time may have finally come.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can see it having it's niche, not being filled with the gotta have it urge yet. Think I'll wait for the 2nd generation one to come out. Price point is very nice though.
posted by arcticseal at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2010


Did you see the demos of iTunes, iPhoto, the calendar, etc.? They didn't just upscale the applications; they added a lot of functionality. Ditto the Brushes app and the NY Times one.

It's not just the bigger screen, it's the addition of a lot of extra horsepower. Developers suddenly have a lot of freedom to make things, and they're building it in the same iPhone context that encourages gorgeous, elegant design.


High-end apps will be the key to this thing. They'll have to come out fast. I already have iTunes, and the NYT looks fine on my laptop...I'll need more than that.
posted by hiteleven at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2010


Can't run more than one app at once–does this thing run Vista®?
posted by Mister_A at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2010


[A few comments removed. jckll, you're being a jerk, cut it out.]
posted by cortex at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


the NYT looks fine on my laptop

...for now!
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I won't make any success/failure predictions, but man, am I underwhelmed by this. And not even ONE camera, let alone two! Also, there were some pretty strong forecasts that a new version of the iPhone OS would drop... but nothing of the sort.
posted by evilcolonel at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2010


If they could figure out a way to incorporate e-ink into the display in a way that allowed you to use it as a e-book reader (unlit, no power being used except to change pages) and a color, lit, LCD screen capable of video, you'd truly have a killer device.

That's the concept behind Pixel Qi's product, but from people who've had a chance to look at them they're still a bit underwhelming. Maybe next iteration.

The other thing I was expecting was revolutionary multi-touch based handwriting recognition. Apple's got some patent applications based on holding an imaginary pen and writing on the screen with pressed thumb and forefinger. I guess that's a possible software upgrade.
posted by jedicus at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blast from the past

In other news: people still think they know better than Steve.
posted by paanta at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


7. Keyboard dock? WTF? Let me drop this on you: BLUETOOTH. WTF would I want a wired keyboard for?

I'd agree with you if it weren't for the fact that the keyboard is also the dock. From Apple's perspective it's a lot smarter to release a single dongly thing that does two things than to release two dongly things.

Also, given the form factor of the iPad, I can't imagine why you'd want a wireless keyboard. Would you rest both of them on the floor? How are you imagining nesting the iPad in a way that you'd be able to see it well as you type? It would have to be at a 90-degree angle, I'd think, at which point just dock it and charge as you do so.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2010


I want every app to support handwriting recognition

I think in general the world has taken a look at that, and at styluses, and collectively said No.
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So many peoples' heads are going to explode. "New Apple thing...but it replaces my Moleskine!"
posted by Legomancer at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Bluetooth DUN, dream on. No tethering, no way. AT&T would die ever deader. FTP meaybe, A2DP is already there I expect. HID would be fun if you could use your Wiimote.
posted by GuyZero at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2010


By 2020, data pad-type devices will replace high end desktop computers, mobile phones, laptops, and be pretty much your "jesus device". They will have insane 3D video, transfer data wirelessly much faster than 100 GbE, stop bullets, work 200 feet underwater, battery life for a month, etc etc etc. Any kind of raving, moaning, apologizing, or groaning here about this device is kind of just like getting stuck in a single frame in a film reel.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


A thought about the 250MB 3G plan. Since there's no contract, I hope the overage charges are capped at $15 (i.e., to match the $30 of the unlimited plan). Wouldn't surprise me if AT&T screwed people on that, though.
posted by jedicus at 12:08 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm not super-excited about the device itself, but offering no-contract unlocked 3G data is just huge. A potential game-changer, really. If this becomes popular, and other GSM providers start offering contract-free service for it, and IP telephony applications become available, the entire cellular marketplace is going to be disrupted in a big, consumer-positive, way.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:09 PM on January 27, 2010


Scanning through the comments, I see that my prediction is right: Stupidity, AppleKnowsBestism, DRM and high expense.

The only surprising part is that people still flock to Apple. Mindboggling.
posted by DU at 12:10 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I can give my wife a Macintosh-simple unit that does everything she wants without paying the Macintosh price
and never have to do tech support again?

Sign me up!
posted by DWRoelands at 12:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amazon has changed the text on their front-page Kindle ad to "Easy to Read, Even in Bright Sunlight." Well played, Amazon.

They also sell books printed on paper that don't require batteries.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 12:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


Two years from now, when you can't go into a coffee shop without seeing people working on their iPad, and the product itself has transformed dramatically, and every freaking laptop in the world has become an iPad knockoff, and we can't believe we were ever okay with using mouses or little touch pads because the way we interact with the Web using a touchscreen is so much more intuituve and provides so many unexpected and useful options --

Oh please. Apple didn't invent this form factor, just like they didn't invent the portable MP3 player. And like someone linked too, HP and Dell and other windows PC makers have already announced "Slate" PCs a couple weeks ago. They just didn't get the breathless coverage and anticipation that Apple did, because it was Apple.
They're [laptops] bulky. There's a lot of abstraction going on that could be done without. There are many aesthetically nice ones, but I'm referring to usability. -- Rory Marinich
Whatever "Abstraction going on that could be done without" is supposed to mean.
In every OS market there exist hundreds of small little applications that exist for no purpose other than to manage small little niggling irritations ...Right now I'm running an app that gives me a different menubar clock, another one that functions as a launcher for all my various things, one for quick keyboard file access, etc.--Rory Marinich
Well, look that's like saying there's something wrong with most cars because you can get stickers and accessories for them. No one needs an app that changes the menubar clock, and who's to say this device will have a menubar clock you like? There's no reason to think that it will and not only that but it's actually much less likely that you'll be able to change the menubar clock either.

As far as launching apps goes, I don't know what the deal is with Mac users needing special programs to launch apps. It's not that hard or complicated.

The idea that this device will somehow be 'free of annoyances' is absurd.
When Apple introduced the iPhone, there was a lot of acclaim from usability experts for the design, which does away with any and all interface ambiguity. No scrollbars. No issues with knowing what button does what. There's no dock that you need to comprehend, no weird metaphors you need to comprehend things.-- Rory Marinich
See, I don't even get this. Scrollbars? Scrollbars are too complicated for people to figure out? Seriously? This is exactly what I'm talking about when I refer to "UI Nerds". People who are interested in usability as some kind of theoretical ideal when in fact just because some machine doesn't work the way they envision, people can still use their computers.

I mean how lazy do you have to be to be unable to figure out things like scroll bars and "what button does what"? This isn't 1994 when UIs were first being sold. People have got things mostly figured out.
Window management issues. File management and browsing.
Oh great, and this solves the problem by what? Letting you only run one app at a time, and not letting manipulate files at all! Well, except you need to synch it with a regular PC so all the file management issues are still there, just on a different device.

If you want to run one app on your PC and completely ignore your files on a PC you can. No one is stopping you. Taking away options isn't really an improvement.

You're basically arguing that this is a device for people too dumb to use computers, despite the fact that that's a problem that pretty much went away this decade.
I know it's fun being an ignorant jackass and conflating my appraise of this thing with my being a jizzing fanboy, but that's not what I said. -- Rory Marinich
Oh come on. You just said "Computers were shit" without giving any examples. And when you did they were stupid "Scrollbars!" "Customization exists, therefore there must be flaws! I changed my clock because the clock was shit! But I can't change the clock on this thing therefore it must be perfect and I'd never need to change it!"

Come on, it's ridiculous.
delmoi: The fact that the HP Slate runs the full OS is a BAD thing, for the same reason every Windows and Mac tablet is unpopular and unloved. But apparently you've been living in a cave for ten years where people like using touch screens for operating systems that weren't specifically designed for touch screens. -- Rory Marinich


Yeah, it's called the real world. And obviously Microsoft put a lot of work into making Win 7 work on touch screens. But that's kind of beside the point. I like having a computer; I like being able to do whatever I want to with it. Maybe you don't, and I think that moving towards a world where everyone uses locked-down machines that only run approved software and have interfaces designed for morons is a bad direction.
Brother, this is my Super Bowl. Some people love watching teams of people throw a ball around. I love watching a team of industrial designers and software engineers create products and present it to me with the help of one of the world's best advertising agencies. -- Rory Marinich
In other words... a 'Jizzing fanboy'?
posted by delmoi at 12:12 PM on January 27, 2010 [30 favorites]


If I was the kind of person who liked to spend too much money on gadgets (I already do spend too much on gadgets, but I don't like the spending part) I could see owning one of these as a "surf the web in bed, on the couch, etc" tool. Well, as long as it is really is semi zippy and can handle modern browsing. (Even giving the chip designers amazing powers and assuming the 1ghz chip is 2x as fast as an equivalent ARM cpu, that's still going to be noticeably slower than even a cheap laptop.) But I'm pretty addicted to tabbed browsing so it would have to do that, and if it lacks multitasking then having a good rss reader would be impossible. (I do at least half my browsing in Vienna these days.) But I don't really see this taking off like the iPhone did; it's just not portable enough.
posted by aspo at 12:13 PM on January 27, 2010


The only surprising part is that people still flock to Apple. Mindboggling.

I know. Every morning when I wake up and beat back my iPod, which has grown limbs and has attempted to strangle me, and open up my computer, which injects a subtle serum that'd led to the loss of my fingernails, I have a brief thought like, "Maybe there's something bewilderingly bad about these moderately-priced pieces of hardware that somehow I've never noticed," before the ultraviolet screen flashes on and that thought rots along with my cerebellum.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:13 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think in general the world has taken a look at that, and at styluses, and collectively said No.

Who said anything about styluses? And if the world said "no" to anything, it was to handwriting recognition on devices with unresponsive touchpads, slow processors, immature software and/or a dedicated writing style you had to learn (e.g. Graffiti 1&2). None of those things need apply now. A keyboard that covers half the screen is not optimal, and using both hands to type while sitting (or worse, standing) on a bus is beyond awkward. Writing with one fingertip definitely has its place on a display like this.

Certainly handwriting recognition isn't optimal as the default interface for everybody, but it would be superb if it were available when wanted.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:13 PM on January 27, 2010


I've been a Metafilter lurker for a very long time, and I remember reading that original iPod thread. I thought the same thing then that I do now: "Did these people just see the same thing that I did?"

Admittedly, I'm a bit of an Apple fanboy (it's just like being a little bit pregnant!). However, you can also put me squarely into the "Apple is becoming Microsoft" camp. I'm not thrilled with the app approval process, I don't like the relationships with the big media companies, etc.

With that said, I think this device is a game changer. Personally, it's what I have wanted for five years. When nerding it up outside my office, a laptop is too clunky when surfing/reading. It's two surfaces stuck together at a 90 degree angle.

When I got an iPhone, that was a big improvement. But the hell if my old eyes could read newsfeeds or webpages on that tiny screen. I wanted an iPhone with a bigger display. And today I got one.

It's not a device for creating, despite the iWork and Brushes demos. That's what a computer is for. This is a device for consuming and sharing. I can't wait to walk into a client meeting with this thing and demo web designs.

The other acid test: the four IMs from my friends following the keynote, each one a Certified Mac Hater who have mocked me for years.

Every last one of them said "This is my next computer purchase."
posted by Exploding Gutbuster at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


Oh yay finally an iTouch for chubby fingers!
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:16 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


No Netflix, no Pandora, no Rhapsody et al for a very specific strategic reason. media companies love this because it's sexy and because it drives unit sales. None of this subscription bullshit.

Pandora and Rhapsody are both available on iPhone. It's weird how much random stuff people come up with to attack Apple.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Count me in as one of the people who are not sure of the market for this device. Apple has pushed the iPod touch and iPhone so much, I don't know a single person between 15-30 who doesn't have one. The major major selling point seems to be the bigger screen, but it also causes it to lose some portability. If faced with the choice of taking my iTouch or this iPad somewhere, it'd be the iTouch every time. (My Android phone keeps me connected to the web just fine, but the iPhone makes this device even less useful.) To me, the tablet doesn't have anything worth carrying it around for, as a replacement for Apple's previous mobile products.

So the target seems to be the older generation, as several posters here have brought up already (e.g., gifts for aging parents). And thus we have something simple, which ends up being boring for the young kids who are constantly coming into spending money of their own. This doesn't substitute anything for me, my friends, or my coworkers.

I'm really unsure of the supposed charm of this thing.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2010


Real web page, specs and pretty video online now at www.apple.com/ipad/

Yeah the video [QT | 07:59] does show very impressive software implementation.
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on January 27, 2010


This is a revision of the concept of computing.

When I can comfortably play Crysis II on it I will accept it as a revision of the concept of computing.
posted by Justinian at 12:18 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


jedicus: "It is pretty startling that they didn't just go whole hog and throw in a video camera."

I don't think that's startling at all. The first generation model sucks in the early adopters and Apple fans. A year or at most two later, at another Apple keynote they announce the iPad 3.5G, now with camera and iChat, dropping the lower-memory SKUs, dropping pricepoint a touch, etc. The early adopters and Apple fans buy in again, plus additional buy-ins from everyone with milder interest holding off till the hardware refresh works out other issues.
posted by Drastic at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going to buy one.
posted by rlk at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2010


I was disappointed, but then I expected to be.

Once the initial fervor over the mere thought of an Apple Tablet passed, I started wondering where it would fit into my life. I already own an iPhone and an iTouch, and the minute they release an 80GB iPhone, I'll sell the iTouch (fingers crossed). I also own a MacBook Pro, so between it and the iPhone my portable personal computing needs are well looked after. Games? Again, the iPhone looks after me there, as does my DSi.

So where does an iPad fit in? I honestly don't know. If it had run MacOS instead of the iPhone OS, maybe, maybe I would have bought it. I could have done my drawing on it instead of my MacBook. I could have installed Windows 7 for the fun of it. But iPhone OS isn't really going to let me draw on it the way I need to draw. And connectivity wise, it sounds like transferring any drawings I make would be hard.

So after I thought about it a bit, I expected to be disappointed if the iPad dint run MacOS, and lo and behold it doesn't. So its unlikely I'll get one. Unless my usual geek techno-lust kicks in, that is. Otherwise, I think I'll keep my money.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:20 PM on January 27, 2010


Woah, that bezel around the screen is fugly. If you add both sides, it's like 15-20% of the whole width.
posted by milarepa at 12:20 PM on January 27, 2010


We can't get to that almost-paper-thin electronic media device in one go... this is the next baby step. 20 years from now we'll look back at this thing like one of these.
posted by starman at 12:20 PM on January 27, 2010


Major questions: Can it use USB thumb drives? Can I charge/sync an iPod off it while it's docked? Does it support bluetooth devices? Does it have line-in audio, or an integrated mic, or both?

Basically, can this replace a netbook? Because that is what I would be replacing. It doesn't strike me as a mobile device, but rather the around-the-house jack-of-all-trades mini-computer I use my netbook as right now.
posted by mek at 12:20 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's weird how much random stuff people come up with to attack Apple.

THE IPAD ONLY HAS ONE BUTTON OMG
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:20 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a device for consuming and sharing. I can't wait to walk into a client meeting with this thing and demo web designs.

it's running mobile safari (admittedly, pretty beefed up) on a mobile OS. I'm not sure how ideal a situation that would be for you.
posted by shmegegge at 12:21 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


DRM.

The ePub format does not require DRM. It's not actually clear that there will be DRM on the books sold through the iBookstore. If there is, then boo-hiss. If not, well, that would fit with Apple's general preference against DRM.

The music store is already DRM free, basically. The movie/tv stores are not, but I don't know of any substantial DRM-free alternatives, so it's a little harder to hate Apple for that one.
posted by jedicus at 12:21 PM on January 27, 2010


Metafilter's more advanced user crowd is understandably underwhelmed.

This is is an excellent consumer device and long term it's going to eat everyone's lunch as it replaces laptops for most regular folks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:21 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh and I love the idea of reinventing the portable computer with a focus on media consumption instead of media creation (because let's face it, that's what people do with computers these days, especially when not at home) but I just don't believe that the iPad is the right reinvention.
posted by aspo at 12:22 PM on January 27, 2010


Version 2 predictions: 720p display (1280x720), camera (front + back), FM radio
posted by blue_beetle at 12:22 PM on January 27, 2010


Bluetooth DUN, dream on. No tethering, no way. AT&T would die ever deader.

Not DUN for using the device's connectivity. DUN for using the connectivity of other devices.

I don't want to buy a Touch or an iPad in order to connect a laptop to the internet. I want to be able to connect the Touch or iPad to the cellular network via, say, a Nokia 2865. Or any phone on any network.
posted by weston at 12:23 PM on January 27, 2010


This thread sounds suspiciously like what people were saying when the original iPod came out -- that it was derivative, over-priced, and neat/cute/slick but not "a game changer."

I wonder if our powers of prophecy have improved in the last decade. Doubt it, though.

What kills me is the tone of *authority* armchair pundits always have. Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying this is TRULY REVOLUTIONARY, but the iPod *did* turn out to be revolutionary and very few people thought so at its debut.

Foresight is not common.
posted by Construction Concern at 12:23 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


offering no-contract unlocked 3G data is just huge. A potential game-changer, really.

This is already the case with the Nexus One.
posted by ekroh at 12:23 PM on January 27, 2010


20 years from now we'll look back at this thing like one of these.

or one of these.
posted by shmegegge at 12:24 PM on January 27, 2010


Great, another device that will show me just how greasy my fat fucking fingers are.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:24 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh please. Apple didn't invent this form factor, just like they didn't invent the portable MP3 player. And like someone linked too, HP and Dell and other windows PC makers have already announced "Slate" PCs a couple weeks ago. They just didn't get the breathless coverage and anticipation that Apple did, because it was Apple.

So we're still on the "Fuck the iPod who gives a shit" mindset? Because I thought we'd given that up just in time for the "Fuck the iPhone who gives a shit." Get with the system, man.

Whatever "Abstraction going on that could be done without" is supposed to mean.

Dude, I've EXPLAINED it. When I want to open up, say, the Internet, I don't just push the Internet button. I put my finger on the trackpad, and move a little icon across the screen. I navigate to the Internet button. Then I put my finger on the mouse and click twice. Or, I can push two keybuttons, type in the name of the application (which isn't "Internet"), and hit the return button, which returns me nowhere and launches something new. Here, I put my finger on the fucking screen and push the fucking button.

As far as launching apps goes, I don't know what the deal is with Mac users needing special programs to launch apps. It's not that hard or complicated.

It's not hard, and I've used it enough to make it uncomplicated, but it takes TIME. If I have a hundred apps, scrolling, looking for the name, takes time. If I have a thousand songs, looking for the right one takes time. Now, we have lots of programs that help abstract music enough that it's not too hard — we have albums to sort by, artists to sort by, so we can find what we want. Nothing like that for applications. Programs exist to provide those abstractions, so I can launch anything I want to in a second or two, but it's not a default part of the system.

See, I don't even get this. Scrollbars? Scrollbars are too complicated for people to figure out? Seriously? This is exactly what I'm talking about when I refer to "UI Nerds". People who are interested in usability as some kind of theoretical ideal when in fact just because some machine doesn't work the way they envision, people can still use their computers.

Are you related to ANYBODY over the age of fifty? YES they find scrollbars hard. My grandfather scrolls a page by dragging the mouse to the scroll bar and clicking it and dragging it, and sometimes he used to forget where it is. He doesn't use a scroll wheel because it's too complicated for him to understand. Here? Finger on screen, flick. Boom, it's done.

Oh great, and this solves the problem by what? Letting you only run one app at a time, and not letting manipulate files at all! Well, except you need to synch it with a regular PC so all the file management issues are still there, just on a different device.

I don't really multitask beyond listening to music, and you can multitask that here. Push notifications works for me. If I used Pandora I'd be pissed, and I wish Apple'd do something about that, but it's not a dealbreaker. As for manipulating files, I have a filebrowser on my iPod. It's got a lot of really neat tricks that make it easy to use. Quick search is the biggest one. But more importantly, it doesn't make all my files into little windows and have me drag them around places. It sorts them by name or by filetype, and I flick along them and find what I want.

You're basically arguing that this is a device for people too dumb to use computers, despite the fact that that's a problem that pretty much went away this decade.

What makes you so proud of your computer intelligence? You've spent a decade and a half learning an arbitrary arcane system that makes you jump through loops to get shit done. Now people are making things that one-year-olds can use without confusion and you're mocking the people that are saying, "Hey, that's really cool!" It's like mocking TiVo users for never learning how to program their VCR. Never mind that the new thing is radically better. We learned the old system! Graah!

Yeah, it's called the real world. And obviously Microsoft put a lot of work into making Win 7 work on touch screens. But that's kind of beside the point. I like having a computer; I like being able to do whatever I want to with it. Maybe you don't, and I think that moving towards a world where everyone uses locked-down machines that only run approved software and have interfaces designed for morons is a bad direction.

Because nobody's going to unlock the iPad, ever, because nobody unlocked the iPhone, and nobody ever developed apps for that unlocked iPhone. Your real world apparently doesn't get the news.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:24 PM on January 27, 2010 [27 favorites]


Show a normal person the shot of the ipad sitting in the keyboard dock and you've sold one.

It looks like people want computers of the future to look.

I think this will be a much bigger deal down the line. Slow start, but once people start to use it, it'll be a blockbuster.

That's not to say it's perfect, but man oh man will it sell.
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:25 PM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "This is is an excellent consumer device and long term it's going to eat everyone's lunch as it replaces laptops for most regular folks."

Well, maybe not this particular version of the device - once it becomes more laptop-like, I could see that happening. For now, it's use stops at browsing the web. And let's face it, even regular folks want more than that.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 12:25 PM on January 27, 2010


Woah, that bezel around the screen is fugly. If you add both sides, it's like 15-20% of the whole width.

Well, given you have to hold it somewhere, and it could be in any orientation, isn't that much bezel necessary?
posted by rokusan at 12:25 PM on January 27, 2010


Oh and I love the idea of reinventing the portable computer with a focus on media consumption instead of media creation (because let's face it, that's what people do with computers these days, especially when not at home)

I love the idea of reinventing the portable computer, too, but I think you might be off about this. youtube and desktop media in general has exploded in terms of consumer-level media creation for a while, now. It'd be a mistake to think media consumption as sole computer use is the overwhelming trend you're describing.
posted by shmegegge at 12:26 PM on January 27, 2010


Well, instead of focusing on the present, I'd like to look forward to the future, and it's this:

In 10 years, the book publishing industry in the United States will collapse. Completely.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm also going to chip in and say that anybody who doesn't like to watch videos featuring Jonathan Ives talk about how magical life is in that adorable British accent of his probably also doesn't appreciate kittens.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been saying for some time that at least half of all computer users don't actually need a full computer that exposes a lot of irrelevant, fragile, cumbersome system details and has the ability to run arbitrary code -- which you then need all manner of security software to fend off. A lot of people just want to run a half dozen apps, store and touch up photos, do email, interact with web and consume medeia. What this thing does is take the irrelevant horseshit out of the personal computer, and if I get my Mom one, my life gets a lot easier. This is the computer for people for when you don't really want a computer. That's me about a third of the time and a lot of people I know all the time.

Or what Brandon Blatcher said.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to think Rory Marinich is an escaped Neal Stephenson character.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:27 PM on January 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


Once it becomes more laptop-like, I could see that happening. For now, it's use stops at browsing the web.

No way. I totally heard some guy who looked just like a fat version of Phil Schiller say that the new iPad-ready version of iWork included not just a sexy word processor but also "a spreadsheet that is fun and cool to use."

(I have a really hard time believing that last part, myself, but whatever waxes your pad, dude.)
posted by rokusan at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2010


You early adopters are suckers. I'm going to save myself a bunch of money by waiting until they release the iPad Shuffle!
posted by Jinkeez at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is is an excellent consumer device and long term it's going to eat everyone's lunch as it replaces laptops for most regular folks.

The problem is there's no real huge difference between this and other PCs in that form factor, other then the restricted OS. So certainly a lot of people will be using devices "like" this in the future, but that really has nothing to do with Apple. If anything, Amazon has been far more innovative then Apple.
posted by delmoi at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2010


Because nobody's going to unlock the iPad, ever, because nobody unlocked the iPhone, and nobody ever developed apps for that unlocked iPhone. Your real world apparently doesn't get the news.

What? Are you being sarcastic, I can't tell...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2010


Paging Marvel, DC, IDW and Darkhorse. Please report to the iBook store.
posted by butterstick at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


offering no-contract unlocked 3G data is just huge. A potential game-changer, really.

This is already the case with the Nexus One.


The Nexus One is available unlocked at a $350 premium. Every 3G iPad sold will be unlocked.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2010


Artw: There will be much howling when someone drops one.

iPad on the ground!
iPad on the ground!
Lookin' like a fool with your iPad on the ground!
posted by mkultra at 12:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've been saying for some time that at least half of all computer users don't actually need a full computer...

I am a pretty hardcore old-school computer user, but even I now spend at least 80% of my "computer time" using nothing but a web browser. A fast, big-screen instant-on web browser would cover almost all of my computer needs.

So I think it's a lot more than half.
posted by rokusan at 12:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


The early adopters and Apple fans buy in again, plus additional buy-ins from everyone with milder interest holding off till the hardware refresh works out other issues.

Or they resell theirs, with Apple's usual high resale value, essentially getting a discount on a newer model.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This might just be the first touch screen device that will accomodate my giant sausage man fingers.
posted by The Straightener at 12:30 PM on January 27, 2010


In 10 years, the book publishing industry in the United States will collapse. Completely.

I doubt it. It might scale down though. There are a lot of types of books that make more sense as e-books but people will still want paper books to read.
posted by delmoi at 12:30 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm going to save myself a bunch of money by waiting until they release the iPad Shuffle!

I kept waiting for a part of the video when someone erased the iPad screen by holding it over their head and shaking.
posted by rokusan at 12:30 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


The problem with searching for "iPad" on apple.com is that there are a lot of mis-spellings of iPod littering the results. Strange, as the A and O keys are not exactly side-by-side on the keyboard.

Obviously, those are the misspellings of the vast army of Dvorak users.
posted by 6550 at 12:30 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I meant to imply that there are more mundane uses that come before web browsing, working with text documents being one of them. The thing that makes this a "boring" device is that it's half as useful as an actual laptop and you still have to carry your other devices, which this tablet could replace in theory but decidedly did not.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 12:31 PM on January 27, 2010


Pandora and Rhapsody are both available on iPhone. It's weird how much random stuff people come up with to attack Apple.

Oh good grief. I meant on the keynote stage and my bad for not explaining myself clearly. Yes, they exist but I think Apple itself does not push subscription services for specific, strategic, economic reasons that benefit both Apple and it's largest media partners.

It's not an attack, it my own amateur analysis. Apple runs their own playbook for products that is different from every other high-tech company. Dell, HP, etc run pretty cookie-cutter operations. It's interesting to see how Apple does things differently and why they can succeed doing it where other companies... I won't say fail, but they don't really succeed either. As other note, tablet PCs are hardly new. But they've remained nice products without a simple-to-use media ecosystem that leverages their unique capabilities.

I really hate the idea that this is all either haters or jizzing fanboys. I've worked in software my whole life (AND KNOW MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE). I studied technology management in school. Some guys get their armchair quarterback on over football or baseball or invading the Balkans. I get my armchair product manager going over this stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 12:31 PM on January 27, 2010


I think it could actually be a quiet success. Not a blow out like the iPhone, but quietly useful.

It fits an intersting niche: browsing and basic apps when you don't want the full on awkward form factor of a laptop; and you don't want to squint at an iPhone screen.

It's almost perfectly priced for that niche, too. $499 is not terribly far off impulse-buy territory. At that price, I'm not expecting a fully functional PC.
posted by generichuman at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010


Reasonableness ahead! Beware!

I have an iPod touch, which I love love love. It is probably my favorite computing device ever. It does have its little drawbacks, chief among them that only one app can run at a time. But the fact that it not only fits in my pocket, but snuggles up and lives there like my pocket was designed to hold it? That makes it worth the limited power and app tradeoffs.

This is a nifty idea. A big iPod touch? Neat. I bet it's really nice to use. But the large form-factor would, I think, just tip it past being able to accept that it's not a real computer I can run real software on (yet).

When they come out with one of these running OS X, I will be first in line.
posted by rusty at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a media consumption device. Apple is the new universal media middleman.

This. Brilliant.

I want a neat and kick ass machine to consume media, no lie; but I'd like to be able to fart around and create things, too. And for $549 with 32 or 64 GB and 3GS. Still, not a bad start.
posted by cavalier at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


People who have seen the tablet say Apple will market it not just as a way to read news, books and other material, but also a way for companies to charge for all that content.

A $499 netbook with built-in content controls? Yay.

On the plus side, I hear it's very skinny.

Ten years from now more things will look like the iPad than will look like Windows or OS X.

Well, the iPad is hardware; Windows and OS X are software. I guess you mean things will look more like the iPhone OS than Windows or MacOS.

I would hope that in 10 years, things look nothing like Windows or Mac at all.

A fast, big-screen instant-on web browser would cover almost all of my computer needs.

Yes. But it also needs to have the ability to store files and transfer them to any device I want.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010


niche products, sheesh. I hate typos that become other words that actually work in the erroneous sentence.
posted by GuyZero at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010


In other words... a 'Jizzing fanboy'?
posted by delmoi at 3:12 PM on January 27


The problem with everything you wrote is that it is sensible and rational--neither of which have anything to do with the success of apple products. For example, you could have written that it would be absurd to describe the iphone as "free of annoyances" when you couldn't copy and paste text from one email to another. That is a fatal usability flaw.

But apple products are not about doing things. They are about consuming things. The ipad and iphone are as close as you can get to selling a TV but still calling it a computer. It is a content consumption device.

It is also a luxury device. The problem with the HP and Dell slates is not that they have technical problems, it's simply that they look technical. They look like products that would be used by potbellied overworked salarymen in a frumpy suit on a business trip. Apple does not care about this market at all. They care about the youth market and the singles market. 15-34. Beyond that they don't give a shit, because that's when most people in that demo are married and/or have kids, they have to watch their spending, and it is simply impossible to justify spending on apple products.

There was a thread yesterday where I learned that the Droid phone has a 240 dpi display. On a phone. This thing, that's passing as a reader, has barely 150 dpi. Nobody cares that the droid has a substantially better display, or that substantially better displays are available, but apple chose not to use them.

Apple products are the computer industry's answer to Viking stoves or Mont Blanc pens. They are better designed in a way that does not matter. It's simply more conspicuous consumption, luxury branding etc.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [39 favorites]


I want every app to support handwriting recognition

I think in general the world has taken a look at that, and at styluses, and collectively said No.


I use the handwriting recognition on my tablet (Lenovo x200) all the time. It's not perfect, and I definitely require the keyboard (which of course it has, convertible) for longer writings.

However what I really want a stylus for is to write equations. I mostly wanted a tablet so I could take notes on pdfs, including equations, sketches of concepts, etc. This way all of my notes are back-up-able and accessible anywhere I am. Two inches thick of paper notes weighs a heck of a lot more than my tablet, and if some doofus steals them (yes, this has happened) I have no way to get them back.

Additionally I can run any application; this lenovo has enough processor power for mathematica to happily do numerical ODEs for me. Yay!

I want to buy a mac tablet, I really do; I only bought a lenovo last summer because there was nothing except the ModBook on the mac side that would let me scribble notes. There still isn't.
posted by nat at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


delmoi: The problem is there's no real huge difference between this and other PCs in that form factor, other then the restricted OS.

I disagree. There's one huge difference: Apple's marketing department.
posted by joedan at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010


Major questions: Can it use USB thumb drives? Can I charge/sync an iPod off it while it's docked? Does it support bluetooth devices? Does it have line-in audio, or an integrated mic, or both?

It has no USB port as such. The camera connection kit will let you plug in a USB camera, but I don't know how much the software will prevent that from doing anything put syncing photos and movies from a bona fide camera. Maybe it can at least take photos off of a thumb drive, maybe it can't. If/when it's unlocked it should be able to use that connector to interface with thumb drives, though.

It has Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR but so does the iPhone and all that really supports are mono Bluetooth headsets. We'll see if the iPad at least supports a Bluetooth keyboard. I certainly hope so.

It has an integrated mic. I suspect it supports an iPhone-style headphone/mic combo as well.

Frankly I can't wait to see what the iPhone Dev Team manages to do with this thing. I don't think I would jailbreak my own but I think they should be able to do some pretty cool stuff with it.
posted by jedicus at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010


Well, maybe not this particular version of the device - once it becomes more laptop-like, I could see that happening. For now, it's use stops at browsing the web. And let's face it, even regular folks want more than that.

I think Apple just took over the market for tablet computers, set the standard and effectively own it. That market is currently small, but as it grows Apple will continue to own it. It also cements there position as a media company

My real question is how it'll hold up in everyday use. What will it take to crack that screen?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 10 years, the book publishing industry in the United States will collapse. Completely.

Ray Kurzweil called - he wants his shtick back.
posted by griphus at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2010


This is a media consumption device. Apple is the new universal media middleman.

Actually, bittorrent is the new universal media middleman.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:34 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple products are the computer industry's answer to Viking stoves or Mont Blanc pens.

yep. Except that people are willing to buy Viking pots and Viking food for their Viking stove which is where the real money is.
posted by GuyZero at 12:34 PM on January 27, 2010


The ... iphone [is] as close as you can get to selling a TV but still calling it a computer. It is a content consumption device. ... [It is] better designed in a way that does not matter.

You do not own or use an iPhone, clearly. That would be the only explanation for a comment so laughably ignorant and stuck in the 1980s.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2010


Ah, but will it blend?
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metroid Baby: "I can't wait for next year, when Apple introduces a 8'x10' version called the iFloor. Apps would include disco floors and the giant keyboard from Big.

Seriously, I hope they invent that.
"

You know, I've actually wanted this for years now, probably since about 1998 -- well not for a cheezy keyboard. But I planned in my fantasy house world to have a giant room filled with huge screen type monitors on every surface, floor/walls/ceilings. And then I would absolutely not drop acid and have a high res version of Milkdrop running to sync with autechre or goa trance or anything. Definitely not for drugs at all. Nope.
posted by symbioid at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google can fuck off until their phone has multitouch. Until then it is worthless.

All recent Android phones have multitouch hardware and software support. It's deactivated for phones sold in the US market because, IIRC, Apple holds a patent on the technology and refuses to license it.

Here is the hack to activate it.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2010


The software? Are there really "killer apps" that make a Windows tablet a compelling purchase at this point for most people, compared with an iPad?

Personally, I just don't see the point of a device without a proper keyboard unless I can stick itin my pocket, but this iPad seems pretty locked down. Would you be able to run eclipse plus an sftp client on it without jumping through silly emulation hoops? That plus at least the Windows tablet would be able play Flash games.
posted by juv3nal at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2010


The world does not ned more content and it certainly does not need more assholes creating content on their train ride to work. Furthermore, 16, 32 and 64 GB? Don't make me laugh, bitterly. I don't mind Apple but this bullshit has to stop.
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lovely and tantalizing device, I suppose, but for now I'll just stick with the low-end iPod Touch I'm about to roll over like one of Pavlov's dogs and buy, thanks. As for it being the empyrean summit of everything that Steve Jobs and his minions have ever dreamed up? I don't know.
posted by blucevalo at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2010


According to the new SDK, there is no real OS release. iPhone OS SDK 3.2 claims to only work on the iPad, not the iPhone or iPod touch.

No mention of multitasking in the new OS. Mostly minor improvements. Only thing of note is an element of file sharing, so apps can share their app specific Documents folders with the host computer they sync with.

Very underwhelming on the software side.
posted by butterstick at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2010


All this and no one has mentioned Microsoft's Courier, and though I think it is still a prototype, it seems much more revolutionary than the iPad. I mean, it has TWO touch screens, so that you can read two full pages or something like that. And uh, Nintendo DS emulation.
posted by i8ny3x at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really like the idea of something smaller than a laptop yet larger than a smartphone, but I don't think this is going to do it for me. I'm okay with the simplicity of my iPhone (multitasking, file system access, arbitary third-party code) to an extent, but that's because in the end, it's just a phone. For me, that simplicity is a detriment to an iPad-class device. It won't dampen everyone else's frothing demand, but c'est la vie.

I'm just glad they went with "iPad" instead of something "Slate"-derived, since that's my iMac's machine name and god dammit I called it first.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem is there's no real huge difference between this and other PCs in that form factor, other then the restricted OS. So certainly a lot of people will be using devices "like" this in the future, but that really has nothing to do with Apple. If anything, Amazon has been far more innovative then Apple.

ok, so I've been a detractor all thread. let me turn around for a second and take a fake-prescient look at the future in apple's favor.

the ipod, as has been mentioned a million times all thread, wasn't anything amazing either, and future revisions have shown how borked the clickwheel and old ipod interface really were, so it certainly wasn't perfect.

but what too many people forget is that, a little after the ipod was released, they made the itunes store. and that synergy between itunes and the ipod cemented their dominance in the mp3 player market. it wasn't the ipod. it wasn't digital music. it was the pricing model and delivery system of a legal alternative to pirated mp3s on a device that, for all its flaws, worked pretty damn well with the store.

that synergy is what will cause this device to soar, if apple capitalizes on it. I'd say history favors their doing so. So this device might be the future, and it might have everything to do with Apple. But you're also right that this device isn't doing much to revolutionize anything. BUT, and this is speculative, BUT if they make the move they could easily make and sell a service that turns this into your gateway to a DECENT app store, this device could turn out to be a sign of things to come.

the problem, of course, is that nobody wants to live their digital lives using iphone apps instead of the fully functional apps they work on.

so here's what we SHOULD wait on, if we're putting out futurist hats on:

-the new apps made for this device on the new sdk.
-the better iPad in 6 months (LOLapple)
-the integration of full OS style apps into this digital delivery service, even if it's only available on imacs, macbooks, and future ipads that run full OS X.

if they deliver on that in a timely enough fashion, this could be the sign of things to come. of course, apple is theoretically capable of dropping the ball on that one. they've done it before, though it was a long time ago.
posted by shmegegge at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


offering no-contract unlocked 3G data is just huge. A potential game-changer, really.

This is already the case with the Nexus One.

The Nexus One is available unlocked at a $350 premium. Every 3G iPad sold will be unlocked.


But the Nexus One unlocked is $530 compared with $630 for iPad with WiFi + 3G, and the N1 has a phone to boot. Or are you saying it's the unlocked 3G data on a netbook platform that is game changing?
posted by ekroh at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel >> It's simply more conspicuous consumption, luxury branding etc.

I really enjoy conspicuously consuming their products, by myself, from the comfort of my own home.
posted by JohnFredra at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Apple products are the computer industry's answer to Viking stoves or Mont Blanc pens. They are better designed in a way that does not matter. It's simply more conspicuous consumption, luxury branding etc.

I use my computer hours and hours and hours every day. Perhaps functionally you could do everything I do on my Mac on a Windows machine, but it would be less fun and less usable and you'd have to jump through hoops and it wouldn't mesh well. But I think it's worth my money to get something sleeker and more viscerally enjoyable. I also buy clothes that feel good on my body rather than wearing hemp, and I occasionally spend more than three dollars on a meal because I like eating good.

Deciding how nice a phone is based on dots per inch is like deciding how nice a movie is based on how long it is. Just having a lot of something doesn't mean you're using it as well as you could.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Would you be able to run eclipse plus an sftp client on it without jumping through silly emulation hoops?

I can already run SSH with sftp and emacs on an iPhone, without emulation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't wait for next year, when Apple introduces a 8'x10' version called the iFloor. Apps would include disco floors and the giant keyboard from Big.

Look carefully at the backdrop behind Steve Jobs. THE FUTURE IS NOW.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2010


Actually, bittorrent is the new universal media middleman.

It's not a universal middleman until my parents know how to use it and I can pay people for the things I'm getting.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know it's fun being an ignorant jackass and conflating my appraise of this thing with my being a jizzing fanboy,

Man, this product announcement is really bringing out the best in you.

I must say that I'm flabbergasted that your preferred solution to GUI/usability problems is to make things less customizable. I appreciate your enthusiasm (when you aren't being jerky), but you seem to discount that for every app fixing a niggling problem, there's two that make computers easier to use for a subset of people who have specific needs or desires. The iPhone interface does away with that in favor of restricting what people can do, right down to restricting what kind of programs (not OS, actual programs) they're allowed to run. I have no idea how this could be a democratization, or a good thing. It makes for a cool device, it kills a computer as computer.
posted by OmieWise at 12:40 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I predict that practically every DJ set and electronic show I see next year will involve someone an iPad running TouchOSC.
posted by phrontist at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2010


But the Nexus One unlocked is $530 compared with $630 for iPad with WiFi + 3G, and the N1 has a phone to boot.

It's just my intuition that the vast majority of N1 purchasers are going to go for the locked version. I might be wrong; are there any numbers on this yet?

I'm thinking of the Apple product as a market driver, which, frankly, seems more likely for a new Apple product than the N1. Chalk it up to the marketing department, the reality distortion field, whatever.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:41 PM on January 27, 2010


I predict that practically every DJ set and electronic show I see next year will involve someone an iPad running TouchOSC.

Or iOSC.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2010


Sorry to be the odd one out here, but:

The iPad will, in fact, change everything about digital entertainment. Again.

I'll link back to this 18 months from now. /snark
posted by andreaazure at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2010


Woah, that bezel around the screen is fugly

My cow-orkers had similar comments. Trouble is that you need to hold the darn thing somewhere and sans bezel you're blocking the screen with your thumb and/or accidentally clicking the screen a lot. Plus they get more stuff inside without having to make the screen bigger which adds a lot of cost. Maybe the whole 10-hour battery life thing is due to nothing more innovative than a HUGE battery.
posted by GuyZero at 12:43 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


This may be great for many things, but a ten-hour battery + color screen = kind of a shit book-reader compared to Kindle. It would be fine for magazines, for those into the brevity thing.

I'm pretty underwhelmed. It's too lacking to be a good replacement for my laptop, and too damn big to take on the train if all I wanna do is watch movies (whatever movies I can watch on it; I'm not clear on the exact limitations). As far as I can tell it's too sophisticated to just be a gadget and not sophisticated enough to be 100% useful the way a laptop would be. Maybe the next version will be something worth getting.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2010


Interesting, iWorks, composed of 3 apps, costs $79 bucks for the desktop edition. Yet each app costs $10 for the iPad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's just my intuition that the vast majority of N1 purchasers are going to go for the locked version.

There is no locked N1. You can buy it and sign a service contract or not sign a service contract, but either way the device itself is unlocked. Your relationship with T-Mobile is contractual, not a technical limitation.
posted by GuyZero at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want this thing; go ahead and scoff. I was thinking about getting a kindle but waited for this announcement, and I'm glad I did. I read on my iPhone already via the kindle app; I can see taking the ipad to bed like I do the phone now (insert your joke about that here).

I use Google docs for a lot of my word processing needs; I can do that with the ipad (though it will have the ten-buck iWork should I choose that). I can listen to music while I'm writing or reading - the phone does that. The only concern I have is that the book they demoed in iBook was $14 - Kindle books are usually around $10. But it's apparently an open format reader, so I'll have
options.

I'm writing this on my iPhone. I have a feeling that by this time next year I'll be thinking of the phone as the ipad's baby brother.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 12:46 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google can fuck off until their phone has multitouch. Until then it is worthless.

My HTC Hero has multitouch, plus background processing/multitasking.

It's processor is pretty weak, though.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm sorry, Omie. I know you're offended by the word "jizzing."

I must say that I'm flabbergasted that your preferred solution to GUI/usability problems is to make things less customizable. I appreciate your enthusiasm (when you aren't being jerky), but you seem to discount that for every app fixing a niggling problem, there's two that make computers easier to use for a subset of people who have specific needs or desires. The iPhone interface does away with that in favor of restricting what people can do, right down to restricting what kind of programs (not OS, actual programs) they're allowed to run. I have no idea how this could be a democratization, or a good thing. It makes for a cool device, it kills a computer as computer.

I don't like customizing things. I like getting things that work out of the box without my ever having to think about them. I like that I didn't have to paint my car a nice color to make it look nice. I like that I don't have to mutilate my clothes to make them fit. And I'm willing to pay people money to do a better job at that stuff than I'd be able to do myself. It's kind of like the rule of thumb at barber shops: The more you pay, the less you have to ask for, because they know better than you do.

What you're missing about the iPad is that the only thing developers can't control is the user interface of the pad itself. Everything else, all the apps, are completely in the control of the developer. And I'm fine with that, because the pad's design is brilliant. It's very usable, lets me see apps easily, and once I hit them, I'm in the hands of the developers.

Have you seen how many Twitter clients are on the iPhone right now? That's a great example of how there's a lot of variety in how you can do one single thing. Don't like how Tweetie's built? Use Twitteriffic. And iPhone apps have been of consistently finer quality than their desktop equivalents. Excepting what they CAN'T do because they don't have enough horsepower/screen space, they do a lot of things very beautifully.

If it turns out the "twenty apps a page" design doesn't work for me, or I somehow get irritated with it, then I'll jailbreak the iPad and customize it, because that's STILL an option available to me, regardless of how often the "Apple's locking you in!" line is parroted. There's a reason most people don't jailbreak iPhones, and it's not because it's hard or illegal but rather because surprisingly most people don't need the extra things jailbreaking gets them. The ones that do, can.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on, Commodities! You're supposed to be an extension of myself that makes me forget the stultifying alienation of late-capitalism! This doesn't make me forget about the conditions of my oppression at all! DO YOUR JOB, JOBS!
posted by ford and the prefects at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know, it's a bit weird that even the top-end model has 16GB less hard drive space than my several-years-old iPod.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:48 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


The software restrictions seem like a bit of a killer to me. As a BIG target platform for linux distros to aim at... give it a year or two and I'll find a cheap secondhand one that does whatever I tell it. That would be cool.

When Stevie J specified the ability to change the background picture? It somehow made me think of the landlord saying "you may come and go as you please", with that subtext of "because I'm OK with it".

On a broader note, there is a reasonably standard size-range for humans: can anyone speak knowledgeably on whether the iPad is small enough to be usable without gorilla arm syndrome?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 12:48 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heard about it at dinner (am 9 hours ahead of the US West Coast). Immediately thought "iPad Thai".

It looks yummy?
posted by fraula at 12:49 PM on January 27, 2010


even the top-end model has 16GB less hard drive space than my several-years-old iPod

Flash memory != hard drive
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:49 PM on January 27, 2010


wow
posted by kuatto at 12:49 PM on January 27, 2010


Nobody cares that the droid has a substantially better display, or that substantially better displays are available, but apple chose not to use them.

The Droid's 240dpi display is much smaller than this one. Would you care to point out where the affordable high dpi 7-10" IPS displays are? There aren't any. The closest is probably the Sony VAIO P-series display, which is 8" and 1600x768 for 221dpi. I'm not sure how much the display alone costs, but the VAIO P starts at $850. Its other specs are broadly comparable to the iPad, minus the touchscreen and long battery life (3.5 hours on the Sony).

Could Apple maybe have squeezed a 720p screen in there? Probably. Could they have squeezed a >200dpi screen in? Not a chance at that price point. Not even close.
posted by jedicus at 12:50 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


One of these, hung up on the front of a kitchen cabinet, would be great. It would show me the recipe I am cooking, and maybe also zoomable pictures and a video. It might play music for me, too. And I bet there's an app for writing my shopping list when I realize I just finished the vanilla.

Sounds cool to me. *shrug*

Also, the open epub format is nice: I'm sick of proprietary file formats.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want this thing; go ahead and scoff.

I'm not scoffing. I wouldn't say I want it right now, definitely wouldn't say I NEED it, but I can see possibly changing my mind down the line, once I see some apps for it.
posted by empath at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2010


You know, it's a bit weird that even the top-end model has 16GB less hard drive space than my several-years-old iPod.

Solid-state storage still can't quite compete on price with magnetic-spinning-disc media. But solid-state storage consumes less power and is generally more reliable. My guess is Apple knows in great detail how much storage people actually use and they build what people will use. Again, Apple buyers generally aren't looking at the numbers on the spec sheet beyond choosing a model and a price point, although Apple products compete very well on numbers in general.

The comparison to high end stoves is apt - the spec sheet for a Viking stove is very competitive but that's not really why people buy them.
posted by GuyZero at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2010


No SD slot. No USB. Basically no way to share or otherwise move data on or off this thing without syncing through Apple's channels. This is Steve Jobs' master plan: the centralized control of all your creative digital content through iTunes, iPhoto, App Store, etc.
No Thanks. Someone will make a similar device that's actually useful.
posted by rocket88 at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


Flash memory != hard drive

And a GB isn't a GB. Still, what up with that?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2010


The scary thing in terms of how ridiculously successful this thing will be is that I can see my dear old Mum and Dad going for it. I can see my Mum loading it with photos and video of their first grandkid to pass around to anyone within reach, I can see my Dad subscribing to his newspapers and having them ready and waiting when he wakes up in the morning, my Mum downloading books instead of sending off for them from Amazon. I can see them browsing and emailing from their armchairs with Radio 4 streaming or watching an old movie in bed. And if and when it allows video calling it's all over. This is not going to be just an 18-34 year old's product.
posted by theCroft at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I predict that practically every DJ set and electronic show I see next year will involve someone an iPad running TouchOSC.

This is what I'm thinking of it for. I'd really love to be able to run ableton natively on it. I hate taking my laptop to gigs.
posted by empath at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010


Could they have squeezed a >200dpi screen in? Not a chance at that price point. Not even close.

Jedicus, I wouldn't bother wasting your time. Some people are just looking for any excuse to criticize Apple and users of its products, without really knowing anything about the technology they are talking about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010


a ten-hour battery + color screen = kind of a shit book-reader compared to Kindle.

I think the 10-hour duration applied to full-on video use. Reading a book on the iPad has got to be the epitome of a CPU at rest. So, whatever iPad OS CPU + screen display = power draw, which might be half that or less than for video. 20 hours or better? We'll see in two months.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010


Could they have squeezed a >200dpi screen in? Not a chance at that price point. Not even close.

yes, even Apple is bound by current technology capabilities. Sad but true.
posted by GuyZero at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm not seeing the utility of this for myself at all. I'm always going to be carrying my phone (a Droid) which I can read the web just fine on and I'd rather not have to carry anything larger. If I was going to carry anything larger, I'd need to have bag with me and if I have a bag, I might as well carry a laptop. It just seems to be a product in a pretty narrow market to me: too big to carry but too small to do serious work on.
posted by octothorpe at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


But apple products are not about doing things. They are about consuming things. The ipad and iphone are as close as you can get to selling a TV but still calling it a computer. It is a content consumption device.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:32 PM on January 27


Between this and "John Stewart [sic] is the Rush Limbaugh of the left," you've had a pretty big day making wacky equivalencies. I don't really care whether or not you like Apple products, but switching from a Blackberry to an iPhone tripled my productivity when I'm out of the office. I keep my contacts and appointments on there, take photographs with notes, measurements, and sketches, then find the fastest way to another appointment, all in literally seconds. It's my notebook and pen, my camera, my rolodex, my map, my measuring tape and level, and so intuitive I don't even have to think about how to make it all work seamlessly.

I would think that a libertarian would be gung-ho about increasing one's edge in competitive markets, but frankly I think you're more concerned with the contrarian schtick.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned games. It's clearly going to be a factor with the large screen, up to 30fps graphics, accelerometer, multitouch controls and wifi (iPad to iPad communication).

Personally, I've been waiting for a better eBook reader than the Kindle, and I'll have to look at what 132dpi does for text.

As with the iPod/iPhone, it's not the device that's revolutionary, it how you use it. Without the iTunes store the iPod would be an also ran. Without the app store, the iPhone would be just another phone. If the iBookstore is decent and the device is comfortable to use, the iPad will be successful.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is is an excellent consumer device and long term it's going to eat everyone's lunch as it replaces laptops for most regular folks.

And it's going to make a market in places where laptops never worked. Children take up technology easily but, unlike a computer, teachers can use this easily. A simple, locked-down interface plus the media consumption model used for selling textbooks, educational videos and exercises, homework and quiz/test apps, and probably even entire lesson plans, makes it look to me like this is targeted at schools.

The iPod was cool, the iPhone was cool, this isn't (I mean look at the reaction here). The iPad is useful. I think Steve Jobs is trying something he's tried before, locking up the educational market.
posted by peeedro at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apple makes sexy looking consumer devices and software, but not professional devices. A professional tablet device would have pen input for example. I buy consumer devices like my iPod shuffle for activities like listening to music, but I'll never watch enough television or movies to justify a consumer oriented tablet device.

I'm quite enamored of the Nokia N900, both pen or keyboard input, excellent skype & sip integration, excellent browsing, including flash, and terminal, ssh, etc. are installed natively, although the standard smartphone features like rotation and maps are still kinda raw.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was all ready to shell out for this thing, but, seriously, again with this inability to multitask?

So I can't open Pandora, listen to some music, bop on over to Brushes and do some drawing? With this mighty 1 Ghz ARM processor? What the fuck is up with that? OK, it's *slightly* acceptable on a phone, but still pretty unacceptable. On a tablet that I'm going to shell out nearly a thousand dollars for? What the fuck, Steve.

There always has to be something.
posted by kbanas at 12:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


"The iPad: A prediction from 2001."

The iPad: A prediction from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
posted by malevolent at 12:56 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm surprised no one has mentioned games. It's clearly going to be a factor with the large screen, up to 30fps graphics, accelerometer, multitouch controls and wifi (iPad to iPad communication).

I think it will be a decent game platform and a lot of publishers will develop for it, but games are very much a brand exercise these days. Nintendo execs will shovel some cash out of their Scrooge McDuck-like gold coin vaults to go buy a few iPads to play with but I doubt they'll lose any sleep.
posted by GuyZero at 12:57 PM on January 27, 2010


No USB

"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."

posted by mpbx at 12:57 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


If I had kids, I'd forbid locked down devices like the iPhone, iPad, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:57 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


What you're missing about the iPad is that the only thing developers can't control is the user interface of the pad itself.

Well that and the small matter of getting approval from Apple.
posted by reformedjerk at 12:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Basically no way to share or otherwise move data on or off this thing without syncing through Apple's channels.

Except, you know, the Internet. There are lots of iPhone/iPod Touch apps that sync in ways other than iTunes. There's a DropBox app, for example, and various document editing apps. There's an SSH app. There's are VNC/Remote Desktop type apps as well.

You can get your data off the device with software that treats the iPhone/iPod as a USB drive. There are 3rd party media library managers for Linux, so you can at least put music and video onto the iPhone/iPod. Not sure about arbitrary files.

And that's all without jailbreaking, which of course opens up the whole world.
posted by jedicus at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2010


"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."

I think the discussion may be around the iPad supporting USB host as opposed to USB device/slave.
posted by GuyZero at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Awesome, this means more content in ePub format!
(I don't really want to read it on one of those things though.)
posted by dickasso at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2010


Gotcha. It was hard to tell.
posted by mpbx at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2010


So, whatever iPad OS CPU + screen display = power draw, which might be half that or less than for video. 20 hours or better?

Yeah, I'm just not so sure you could actually look at it comfortably all that long even if the battery does last. Reading off a Kindle is a much more pleasant experience than reading off a computer screen. Even with a bookstore, though, I'm guessing most people who buy this are more interested in audio and video.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2010


Personally, I've been waiting for a better eBook reader than the Kindle, and I'll have to look at what 132dpi does for text.

I couldn't tell from the Jobs talk, and the Apple site doesn't say, and I don't know enough about anything to know if it's even possible, but is there a way for lauching the iBooks app to switch the screen to passive display? Because the bright screen would probably keep me away from using the iPad as an ereader.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:01 PM on January 27, 2010


Well that and the small matter of getting approval from Apple.

Apple's approval process has been getting faster and faster. Now it's a three-day wait, and their turnaround for false rejections is similar.

There are two other methods for getting apps to run on this thing. The first is you release a web app. You can design a web app so that if you save it to your home screen it downloads itself and runs natively; I have several native applications that I downloaded online. The other is you jailbreak, and release your application like you would if it was an ordinary Mac app. People do that, and they make money off it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:01 PM on January 27, 2010


The hilarious part is seeing the hypothetical cases of people trying to type on it. Sit it on a table? Great, but now the display is pointed straight up and not really visible. Most people don't touch type (especially without real keys). Sit it on your lap? Ok, and let's take bets on how long it'll be before the cracked screens start showing up when it slides off your lap and onto the floor. And of course you can use the docking station, which makes sense because everyone who uses mobile devices loves to carry around a bunch of extra crap with them to use their mobile device.

Next up we have the scheme where only Apple-blessed (and taxed) apps will make it on this device without any unlocking chicanery. Good times, because we know how much devs loooooove the app store approval process.
posted by mullingitover at 1:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."

They obviously mean there's no USB port on the device, sheesh.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned games. It's clearly going to be a factor with the large screen, up to 30fps graphics, accelerometer, multitouch controls and wifi (iPad to iPad communication).

the games thing is going to be touchy. touch screen controls are a HUGE problem, game-wise, and it remains to be seen what devs will be able to do in terms of requiring a keyboard and mouse to play their games. for 3d, this thing ain't shit. for actual gamers, 30fps is below minimum (though it needn't be.) and requiring devices that other computers would naturally have may prove to be a weird thing for a developer to have to say before you buy the game. if games have to support touch screen only controls, then expect this to not really take over the games market, because although the iphone has plenty of games, people are losing their jones for it. the touch screen is just not a great interface for gaming.
posted by shmegegge at 1:04 PM on January 27, 2010


I notice Penguin is one of the publishers already onboard. I was an Engish major in college, and I would have loved moving one iPad instead of thirty linear feet of Penguin Classics every year. Plus, I wouldn't have been tempted into selling the paperbacks for beer money, so now I could finally read all those books I bought as an undergrad.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I couldn't tell from the Jobs talk, and the Apple site doesn't say, and I don't know enough about anything to know if it's even possible, but is there a way for lauching the iBooks app to switch the screen to passive display? Because the bright screen would probably keep me away from using the iPad as an ereader.

On the iPhone you can turn off the automatic screen brightness adjustment and manually control the brightness. The dimmest setting is pretty dim. I imagine you could at least do that with the iPad. Probably a bit of a pain to fiddle with except for long reading sessions. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple gave the iBooks app the option to set a reduced brightness level or toned it down automatically.
posted by jedicus at 1:04 PM on January 27, 2010


> But apple products are not about doing things. They are about consuming things.

If you want to use a computer, get a PC. If you you want to get work done, get a Mac

--Ancient Proverb of the Ancients
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


If I had kids, I'd forbid locked down devices like the iPhone, iPad, etc.

What if you were the IT director of a school system?
posted by peeedro at 1:05 PM on January 27, 2010


the touch screen is just not a great interface for gaming.

And Flash is a shit-bad platform for game devs. Technical superiority and market acceptance have little to no relation to each other. People are buying iPhone games and developers are starting to figure out better UIs for them.
posted by GuyZero at 1:06 PM on January 27, 2010


Perhaps functionally you could do everything I do on my Mac on a Windows machine, but it would be less fun and less usable and you'd have to jump through hoops and it wouldn't mesh well. But I think it's worth my money to get something sleeker and more viscerally enjoyable.

I wondered when you would trot out the "I just enjoy the finer things in life" "argument". This makes you and everyone else who uses it look like a smug jackass. Newsflash: those of who choose not to use Apple products (well, for the most part for some of us) also like things to work well, and also like to get good products for our money, and guess what? For the most part, we get what we want.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:07 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


California is requiring that textbook publishers offer ebooks by 2020 -- how awesome would this be for students?

Could someone write an app that's a booklet of worksheets, and kids could hand them back in? Open-book tests would be pretty great: you've got the whole Internet to hand. Can anyone comment on authoring tools for the content (EPUB or otherwise) that the iPad will display?

And last, I wonder if the AppleCare for it will be sawed-off like it is for the iPod (compared to, say, a MacBook Pro)?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:08 PM on January 27, 2010


Paging Marvel, DC, IDW and Darkhorse. Please report to the iBook store.

Better yet, create an app that for a small monthly subscription fee will let me browse your entire back catalog. I've seen the CDs and DVDs you halfheartedly sold for for awhile that contained entire runs of comic titles. Do that again. I'd pay 5 bucks a month for unlimited access to anything Marvel or DC published over ten years ago. Let me load ten, fifteen, twenty issues at a time on my iPad. I'll read'em on the train and re-sync for another batch of issues when I get home.

You can save your newer stuff for the iBookstore. I just want to browse the Silver and Bronze ages without doing it in black and white or paying out the nose for deluxe editions.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:08 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


the large form-factor would, I think, just tip it past being able to accept that it's not a real computer I can run real software on (yet).

Doesn't anyone here carry a handbag? I think this is going to go nuts with the handbag-carrying crowd. I've actually held off the iPhone and iPod touch because they were too small, and what I'm really looking for is an ebook reader/calendar/organizing/gadgety shiny thing I can just stick in, yeah, my handbag. The real impact of this thing is it might finally clue non-bag carriers into how useful it is to have a smallish receptacle for general life-stuff on them.

Heh, it really takes that weird gendered ewww-girls!! thing the Droid has going on to the next level. Not only does it only does it mount a frontal assault on the Beige Tower, the only thing it really fits in is a freakin' HANDBAG. Watch for the Droid ad, coming soon!

As a content creator I think this is hugely exciting. It could really take multimedia out of 'sitting at desk' mode into ubiquity. I want to start making stuff for it right now.

Dang, though, on the multitasking. I have music on all the time, and so do a lot of people.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:09 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


iPad compatible pants
posted by sparkletone at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Technical superiority and market acceptance have little to no relation to each other. People are buying iPhone games and developers are starting to figure out better UIs for them.

I suspect we'll see a drop off in games sales, though. I work in the games industry (not a developer or publisher) and everyone I work with is sick to death of iphone games. the only thing I'll buy myself is a decent turn based strategy game, because touch screen controls are too wonky for anything that requires timing. (civ revolutions and uniwar, however, are fantastic, being turn based.) if we're talking about this thing moving into the market of console or pc gamers, it's just not going to happen. if we're talking about it opening a whole new casual gamer market, again there'll be people buying and developing casual games, but it's not going to be a revolution. gaming on this is clearly not even secondary among its purposes.
posted by shmegegge at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Judging by the amount of hate in this thread, it's going to sell billions.
posted by unSane at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


Fashion Prediction: Safari Jackets with 10-inch pockets are going to be MASSIVE for fall.

Oh and OH GOD YEAH on the comics.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's an enormous difference between being a USB device that plugs into a (real) computer, a client or slave, and a device that can have clients plugged into it, a host or master. Apple could have done this either way, but their choice to make the iPad a client means that this device is a lot less useful than it could have been.

For instance, I can't take a memory stick with some mp3s on it and transfer them to or from the iPad without another computer. I have to go through another computer as an intermediary. So, big deal right? But that means I can't use the iPad as my only computer, none of my other USB devices will talk to it. I can't, for example, take the card out of my camera and then save and look at the pictures on the iPad.

There appears to be a work-around bodge for cameras, so Apple is aware that this is something consumers want, but that's just a single special case.
posted by bonehead at 1:11 PM on January 27, 2010


gaming on this is clearly not even secondary among its purposes.

They had two game developers on the keynote stage and they didn't have the CEO of Netflix or Pandora so I'll politely disagree. The inital reaction may fade over time and there may not be a sustained market for games but I think Apple has built a lot of game-specific stuff into the device and is aggressively wooing game developers.
posted by GuyZero at 1:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


But, most importantly: will it blend?
posted by wcfields at 1:12 PM on January 27, 2010


I wondered when you would trot out the "I just enjoy the finer things in life" "argument". This makes you and everyone else who uses it look like a smug jackass.

So when I say that I like certain movies or certain books, that makes me a jackass also?

Look, I'm fine with you not liking Apple products. We can agree to disagree. But when people make the jump from "I'm not a fan" to "I can't imagine who would be retarded enough to like this", I get bristled.

When you jump in an Apple thread to be a dick you get people telling you you're stupid and that you don't appreciate the product. Are you really that surprised by people responding to asshattery?
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:12 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love READING books on my Kindle.

I'm going to love PUBLISHING books for the iPad.

(mostly because the kinds of books I write, on crafty topics, really could use a full color screen...and color printing is a bear, price-wise, when you're an indie).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:13 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually, bittorrent is the new universal media middleman.

No, absolutely not. Somebody's mom isn't using torrent, it does not have a payment mechanism, and it has no forum posts going "omg seed??!!!??"
posted by cavalier at 1:14 PM on January 27, 2010


They had two game developers on the keynote stage and they didn't have the CEO of Netflix or Pandora so I'll politely disagree.

come on, they've had devs on stage at macworld plenty of times before. they've made "this is the year for mac gaming" statements before, too. it's still not true, and the ipad doesn't give me a whole lot of reason to think it's any different this time. will it play WOW? that's still the biggest game on the mac platform. bejeweled does not a gaming revolution make.
posted by shmegegge at 1:15 PM on January 27, 2010


Dang, though, on the multitasking. I have music on all the time, and so do a lot of people.

I have a Droid phone. I've had it play podcasts while doing turn-by-turn GPS navigation and then taken a phone call in the middle of that (with the car dock). I'll let you have one guess why Apple still has not implemented this functionality in the iPhone OS.

OK, that was just rhetorical bullshit. When I do that it eats my entire battery in about an hour. It's all about battery life. The primary case of crappy battery life on Android is badly behaved apps running in the background. You know how you hate all those goddamn update notifiers running in your Windows taskbar? Yeah, Android has 'em. You get the bad with the good on that front.
posted by GuyZero at 1:15 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple's approval process has been getting faster and faster. Now it's a three-day wait, and their turnaround for false rejections is similar.

There are two other methods for getting apps to run on this thing. The first is you release a web app. You can design a web app so that if you save it to your home screen it downloads itself and runs natively; I have several native applications that I downloaded online. The other is you jailbreak, and release your application like you would if it was an ordinary Mac app. People do that, and they make money off it.


It's not about how fast the approval process is. Apple's rejection of Google Voice apps is a prime example of how having a locked down device is a bad thing. Jailbreaking is not an ideal solution either. Believe it or not, not everyone is keen on downloading and installing cracks to their OS from the internet.

Rory, I realize you like Apple products; I do too--I'm very happy with my iPhone. I also agree with you that devices like the iPad, if not the iPad itself, will revolutionize the way we interact with computers and digital content. But for me, this is precisely why we have to scrutinize Apple more than other companies. I don't want a digital future where everything I use or consume has to be approved by a single company. Mindlessly defending every criticism about Apple is not helpful in the long run. In fact, being a "jizzying fanboy" of any corporate entity, no matter how shiny its products, is counterproductive.
posted by reformedjerk at 1:15 PM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


shmegegge, I will agree 100% that Apple can't simply make a real market for iPad games appear purely through force of will. It may never appear as a market. But I think they will try very, very hard to make it happen.
posted by GuyZero at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2010


The other is you jailbreak

You keep mentioning this, mostly after you mention how we should all be happy to have how we use our computers determined by the company that makes them. I'm not sure the two are compatible. Either there's something wrong with your model, and devices need to be jailbroken, or there isn't, and they don't. I really don't think your argument, as presented, supports having it both ways.

For the record, I use and really love mac computers. And I think mac gadgets are usually cool and slick. I just think this is the latter, and not the former. I was really hoping for the former.
posted by OmieWise at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2010


I was all ready to shell out for this thing, but, seriously, again with this inability to multitask?

I'm a little confused by this as well. However, they didn't say one word about the next major release of the iPhone OS today, and people at the event say it's running 3.2 (the next minor version).

Perhaps in a few months, they'll announce iPhone OS 4, which will bring multitasking and help fill in some of the gaps on this thing.
posted by sparkletone at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2010


It's not about how fast the approval process is. Apple's rejection of Google Voice apps is a prime example of how having a locked down device is a bad thing. Jailbreaking is not an ideal solution either. Believe it or not, not everyone is keen on downloading and installing cracks to their OS from the internet.

Google released a Voice application just yesterday for the iPhone that works perfectly.

I'm critical of how Apple's handled the App Store, but they're getting better, and I disagree with the idea that they shouldn't be going down that road. I like the idea of App Stores very much.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2010


It's possible the fugly bezel is a the result of a second choice for the screen. I bet, over the coming months, that we'll find out that Apple really wanted to go with a 10", probably AMOLED screen, like the Droid. Of course, this would totally have killed, but a) would have driven the price up quite a bit and b) weren't available anyway. Thus, at a fairly late stage, the fugly bezel to fit a 9' screen where a 10' one was originally planned.

So, I predict that the iPad 2 will have a 10" AMOLED (or similar) in about a year when Samsung gets those fabs on-line and that it will be totally killer.
posted by bonehead at 1:20 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is is an excellent consumer device and long term it's going to eat everyone's lunch as it replaces laptops for most regular folks.

Perhaps the most important feature of this product is price.

Looking forward to budget-conscious times this looks like a product that is cheap and does what most people want: a) web/email; b) media consumption; c) play the odd game; d) write the odd document.

As said upthread, it would be great for my parents and, looking at how my wife uses a computer in practical terms, would be a good fit there too.

So you get a cheap, practical device with the Apple cachet. That might be a winning blend.
posted by mazola at 1:20 PM on January 27, 2010


But I think they will try very, very hard to make it happen.

you know, I hope so. I don't think it can happy without a full OS, but I'd love to see it happen on OS X. the only thing I use my pc for is to play pc games, and to stream to my xbox. I'd happily trade it in for apple tv (or a mac app for xbox and ps3 streaming) and a mac steam account if apple made it happen. provided, of course, I could afford a desktop mac which I currently cannot. but if affordable quality gaming happened on a mac platform, I'd be all for it. I just can't help but feel like touch screen gaming ain't the way it'll happen. again, I'd like to see what options devs have for requiring a keyboard and mouse to game on this thing.
posted by shmegegge at 1:20 PM on January 27, 2010


For me to be interested in this, it needs to be a standalone home pc, not a $500 accessory to my home pc that I have to sync to.
posted by jefbla at 1:20 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


So you get a cheap, practical device with the Apple cachet. That might be a winning blend.

It will be. If these things ship by early May you'll see hordes of people plunking down income tax refunds on them.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2010


Two demographics are gonna love this thing: baby boomers and students.

You'll love it too once all your iTunes and iPhoto content is in Apple's cloud and you don't need a real computer to sync it with.
posted by danblaker at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2010


"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
(etc.)


So, just like an iPhone or iPod you will NOT be able to plug a USB drive into it to transfer files, nor will you be able to use a standard USB cable. Everything will be done via a computer, and everything loaded ONTO it will be done via iTunes.

I have (and love!) an iPhone, and I thinkat this pricepoint, the iPad is going to be the Avatar to the iPhone's titanic, but the USB thing is a bummer.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2010


I think I'd rather have a JooJoo.
posted by Duug at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2010


and everything loaded ONTO it will be done via iTunes or the internet. Sorry.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:26 PM on January 27, 2010


For me to be interested in this, it needs to be a standalone home pc, not a $500 accessory to my home pc that I have to sync to.

Can't you use it as a home PC? You can buy all the media/apps directly from it. What's there to sync?
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2010


Google released a Voice application just yesterday for the iPhone that works perfectly.

Come on, this is a webapp. You and I both know that I was talking about a native app. The fact that Google can't make a native app doesn't bother you even a tiny bit? I'm glad you so fervently believe that Apple will always produce the best service for every niche you need, because the moment they don't, you'll have to settle for second best.
posted by reformedjerk at 1:28 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google released a Voice application just yesterday for the iPhone that works perfectly.

I wouldn't say it works perfectly. It's a good solution for Google Voice-related SMS and maybe also for voice mail. However, for calling out using GV, it's not a substitute for a real app.

It's just a web app that helps automate the process of using your actual phone to dial Google Voice and then connect you through to the number you're actually calling. It still relies on your regular cell connectivity.

With a real app, running over wifi, you wouldn't need the cell service at all. Since I don't cell reception in my apartment, Skype's quite handy for this. A Google Voice web app isn't.
posted by sparkletone at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2010


or a mac app for xbox and ps3 streaming

These exist, by the way. (I use Connect360. I forget what the PS3 equivalent is.)
posted by sparkletone at 1:31 PM on January 27, 2010


Can't you use it as a home PC? You can buy all the media/apps directly from it. What's there to sync?

The 500 GB of media I have on my NAS at home, a decade and a half of documents, photos, movies and comic books. Can I access that, mount that as a drive, on the iPad? It doesn't look like it. If this is a media front end, it only works with the media Apple wants it to, not the media I already have.

Sorry, the music industry turned me off this by switching from LPs to cassettes to CDs to MP3/AAC. I really don't want to shell out thousands of dollars to rebuy my media again, for what feels like the hundredth time.
posted by bonehead at 1:31 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can't you use it as a home PC? You can buy all the media/apps directly from it. What's there to sync?

anything you generate without it, including digital pics not taken with an iphone and music not bought off of itunes. including any media at all that isn't purchased through apple. including any work documents you worked on on another machine, unless you used google docs.

come on, man. it's possible to get it all on there, but it's actually more complicated in these cases, not less.
posted by shmegegge at 1:31 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't you use it as a home PC? You can buy all the media/apps directly from it. What's there to sync?

Dude! You can like this thing while still recognizing that it has some limitations. Would you really buy a primary PC to which you had so little access? Would you really buy one that you couldn't plug even a thumbdrive into? Would you really buy one with 32Gig space that can't plug into an external hard drive? Would you really buy one where you could not both listen to music and backup your files (at the same time)?

If so, then it's clear why you think this is perfect, but it's also clear that you have much different computing needs than most people who actually use computers. Even as "cloudspace," or whatever you want to call it, gets more abundant, I mostly see people with more and more personal hard drive space.
posted by OmieWise at 1:32 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


These exist, by the way.

yeah, I just meant that I'd use the existing ones. I just couldn't remember their names.
posted by shmegegge at 1:32 PM on January 27, 2010


"I've worked in software my whole life (AND KNOW MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE)."

Heh.

I'M USING SCIENCE!
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:33 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Look, I'm fine with you not liking Apple products. We can agree to disagree. But when people make the jump from "I'm not a fan" to "I can't imagine who would be retarded enough to like this", I get bristled.

Sexy tablet-sized hardware, a task-oriented touchscreen-supporting OS, and iTunes support aren't limited to the iPad, you know. So when the only things Apple's product has going for it are the crippling of its hardware and the limiting of its users to a homogenous software and content ecosystem, "retarded" is (though a bit strong) pretty close to the mark as far as I can see.

It'll probably sell well, but it won't change computing like some folks are claiming.
posted by xbonesgt at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the killer here is battery and price point. The potential negative is whether people can actually sit on the couch and type on a tablet.

Also, I think it's a bit crap that the non-3G version doesn't have GPS. If I end up buying one of these (and, sigh, I will) I may get the 3G version just for that, but never sign on for the wireless service.
posted by condour75 at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2010


In 10 years, the book publishing industry in the United States will collapse. Completely.

nah, you just won't have your post war structural advantage, so you'll get to be like everybody else.
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on January 27, 2010


"retarded" is (though a bit strong) pretty close to the mark as far as I can see.

ok, I've been trying to avoid this discussion in this thread, but just to get it out of the way - "retarded" is more than a bit strong and needs to be avoided in every instance, no matter how ridiculous someone's position is.
posted by shmegegge at 1:36 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


It'll probably sell well, but it won't change computing like some folks are claiming.

It's easy to confuse large market share and conspicuous usage with an actual fundamental change.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:36 PM on January 27, 2010


Whatever "Abstraction going on that could be done without" is supposed to mean.
Dude, I've EXPLAINED it. When I want to open up, say, the Internet, I don't just push the Internet button. I put my finger on the trackpad, and move a little icon across the screen. I navigate to the Internet button. Then I put my finger on the mouse and click twice. Or, I can push two keybuttons, type in the name of the application (which isn't "Internet"), and hit the return button, which returns me nowhere and launches something new. Here, I put my finger on the fucking screen and push the fucking button.
So your problem is that you don't know what the word "Abstraction" means?

Also seriously? How hard it do any of the things you mentioned? How brain damaged to you have to be not to be able to click a button to launch a browser? OMG TWO WHOLE CLICKS TO START THE BROWSER? Seriously? Who has a problem with that? Obviously you didn't have a problem with it. I refuse to believe that there are many users who are two lazy to click twice to get the browser. And the fact that there are extra options? Just don't use them.

Having a lack of options doesn't actually make things any easier to use. What happens when you have too many apps on the screen to pick through them? On an iphone, you can only install 148 apps or something, because that's how many icons fit on the screen. If a computer is going to allow you do a lot of different things, then it's going to require more expressive interfaces.

Removing options lets you get away with less expressive (and therefore simpler) interfaces, but the interfaces on computers aren't hard to use using scrollbars. Having to click more then once, etc. These are not real problems that exist in the real world.

And yes I know people over fifty, and they understand how to fucking scroll.

What makes you so proud of your computer intelligence? You've spent a decade and a half learning an arbitrary arcane system that makes you jump through loops to get shit done.

Again with this weird obsession a few people have with having interfaces that they could use if they were computer illiterate, even though they're not. Trying to make computers that can be used by computer illiterates is like trying to write books for people who can't read. Picture books. You're never going to be able to learn as much from a picture book as you can from a text book, and you're never going to be able to do as much with these bullshit dumbed down devices as you on a real computer.

And your counterargument is "Only elitists need to know anything! Picture books are revolutionizing everything!"
I don't like customizing things. I like getting things that work out of the box without my ever having to think about them.

But see, this is moronic. You changed you're clock on your desktop and claimed it was an 'annoyance' that you had to patch. But on this device you're not going to be able to do that. You seem to think this means that the clock will be perfect right out of the box. But that's absurd.

Anyway, like I said. Customization has always been optional. And frankly I have no idea why anyone thinks using a PC is difficult for doing simple things like surfing the web. Anything you can do on a PC you can do on this device.
"The iPad syncs over USB just like an iPhone or iPod."
Uh, right, but the iPad does not have a USB port on the device. It uses a wide, custom connector. Look at the pictures.
posted by delmoi at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


thoughts, mefites?
8 things that suck about the ipad.
posted by shmegegge at 1:39 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not a computer. It's a giant iTouch. Can it wirelessly network to my existing computers? Can I stream video off of my media center with it? Can I plug a USB keyboard into it to type fast on the go, or at least a bluetooth peripheral? How about a USB webcam to Skype with? Can I pull files off it onto a thumbdrive to pass to someone else?

No, no, no, no, and no? Wake me up next year when there are knockoffs that actually function.
posted by mek at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]



Google released a Voice application just yesterday for the iPhone that works perfectly.


That headline is a lie. It's not a voice application, but a Google Voice enabled website. It has no access to your iPhone contacts which renders it pretty useless.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's easy to confuse large market share and conspicuous usage with an actual fundamental change.

But isn’t market share and visibility a part of fundamental change? Would you say that the ipod’s sales power didn’t actually change anything in the mp3 player market? Or maybe market share is a means to change, rather than change itself.
posted by Think_Long at 1:41 PM on January 27, 2010


I bet, over the coming months, that we'll find out that Apple really wanted to go with a 10", probably AMOLED screen, like the Droid

Totally pedantic, but: The N1 has a AMOLED screen. The droid is a "normal" backlit screen. Interestingly, AMOLED screen power consumption is apparently proportional to the number of lit pixels so for white-on-black ebook display it might give a measurable boost to battery life. Too bad people like black-on-white so much.
posted by GuyZero at 1:42 PM on January 27, 2010


bonehead at 1:31 PM

...for what feels like the hundredth time.

Yeah, no kidding. Let me add that this is just the first generation of iPad. I would think by the fourth or fifth generation they will have figured out a way to let users access older files on older applications. But, then again, they hope that you desire to buy something new will also feed you need to start over again. And by the time you do they will have some new device that everyone needs to have.
Frankly, I'm still using filing cabinets for a good number of files. Is it worth it for me to scan them into a computer? Only as a backup archive.
posted by Rashomon at 1:43 PM on January 27, 2010


shmegegge: "thoughts, mefites?
8 things that suck about the ipad.
"

Very well put. There are a lot of people who won't be bothered by these things, but for the tech savvy these are all big blows. It really is just a bigger iTouch, after the obligatory Apple hype.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 1:44 PM on January 27, 2010


Calling this a replacement for a netbook is like calling a Vespa a replacement for a Honda Civic.

As others have said, it's pretty, it's probably fun to use, but geez, when all is said and done, it's a bigger, clumsier iPod Touch.

"Ooo, you have an iPad! Let me show you this great video I saw on Youtube!"
"Umm...hey, let's watch it on my Macbook instead."
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:45 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I think it's a bit crap that the non-3G version doesn't have GPS. If I end up buying one of these (and, sigh, I will) I may get the 3G version just for that, but never sign on for the wireless service.

I think it's a case where they a) expect you to get all map data OTA so you need a 3G connection to get maps anyway and b) the GPS comes "free" on the GSM chipset and they'd have to add an extra part to support GPS as a standalone function.

On some Android phones I have heard people say that if they boot up outside of cellular coverage they can't even get a satellite lock and see lat/long. the "A" in AGPS is less option than you'd think.
posted by GuyZero at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


potch: "In an e-reader, I want exceptional battery life, passive screen, and no distractions. "

I want all that, plus the ability to easily borrow books from the library. If the iPad plays nice with KCLS, it will be verrry tempting.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2010


The fact that Google can't make a native app

Uh... what you say?

Google can, has, and will continue to develop "native" apps.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:46 PM on January 27, 2010


he means they can't make a native google voice app because apple has rejected it.
posted by shmegegge at 1:47 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The 500 GB of media I have on my NAS at home, a decade and a half of documents, photos, movies and comic books. Can I access that, mount that as a drive, on the iPad? It doesn't look like it. If this is a media front end, it only works with the media Apple wants it to, not the media I already have.

Yes. There are several apps for accessing files that are on NAS. AirShare, ezShare, etc.

So, no, it works with all the media you want, basically. There are apps for opening all kinds of data, as well. I'm not sure what format your stuff is in, but between apps and transcoding I think you should be able to get most of it onto the iPad.
posted by jedicus at 1:47 PM on January 27, 2010


This Is Kotaku's First Post Written On An iPad
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on January 27, 2010


Totally pedantic, but: The N1 has a AMOLED screen. The droid is a "normal" backlit screen.

Sorry, my bad. Still, I do think Apple was preppin a 10" screen and had to cut it down to save costs. I'm certain they wanted a device as sexy as an iPhone but just couldn't quite get it to work with either the current prices for parts or with the power demands of a bigger OLED screen. You're absolutely right that larger power consumption may have been the key factor.
posted by bonehead at 1:48 PM on January 27, 2010


I really love Macs (as well as my iPhone), but I'm not interested in this product at all. Although, too be fair, I guess I'm not in the target market. I actually do stuff with my computer (web development, video editing), so I use my work machine to fill the casual web surfing role as well.
posted by brundlefly at 1:48 PM on January 27, 2010


The fact that Google can't make a native app

Uh... what you say?


I think he meant that Google isn't de-facto allowed to distribute a native iPhone Google Voice app. Google can make any app they damn well please.
posted by GuyZero at 1:49 PM on January 27, 2010


In 10 years, the book publishing industry in the United States will collapse. Completely.

nah, you just won't have your post war structural advantage, so you'll get to be like everybody else.


Heh... somehow I;d read that as the economy of the United States collapsing completely...
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on January 27, 2010


So the target seems to be the older generation, as several posters here have brought up already

Now I'm getting a horrible image of those naff digital picture frame things...
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on January 27, 2010


The iPad is a non-naff digital picture frame thing. un-naff. anaff. Whatever.
posted by GuyZero at 1:51 PM on January 27, 2010


By the way, people who think that Apple isn't going to be forced to FairPlay the shit out of the books they sell, then I think you underestimate how terrified the publishing industry is of eBooks.
posted by sparkletone at 1:51 PM on January 27, 2010


Look I'm not saying this device is good or anything but I'm probably gonna want one really bad in a few months.
posted by Nattie at 1:51 PM on January 27, 2010


There are several apps for accessing files that are on NAS. AirShare, ezShare, etc.

Really? I can access the files on the NAS transparently from the device? It looks to me like these are was of copying files from the NAS to the device from another computer. Not really what I'm looking for here. I'd like something that could, in one step, stream directyl from a NAS, either as a share mount or via Snapstream or the like. If Boxee, for example, ran on this device, it would be 90% of what I'd want it for.
posted by bonehead at 1:52 PM on January 27, 2010


I think the people who use computers to make things are perhaps not the target audience in the long term (yeah, yeah, the early adopter geeks'll line up for 'em, but don't they always). The guys who run websites and blogs and write code and create gorgeous CGI would probably hate this thing, and they'd be right to do so- it isn't made to do any of that stuff.

It's made for the people who visit the websites and blogs and use the applications and watch the gorgeous CGI. It looks as though it would make a damned fine electronic charting system for healthcare professionals (at five hundred bucks, it's cheaper than some of the pens out there).

I wouldn't say it's going to change the world overnight, but I do think it's going to be one of the first steps in the direction of once again separating those who use from those who make (computer-wise, anyway).
posted by Pragmatica at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Google can, has, and will continue to develop "native" apps.

On the iPhone?

After Apple famously sat on their Google Voice app, neither approving nor rejecting it and never explaining why?

You think Google's going to waste more time and money developing native iPhone apps after that? I'd be surprised if they did more than bug fixes to Google Earth and whatever else is still in the app store.

(IIRC, Maps on the iPhone is actually developed by Apple, not Google.)
posted by sparkletone at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2010


Apple's rejection of Google Voice apps is a prime example of how having a locked down device is a bad thing.

Not enough people care and I'm not convinced they should with the current stare of the App market.

Seriously, most people can get a ton fun games and apps on the iPhone for under 5 bucks. They're not going to miss your special snowflake app and you're not going to do much to convince them that they should. Let it go.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2010


Is this thread a record for 500 comments within a few hours?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:54 PM on January 27, 2010


Not only does it only does it mount a frontal assault on the Beige Tower, the only thing it really fits in is a freakin' HANDBAG

If the huge aftermarket for previous iStuff is any indication, this new device will fit beautifully in the funky groin pouch of my iPants.

but, until I swallow that pungent hipster pill, consider my beige tower fully assaulted - frontally.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:54 PM on January 27, 2010


Hey Brandon, you know who else made the trains run on time?
posted by GuyZero at 1:54 PM on January 27, 2010


This is not big enough to be a coffee table.

It's hardly big enough to be a side table.

WTF APPLE !?!?
posted by mazola at 1:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this thread a record for 500 comments within a few hours?

This was always going to be an automatic Violet Blue/Sarah Palin.

How many deleted threads did we get in first anyway?
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on January 27, 2010


How many deleted threads did we get in first anyway?

Apparently only one.
posted by GuyZero at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2010


It looks as though it would make a damned fine electronic charting system for healthcare professionals (at five hundred bucks, it's cheaper than some of the pens out there).

This is one of the markets that actually make sense for tablets, hospitals have been using them for years.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2010


8 things that suck about the ipad."

Very well put.


For the power user tech crowd sure, but most regular folks won't give a damn.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2010


This device makes me want to buy a desktop again - I haven't owned one since 2003.

Maybe the small iMac. I have a small apartment, but I'm pretty sure I could fit that comfortably.

I hate shlepping a laptop and I've been doing a lot less of it since I got an iPhone, but I think this thing would let me basically *never* have to carry a laptop around.

They call 4-pound laptops that you also need to carry an adaptor cord for ultra-portable. Yeah right. I've been coveting the Sony netbooks just because of their weight. 1.5 pounds. 1.5 pounds. 1.5 pounds! But the screens are too small and I can't bear the thought of spending so much money on a computer and having it not be a mac.

Maybe the people who think that 4 pounds is light have cars and only carry the laptop between the parking lot and the office/coffee shop, or from the driveway to home. But living in a city where I walk and take public transit all the time, an extra 4+ pounds on my shoulders is a lot.

Yeah - iMac, iPhone, iPad. That could work.

That said, I think I'll wait to see how this gets improved and updated over the next year. That will also give me time to start saving for two new devices. Eek.
posted by Salamandrous at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2010


If you want to use a computer, get a PC. If you you want to get work done, get a Mac

...unless you want to use Spreadsheets, but that makes you a despicable office drone.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can see them browsing and emailing from their armchairs with Radio 4 streaming

Good luck doing that without multitasking.
posted by kmz at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2010


Can it wirelessly network to my existing computers?

Yes, in both directions.

Can I stream video off of my media center with it?

Yes.

Can I plug a USB keyboard into it to type fast on the go, or at least a bluetooth peripheral?

Yes, at least via the keyboard dock. Whether other USB or Bluetooth keyboards can be made to work with it remains to be seen.

How about a USB webcam to Skype with?

No.

Can I pull files off it onto a thumbdrive to pass to someone else?

It remains to be seen exactly what can be done with the Camera Connection Kit's USB port, but probably not.
posted by jedicus at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey Brandon, you know who else made the trains run on time?

There's an app for that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


How many deleted threads did we get in first anyway?

Apparently only one.


Wow. I would have guessed at least 4 threads on this today.

Maybe we'll get spin-off afterthreads.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2010


Nick Carr: "Jobs doesn’t just want to produce glamorous gizmos. He wants to be the impresario of all media."

Random Analyst: "This is how Apple will dominate the sales of all future forms of digital media."
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on January 27, 2010


Rory Marinich: “I use my computer hours and hours and hours every day. Perhaps functionally you could do everything I do on my Mac on a Windows machine, but it would be less fun and less usable and you'd have to jump through hoops and it wouldn't mesh well. But I think it's worth my money to get something sleeker and more viscerally enjoyable. I also buy clothes that feel good on my body rather than wearing hemp, and I occasionally spend more than three dollars on a meal because I like eating good.”

Consumer is annoyed that he's being called a consumer. 'Yes, I enjoy consuming,' he says huffily. 'Don't you consume also? And why is my choice of brand X in my consumption any worse than your choice of brand Y?'

It's neat how you assumed that Pastabagel is automatically on the side of Microsoft if he's putting down Apple. We Americans love binary simplifications, don't we? We do the same thing with politics. It saves us from having to make an actual choice, or from doing something about it.

Look: no matter which Steve you buy from, that Steve will not be interested in the quality or usability of software or devices. He will be interested in selling products. That has nothing to do with quality or usability of products, and more often than not it's directly opposed to quality or usability. That's obvious on the Microsoft side, but on the Apple side people have been ignoring it for years because we're massive geeks – and I sympathize, but: I could complain endlessly about the silly crap that Apple has been indulging in for decades, and I have plenty of points on that, but I'll satisfy myself with noting that you agreed above that OS X has plenty of cruft. There's a reason for that: it's cruft that Apple geeks love. They are used to it, in the same way that silly business people who'll be using MS Office until the day they die are used to it. Neither group is going to be the source for innovation.

Now, more than ever before, it would be nice if there were an OS developed by non-profits and by people who care about software for everybody, an OS whose solid and stable development wasn't driven by a profit margin but by the care and dedication of millions of developers. It would be nice if that OS had a pretty user-friendly interface option for those who, like Rory, just want something that works out of the box, and don't want to have to figure everything out. It would be nice if that OS worked on almost any architecture imaginable. And most of all it would be nice if that OS actually encouraged people to dig into their computers, to learn what's really going on behind the scenes, rather than, like Microsoft and especially Apple, encouraging people to see computers as magical toys that just do stuff for them without requiring any further thought whatsoever and without ever revealing their secrets.

If only there were an OS like that. Oh well, I guess I'll have to decide between Apple and Microsoft.

My money is on the kernel being ported to this iPad thing in two weeks, tops.
posted by koeselitz at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "8 things that suck about the ipad."

Very well put.


For the power user tech crowd sure, but most regular folks won't give a damn.
"

Wasn't that exactly what the remaining portion of my post said?
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2010


Re USB: package includes "Dock connector to USB cable". So, USB, yes, I think. Tech specs here: http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/
posted by willF at 2:01 PM on January 27, 2010


Can I stream video off of my media center with it?

Yes.


tversity is not an ipad or iphone app.
posted by shmegegge at 2:01 PM on January 27, 2010


shmegegge: that's pretty close to my own criticisms -

1) No Flash. If this thing had Flash, I would put my laptop away in a quiet corner and never use it again. 99% of my laptop usage involves the web or iTunes, serious gaming and game development are done at my desktop.

2) No user-facing camera. Both my grandmother and mother would buy one of these if it only had Skype video conferencing. For them and a huge segment of the market, computers are about small amounts of word-processing, email with their friends, and Facebook/Skype for politely stalking their children/grandchildren.

3) No 720P screen. C'mon, you can do 1024x768 but not 1280x720 for native resolution HD video?

4) Connectivity. USB host, HDMI out, and SD card adapter would be worth an extra .15" thickness and I'm sure they could've pulled that off.

That said, this is a pretty good v1, especially the data plan and battery life. I won't be first in line on launch day, but I'll get the 32GB w/ 3G model sometime this summer.

Oh, and guys: the App Store submission process just *isn't* that bad, and if you're planning on doing a multiplayer game for iPhoneOS you're saved so, so very much aggravation on the clientside hacks front. Given the relative ubiquity of Xbox Live and App Store it's very difficult to build a case for entering that special hell where open platforms and competitive multiplayer games intersect.
posted by Ryvar at 2:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


No spec on the RAM but the display is apparently 1024x768, better than I expected.

Also, how long until hipsters also develop oleophobia?
posted by GuyZero at 2:02 PM on January 27, 2010


sorry: a business case.
posted by Ryvar at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2010


Not enough people care and I'm not convinced they should with the current stare of the App market.

Seriously, most people can get a ton fun games and apps on the iPhone for under 5 bucks. They're not going to miss your special snowflake app and you're not going to do much to convince them that they should. Let it go.


Wait, is this a defense of Apple's business practices? I don't get it. Apple rejects a perfectly good app from a competitor, but because they have a ton of games for under five bucks I should just "let it go"? If MS refused to let you run Firefox, you'd be up in arms. But because this is Apple, it's okay? How does this make sense? Am I missing your argument?
posted by reformedjerk at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Jobs doesn’t just want to produce glamorous gizmos. He wants to be the impresario of all media."

which is an excellent, if mildly scary, point. the saving grace is that, so far, itunes is not really the best destination for tv and movies. my hope is that this does not make itunes the best destination for it, honestly, because that's getting into troublesome territory, what with the one company to rule them all implications.
posted by shmegegge at 2:04 PM on January 27, 2010


Apple is not revolutionary. This new and crazy idea won't work. It's too expensive, in a few years every product will have these features and be much cheaper.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:04 PM on January 27, 2010


Now, more than ever before, it would be nice if there were an OS developed by non-profits and by people who care about software for everybody, an OS whose solid and stable development wasn't driven by a profit margin but by the care and dedication of millions of developers.

Well, yeah that would be nice, I guess... not super fussed.

It would be nice if that OS had a pretty user-friendly interface option for those who, like Rory, just want something that works out of the box, and don't want to have to figure everything out.

That's some good stuff!

It would be nice if that OS worked on almost any architecture imaginable.

yay!

And most of all it would be nice if that OS actually encouraged people to dig into their computers, to learn what's really going on behind the scenes, rather than, like Microsoft and especially Apple, encouraging people to see computers as magical toys that just do stuff for them without requiring any further thought whatsoever and without ever revealing their secrets.

...and we're back to "could give a shit" for most people, including myself most of the time these days.

That said, my apparently useless netbook running Ubuntu is a very fine thing.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh and, successful platform or not, can I say that the ebook screenshots make me froth. Why make your margins so busy by putting in fake spine curve on the left and page ends on the right. I mean really. It's a computer. I know it's a computer. Everyone using it knows it is a computer. Make the page less damn busy already.

Argh.
posted by aspo at 2:06 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I WANTED A ROBUST DESIGN AND THEY GAVE ME MAGICAL!


!
posted by mazola at 2:07 PM on January 27, 2010


tversity is not an ipad or iphone app.

TVersity streams the media from your computer to the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad using a web interface in Safari. Here's an example of using it.
posted by jedicus at 2:08 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]



There's a company that makes a stylus that's compatible with Apple-style capacitive touchscreens, but there's no pressure sensitivity. At least not built into the iPad's screen. Possibly someone could make a powered Bluetooth stylus that transmitted pressure information to a drawing app.


See, THEN it would my Everyday PADD, if I can idly sketch something, tab out to read Metafilter, and talk to someone WHILE I'M DOING IT *with* a pressure sensitive stylus - AND it fits in my kit bag - well then I'm pretty gonna much marry it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2010


Re USB: package includes "Dock connector to USB cable". So, USB, yes, I think.

For the umpteenth time, no. That is not a USB host capability, that just lets it plug in to a USB host to sync. A netbook replacement should be able to host USB peripherals, this iPad does not. In fact, it is incompatible with almost every single peripheral on the market... talk about a game-changer.
posted by mek at 2:10 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


TVersity streams the media from your computer to the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad using a web interface in Safari. Here's an example of using it .

Ah, looking back I see I misread the original comment. I thought he wanted to stream media off the ipad to his media center and thence his tv. my bad. It seems like streaming video from a more robust box to an ipad while in bed could be interesting. logistics of leg positioning and propping the ipad aside, could be comfy and awesome.
posted by shmegegge at 2:12 PM on January 27, 2010


I really do wonder if that whole shitting on netbooks thing was the biggest strategic error. I know it instantly ticked me off.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on January 27, 2010


they said the same thing about the switch and "i'm a pc" ads. turns out, attack tactics work well in apple's aesthetic.
posted by shmegegge at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2010


Analysts use to complain about Apple not having clones. You could argue that the software on the Iphone and iPad are clones of Mac OS X. I think Apple has figured out that their lunch can be eaten, they're products beaten, history has shown that. So now they're determined to beat their own products, rather than have someone else do it.

The iPad isn't a replacement for the iPhone, which is, you know, a phone (and has a camera). But as a replacement for cheap, consumer laptops and/or consumer media devices (hmmm, should it replace Apple TV?), the iPad could really own the market.

No camera isn't an issue. Most people really don't want to do video conferencing and it's too bulky to do point and shoot.

No multitasking does suck, no question. That needs to be addressed, would be great is there was a way to toggle it multi-tasking off an on, the user could choose where to use it or not.

I don't have an iPhone, despite being sorely tempted, because it just didn't have quite the right mix of features, no copy and paste, no camera, and small space (32gig). It to version 3.0 of the software and the 3GS to make me to have to try really hard not to buy one. It'll be very interesting to see where the iPad is in two years, after a revision or two of software and hardware.

For now, I can't wait to try one out. I suspect once regular folks test drive one, they'll fall it love with it, especially if they're used to dealing with iTunes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2010


Well, I was pretty happy to see that they've finally upgraded the Mini to respectable stats.
posted by Jawn at 2:15 PM on January 27, 2010


IPAD ALLOWS IPADDINGTON BEAR TO CONNECT TO THE WORLD
posted by The Devil Tesla at 2:16 PM on January 27, 2010


Yeah, quality of the testdrive experience is definately going to be more of a determining factor for success than the presentation.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on January 27, 2010


Wait, is this a defense of Apple's business practices? I don't get it. Apple rejects a perfectly good app from a competitor, but because they have a ton of games for under five bucks I should just "let it go"? If MS refused to let you run Firefox, you'd be up in arms. But because this is Apple, it's okay? How does this make sense? Am I missing your argument?

I'm saying your argument doesn't matter to most people, because they can get so much good stuff on the App store for cheap prices.

I'm not thrilled about other browsers not being allowed on the iPhone, no question, I just don't think it's big enough issue to care about. I'm have made the conscious decision not be bothered by it because my iTouch is so fucking cool anyway.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2010


Brandon Blatcher - TBH I'd consider buying this before buying an iPhone a very weird use of resources. The phone has a much more concrete reason for existing.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2010


TVersity is better than nothing, but it's obviously inferior to having a device that supports networking. TVersity has to transcode on the fly during playback which means the server CPU runs at 100% and basically can't do anything else without causing major stuttering. Your server also needs a good video card if you want to get half-decent quality out of it. It's not practical.
posted by mek at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2010


I really do wonder if that whole shitting on netbooks thing was the biggest strategic error. I know it instantly ticked me off.

I kind of interpreted it as "All you people are using netbooks for is surfing the internet anyway, so why not do it in style and sync to all this iTunes awesomesauce while you're at it?"

Most people using netbooks aren't really power users - if your idea of the Internet is Hulu and YouTube and there are an increasing number of people for whom this is true, then the iPad is a good netbook substitute.
posted by GuyZero at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2010


If your idea of the internet is Hulu then the iPad is the worst possible netbook substitute.
posted by aspo at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Internet was disenchanted that day, my friends.
posted by Danf at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, wait, there is that, yes. So go buy it all on iTunes instead!
posted by GuyZero at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2010


Rory Marinich: “I like the idea of App Stores very much.”

Good god, why? (If you don't mind me asking.) What could possibly be attractive about the concept of App Stores? If anything, to my mind the sudden proliferation of app stores is direct proof that tech businesspeople have no idea what works. Centralizing all access to any and all applications within a single corporate control so that they can be stringently monetized? On devices that have internet capabilities (read: all new devices forthcoming) it's only a matter of time before somebody intelligent designs a free alternative. I don't use an iPhone, but if I did I can imagine I'd be able to find a few of those in a matter of seconds. And if availability of other software doesn't drive traffic away from an App Store, the annoyance developers feel at having to be pushed through the hole in the wall that is acceptance by a single money-driven corporate entity will. App Stores seem extraordinarily short-sighted to me, and I can't believe that, two years from now, anybody will be pushing them nearly as hard.

You know what idea is actually really awesome? Repositories. But of course Apple and MS hate that idea, because repositories are predicated on the idea that developers actually want to distribute their software, cleanly and securely, to as many people as possible.
posted by koeselitz at 2:24 PM on January 27, 2010


I can already run SSH with sftp and emacs on an iPhone, without emulation.

Make fun of me if you like, but my emacs-fu is weak enough that I don't know how to get it do the things that I regularly do with eclipse. Which is, again, a totally acceptable compromise for something I can cram in my pocket, but not so much for something the size of the iPad.
posted by juv3nal at 2:24 PM on January 27, 2010


yep. Except that people are willing to buy Viking pots and Viking food for their Viking stove which is where the real money is.
posted by GuyZero at 3:34 PM on January 27


You must not be aware that Viking offers cooking classes at it's stores. And both are are very popular. You really should read the book "Trading Up."

I use my computer hours and hours and hours every day. Perhaps functionally you could do everything I do on my Mac on a Windows machine, but it would be less fun and less usable and you'd have to jump through hoops and it wouldn't mesh well.

This is an assumption you make based on your own prejudice but you state it as fact. I use Windows for hours and hours a day as well. And I can guarantee you that switching to a Mac would be a frustrating experience for me.

Jedicus, I wouldn't bother wasting your time. Some people are just looking for any excuse to criticize Apple and users of its products, without really knowing anything about the technology they are talking about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:53 PM on January 27


And that's where you're wrong. I know a great deal about Apple's core technology: marketing.

There is nothing anyone has said here about Apple's products that could not also be said about the products of other upscale product makers in any industry. BMW, Viking, SubZero, Mont Blanc, Victoria Secret, Moleskine, etc.

All sell "professional grade" products to people who's identity is in part based on the product. Not all the products, mind you, just one. A Viking stove buyer wants to think of themselves as a great cook. Whether they are is completely irrelevant. A great cook is just as good a cook on a Kenmore. But the product reinforces their identity, regardless of whether anyone else is there to see it. For a similar reason, a Viking owner might be content in a honda and with the cheapest laptop at Best Buy.

The ipod/iphone/ipad very much caters to the consumer who believes they are tech saavy, creative, cutting edge, etc. It doesn't matter whether this is actually true, and buying the product certainly doesn't make it true. But this is how these people feel. There are countless market research studies to demonstrate this. These consumers don't blink for a second when someone tries to sell them a product that is primarily used to consume text and image-based media (they advertise it as a reader!) by telling them it has a "screaming" 1 Ghz processor. Because the product appeals to them emotionally, they don't ask the question "Why do I need such a powerful processor to do such mundane things?"

So forget all the arguments about hardware, software, design, etc. Instead, I'll just ask you a question I could ask anyone who purchases the other products I listed.

Knowing that other products on the market have similar features at the same or lower price point, what about you makes you want a product like this? What do you feel when you buy it? What do you imagine yourself doing with it? Who do you imagine seeing you with it? Where do you imagine yourself using it (not where will you use it, where do you imagine, or fantasize, yourself using it)? What does that place look like, the decor, the lighting etc.

You'd be amazed how if you ask consumers of a particular luxury grade product these questions, you will get similar answers.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Best period-related iPad jokes
posted by rottytooth at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna make the prediction now: before Apple can release the next rev, there will be better-spec'd Android hardware. The N1 already has a 1ghz proc, and at the moment I'd take Notion Ink's upcoming Android tablet in a heartbeat (especially with that sexy Pixel Qi display, *swoon*).
posted by mullingitover at 2:27 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


mek: "A netbook replacement should be able to host USB peripherals, this iPad does not."

What you want is called "USB On-The-Go". Apparently it's hard to get certified, as while I haven't gotten a straight answer on why my N900 doesn't have OTG (even though the N800 does), but the emails I've seen from Nokia engineers appear to blame the overly onerous certification testing process.

I gather Apple is very pleased with their existing iPod dock connector's popularity.
posted by pwnguin at 2:27 PM on January 27, 2010


The Hulu folks are probably crapping all over themselves to get HTML5 implemented. Apple is hoping to deal a serious blows to Flash and they just may pull it off.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:28 PM on January 27, 2010


Some more details have emerged from the SDK.

"File Sharing. A shared file directory is provided that will mount on your Mac or PC. This is presumably how files such as iWork documents will be transferred to and from the iPad. iPad applications will be able to access this shared directory."

This is a departure from the iPhone/iPod Touch. And it means that syncing arbitrary files just got much, much easier.
posted by jedicus at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


TBH I'd consider buying this before buying an iPhone a very weird use of resources. The phone has a much more concrete reason for existing.

Another reason I haven't bought an iPhone is that my contract isn't up for renewal 'till Feb 7th. FU early renewal fees.

You can get a decent, if not the latest and greatest, iPhone for $100 bucks. I wonder how it pairs with the iPad, how well the two work together to become something more. Most people just need to surf the web, listen to music, type a few documents, do a spread sheet etc. If they need something more, there's probably an App for that or will be once iPad designed apps start coming out.

I wonder how a Photoshop (or Photoshop type) app would do on the iPad. I'm guessing that it would satisfy most of the photo processing needs regular people have.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:30 PM on January 27, 2010



Knowing that other products on the market have similar features at the same or lower price point, what about you makes you want a product like this?


Link me to this product?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:31 PM on January 27, 2010


...if that OS actually encouraged forced people to dig into their computers...

And I say that as someone who was running linux on my Vaio ten years ago, and still uses it occasionally today, although I have to admit to being a Mac fanboy since the Intel MBPs came out.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm also kind of wondering what kind of hellish world of syncing problems i'm going to be letting myself in for should I get one of these and continue to run my iPhone and it off of the same machine.
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Hulu folks are probably crapping all over themselves to get HTML5 implemented. Apple is hoping to deal a serious blows to Flash and they just may pull it off.

It remains to be seen whether Firefox's lack of support for H.264 in HTML5 video kills HTML5 video or whether it kills Firefox.

Probably neither but yeah, once there's consistent HTML5 video support, Flash gets hit hard and a lot of people will be watching TV on their iPads.
posted by GuyZero at 2:35 PM on January 27, 2010


It's neat how you assumed that Pastabagel is automatically on the side of Microsoft if he's putting down Apple. We Americans love binary simplifications, don't we? We do the same thing with politics. It saves us from having to make an actual choice, or from doing something about it.

And to this point, though I use a Windows PC, I'm not on Microsoft's side. It's just very difficult to be a consumer of Apple's products when I can get a perfectly good PC that does everything I need, as fast as I need it done, for 25-30% of the price of an apple product.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:35 PM on January 27, 2010


Best period-related iPad jokes

"I'm a Mac."

"I'm a PC."

"I'm Prince Charles."
posted by Sys Rq at 2:36 PM on January 27, 2010


... It's just very difficult to be a consumer of Apple's products when I can get a perfectly good PC that does everything I need, as fast as I need it done, for 25-30% of the price of an apple product.

TERRORIST!
posted by mazola at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2010


You'd be amazed how if you ask consumers of a particular luxury grade product these questions, you will get similar answers.

Congratulations on reinventing branding.
posted by GuyZero at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2010


Everything's amazing and nobody's happy.
posted by kimota at 2:40 PM on January 27, 2010


Okay, I'm lazy and ignorant, but how is this better than an eee PC?
posted by dilettante at 2:41 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Take two; not sure how that extra character got in there.
posted by kimota at 2:42 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ipod/iphone/ipad very much caters to the consumer who believes they are tech saavy, creative, cutting edge, etc. It doesn't matter whether this is actually true ... These consumers don't blink for a second when someone tries to sell them a product ... by telling them it has a "screaming" 1 Ghz processor.

You think clock-ticks per second is an accurate measure of chip performance across processor technologies, huh? Guess it's not just Apple consumers who have been deluded about their tech savvy.
posted by jock@law at 2:42 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right then. Great thread, chaps. See you in June when we have a picture of how well this new shiny thing is doing in the markets.


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This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments








posted by Burhanistan at 2:43 PM on January 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


I'm a huge fan of the iPod Touch, enough so that when I managed to kill my first one (the 32GB 1st gen), waiting a month and a half for the new one to come out was agony. I was pretty excited to see what the iPad (yeah, horrible name) would do. And I'll just stick with my Touch, thanks. The screen just doesn't do it for me. The amount of real estate eaten up by the bezel, combined with how much space is wasted when viewing widescreen video kills one of the main selling points for me, that it would be a great device for watching movies on the go. The lack of any kind of USB/SD/video out only increases that. Sure, it's their strategy, that everything must come from Apple, and for them and their shareholders, it must be pretty keen, but as a consumer, it just sucks. Again, I say this as a person who is incredibly happy with their iPod. The thing is, I had hoped it would be more than just a giant iPod. Or, failing that, at least as good as one, and it doesn't seem like it.

And yeah, CBR files. The one thing I've found (comic zeal) is a pain in the ass to use, needs iPod Explorer to work, and iPod explorer crashes all the time. Any different ideas?
posted by Ghidorah at 2:43 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn, forgot the timestamp! All is lost!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:43 PM on January 27, 2010


The 500 GB of media I have on my NAS at home, a decade and a half of documents, photos, movies and comic books. Can I access that, mount that as a drive, on the iPad? It doesn't look like it. If this is a media front end, it only works with the media Apple wants it to, not the media I already have.

What kind of crappy NAS do you have that doesn't - by definition - offer network access to your data? You either need to learn what NAS stands for, or ask for a refund for your NAS.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:44 PM on January 27, 2010


According to the SDK later versions of the iPhone OS will support Universal apps: an iPhone/iPod Touch app bundled with an iPad version. So developers will be able to sell a single version and people won't have to rebuy their apps for the iPad once iPad versions come out. That's nice.

And yeah, CBR files. The one thing I've found (comic zeal) is a pain in the ass to use, needs iPod Explorer to work, and iPod explorer crashes all the time. Any different ideas?

Well, getting the files onto the iPad will be very easy because "A shared file directory is provided that will mount on your Mac or PC. iPad applications will be able to access this shared directory." No more iPod Explorer or similar programs. With a much larger screen to work with I'm sure there will be a much better CBR reader app written as well.
posted by jedicus at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2010


Guys, you CAN multitask with music on the iPhone/iPod touch; you can listen to your own mp3s while you're doing other stuff. Sure, it's not Pandora, but I like my taste in music better than Pandora's (and I'm an mp3 hoarder so I have plenty of variety). Sadly, 16 gb (the one I can probably afford) will be nowhere near enough space for music, but I don't see needing this device to listen to my whole music library. What I do see is me, sitting on the couch, watching House, browsing the web (WTF is "Brucellosis"?), maybe reading a book on the device. Or taking it in my purse (you nailed it, Erasmouse!) to lunch with me; reading, browsing. Using it to open a spreadsheet and check something in a meeting, or take notes. Watching a movie on a long flight.

I hate to say it, but I think I am THE consumer Jobs had in mind when he made this thing. I wonder how long he's been watching me...
posted by TochterAusElysium at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


What kind of crappy NAS do you have that doesn't - by definition - offer network access to your data? You either need to learn what NAS stands for, or ask for a refund for your NAS.

I'm guessing he's complaining that the iPad won't mount SAMBA shares and/or that the iPhone OS doesn't mount remote drives with a filesystem exposed through stock apps.
posted by GuyZero at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2010


jedicus: File Sharing. A shared file directory is provided that will mount on your Mac or PC.

That's backwards though, the iPad shouldn't be a server device, it should be a master. I should be able to use the iPad to view and manipulate media and documents on a file share somewhere, my own NAS, the cloud, whatever. This is a device to be controlled by an external master, not a device to be in control with.

Like, for example, why can't you plug an iPhone or iPod into this device? The simple answer is that it is the same class of device in Apple's view, it isn't a computer. This really isn't a netbook replacement, it's an iPod replacement/upgrade.
posted by bonehead at 2:47 PM on January 27, 2010


At least it doesn't cost $7,500...
posted by Taft at 2:48 PM on January 27, 2010


Pastabagel: "And I can guarantee you that switching to a Mac would be a frustrating experience for me."

I can honestly say that after doing CAD, 3D modeling, multimedia production and web application programming on PCs for about 18 years, switching to OSX was 99 44/100% painless. My only frustration with my Mac has been the software updates that force me to restart it every once in a while, a couple of keyboard related glitches and the deterioration of my screen coating due to heavy use/travel.

Back in the DOS/Win3.1/WinNT/Win2K/XP days I'd have that many issues in any given day.

It's not *all* hype.

I may or may not buy the iPad, but I'm never going back to Windows, at least for my foreseeable future.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:49 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


And that's where you're wrong. I know a great deal about Apple's core technology: marketing.

If you think the only reason people buy and use Apple products is because of marketing, you don't know nearly as much as you think, but keep being smug about being ignorant.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:49 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Burhanistan : This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments

Bastard! This actually got me for a second. Well done.
posted by quin at 2:49 PM on January 27, 2010


This Apple touchscreen tablet has a built in camera.

Happy now?
posted by mazola at 2:51 PM on January 27, 2010


What kind of crappy NAS do you have that doesn't - by definition - offer network access to your data? You either need to learn what NAS stands for, or ask for a refund for your NAS.

I have one that can mount nfs and SMB shares, like every other one on the market. It can do UPnP/ DLNA so some TVs can talk to it. I don't see how the iPad can yet though. Forgive me, I don't have an iPod to test this with.
posted by bonehead at 2:51 PM on January 27, 2010


For years, the Mac community railed against the perceived closed nature of Microsoft. Now, many are rallying behind an Apple with a vision more closed than Redmond’s.

-Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music about the iPad.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


MS hate don't need no logic or consistency.
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on January 27, 2010


MS hate don't need no logic or consistency.
posted by mazola at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2010


Just to go back to this...

Only on Metafilter would 5 of the first 50 comments be related to the device's ability to display comics...

I can assure you that today people involved with comics are talking about very little else. If you can get over whether or not people are going to pay $500-$900 for a device on which to read comics this thing could very well be the ideal platform for them and save the industry from going down the shitter... Of course, the same thing was said of the iPhone (see self link previously), but in the end the form factor probably wasn't a good enough match - you have to seriously mess with comics to get them to work on the tiny screen. This thing you just drop it in and it's there, more or less.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's backwards though, the iPad shouldn't be a server device, it should be a master. I should be able to use the iPad to view and manipulate media and documents on a file share somewhere, my own NAS, the cloud, whatever.

Twice in this thread I've linked apps for viewing and manipulating media and documents located on file shares and NAS. Perhaps not yours, for some reason, but definitely for a lot of people's. For accessing docs in the cloud there's Apple's own iDisk app, a DropBox app, and probably others.

This just makes it easier to drag and drop arbitrary files on to the iPad, which means it will be easier for apps to sync with desktops. It means that people will actually become less dependent on Apple for their media and documents rather than more so. To the extent Apple becomes the primary distributor of music, movies, TV shows, and books it'll be because they offer an easy to use integrated experience, not because they lock people in to their devices and lock other people's data out.
posted by jedicus at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2010


Now, I love you BP, but why do you react to even the slightest criticism of any Apple product as if it were some sort of personal attack on you?
posted by Dumsnill at 2:57 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Marvel Comics Cautious About iPad's Potential
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on January 27, 2010


The ipod/iphone/ipad very much caters to the consumer who believes they are tech saavy, creative, cutting edge, etc

While that may be true for you -- and I'll even give you that it may be true for all the Apple people you know -- as someone who feels very catered to by Apple, it is certainly not true for me. (Well, I do consider myself creative and cutting edge but not because I own a product that's owned by 75 million other people in the world.) It sometimes seems like to me that the only people who have truly bought the Apple hype at face value are those who known by those most vocally arguing against it.

And there in lies the thing I don't understand about these points and this conversational thread. Apple may own the tech media community, it seems, based on the response to days like today -- but 98% of the people who will buy this product had NO IDEA what today was Apple-wise, unless they happened to hear it on the news, and they won't know about it until they stumble across it, not because they will search it out.

Steve Jobs did not alienate his customer base by dogging on netbooks today. Because his true customer base doesn't really care.

It's not changing the game or whatever because of what it is or how its doing; if it does anything big at all, it's because of who is paying attention.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2010


These consumers don't blink for a second when someone tries to sell them a product that is primarily used to consume text and image-based media (they advertise it as a reader!) by telling them it has a "screaming" 1 Ghz processor.

In the presentation, this proclamation was followed by a demo of a first person shooter and a racing game, both very fast action and fullscreen.

And even without fancy 3D stuff, the speed of the iPod/iPhone UI has always been a big strength. Turns on fast, runs apps fast, near-instant access to anything on the device. A fast/efficient processor and underlying hardware is critical to that experience.
posted by rokusan at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm also kind of wondering what kind of hellish world of syncing problems i'm going to be letting myself in for should I get one of these and continue to run my iPhone and it off of the same machine.

actually, this just sparked a few questions I hadn't thought of:

-when I plug my iphone into a computer it hasn't synced with before (for instance, when I just got a new pc) it erases all my iphone apps -if I'm syncing them - rather than putting them on the new pc, so that I'm forced to redownload my apps. thankfully, this does not cost anything, but it's a pain. will this happen with the ipad, or will they change their drm a bit so that an app on your iphone will sync to both painlessly?
-if you don't have a computer to do your syncing with, and hope to use this as your primary computer, can you sync your iphone to it?
-will music you downloaded through itunes directly to the iphone now be available to you without paying extra for it if you wish to download it directly to the ipad? or will you have to sync to another computer? if you don't have a computer, will you simply have to pay again for the music?
-the keyboard: does it only dock in portrait mode? no landscape?
-mice: does it support them? at first glance, it seems no.
-the keyboard dock again: it seems that, if there's no mouse support, you'll have to touch the ipad to do non-keyboard stuff, and on that dock it looks like you'd be in persistent danger of knocking the thing over.
-will using the keyboard on your lap be as awkward as it looks?
-looks like the expected verizon iphone announcement was wishful thinking. oh well. I had hoped.
posted by shmegegge at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2010



And. . . it makes perfect paninis! Every time!
posted by Herodios at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2010


Steve Jobs did not alienate his customer base by dogging on netbooks today. Because his true customer base doesn't really care.

Well, that would kind of make the audience who cheered for the dogging of netbooks not his true customer base either.
posted by Artw at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2010


I have a couple of netbooks. I love them, but compared to an Apple MacBook or iPhone (or presumably an iPad), I also know they're really pieces of junk. But that's fine, since I consider them disposable anyway.

Because, while they're not great to type on for hours at a time, and their screens are small, and so on... they're also really, really, really cheap. If I drop it or sit on it or kick it or run over it with the car someday, no big deal. $225 and I'll get another one.

I think this iPad is interesting, and I'll think about one for couch-surfing or breakfast reading, maybe... but a $499 MacBook with a 9" screen would have made me happier today.
posted by rokusan at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dumsnill: "Now, I love you BP, but why do you react to even the slightest criticism of any Apple product as if it were some sort of personal attack on you?"

To keep in practice?

I keed, I keed. BP is one of my favorite MeFites.

Anyway, FWIW, Mrs. B. - who I wouldn't described as any kind of gadget-head, although she was an early iPhone adopter - just called me to report her state of Instant Overwhelming Covetousness for this doohickey. So it will probably sell fine.

For me, if it won't even play my MP3s while I surf the Internet, boy, was this a lot of hype for nothing.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once upon a time, I thought Apple fanboys were idiots. I mean, seriously, it's a computer. Who fucking cares? I just want to get my work done.

Then I decided to risk purchasing a Mac, because I figured out that if I didn't like it, the fanboys would pay near full-retail price for a used laptop. Awesome!

Well, I'm an Apple fanboy now. It's just that much less frustrating.

I've had to use Windows a few times, because of client needs. Each and every time, my gods, it astounds me. Windows is such a lousy, shitty, good goddamned clumsy OS. I am embarrassed I once thought it was okay. It was and is not. Piece of shitty shit, is what it is.

The iPad? Meh. I'll wait a couple years.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Because his true customer base doesn't really care.

Ah yes, the "No True Apple Customer" fallacy.
posted by GuyZero at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2010


but a $499 MacBook with a 9" screen would have made me happier today.

Didn't you hear Steve? No one wants that! No one!
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2010


And. . . it makes perfect paninis! Every time!

I hate it so much when people put an "s" on the end of an already-plural word.
posted by The World Famous at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]




For me, if it won't even play my MP3s while I surf the Internet, boy, was this a lot of hype for nothing.


It will play MP3s while you surf just fine, it just won't do streaming.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2010


I have one that can mount nfs and SMB shares, like every other one on the market. It can do UPnP/ DLNA so some TVs can talk to it. I don't see how the iPad can yet though. Forgive me, I don't have an iPod to test this with.

I'm fairly sure OpenNAS supports FTP access and there's an FTP client for the iPhone / iPod Touch, which would imply access from an iPad.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:05 PM on January 27, 2010


Twice in this thread I've linked apps for viewing and manipulating media and documents located on file shares and NAS.

Yeah, but those are fixups to compensate for capabilities that should, in my view, be built in. Apple clearly wants the users to go through their interfaces, not to be able to use their own storage. The problem with that is that there's no interface offered by the OS to provide the service. That means that third-party apps really can't take advantage of a particular capability offered by some non-Apple company. Building a Boxee-like app, or a comic book browsing app is going to be next to impossible on this device for that reason.

The iPad has a movie viewing app and I'm certain that a comic book app will be along shortly, but they're predicated on a model of proprietary local or cloud storage mechanisms. The iPad is a client: I have to either copy the file to the device or use Apple's cloud services to access them. I'd prefer to use a different model, to have the OS act as a media browser from my existing network store. Te easiest way to do this is to mount a share in a way that's been an industry standard now for a couple of decades. There are other was to do this, of course, but it should be baked into the OS. Third-party fixups aren't adequate because they don't provide a stable software ecosystem.
posted by bonehead at 3:07 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


BP, we know the iPhone is Turning complete. Most of the arguments come down to obviousness or support in the stock apps of whatever someone's pet activity is.
posted by GuyZero at 3:08 PM on January 27, 2010


What could possibly be attractive about the concept of App Stores? If anything, to my mind the sudden proliferation of app stores is direct proof that tech businesspeople have no idea what works. Centralizing all access to any and all applications within a single corporate control so that they can be stringently monetized?

Uh, yeah, "centralizing all access to any and all applications within a single corporate control so that they can be stringently monetized" is exactly what works about the iPhone app store. Customers want one place to go, developers want a huge audience who won't pirate their product. I'm kind of shocked at the number of people here who seem to have no clue how a real mass market for technology is going to work in the future.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:08 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeez, TURING. I know how to spell, I do not know how to type.
posted by GuyZero at 3:08 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


-if you don't have a computer to do your syncing with, and hope to use this as your primary computer, can you sync your iphone to it?

It would be nice but it seems pretty unlikely. But how common is this use case anyway, the person who owns an iPhone but no regular computer?

-will music you downloaded through itunes directly to the iphone now be available to you without paying extra for it if you wish to download it directly to the ipad? or will you have to sync to another computer? if you don't have a computer, will you simply have to pay again for the music?

The simplest method will be syncing through a computer. No doubt apps will emerge that allow an iPad and an iPhone to transfer files between each other, though.

Some people think that Apple's acquisition of LaLa is part of a move to eventually putting people's music in the cloud allowing access via the internet to anything you've ever bought on the iTunes store. We'll see.

-the keyboard: does it only dock in portrait mode? no landscape?

Only portrait but there will either be hacks or 3rd party docks that offer both. It's just a matter of an extension cable from the dock to the iPad.

-mice: does it support them? at first glance, it seems no.

It's hard to see how a mouse would even integrate with the UI. You'd lose multitouch, for example.

-the keyboard dock again: it seems that, if there's no mouse support, you'll have to touch the ipad to do non-keyboard stuff, and on that dock it looks like you'd be in persistent danger of knocking the thing over.

Yeah, that's a good point.

-will using the keyboard on your lap be as awkward as it looks?

Probably. I'm realllly hoping for an OS update that adds handwriting recognition with an 'imaginary pen' gesture. Maybe the case with integrated prop will make using it on a lap easier.
posted by jedicus at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2010


For me, if it won't even play my MP3s while I surf the Internet, boy, was this a lot of hype for nothing.

Why on earth do you think it won't do that? Even the original iPhone did that.
posted by rokusan at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2010


Seriously blaze, that's the way you'd use a NAS? That's not a fix, that's a hack.
posted by aspo at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2010


furiousxgeorge: "It will play MP3s while you surf just fine, it just won't do streaming."

Oh, OK. Streaming is for suckers in my book. Now I just have to wait until the price comes down 75%.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2010


Interesting, but five hundred bucks is far too much. Still, if Apple succeeds in making tablets popular I'll get some cheap no name competitor's product a couple of years from now.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2010


"-will using the keyboard on your lap be as awkward as it looks?"

And, does it get hot? Will it burn my nutsack?
posted by jefbla at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2010


I would buy this in a SECOND if iTunes treated video files the same way it treats audio files.

Imagine a scenario where you could insert a DVD and rip it straight to iTunes to have in your library. Where you could buy content from the iTunes store (I think it's MP4? Correct me if I'm wrong), but you could also drag and drop XviD and DivX .avis straight into the library and not have to convert them--the same way iTunes sells AACs, but also plays nice with MP3s.

I doubt I'm the norm in my computer use habits for watching video content--downloading TV shows via bittorrent and usenet--and I accept that. But I can't imagine I'm the only person who spent $20 on Mad Men: Season 1 on DVD, for example, and would love to use iTunes to organize and watch the episodes without using a third-party application to jump through a lot of encoding hoops or paying an additional $35 to download the show from the iTunes store. If iTunes made getting video on your computer from a DVD as easy as getting music on your computer from a CD, the iPad would absolutely be the iPod for movies. And for people like me, who have GBs (or TBs) of .avi video files, it would be a must-have.
posted by cosmic osmo at 3:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


If MS refused to let you run Firefox, you'd be up in arms. But because this is Apple, it's okay?

The big difference for me is that I don't think Apple is going to use their Safari monopoly on Cocoa Touch devices in order to dictate the general direction of the web as a platform and lock you into only using their technology across a whole range of devices.
posted by weston at 3:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not a fix, that's a hack.

No more so than any other approach.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2010


And, does it get hot? Will it burn my nutsack?

Whilst simultaneously microwaving it!
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2010


The netbook attack ticked me off too. I bought one on a whim not expecting it to be so helpful, but it's the best tech purchase I've made in ages... no glitz and glam, just great portability and utility. How much I like it caught me off-guard. The iPad, on the other hand, seems like nothing but glitz and glam. How is it better in any way, other than gee-whiz-itude, than a netbook? One single way? I don't see it. 3G where no wireless exists (on the train, for me) is something, but not worth the monthly fee. Still, I expect these slates to become the standard and replace netbooks (seeing as so many grandmas hate scrollbars, apparently), and that bugs me, because netbooks were a perfect and subtle step toward utilitarianism.
posted by painquale at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2010


But I can't imagine I'm the only person who spent $20 on Mad Men: Season 1 on DVD, for example, and would love to use iTunes to organize and watch the episodes without using a third-party application to jump through a lot of encoding hoops

Steve Jobs told me to tell you that you're absolutely doing it wrong and that you should have bought it on iTunes in the first place.
posted by GuyZero at 3:14 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really don't want this product but feel compelled to buy one anyway because, with each sale, Steve Ballmer dies a little.
posted by mazola at 3:15 PM on January 27, 2010


Heh... There's even tons of snark on this site. I'm still surprised at how many people are so disappointed with this device that they think it's a failure. What was everyone expecting? Apple delivered pretty much what I thought they would. I can't wait to get one -- much better than a netbook for what I want.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 3:15 PM on January 27, 2010


But how common is this use case anyway, the person who owns an iPhone but no regular computer?

I'd imagine increasingly common as time goes on, but for now not very. I'm mostly asking because enough people have made the "this is a computer" argument that I'm trying to imagine that scenario.
posted by shmegegge at 3:15 PM on January 27, 2010


I don't think Apple is going to use their Safari monopoly on Cocoa Touch devices in order to dictate the general direction of the web as a platform and lock you into only using their technology across a whole range of devices.
posted by shmegegge at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2010


Artw: “...and we're back to "could give a shit" for most people, including myself most of the time these days.”

bashos_frog: “...if that OS actually encouraged forced people to dig into their computers... And I say that as someone who was running linux on my Vaio ten years ago, and still uses it occasionally today, although I have to admit to being a Mac fanboy since the Intel MBPs came out.”

Yeah, I know I sounded a little Stallmanish about that, but I think a larger point that the fanboys often miss (sorry b_f) is that Steve Jobs' relentless pursuit of the absolutely intuitive interface which requires absolutely no thought or tech knowledge on the part of the user is a pipe dream. Apple products are always touted as being 'more user-friendly,' 'more intuitive,' 'more sensible' in their UIs, but at the point everything else is at I really don't think that's true; they're at the point of giving away user capability for the sake of a perceived user immediacy that may or may not be there.

What I'm thinking of is this: about a year ago, a very close friend of mine told me she wanted a new computer. She said she was ready for something different, something very usable, and that she'd be using it a lot for various media. She also loves her iPod. So, being an equitable guy, I recommended a Macbook – they're extremely aesthetically pleasing, I said, and, though I haven't used a Mac extensively for about a decade, their UI is supposed to be extremely intuitive. So she bought one, and I helped her set it up and everything, installing a few good programs and getting everything running, et cetera. And I found myself constantly struggling with all kinds of little quirks that I didn't remember being there. She'd call me every day or two with a little problem – for example, she'd plug in her camera and offload some photos using iPhoto; where the hell did those picture files go? If she wants to use one as an attachment to an email, where the hell is she supposed to find it?

Steve Jobs doesn't want her to have to think about piddly little things like 'files.' 'Files,' says Steve, 'are an arcane remnant of the desktop metaphor! Think about your pictures, and envision them flying through space!' I knew, I just knew, that Steve didn't want her hunting through the filesystem to find that folder – he wanted her to touch it, think about emailing it, and have it magically appear in her email. Practically, this probably meant that the single most obvious thing would've done it; it probably involved clicking on the picture itself and dragging it to her email or something. As it was, people may say I'm an idiot, but talking her through it over the phone, we couldn't figure out any possible way to find that file or to do some magical click-and-drag thing.

Upshot: because Steve wants us to forget all about filesystems and focus on media directly or something, the average user has no idea how to do a lot of stuff on a Mac. Software is designed not around power and flexibility but around intuition and a desire to remove the need to think about anything while you're doing it. People who are used to the interface swear that it's the best imaginable, but you'll notice that the hordes of knee-jerk Windows users, the ones that keep buying Office upgrades, haven't suddenly picked up Macs and discovered how easy to use they are.

I don't think it's possible to make a computer that is both usefully powerful and intuitive enough that a moron can use it. And Apple's pursuit thereof makes their devices less powerful.
posted by koeselitz at 3:17 PM on January 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


That's like, your opinion, man.
posted by mazola at 3:20 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're the biggest enemy Linux has, you know that right?
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on January 27, 2010


$29/mo unlimited data with no contract sounds awfully nice.

Yes, but now I have to pay for a data plan on my phone, my home internet access, and now another monthly fee for this?
posted by mattholomew at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2010


I saw the videos. I read the tech specs. I pictured myself lazying on the couch on a rainy sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and that thing, and I very much liked the picture.

I like my gizmos however to let me perform three functions.
- To absorbe things: watching videos, reading, listening to content.
- To do things: using software, process content.
- To make things: create content.

This pad gets full marks on the first point, and a "eh" on the second.

It runs a proprietary system on proprietary hardware, has DRM in it. These one can choose to overlook. I can even see how one can easily discount the absence of multitasking (come on, not even a popup for new mail?) or flash. 'Shiny and easy to use' is not a tradeoff I can personally abide but, you know, whatever. It's not a computer, it's not intended to be, it's a personal... thingy. Should be understood as such, and all of the above is subjective.

What is objective, though, is that this new category of devices is another nail in the coffin of the Internet as we know it (and like it). All welcome the splinternet (hardware restrictions apply at the entrance).
posted by _dario at 3:23 PM on January 27, 2010


jefbla: "And, does it get hot? Will it burn my nutsack?"

$20. Same as in town.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:23 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish: “Well, I'm an Apple fanboy now. It's just that much less frustrating. I've had to use Windows a few times, because of client needs. Each and every time, my gods, it astounds me. Windows is such a lousy, shitty, good goddamned clumsy OS. I am embarrassed I once thought it was okay. It was and is not. Piece of shitty shit, is what it is.”

I'm a big fat geek, but I have a really, really hard time navigating OS X. Every time an Apple person tells me that OS X makes absolute and perfect sense, I wonder what in god's name they're talking about. It seems like there's plenty of weird cruft and strange stuff in there – what's with the weird installation procedure? Yeah, I know it's intuitive for anybody who's done it once or twice, but if you haven't it makes no sense at all. You just know Steve sat there in a meeting and said: "what we need... is to make it possible to install something... JUST BY CLICKING AND DRAGGING IT." So they designed a ridiculous framework around that single goal.

As it is, it's just weirdly anti-technical to me.
posted by koeselitz at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


/invests in tin-foil underpants.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2010


Amazed that they had the balls to show a screenshot with the 'missing plugin' icon for Flash. Also loved the Engadget folks busting a nut over the demo of a New York Times article with embedded video! Kind of like a web page from 5 years ago...
posted by mattholomew at 3:27 PM on January 27, 2010


TBH I'd consider buying this before buying an iPhone a very weird use of resources. The phone has a much more concrete reason for existing.

I'd buy this way before I buy an iPhone.

While I'm no longer tied to a contract, I'm happy with T-Mobile, and my phone, a Nokia N95, has all the features I need in a cell phone. In fact, it has a better camera than the iPhone - a 5 MP with Carl Zeiss optics and a built in lens cover. It takes beautiful photos for a phone, and I take photos with it nearly every day. Plus, it has a dongle for a wrist strap, which, as someone with spasticity, is a feature that's sorely needed. If I had an iPhone, I probably would have accidentally sailed it into a tree (or wall, passing semi, etc.) by now. So, I already have my perfect dream phone.

However, I don't have my perfect dream netbook. Maybe this could be it.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:27 PM on January 27, 2010


Artw: “You're the biggest enemy Linux has, you know that right?”

Maybe. But in the end she just ended up selling the Macbook in frustration and getting a cheaper laptop with more power, and now she's running Ubuntu. And she says it makes a hell of a lot more sense than OS X ever did.
posted by koeselitz at 3:28 PM on January 27, 2010


Ok, I haven't read this thread yet but I thought I'd just let y'all know there are already six hundred plus comments. Just sayin'.
posted by zardoz at 3:28 PM on January 27, 2010



I hate it so much when people put an "s" on the end of an already-plural word.

Take it up with Garry Trudeau.
posted by Herodios at 3:28 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm a big fat geek, but I have a really, really hard time navigating OS X.

Just use the shell. It defaults to Bash.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


I do not think it too many.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Imagine a scenario where you could insert a DVD and rip it straight to iTunes to have in your library.

Yeah, unfortunately that would be illegal, so it's never going to happen. However, a lot of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs now include an iTunes-compatible digital copy that comes over as a video file. If you have a Mac you should look into Handbrake, though, which is nearly as good as what you describe.

And for people like me, who have GBs (or TBs) of .avi video files, it would be a must-have.

Set up a transcode batch job and convert those .avis to a modern container format. AVI is pretty terrible. 'It does not support modern container features like chapters, muxed-in subtitles, variable framerate video, or out of order frame display.'
posted by jedicus at 3:30 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, just to follow up on the NAS issue, it's an edge case for 99% of the customers for this product. So of course using abc.app for access via protocol xyz will be a hack, by definition. But it will work, so who cares what it gets called?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2010


No more so than any other approach.

See, a real OS allows me to remote mount a drive, and as far as applications are concerned the remote drive is exactly like a (slow) local drive. Saying FTP is a replacement for that (especially FTP on a system that locks down interapp file sharing pretty heavily) is ridiculous. Doubly so when your FTP client is some third party application on an OS that doesn't even support multitasking.
posted by aspo at 3:33 PM on January 27, 2010


"what we need... is to make it possible to install something... JUST BY CLICKING AND DRAGGING IT." So they designed a ridiculous framework around that single goal.

As it is, it's just weirdly anti-technical to me.


This is so spectacularly wrong headed that I don't even know where to start. For fucks sake, have you never had to go into regedit to get a program to uninstall properly?

The first time I saw the install/uninstall process in OSX i was like, HOLY SHIT WHY DOESN'T WINDOWS WORK THIS WAY
posted by empath at 3:34 PM on January 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


Apple seems so locked into the crusty old idea that devices like this should be tethered to a specific computer and synced regularly. That arrangement made sense in the '90s with the Palm Pilot but is pretty silly now that handheld devices are powerful computers themselves. My Android phone is pretty much a stand-alone computer and while I've connected it to my laptop a couple of times in the last three months, it's not necessary. And I can connect my phone to any computer and move music and files both off and on. I dislike how Apple products are designed to work in such a closed loop, only interacting with iTunes and iPhoto on a single computer.
posted by octothorpe at 3:36 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Imagine a scenario where you could insert a DVD and rip it straight to iTunes to have in your library.
Yeah, unfortunately that would be illegal, so it's never going to happen.


Where is it illegal to rip a copy of your own DVD?
posted by rokusan at 3:37 PM on January 27, 2010


Empath: until 5 years later you realize just how much cruft all those apps you "uninstalled" kept around. I love app bundles, but they aren't as magic Apple would have you believe.
posted by aspo at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Where is it illegal to rip a copy of your own DVD?

It's illegal to circumvent anti-copying measures under the DMCA. The law is specifically written to disallow format shifting.
posted by GuyZero at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Doubly so when your FTP client is some third party application on an OS that doesn't even support multitasking.

See, that's being contrary for the sheer sake of being contrary. Do you think Microsoft's FTP client built into Windows is nearly as functional as third-party options that people pursue? I have lots of legitimate reasons to criticize Windows on a functional level, but FTP isn't one of them. It's silly to single out this "omission" on the iPhone when a perfectly servicable set of third-party alternatives exist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2010


Please, someone, make "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" application. Though it'd be easier with GPS and all that, we're still getting closer. Far closer than I thought we'd see in my lifetime.

Well done multitouch UIs will likely surprise many of us. They're "neat" on the iPhone, often very useful. But with two full hands? This is going to be good stuff.

I really want to see a GPS and a really nice quality camera in the device. If for no other reason than to see a legion of geeks holding up legal pad sized slates trying to frame a photograph.
posted by DigDoug at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


HOLY SHIT WHY DOESN'T WINDOWS WORK THIS WAY

Because when then invented the registry they though OLE would be the end-all and be-all of software componentization.
posted by GuyZero at 3:40 PM on January 27, 2010


Potential iPad competitors: the more basic, input-limited JooJoo, formerly Crunchpad ($499 pre-order, shipping in "8 to 10 weeks"), and the more laptop-like Lenovo IdeaPad U1 (scheduled to be available June 1, with an estimated retail price of $999), which will run Windows 7 Home Premium with Lenovo's Skylight UI.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first time I saw the install/uninstall process in OSX i was like, HOLY SHIT WHY DOESN'T WINDOWS WORK THIS WAY

To be fair, drag & drop installation is great. Drag & drop uninstallation, however, tends to leave crap in your Library and Application Support directories. Depending on the app that can be a substantial amount of clutter.

Where is it illegal to rip a copy of your own DVD?

If the DVD is encrypted, it's illegal in the United States without a license from the DVD CCA, who are pretty unlikely to license Apple to allow iTunes to rip DVDs. Whether that's right or just or whatever is a whole 'nother question, but there it is.

I really want to see a GPS and a really nice quality camera in the device.

The 3G versions will have a GPS chip. True about the camera, though.
posted by jedicus at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is so spectacularly wrong headed that I don't even know where to start. For fucks sake, have you never had to go into regedit to get a program to uninstall properly?

jesus christ, let's harken back ye olde days of 1996, why don't we? I haven't had to do that in 10 years. and even if there's an outlier case for doing it today, the outliers for mac software are equally weird (see, uninstalling every last bit of an adobe suite, etc...)

the fact is that apple decided a new user would have an easier time if they saw a folder that had an arrow between two icons, because theoretically everybody should be able to just follow a graphic and drag one icon onto another.

but the real deal is that the people such idiot-proof iconography is designed for don't then know that their programs are all in an "Applications" folder they have to get to by opening a picture of their hard drive and looking on the left side for said folder shortcut. further, they have no idea they can drag the icon for their app onto the dock to make launching the app easier.

and as a power user, my first experience trying to install anything on OS X (it was firefox on a work computer, shame on me for loafing) ended up with me calling a mac friend in what is still one of the most ridiculous discussions I've ever had. the idea that the graphics in a folder were actual representations of the folder was not something that I could intuit, because I was a pc guy at the time. so I couldn't figure out that I was supposed to actually drag the thing on the left side of the arrow onto the thing on the right side of the arrow. I thought those were just helpful pictures. So I kept dragging the INSTALLER app onto the applications folder, which I navigated to seperately in finder. So every time I went to launch firefox, I was just launching the installer. it drove me fucking nuts.

so no. it's wrongheaded to do it that way. it's unintuitive to every single type of user who could encounter it for the first time. and further, it assumes too much on the part of the user to do it correctly, which I like to think is part of why Apple created a proper installer for Final Cut, since you don't fuck around with editing software.
posted by shmegegge at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, the original objection is that the client doesn't exists, and when it is pointed out it does, it gets called a hack. When it is noted that it doesn't matter what it is called, complaints about multitasking are made. It's like people keep searching for any and all reasons to be contrary for its own sake.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:43 PM on January 27, 2010


Yeah, I know it's intuitive for anybody who's done it once or twice, but if you haven't it makes no sense at all. You just know Steve sat there in a meeting and said: "what we need... is to make it possible to install something... JUST BY CLICKING AND DRAGGING IT."

This doesn't make sense to me after your big spiel on how the filesystem metaphor is great. To install most things on OS X, you unzip something and then drag the Application file to your Applications folder. In some cases they make it real easy by just having an alias to the folder in the disk image you unzipped.

Most of the time, you're moving files/folders around. That's it.
posted by weston at 3:44 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


mr_roboto: “Just use the shell. It defaults to Bash.”

Yeah, I know. The terminal is the only way I can do anything on the damned things. Thank god for that. But clearly Jobs would like to get rid of it - I don't see any terminal on the iPhone, and I doubt there will be one on this iPad.

Besides, 'just use the terminal' isn't exactly a great stock solution to GUI problems. Maybe I'm wrong.
posted by koeselitz at 3:44 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


For all the trash El Jobso talked about netbooks, they're pretty damn capable. I have friends who use netbooks to run AfterEffects and full-blown Maya. Good luck getting them running on the iPad...


rokusan: "Where is it illegal to rip a copy of your own DVD?"

Uh, the United States?
posted by mullingitover at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2010


"Set up a transcode batch job and convert those .avis to a modern container format. AVI is pretty terrible. 'It does not support modern container features like chapters, muxed-in subtitles, variable framerate video, or out of order frame display.'"

*raises eybrows in surprise*

Sorry for the derail, but wha? AVI works just fine for watching stuff. There's better containers out there, but any good player will handle AVIs along with the new formats. Transcoding stuff for no reason is a waste of effort.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2010


The first time I saw the install/uninstall process in OSX i was like, HOLY SHIT WHY DOESN'T WINDOWS WORK THIS WAY

Yeah. This is a situation where "anti-technical" is great, fucking awesome in fact. I gave in to the lures of a Macintosh when they switched to Intel and I knew I could run multiple OSes (you can pry FLStudio from my cold dead hands). The first time I installed an application was a goddamned revelation.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously? Star Trek invented the PADD in the 60s! And it looked pretty much like the iPad by the 24th Century!
posted by crossoverman at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


They care about the youth market and the singles market. 15-34. Beyond that they don't give a shit, because that's when most people in that demo are married and/or have kids, they have to watch their spending, and it is simply impossible to justify spending on apple products.

Hmm, pretty sure you are dead wrong in the details here. The youth market as far as Apple is concerned is ages 3-18 You chose to start their market at 15 for some reason. So that makes the second half of your statement faulty because parents are the demographic that are buying the device.

In this latest comment:
So forget all the arguments about hardware, software, design, etc. Instead, I'll just ask you a question I could ask anyone who purchases the other products I listed.


So why should I be forgetting about all of those other things exactly? Oh right, because Apple is only about marketing and those other things are irrelevant.

Well, no actually. Those other pieces are not irrelevant, they actually have value. Do I think Apple's marketing is manipulative and favors style over substance? Yep. Pretty much defines marketing actually.

Apple products such as the iphone can actually follow through on some of their claims. All of them? No. But more than many people choose to give them credit for.

The design and UI is one area where this happens. To this day I have not seen any other device that integrates hardware, software and ui better than seen in this video made by Edward Tufte nearly two years ago. There is nothing particularly "upscale" about this. It does something that nothing else does. That's not marketing.
posted by jeremias at 3:47 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm just frustrated at your refusal to admit that some people have usage cases that are reasonable (maybe not common, but reasonable) and that the current iPhone OS makes really fucking hard to do cleanly. I like Apple (although I'm beginning to get frustrated at some of their business practices, like 80 dollar power cords that like to self destruct). I like Apple products. But I don't think everything they touch turns to magic fairy dust.

Oh, and if the OS had built in FTP it probably would support a file system abstraction on top of that. On my mac I can mount an ftp server and can then open those files in another application. Yes it's slow, but for something like streaming IT JUST WORKS.
posted by aspo at 3:47 PM on January 27, 2010


empath: “This is so spectacularly wrong headed that I don't even know where to start. For fucks sake, have you never had to go into regedit to get a program to uninstall properly? The first time I saw the install/uninstall process in OSX i was like, HOLY SHIT WHY DOESN'T WINDOWS WORK THIS WAY”

Have you ever used a package manager to install and uninstall something? Synaptic, for example? Awesome. And much more sensible and powerful.
posted by koeselitz at 3:49 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]



I'm just frustrated at your refusal to admit that some people have usage cases that are reasonable (maybe not common, but reasonable) and that the current iPhone OS makes really fucking hard to do cleanly.


I think everyone can understand and accept that, just not the implication that some weird geek demand not being fully met will mean the product is doomed to failure.

. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:51 PM on January 27, 2010


Have you ever used a package manager to install and uninstall something? Synaptic, for example? Awesome. And much more sensible and powerful.

Yeah, pretty neat, on the other hand for me it might as well be as much voodoo as any other installer. I really have no interest in knowing the fine details of what it is doing, and it pretty much supports that.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on January 27, 2010


. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Not everything is an iPod. Some things are segways... time will tell.
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm just frustrated at your refusal to admit that some people have usage cases that are reasonable

I don't think I ever said anything of the kind. I'm simply pointing out that a solution exists and it is hardly a "hack", no more so than using any other protocol to access a particular service.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:57 PM on January 27, 2010


This looks like a fun way to browse the web and watch movies.

But I'm never buying it. The notion of Apple being the gate-keeper and middleman for all software installed on this computer makes me retch. I sure hope this isn't where computing is headed.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:01 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock, imagine streaming was something you could do on your mac, but not on a windows box. Someone mentions that they love their mac because it lets them stream all their songs and videos from their NAS to all their machines. If some windows person said "well, you could always FTP in, download the songs, and then just play them locally" you'd be jumping down their throat. Admit it. FTP is a hack. It's not user friendly and it's several extra (and slow) steps. And on an OS like the iPhone those steps are even more complicated. That sucks dude. I'm not saying that the iPad is going to be a failure because it doesn't support NAS streaming out of the box, but I do think you are being a bit too fanboyish and need to actually listen to what you are saying.
posted by aspo at 4:03 PM on January 27, 2010


I sure hope this isn't where computing is headed.

I'm pretty sure that "computing" will remain separate from the sales and marketing of media products for quite some time.
posted by GuyZero at 4:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


eyeballkid: “Yeah. This is a situation where "anti-technical" is great, fucking awesome in fact. I gave in to the lures of a Macintosh when they switched to Intel and I knew I could run multiple OSes (you can pry FLStudio from my cold dead hands). The first time I installed an application was a goddamned revelation.”

Why? Because it's... what, simple? Just because it's not the crufty and obnoxious Microsoft 'Wizard' system (ugh)?

The worst thing about it, in my mind, is that it obscures an insane amount of stuff. Every modern OS has to have some sort of registry – a simple coordinator of various applications and what they with other applications, and with smaller, reusable programs that get used over and over. So when something goes wrong (and, heresy though it may be, things actually do sometimes go wrong with Macs) users have absolutely no idea what went wrong or why – moreover they generally don't even realize there was anything there to go wrong in the first place.

And even before anything goes wrong, this extreme drive toward simplification actually works against most users, I think, because it's actually not intuitive to them, at least in their (often more advanced) notion of how things work. My friend was spent far too long trying to figure out what button to push to install something, and when she saw that you did it by dragging a program into a folder, it made no sense to her – she knew that installing something is fundamentally different from moving a file, so why in god's name would it look the same? Suddenly you click this thing and drag it and you're making the computer do all sorts of complex stuff: resolving software conflicts, making sure certain necessary utilities are in place, etc.

Yeah, I know this makes sense to people who have been using Apple for years, but to new users, it's really, really weird. Some people have the experience that their first time using a Mac is revelatory, because it just makes so much sense to them. I'm sure it does, and I cast no aspersions on them, but I don't think that's the common experience with the OS. I think in general it isn't that intuitive.
posted by koeselitz at 4:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


GuyZero: “I'm pretty sure that "computing" will remain separate from the sales and marketing of media products for quite some time.”

This, a thousand times over, with a touchscreen and wireless and a 1GHz processor. Absolutely.
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 PM on January 27, 2010


I think in general it isn't that intuitive.

In other news, Americans find it hard to drive around England.

If you've only ever used one OS then all your expectations are relative to that. Your real problem isn't the Mac, it's that you never had to untar source and figure out how the fuck to run the autoconf script.
posted by GuyZero at 4:06 PM on January 27, 2010


eyeballkid: "Wake me when there's a tablet that runs OS X and isn't just a big iPod Touch."

There's been hackintosh tablets for a while now. The Lenovo x61 and x200 are good at this sort of thing, but a bunch of models work. You can even buy them pre-rolled.

As for Apple Touch XL? I think I'd rather have an Archos 7 Android. More pocketable at 7", front-webcam for showing off my nose hairs to video callers, executes Flash, and runs my favourite comic book readers.
posted by meehawl at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that the iPad is going to be a failure because it doesn't support NAS streaming out of the box

I'm not saying your new edge case is ridiculous, really, but I do think you are being contrary for contrariness-sake and need to actually listen to what you are saying.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2010


Why? Because it's... what, simple? Just because it's not the crufty and obnoxious Microsoft 'Wizard' system (ugh)?

Sorry. Couldn't get past that line. My brain slipped into a loop. So it sucks because it's not crufty and obnoxious?

They're two different visual analogies for the same process. One involves pressing "NEXT >" fifteen times and the other doesn't.

Also, not all Mac applications instantly install when you drag them to the Applications folder. There are application installs that involve user input for install locations and features, much like your (um, beloved? I can't tell) Windows Wizard system.

Yeah, I know this makes sense to people who have been using Apple for years, but to new users, it's really, really weird.

To a user new to any OS, everything is weird. I know, I've both taught them and supported them.

Also, none of those newbie people have the chops to eradicate an app from the Windows registry or Mac or Linux config files.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


So I just switched from PC gaming to console gaming. This is a true non-intuitive nightmare. I have no idea how I'm supposed to install games on my new console, SOMEONE HELP THIS MAKES NO SENSE I'M USED TO HAVING AN INSTALLER!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:13 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


GuyZero: “If you've only ever used one OS then all your expectations are relative to that. Your real problem isn't the Mac, it's that you never had to untar source and figure out how the fuck to run the autoconf script.”

Exactly. I have no problem with Macs, and they're just a company like any other trying to make money in the hardware and software industries - often they work more toward quality than others. I just think that when Apple techies gush about how OS X is "just so intuitive" and "makes so much sense" it's as much nonsense as when Microsoft talks about how much their software is helpful and useful to business people.

My whole point is that, in almost every OS, we've reached a place where things are more than likely only "more usable" to any particular person because that's what they're used to. Power is a more important consideration, in the end – what you can do with the software, how much it allows you to manipulate the capabilities of the hardware, etc.
posted by koeselitz at 4:21 PM on January 27, 2010


So I just switched from PC gaming to console gaming. This is a true non-intuitive nightmare. I have no idea how I'm supposed to install games on my new console, SOMEONE HELP THIS MAKES NO SENSE I'M USED TO HAVING AN INSTALLER!

I take it back about the App Store being the best App Store like thing, Steam is clearly the best App Store like thing!
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on January 27, 2010


So I just switched from PC gaming to console gaming. This is a true non-intuitive nightmare. I have no idea how I'm supposed to install games on my new console, SOMEONE HELP THIS MAKES NO SENSE I'M USED TO HAVING AN INSTALLER!

On the PS3, the game will inform you that you need to install. For example, if you'd like to play Metal Gear Solid 4, you'll then sit and wait for the first chapter to install.

On the XBox360 you will either have the choice to install in-game (Forza 3 does this) or from the game's properties in the dashboard you can select "Install to My Hard Disc" from the menu. This second option helps alleviate the long ass load times in Mass Effect 2.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:24 PM on January 27, 2010


The problem of NAS access isn't just that it's a "hack" to use your pejorative, it's that because it's a hack, other apps won't be developed that depend on it. If it isn't a standard part of the os, no one is going to write an app which depends on the service. I don't really want (just) NAS acess, I want programs witch use NAS access to do interesting stuff. Who is going to write an app which depends on a commercial third-party? It could happen, but it's going to be tiny, if it happens at all.

So, Boxee doesn't come to the iPad. VLC doesn't come to the iPad. CDisplay doesn't come to the iPad.

I'm certain Apple will sell a gazillion of these, but they'll also be training all of their users to the Apple preferred model of use. All music and video through iTunes, all books through iBook. Sorry, no comic books either until Apple approves. Heaven help you if you have media from other sources, like Amazon or that you made yourself.

This isn't so much a particular technical issue as it is a philosophical one. Apple has consumers not users. You eat with Apple, you don't do. To their credit, Apple has been consistent with their design: no USB hosting, no SD, no file system access, no satellite devices, no way to use a non-Apple cloud. It's simple, elegant.

I'm certain that they'll sell piles. I'm sure that it will be pleasant to use. I do lust after the form factor. But I can't swallow the core concept that everything I do really has to be mediated by Apple, and that I have to accept their terms and conditions on everything I want to do. I further despair that because Apple is such a market leader, that this will be the model, the excuse for other manufacturers (Amazon especially) to behave equally badly.
posted by bonehead at 4:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


My friend was spent far too long trying to figure out what button to push to install something, and when she saw that you did it by dragging a program into a folder, it made no sense to her – she knew that installing something is fundamentally different from moving a file, so why in god's name would it look the same?

When you buy something and bring it home and put in the cupboard, you are moving it. Why should a computer application be any different, after all, you're putting it on your computer, so why shouldn't you move it from one spot to another?

I find it interesting that you're arguing that Apple's general method for installing apps is wrong and simplifies the process to unhealthy degree, leaving users ignorant, yet on Windows all you have to do is click a button and the system installs the app, puts in the Start menu and then gives a little box saying "Hey, new app installed!" so that the user doesn't even have to know where the app is.

On the Mac you have to drag that sucker to your computer, then figure out where you put it, double click on so it'll show up in Recent Items menu and then make an alias or drag it to the dock to be able to find it.

These wars are weird man, stop drinking the kool aid.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the PS3, the game will inform ... On the XBox360 you will either have the choice to install in-game ...

I think he meant it as a joke, but that only means he hasn't used a console this generation. Even the Wii needs to do system updates for certain games.
posted by Gary at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2010


Ah, the glory days of the Commodore 64... pop in the tape, wait 5 minutes, job done!
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think he meant it as a joke

As did I.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2010


The problem of NAS access isn't just that it's a "hack" to use your pejorative

Another problem is that it isn't even my pejorative.

That aside, NAS makers can download the SDK and get cracking on a better client, to help differentiate and improve the usability of their product. Just like any other developer.

As an analogy, perfectly serviceable digital camera support is a built-in, but that doesn't stop the Nikons and Canons from writing and distributing their own custom software.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2010


eyeballkid: “This is a situation where "anti-technical" is great, fucking awesome in fact. I gave in to the lures of a Macintosh when they switched to Intel and I knew I could run multiple OSes (you can pry FLStudio from my cold dead hands). The first time I installed an application was a goddamned revelation.”

me: “Why? Because it's... what, simple? Just because it's not the crufty and obnoxious Microsoft 'Wizard' system (ugh)?”

eyeballkid: “Sorry. Couldn't get past that line. My brain slipped into a loop. So it sucks because it's not crufty and obnoxious?”

Yeah, go back and reread the thread and find the places where I said (a) that I think installation on OS X 'sucks,' (b) that I think MS is better than Apple.

They're both businesses. Businesses aren't around to make things usable, or intuitive, or beautiful, or good. They're around to make money. In general, OS X makes as much sense to people who have never used it as MS Windows does. That's fine – intuitiveness is not the most important judge of operating systems – but it means you can't go around telling everybody that OS X is just so much better.
posted by koeselitz at 4:32 PM on January 27, 2010


Have you ever used a package manager to install and uninstall something? Synaptic, for example? Awesome. And much more sensible and powerful.

OS X has a package manager/installer of sorts, and more developers could use it to move <Application>.app into the Applications folder. I think the reason they don't isn't that Steve declared from on high that people should drag and drop through their folder hierarchy, it's that most developers look at this and think "this is overkill for moving around a simple file bundle." Understandably, I might add, if apparently not always accurately.

On most other unix systems (and sometimes on OS X), unless the strategy is place everything relevant in a single folder and add that to the path, you're going to have to install things by installer if not package manager because of the number of places things explode to. And the variety of libraries.

I will say that I think Synaptic/apt does a pretty good job at a hard task, and I don't give out that kind of praise casually. Most of my previous experience with package managers prior to Ubuntu ranged from annoying but tolerable... to watching in mute horror as it stomped things it shouldn't, installed things that bore no reasonable relation to anything I'd asked for (X/Window/Desktop related stuff when I ask for Apache? Seriously?), and then just failed when it found itself in some kind of unexpected state, leaving me to clean up manually. But my Ubuntu systems seem to just more or less work, so even though I suspect they're installing/updating lots of things I don't need, apt and friends get a thumbs up from me.

I just think that when Apple techies gush about how OS X is "just so intuitive" and "makes so much sense" it's as much nonsense

As someone who's pretty familiar with Linux and Windows as well as OS X, I'd disagree, though I can understand why you'd take issue with the phrasing you're invoking. My experience isn't that everything on OS X is intuitive, but I'd say it's accurate to claim that when I'm trying to figure out something I don't already know how to do, as a rule I tend to have to invest less time in figuring it out on OS X (and as a larger rule, I just have to spend less time doing system administration). There are enough exceptions, though, that it's not hard for me to imagine that someone might come to another conclusion, particularly if their focus has been more exclusive to Windows or Linux and their investment therein deeper.
posted by weston at 4:33 PM on January 27, 2010


[Blazecock, Artw, can it.]
posted by cortex at 4:34 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Anyone who thinks the drag-and-drop installation process is intuitive does not have any over-50 relatives running all of their applications from mounted DMGs.
posted by cosmic osmo at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Man, I keep forgetting to mention - no i5 Macbook Pros? Wah wah wah.
posted by GuyZero at 4:41 PM on January 27, 2010


Brandon Blatcher: “I find it interesting that you're arguing that Apple's general method for installing apps is wrong and simplifies the process to unhealthy degree, leaving users ignorant, yet on Windows all you have to do is click a button and the system installs the app, puts in the Start menu and then gives a little box saying "Hey, new app installed!" so that the user doesn't even have to know where the app is.”

Oh, I agree. It's weird in certain ways on both system. Apple isn't wrong – it's just a user interface, and user interfaces just are what they are. I probably didn't make this nearly as clear as I should have above: I don't think they're just useless piles of junk, and there are things in OS X that are really awesome. There are certainly less obnoxious piles of cruft than there are in MS Windows.

I was just pointing out a few little things like that because people often get into this whole evangelistic fervor about how much more intuitive and usable and sensible etc OS X is, and I think that's silly; I don't see how it's any better than any other OS, once you're used to it. And I don't have any real problem with it. The real judge is what you're able to do after a few days of really getting into it.

The only thing that bugs me is this notion that OS X is just so magically better than everything else in the whole damned world. And sometimes, looking at the iPhone, I get the impression that the silly dude who happens to be Apple's CEO really likes fostering that notion. That's fine - he's there to sell products. But in the end, it's just an operating system – sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse, but what matters is what a mildly experienced user is able to do with it.
posted by koeselitz at 4:41 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm certain Apple will sell a gazillion of these, but they'll also be training all of their users to the Apple preferred model of use. All music and video through iTunes, all books through iBook. Sorry, no comic books either until Apple approves. Heaven help you if you have media from other sources, like Amazon or that you made yourself.

Well, first, music from Amazon works just fine on i devices, as they're just mp3s. Video not so much but I don't know that there are many portable devices that support Amazon video.

Second, there are other media managers besides iTunes that work with i devices, so you don't have to use iTunes at all.

Third, iBooks uses ePub, which is a free, open format. There's no reason to think that iTunes (or another media manager) won't happily sync ePub files you got from elsewhere. Apple does not care about locking you in to their formats or their files. The iTunes store does barely more than break even. Apple is interested in selling hardware. Part of that strategy is offering an easy to use, integrated media distribution system. But if you don't use it they don't care; whatever gets you to buy the device.

Fourth, it looks like the iPad is going to make it much easier for non-Apple programs to sync arbitrary files with your computer. The result is going to be more programs aimed at viewing, editing, and creating all kinds of files. There aren't a lot of good comics viewing programs on the iPhone and iPod Touch because frankly the screen is way too small for the application. There's no particular reason to think that this will be the case with the iPad.
posted by jedicus at 4:43 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks the drag-and-drop installation process is intuitive does not have any over-50 relatives running all of their applications from mounted DMGs.

Add university professors to that list. I'm not sure what the solution is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:45 PM on January 27, 2010


Yeah, the .cbr thing has a lot of people jumping up and down. If I sprung for one myself comics reading would be a big part of the draw.
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on January 27, 2010


You just know Steve sat there in a meeting and said: "what we need... is to make it possible to install something... JUST BY CLICKING AND DRAGGING IT." So they designed a ridiculous framework around that single goal.

Drag-and-drop the app onto your hard drive is a ridiculous framework? OSX application guidelines say that you should be able to install an app by dropping it into a directory on your hard drive (Applications by convention), and if the app needs to do any install-time configuration it can do that when it first starts up. There's no elaborate framework needed to make apps install this way and it's not hiding any complicated magic. Well, apart from the fact that apps consisting of multiple files essentially act like a directory. But how is that ridiculous, compared with every app slobbering over mystery meat locations on your hard drive in its own particular way, and every one of them needing a unique installation/uninstallation package?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:48 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


My whole point is that, in almost every OS, we've reached a place where things are more than likely only "more usable" to any particular person because that's what they're used to. Power is a more important consideration, in the end – what you can do with the software, how much it allows you to manipulate the capabilities of the hardware, etc.

So this is interesting but are you including the iPhone/iPad os in this statement? Because I think the world of ui scenarios is diverging rapidly. This new device has the power of a system from 2002 (1Ghz) and is harnessing this power not toward content creation but consumption (whether that is a good thing is really a separate discussion as seen above).

So if an OS is only "more usable" because that is what people are used to, then you've got about 33 million iPhones sold in the last three years and for many of these people (especially the younger segment) this has successfully defined their world of mobile computing. This iPad is exploiting that and building upon it, and Apple's model of ui will only continue to grow and influence the industry, because this is now a computer that both a 5 year old and 75 year old can use without having to take a class or have someone sit by them constantly. Once the "power version" comes out in a few years with the same form factor Apple might claim to rule the world.
last link shamelessly stolen from Daring Fireball
posted by jeremias at 4:50 PM on January 27, 2010


I'm not sure what the solution is.

I'm not sure there is one. I like about all of the install methods I've used (except non-package linux installs, which are vanishingly rare, to begin with.) but not one of them is supreme to my mind. at the end of the day, I think the idea of putting something on a computer is always going to have someone scratching their head and there's nothing you can do about that. there are just some people who want a big button that goes EMAIL and another one for web and another one for word and that's it. and that's why OS X was smart and put simple email and web and all that on the doc in OS X at first boot. once you get that part, there's nothing you can do for the clueless user except let them get used to it eventually, if they can.
posted by shmegegge at 4:53 PM on January 27, 2010


The only thing that bugs me is this notion that OS X is just so magically better than everything else in the whole damned world.

Bullshit, every I use the dock God kills a cilantro plant.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, Boxee doesn't come to the iPad. VLC doesn't come to the iPad. CDisplay doesn't come to the iPad.

Boxee is able to advertise itself via bonjour/avahi right now; it does this for the iPhone remote application. You might need to run some sort of agent on your fileserver to expose the media directories, but otherwise I don't see any reason why you couldn't get a third-party media player app like Boxee on your iPad.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:59 PM on January 27, 2010


Yeah, go back and reread the thread and find the places where I said (a) that I think installation on OS X 'sucks,' ...

You just know Steve sat there in a meeting and said: "what we need... is to make it possible to install something... JUST BY CLICKING AND DRAGGING IT." So they designed a ridiculous framework around that single goal.

Maybe I misread that.

As for the Windows comparison, that was where my confusion was. You brought it up. I assumed you were inviting some kind of comparison between the two. Or you had some other, easier OS install method in mind? Something easier or more intuitive like, *snort*, a Linux package?
posted by eyeballkid at 4:59 PM on January 27, 2010


Just for fun, I'm going to buy an HP Slate and an iPad. I'll use the Slate as a real computer (because it is) and run full iTunes on it. I'll plug the iPad into the Slate's USB port to sync, just for the lulz. Then I'll run Maya on the Slate.
posted by mullingitover at 5:06 PM on January 27, 2010


The OS X installation process sucks because it involves .dmgs, and they make no sense to anybody who doesn't understand (or sniggers at) the phrase "mount a filesystem".

That's why Apple, who I think genuinely do want this computing stuff to be easier, are going to start moving people over to OS X Touch, where installing an app is as complicated as clicking "buy". Personally, this terrifies me, because I am a Mac type (and god I am glad that when I was as young as Rory the internet wasn't around to record my unabashed fanboy antics) and I like the Mac.

But, really, unless somebody stops them, this thing is going to take over. Of my family, about half are computer competent, and we spend too much time helping the other half. With this thing, that's going to go away. There's no way they're not going to get it, and be able to do virtually everything they want to do with it. The other things they want to do but can't -- Flash games, and Flash video -- they're going to be able to do soon enough, because if the pushers of those games and videos want to keep their audiences, they're going to have to get with the HTML5/JS programme.

And that'll be great for them, but it'll suck a bit for me, because an App Store for my actual computer is a sobering thought. But, really, what else is going to happen? Reactions like this:

No Thanks. Someone will make a similar device that's actually useful.

have been about for years with everything Apple has done since the iPod, but it aint happening and I'm not holding my breath. Hell, desktop Linux still hasn't managed to hit the usability target of Mac OS X 10.3, and that was 7 years ago. Android is currently excelling in transferring all the hateful and confusing traits of "computery-ness" to touch, so it's not going to sweep the world. What else is there? Who else is shipping software and an ecosystem that's even in the same ballpark as this?

(I mean, apart from the implications for the Mac I'm pretty stoked about this: it's going to be the iPod of reading, I think. A perfect way to read digital text, like long webpages, paper sites, and eBooks, but without peering at an iPhone or putting up with the right-angle cube of a laptop. I can read on my side in bed, curled up on a couch, in a tiny plane seat. This frees the web from my computer, finally)
posted by bonaldi at 5:06 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


weston: ”I will say that I think Synaptic/apt does a pretty good job at a hard task, and I don't give out that kind of praise casually. Most of my previous experience with package managers prior to Ubuntu ranged from annoying but tolerable... to watching in mute horror as it stomped things it shouldn't, installed things that bore no reasonable relation to anything I'd asked for (X/Window/Desktop related stuff when I ask for Apache? Seriously?), and then just failed when it found itself in some kind of unexpected state, leaving me to clean up manually. But my Ubuntu systems seem to just more or less work, so even though I suspect they're installing/updating lots of things I don't need, apt and friends get a thumbs up from me.”


And maybe I'm allowed to gush a little myself – the APT was in first development over ten years ago, and it was good at doing this (in my estimation) already seven or eight years ago, when it was the native Debian package manager. The fact that the Debian people created this piece of software that was able to successfully resolve the dependencies of a wide range of different programs is sort of astounding, in a way, and it's really the way forward now I think, especially since Apple got on the package management bandwagon with OS X. Cf. Ian Murdock on why package management is "the single biggest advancement Linux has brought to the industry."

“As someone who's pretty familiar with Linux and Windows as well as OS X, I'd disagree, though I can understand why you'd take issue with the phrasing you're invoking. My experience isn't that everything on OS X is intuitive, but I'd say it's accurate to claim that when I'm trying to figure out something I don't already know how to do, as a rule I tend to have to invest less time in figuring it out on OS X (and as a larger rule, I just have to spend less time doing system administration). There are enough exceptions, though, that it's not hard for me to imagine that someone might come to another conclusion, particularly if their focus has been more exclusive to Windows or Linux and their investment therein deeper.”

Yeah, I agree with that, actually. It's sort of relative; I think what I need is to get more experience working with OS X, and then it will make sense to me. (Selfishly, that's actually why I recommended a Macbook to my friend in the first place.) But I think it's more relative than people act like it is.

George_Spiggott: “But how is that ridiculous, compared with every app slobbering over mystery meat locations on your hard drive in its own particular way, and every one of them needing a unique installation/uninstallation package?”

You're right. Sorry; I really painted it with a broad brush there. I only meant that it's not any more or less ridiculous than anything else.

Blazecock Pileon: “Add university professors to that list. I'm not sure what the solution is.”

I don't know if there really is one. Yeah, I'm biased toward the idea of having a GUI to a package manager where you can see a list of programs that are installed along with a list of programs that can be installed, and an easy way to do both. Windows does half of this – that whole clunky "Add or Remove Programs" control panel option – but unfortunately it seems like most people aren't ever even aware of that. I think you just kind of have to go with something; users will figure it out if they really need to.

As an aside: does OS X have anything like that? Like, a listing or directory of what programs are installed? That would be neat. I don't use OS X enough to know. Or is the Applications directory pretty much intended to replace that?
posted by koeselitz at 5:08 PM on January 27, 2010


Hardly anyone reads this far in epic threads, so I feel free to make predictions based on zero experience. But one thing is abundantly clear, as intimated by other comments. Many things about this design point to targeting THE largest possible segment of the boomer market: And the pricepoint is below that of other major purchases these days. So yeah, it'll do stellar business.

What scares me the most is that it is now trivial for relatives' support problems to fall directly in my lap.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 5:12 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


eyeballkid: “As for the Windows comparison, that was where my confusion was. You brought it up. I assumed you were inviting some kind of comparison between the two. Or you had some other, easier OS install method in mind? Something easier or more intuitive like, *snort*, a Linux package?”

Sorry. I really haven't been clear. I intended to say something like: "do you only like it because it's not as annoying as the Windows method?" I meant that such a comparison doesn't automatically make it incredibly intuitive. But reading back through, using the word 'ridiculous' probably wasn't fair.
posted by koeselitz at 5:14 PM on January 27, 2010


oh yeah, koeselitz: to get the picture into the email you really do just literally drag and drop it from iPhoto into the mail compose window. Or hit the "email" button in iPhoto when it's selected (or hit the "Pictures" button in mail). Dragging-and-dropping is a really great way to do things, but its discoverability is shit. Teaching people to try dragging and dropping to make things happen is a great intro to OS X.

(It's amazing how badly Windows handles it, actually. You drag a file to an app in the taskbar and it actually brings up a box saying "What you'd like to happen is this here file opening in this here app, right? Well I'm not going to do it, bud. Why don't you go to File -> Open like a proper man?" I mean, christ, that's like those command-line apps that say "type quit() to quit" when you type "quit".)
posted by bonaldi at 5:14 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, one of my bigger complaints is that I can't buy Amazon MP3s on my iPhone. Even if it were just to put it in a queue for my desktop so I could impulse buy the cheap album of the day.

If I thought I could get > $200 for my eee 904HA, I'd probably dive right in and pre-order an iPad. All my netbook does right now is give me a convenient coffee table computer, but I'm tired of opening it, hitting the power button, waiting for it to wake up, entering my windows XP password, and letting it settle down before I can get around to doing what I wanted to do with it. My iPhone is great for 90% of the tasks I used to use my netbook for, but I occasionally wish I could see more of the page in my browser at one time. Less so now that IMDB is an app, but it still comes up occasionally.
posted by Kyol at 5:15 PM on January 27, 2010


...hang on, I'm just doing some phone support telling an elderly person how to operate a TV remote control.
posted by Artw at 5:19 PM on January 27, 2010


That aside, NAS makers can download the SDK and get cracking on a better client

I mean really. Standards? Who needs them? Because if there's one thing we learned in the last 20 years was that really what you want is every hardware manufacture to write their own proprietary driver system.
posted by aspo at 5:20 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


bonaldi: “Hell, desktop Linux still hasn't managed to hit the usability target of Mac OS X 10.3, and that was 7 years ago.”

I agree with a lot of what you've said here, and I think you're right in saying that an Apple user has to worry that the system is locking down, but on this I have to ask: when in god's name was the last time you used Linux? 1998? I can pop my Knoppix live CD of Linux from 2005 into most computers and people find it as intuitive and usable as OS X. And that's not even approaching the beauty and simplicity of Ubuntu.

I don't deny that there are still some obstacles to be overcome, but... claiming that OS X 10.3 (which frankly I have more experience with than later versions anyway) is more usable than Ubuntu is just insane. There's no appreciable difference in usability. They're both about the same. If there's some magical industry benchmark you can produce on this, I'd like to see it, but this is something I try to pay attention to and I've never heard this before.

(And all that aside from the fact that you can, um, actually use applications from 7 years ago on Ubuntu, whereas using an application built for OS X 10.3 on a Mac now seems to be a nightmare, at least to me.)
posted by koeselitz at 5:23 PM on January 27, 2010


Also, I just took a look at the demo and specs and it looks pretty goddamn sweet, you guys.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:23 PM on January 27, 2010


I mean, I'm not saying Linux is better – only that it's not stuck in 2003.
posted by koeselitz at 5:26 PM on January 27, 2010


does OS X have anything like that? Like, a listing or directory of what programs are installed?

There's may be an easier way to achieve this, but here's what I came up with off the top of my head:

Fire up a Finder window and start a spotlight search for, I dunno, the letter A or something. Make sure you're searching "This Mac." Then hit the little + button on the right. That will drop down a new search criterion. Set it to "Kind" is "Application." Then delete whatever you had in the Spotlight bar. The result will be all of the executables on the Mac (well, not counting the BSD subsystem stuff). There will be a lot of Java .jars in the mix, but what are you gonna do.

You can then save this search and call it "Installed Apps" or whatever you like.
posted by jedicus at 5:26 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


All my netbook does right now is give me a convenient coffee table computer, but I'm tired of opening it, hitting the power button, waiting for it to wake up, entering my windows XP password, and letting it settle down before I can get around to doing what I wanted to do with it.

Rumour says that you'll get what you want in Mountain View and not Cupertino.
posted by GuyZero at 5:27 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have to say, this looks pretty sweet. I don't particularly want one, but I can see why many people would.
posted by grouse at 5:30 PM on January 27, 2010


I don't deny that there are still some obstacles to be overcome, but... claiming that OS X 10.3 (which frankly I have more experience with than later versions anyway) is more usable than Ubuntu is just insane.

I read bonaldi's "“Hell, desktop Linux still hasn't managed to hit the usability target of Mac OS X 10.3,..." differently, and perhaps incorrectly. Do "usability target" and "usable" mean the same thing?
posted by rtha at 5:33 PM on January 27, 2010


Fire up a Finder window and start a spotlight search for, I dunno, the letter A or something. Make sure you're searching "This Mac." Then hit the little + button on the right. That will drop down a new search criterion. Set it to "Kind" is "Application." Then delete whatever you had in the Spotlight bar. The result will be all of the executables on the Mac (well, not counting the BSD subsystem stuff). There will be a lot of Java .jars in the mix, but what are you gonna do.

You can then save this search and call it "Installed Apps" or whatever you like.


This is a bit of a derail, but if you haven't installed either quicksilver or google quick search box, you should, cause they're pretty awesome ways to interact with your mac.
posted by empath at 5:33 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple's iPad not just a bigger iPod Touch.
posted by ericb at 5:34 PM on January 27, 2010


About CBR & CBZ, the Warren Ellis post that Artw linked above speculated that Longbox would be installed on the iPad, & it might handle those files. This makes sense - though it will likely traffic in locked files, they can say they're following Apple's lead with open epub files.

Also, Air Sharing & ezShare both appear to offer Bonjour and WebDAV support. Your NAS might offer these. Dropbox can also work in a pinch.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:34 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, I'm not saying Linux is better – only that it's not stuck in 2003.

I'm not saying it's stuck in 2003 either, just that it's moving glacially (overall, that is: it's fighting a war on a lot of fronts). I tried installing ubuntu recently, and, y'know, wowsa. I had to jump through some fairly tech hoops to get both my keyboard and wifi working fully. Drag-and-drop usually didn't work, the font handling was ... interesting, and that's before you even get to the apps. In 2003 OS X had iTunes, Photoshop, InDesign, iPhoto, Word ... there still aren't apps that are really nailing those targets on Ubuntu.

And that's what they have to hit, they have to hit the whole target, or people won't switch. As it stands, if forced I'd still take 10.3 over a cutting-edge install of Ubuntu. The same problem is happening in this new space: Apple is just owning it, while people try to pick and polish small pieces of the jigsaw.
posted by bonaldi at 5:35 PM on January 27, 2010


"the keyboard is nearly big enough for touch typing"?
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on January 27, 2010


Regarding .cbr files, rumor has this.
posted by rifflesby at 5:37 PM on January 27, 2010


does OS X have anything like that? Like, a listing or directory of what programs are installed?

System Profiler has a section for Software, including Applications.
posted by channaher at 5:42 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


All this talk about installation. Actually I think the best installation system is in Linux these days. I mean, you just type 'apt-get install package' or 'yum package' or whatever. You just need to figure out what the package manager is called on your distro and you're good to go.

Actually, I don't like windows install method at all. Not that it's hard to install an app, but that it's hard to uninstall. Sure you have an uninstaller but where can you access it? And if you want to uninstall by hand, well, who knows where that installer spewed files everywhere. It's getting better over time but still.

Actually, the interesting thing is that command line systems are great for people who don't know much about computers and only want to do a few things. That's the big secret. My mom was a total technophobe but she preferred using a command line system to get her email. Total luddite and she would actually modem in terminal mode to read stuff rather then connecting to the internet and using telnet. All she had to remember was like 3 or 4 commands to get her email.

When she finally tried to switch to using a GUI based system it was so frustrating to try to go from saying stuff like "type X" or "type Y" to "okay click X, open menu Y, click Z" and so on. People don't really think about how counterintuitive computer interfaces are but you actually have to 'learn the language' of the interface to do anything at all. People often say the easiest thing to use is a pencil and paper but in fact people, almost all people actually have years of training in writing. years People spend longer learning to write then they do earning a college degree. Just that by the time they start on that degree they've forgotten all about it.

If people are happy with Macs, good for them. But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it. And then on top of that you have this bizarre insistence that windows isn't annoying them because it's intrinsically wrong because for a lot of people, sadly, their attachment to their computer is like an important part of their personality, their own sense of self worth is tied up in having made a good consumer choice and they attack anyone one who disagrees with their ridiculous premises.

They need to get a life.

--
Set up a transcode batch job and convert those .avis to a modern container format. AVI is pretty terrible. 'It does not support modern container features like chapters, muxed-in subtitles, variable framerate video, or out of order frame display.'
Or they could just buy a computer that doesn't suck. Transcoding those files isn't going to add those features, so why bother doing it just to support some lame-ass hardware?
Potential iPad competitors: the more basic, input-limited JooJoo, formerly Crunchpad ($499 pre-order, shipping in "8 to 10 weeks"), and the more laptop-like Lenovo IdeaPad U1 (scheduled to be available June 1, with an estimated retail price of $999), which will run Windows 7 Home Premium with Lenovo's Skylight UI.
Where in the hell did they come up with the name 'joojoo'. It's friggin' ridiculous. Crunchpad was much better. Interestingly the 'joojoo' has a bigger, higher resolution screen then the iPad but is pretty much the same thing other then that.

This is really something that a lot of different companies were working on at once, and the other products are far more full featured. Apple is selling a scaled up iPhone with all the restrictions, while other companies are selling squished computers. These squished PCs would be great for reading ebooks, but you could do anything else with them too, and no need to buy from a monopolized store.

It's illegal to circumvent anti-copying measures under the DMCA. The law is specifically written to disallow format shifting.

Uh, no. The law actually makes it illegal to sell devices that circumvent copyright controls. It was only extended to software by a court case, and it applies to distribution, not creation or use.
posted by delmoi at 5:43 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


potch: "Can't I just pay one price and carry my connection around with me?"

I could have sworn one of the mobile providers was releasing a 3g-to-WiFi mobile hotspot, which you could share all your mobile devices on.


The Mifi is out from Verizon & Sprint - it's somewhat slow (a megabit, maybe?) & it might be capped at 5 gig a month.

If you already have an iPhone, you could jailbreak it & use its connection instead.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:48 PM on January 27, 2010


But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it. And then on top of that you have this bizarre insistence that windows isn't annoying them because it's intrinsically wrong because for a lot of people, sadly, their attachment to their computer is like an important part of their personality, their own sense of self worth is tied up in having made a good consumer choice and they attack anyone one who disagrees with their ridiculous premises.

They need to get a life.


As someone who bought his first mac a few months ago and uses PC at home...No, in my opinion it really is more intuitive to do almost everything on a Mac and Windows really is intrinsically wrong in a lot of ways.

Why the need to psychoanalyze and insult people because they like different consumer electronics?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:51 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


bonaldi: “I'm not saying it's stuck in 2003 either, just that it's moving glacially (overall, that is: it's fighting a war on a lot of fronts). I tried installing ubuntu recently, and, y'know, wowsa. I had to jump through some fairly tech hoops to get both my keyboard and wifi working fully. Drag-and-drop usually didn't work, the font handling was ... interesting, and that's before you even get to the apps. In 2003 OS X had iTunes, Photoshop, InDesign, iPhoto, Word ... there still aren't apps that are really nailing those targets on Ubuntu. And that's what they have to hit, they have to hit the whole target, or people won't switch. As it stands, if forced I'd still take 10.3 over a cutting-edge install of Ubuntu. The same problem is happening in this new space: Apple is just owning it, while people try to pick and polish small pieces of the jigsaw.”

Heh, now you seem intent on putting me in the place I put Mac people above by trying to say that stuff was hard to do.

In any case, my impression is actually that Ubuntu is moving not glacially but in fact faster than OS X or (especially) Microsoft's products. Neither OS X nor MS Windows has a six-month intensive development cycle; Ubuntu, on the other hand, does, and releases a complete update of the OS twice every year. Those updates are handled in a streamlined way so that users don't have to do a fresh install; the OS updates itself. Security patches, both system-wide and specific to software, get pushed out immediately, and there are constantly new things being put in place. The last version of Ubuntu has a new, simplified free software package manager interface that I think is the most intuitive and useful one I've seen anywhere, really.

I can sort of imagine how you might have had keyboard issues, although I have to say that I'm very surprised. I've done about a dozen installs of Ubuntu in the last few months, and not one of them had trouble with the keyboard. I don't know if being in Scotland changes it – are keyboards different there? – but even if it does, it's still odd to me; my experience has been that Ubuntu actually supports a whole lot more keyboards and devices than, say, Windows, although I haven't tried plugging a whole bunch of different keyboards into a Mac.

As far as wireless is concerned, I can see having trouble with a version of Ubuntu from even a year ago. Any modern linux from 2003 onwards allows you to deal with wireless pretty easily with about three typed commands, as long as your drivers are set up; but there was no GUI whatsoever that did the very, very simple task of dealing with wireless internet. That was actually my biggest annoyance with Ubuntu – that I couldn't happily recommend it to anybody because the wireless wouldn't work easily.

But that really changed with the last two releases. Especially the end-of-2009 release, Karmic – wireless is so simple it's stupid on Ubuntu now. I can highly recommend that anyone who wanted to get into Linux but just gave up because the wireless seemed to never work should try it again; they've fixed this, and it works superbly, much more easily and cleanly than on a Windows machine: drivers come pre-installed if you've got the hardware; and you just click the wireless icon in the corner to see a list of networks that you can click on to connect to. And (since, heh, you managed to pick the one thing that I've done on a Mac in the last ten years) it's a bit easier than setting up wireless in 10.3, which was (understandably) a little odd, and which I'm certain is much easier now.
posted by koeselitz at 5:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could have sworn one of the mobile providers was releasing a 3g-to-WiFi mobile hotspot, which you could share all your mobile devices on

There's also the new DataJack: $39.99 per month for unlimited 3G via USB stick with no contract. Definitely a nice step away from paying $30 per device for the same service.
posted by smackfu at 6:00 PM on January 27, 2010


So I just finished watching the 8 minute promo video on Apple's site (on my iPod, natch) and I noticed the NYTimes is featured rather prominently.

The NYTimes has recently announced they're going back behind a paywall.

Apple is the new universal media middleman.

I DON'T TRUST COINCIDENCES!
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:01 PM on January 27, 2010


About comics: I'm pretty sure Longbox's LBR format is just DRM'd CBR. Ergo, it ought to eat anything along those lines you've got. People in the private beta have tweeted about dropping thousands of files into the library in the app and it handling it fine-- and there's certainly not that many LBR files out there right now.

I would just like the other beta to start so that I can invoke my code before it burns a hole in my pants. A sweet, burning hole of digital comics lurve.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:02 PM on January 27, 2010


The iPod sucks! It has no wireless, removable storage, or replaceable battery! It'll never sell.

The Wii sucks! It doesn't do HD out or play movies, and you have to use these crazy numbers for online play! It'll never sell.

And now this sucks, too! It doesn't have an SD card slot or run standard Mac OS! It'll never sell.

Interesting how often The Internet is as wrong as possible about whether a given piece of technology will be successful. My luddite dad ('sup typing URLs into the Google search bar and double-clicking every link in the web browser) wants one so bad. I have a feeling that some folks just don't understand what it's like to not be the target demographic for something with buttons and a screen.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:03 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, no. The law actually makes it illegal to sell devices that circumvent copyright controls. It was only extended to software by a court case, and it applies to distribution, not creation or use.

That's pretty well wrong, I'm afraid. And anyway, even if you were correct, Apple still couldn't distribute a version of iTunes that included unlicensed DeCSS.

17 USC 1201(a)(1)(A): "No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."

17 USC 1201(a)(2) deals with manufacturing, importation, etc.

The extension to software is pretty straightforward since the law is written very broadly. Circumvention simply means "to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner." The law doesn't say whether by hardware, software, or what. Similarly, you can't manufacture, import, etc "any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof" that circumvents an access control. That plainly includes software, unless you want to argue it's not 'technology.'
posted by jedicus at 6:04 PM on January 27, 2010


delmoi: Where in the hell did they come up with the name 'joojoo'.

It's like Juju, only misspelled for cachet & trademarkability.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:04 PM on January 27, 2010


One word:

Fingerprints.
posted by bwg at 6:06 PM on January 27, 2010


The iPod sucks! It has no wireless, removable storage, or replaceable battery! It'll never sell.

The MacBook Air sucks! It's too expensive and no one will buy it...
posted by smackfu at 6:06 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


DoctorFedora: "And now this sucks, too! It doesn't have an SD card slot or run standard Mac OS! It'll never sell."

Just curious, was the Newton greeted with universal acclaim?
posted by mullingitover at 6:07 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


One word: Fingerprints.

It uses the same oleophobic screen coating as the 3GS, which actually works surprisingly well at preventing fingerprints and smudges.
posted by jedicus at 6:07 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just curious, was the Newton greeted with universal acclaim?

Not so much:
The bottom line on the Newton Message Pad is that Apple promised too much and failed to deliver a useful device for everyday executive chores. On the other hand, the Message Pad practically hums with untapped potential, and six months (or moths) to a year from now it is likely to be a popular executive tool. -1993 NY Times article
posted by smackfu at 6:16 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, some people are over-invested in the idea that computers should be difficult and complex.

I was a Windows power-user. Big time. And I am now a middling hand at using the Unixy environments. I've got decades of hard core computer hobbying under my belt: from hardware MDIY, hand-soldering ICs to double my memory; to writing software; to using the computer as tool for income production.

The OSX graphical environment is superlative to that offered by 3.1 through Vista. The underlying OS is a BSD varient; it is superior to the Microsoft OS. The Apple hardware is well-spec'd and seems to be robustly-built, AFAICT¹.

I am more productive, have a better user experience, and enjoy using my mini and laptop. Really quite ambivalent about the hardware. Thankful to not fight the machine any more. And really stunned by some of the stupid things being said by people who clearly do not have a breadth of experience.

1. IPS screen on the uPad. Anyone catch the dot-pitch? Sounds like excellent res & colour gamut.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:24 PM on January 27, 2010


does OS X have anything like that? Like, a listing or directory of what programs are installed?

This is the "Applications" directory. "Installed" is a much softer concept on OS X; there's no installation procedure, per se, you just copy the bundle over. Uninstallation is a matter of deleting the bundle.
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:30 PM on January 27, 2010


So, I have two questions:

1. Will the 3G enabled models also support Wi-fi? Or is it either/or? (I imagine it's both, but I just want some clarification.)

2. I know that it won't support Flash sites like Hulu, but what about Netflix On Demand? I could see it being popular for that. Prop it up, cue a film, and sat back and watch.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:32 PM on January 27, 2010


Yes.
No.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:34 PM on January 27, 2010


Sure. You open the Application's file using "open bundle" or something like that, and you can see what makes the application tick. Even hack some resources. Not that one typically needs to do something like that to make good use of the software.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:35 PM on January 27, 2010


You know, it's weird. After seeing the iPad, I really want an iPod touch.

Maybe it's like what they do at the auto dealerships. You see three cars. One that's completely not for you, one you really like but can't afford, and one that's kind of what you want, but not quite, but for the right price. The two bad choices make you want the okay one.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:36 PM on January 27, 2010


Bah. Phoo. Thanks for the answers, Furiousxgeorge.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:36 PM on January 27, 2010


Well, given the momentum behind the iTunes and AppStore platforms and the iPhone/iTouch brands, I do see the potential for the iPad to sell much better than the MacBook Air or the AppleTV.

And I think it is a game changer -- you're limited to what comes stock on the iPad and to what is approved by Apple, namely, simplified mini-apps using only Apple-approved technology and design patterns. A totally different paradigm. I don't think anyone outside the more tech-savvy will care (or even notice!) but it really does scare me the way Stallman describes. A great reduction in the possibilities and freedom.

The iPhone OS model works well for small hand-held devices with set functionality but it's still unknown and a risk whether that will scale to a larger and more general, computing device.

(And honestly, Windows 7 is so much better to use than all the previous versions. It looks better than Snow Leopard as well, to me anyhow.)
posted by tksh at 6:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Pretty much what FFF just said. Started using Windows 3.0 on a daily basis 19 years ago (when I was 10), have averaged literally 6-8 hours of usage *per day* since (more like 12+ the last ten years), using every version (even Windows ME) in between, as well as some of the NT/Server line.

Also perfectly comfortable compiling my own OpenBSD kernel or tweaking the hell out of Gentoo.

I bought a Mac Mini a year and a half ago for iPhone development, barely used it and sold it to my grandmother for whom it was *perfect*. Bought myself a Macbook Air, and ...

I'm sorry, but the Apple fans are right: it works better and it's more intuitive. I have spent the whole of my teens and twenties using Windows and it's simply a broken, cluttered mess. Even with the most intense and painstaking maintenance, over the course of a year of (very) heavy usage any Windows it will inevitably grind down to nearly a halt.

I'm not afraid to dive into Regedit, MSConfig, and Services.msc to make my systems continue to run well, but I would infinitely prefer that I not have to. Apple and OpenBSD both offer me an OS that doesn't simply fall apart over time, and I'm sure as hell not using OpenBSD for a day-to-day client.
posted by Ryvar at 6:39 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]



I showed the pictures to my son - a 14 year old high schooler who would sooner do without his left leg than be without his iPod.

"It looks like an iPod for my grandmother. Does it come with a walker, too?"

And there you have it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:48 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


simplified mini-apps using only Apple-approved technology and design patterns. A totally different paradigm. I don't think anyone outside the more tech-savvy will care (or even notice!) but it really does scare me the way Stallman describes. A great reduction in the possibilities and freedom.

I totally get where Stallman is coming from but in practice as a developer it just really isn't that bad. You get an awesome, well-thought-out SDK, clear libraries and guidelines for UI that help your app mesh well with the OS and other apps and Everything Just Works. Submission process is a breeze, approval is rarely an actual issue, and the distribution channel is beautifully simple. No stocking, shipping, sell-through, etc. Just a flat 30% tax - which is a sweetheart deal for a lot of corners of the software industry, my own included.

I should mention as an addendum to my previous post that Windows 7 *is* a huge step up for Microsoft, and their APIs in particular are starting to feel a lot saner.
posted by Ryvar at 6:48 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


you know what could be awesome? A bluetooth stylus that turns it into a pressure-sensitive tablet that controls an adjacent iMac. A poor man's 10" wacom cintiq, if you will. Or software that makes it interact with a larger computer as a 3D manipulator (think scientific visualization, and the potential in the built-in accelerometer). A huge-ass touchpad with multitouch embedded in a nook on your desk, which you can lift up and take with you at the end of your workday. There is potential.

Also: a table tennis game with an invisible ball between multiple units. That'd be hilarious, if maybe a bit risky to flail around with a $500, 1 1/2 pound racket.
posted by _dario at 6:52 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I kind of understand what koeselitz is saying. The OSX installation process is simple and magical but also misleads you into thinking it's doing less than it actually is -- there's actually a background process that registers the application into the OS and makes note of the filetypes it can handle, amongst other things.

This doesn't matter to most people, and shouldn't but can give that icky feeling to people who really do want to know what's happening so that if they need to, they'll know how to narrow down the problem using critical thinking.

An example of this that bit me hard when I switched to the OSX: I had a copy of Xee, an image viewer, installed and had just downloaded a new version. It was a buggy branch so I wanted to keep the old copy around in case the new version was worst. I moved the existing version outside of /Applications and onto my Desktop, then moved the new version into /Applications. Tried opening some images but OSX kept insisting on using the copy of Xee on my Desktop because the magical elves that set to work when you copy application bundles knew the application was now on the Desktop. I had no idea why that was happening and I don't think I could've figured that one out on my own because for all I know, all I needed to do was to copy applications into /Applications to make them work so moving them out should do the opposite. Not sure if 10.6 does this anymore since I just go ahead and trash old versions now.

And there are some things that are plainly less intuitive in OSX than in Windows:posted by tksh at 6:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


As someone who bought his first mac a few months ago and uses PC at home...No, in my opinion it really is more intuitive to do almost everything on a Mac and Windows really is intrinsically wrong in a lot of ways.

Right, more intuitive for you. Other people in this thread found it less intuitive. I know people who find windows easier to use as well. You're taking your own aesthetic preferences and trying to turn them into universals. Which is ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Because if there's one thing we learned in the last 20 years was that really what you want is every hardware manufacture to write their own proprietary driver system.

I don't know why Apple is obligated to write software for other companies, but there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that is preventing a NAS maker from writing and selling a really excellent standards-based NAS client on the app store.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:03 PM on January 27, 2010


I totally get where Stallman is coming from but in practice as a developer it just really isn't that bad. You get an awesome, well-thought-out SDK, clear libraries and guidelines for UI that help your app mesh well with the OS and other apps and Everything Just Works. Submission process is a breeze, approval is rarely an actual issue, and the distribution channel is beautifully simple.

I think they've done a really good job with Cocoa Touch and UIKit. And they've got a really good design and template worked out for the iPhone/iTouch. It's the closing of the doors and possibilities that sends a bit of a chill down my spine. You have this really cool device that aims to do all the common stuff but you can't do something awesome or crazy with it unless Apple gives the OK. I'm not hot for Flash or Java on the IPad either but knowing it won't be on there because Apple decided no and not because of a technical limitation, is a bit scary to me.
posted by tksh at 7:09 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not a typical laptop customer. If it won't fit into a bicycle handlebar bag, it's too big. My only portable is an ASUS eee 701 with the original Xandros Linux, bought three years ago for blogging a trip to Europe. (it worked great). I also use it as a test instrument, portable nav station on our tiny sailboat, and transit time-waster.

Tablets are great. I suspect though that the iPad won't be quite as big a slam-dunk as the iPhone because the other manufacturers are closer on their heels this time. I also think the market won't be as receptive to the iPhone-like app distribution, especially when the competing units will probably be more like netbooks and will run most windows or linux apps.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:12 PM on January 27, 2010


Which is ridiculous.

It would be, if OSes and GUIs were art pieces hanging on a wall.

You know why Apple keeps doubling its sales figures? One hint: it is not because people are unhappy with their purchase, and flog it on Craigslist so they can go back to Windows, and tell their friends to avoid that Apple shit.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:13 PM on January 27, 2010 [6 favorites]



As someone who bought his first mac a few months ago and uses PC at home...No, in my opinion it really is more intuitive to do almost everything on a Mac and Windows really is intrinsically wrong in a lot of ways.

Right, more intuitive for you. Other people in this thread found it less intuitive. I know people who find windows easier to use as well. You're taking your own aesthetic preferences and trying to turn them into universals. Which is ridiculous.



If people are happy with Macs, good for them. But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it. And then on top of that you have this bizarre insistence that windows isn't annoying them because it's intrinsically wrong because for a lot of people, sadly, their attachment to their computer is like an important part of their personality, their own sense of self worth is tied up in having made a good consumer choice and they attack anyone one who disagrees with their ridiculous premises.

They need to get a life.


How about you just back right up and not post massive generalized insults next time and you won't have to retcon your arguments?

You did not state that it is acceptable for me to find it more intuitive, you stated that I think that because I'm used to it and my self worth is tied up in my computer and I should get a life.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:16 PM on January 27, 2010


tksh: I totally get where you're coming from with the Flash thing. I'd try to help out with a Flash to iPhoneOS port (or at least donate some money towards a project working on it) in my spare time if I thought Apple would allow it.

One of two things will eventually happen, though: 1) Apple will look at initial sales figures, do some focus groups, and decide that its best interests lie in caving to the demand for Flash support, or 2) HTML 5 will supplant Flash entirely, which is pretty much a question of when, not if.

Apple can cave pretty quick if the incentive is sufficient (iPhone Exchange support, business users), but I agree it sucks that we as owners can't directly hasten the above scenarios.
posted by Ryvar at 7:19 PM on January 27, 2010


I would totally buy this just to use the larger version of Brushes. I've craved such a device since I first started animating on the Commodore Amiga in the late 1980s.

There are loads of cool art, music and other content creation tools for the iPhone. I think the larger control surface of the iPad area will foster an absolute torrent of new ones.

I'm puzzled about the lack of a camera on this, but then there are 75 million iPhone owners out there who already know how to use the thing. I could see using the iPhone you already own to capture media and then syncing the resultant audio/video/photos with the iPad in your backpack/purse whatever via wifi for further edits.

It has a gigantic software library and persistant internet access. The entry level iPad costs only US$10 more than the slightly smaller Kindle DX.

The iPad is going to kick ass. It's a steal.
posted by Scoo at 7:22 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would totally buy this just to piss off some people at work.

But I'm like that.
posted by mazola at 7:33 PM on January 27, 2010


And really stunned by some of the stupid things being said by people who clearly do not have a breadth of experience. et al.

Oh good grief. Well, I have a breadth of experience equal or probably beyond your own, at least as far as software and operating systems, if we're measuring that particular part (though it's kind of a meaningless metric once you get past a couple decades, dontcha think?) Anyway, I prefer operating Windows to OS X. On Windows I am "more productive, have a better user experience, and enjoy using my" Windows machine versus the Mac mini behind me as I type this post. Not massively so, but definitely so.

Just to suggest the novel idea that not everybody who has wide computer experience thinks OS X is all that.
posted by mdevore at 7:34 PM on January 27, 2010


2. I know that it won't support Flash sites like Hulu, but what about Netflix On Demand? I could see it being popular for that. Prop it up, cue a film, and sat back and watch.

Give them a little time. If this takes off, Netflix will make a deal, as will Hulu or something like it. YouTube is a flash-based site, but the iPhone has had a YouTube app since day one. Netflix is in competition with the iTunes store so I don't imagine Apple's going to fall over themselves to accommodate it, but there will be such a world of shit if Netflix tries and Apple rebuffs them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:36 PM on January 27, 2010


You know why Apple keeps doubling its sales figures? One hint: it is not because people are unhappy with their purchase, and flog it on Craigslist so they can go back to Windows, and tell their friends to avoid that Apple shit.

Because since the Intel macs they've become somewhat price/performance competitive with wintel boxes? (Apple sales have been going way up, but Mac sales aren't growing that fast, and we're talking about desktop/laptop usability here)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:38 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of two things will eventually happen, though: 1) Apple will look at initial sales figures, do some focus groups, and decide that its best interests lie in caving to the demand for Flash support, or 2) HTML 5 will supplant Flash entirely, which is pretty much a question of when, not if.

I have no inkling as to how it can play out. Adobe is a pretty big and stubborn player as well. Not sure if you follow John Gruber @ Daring Fireball but he had an interesting summary of the situation from his point of view. His closing was a quote from Apple CTO Tim Cook:

“We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.”
posted by tksh at 7:41 PM on January 27, 2010


Ah, but you can't play Farmville on it. It's doomed! (HAMBURGER).
posted by aclevername at 7:44 PM on January 27, 2010


Adobe is a pretty big and stubborn player as well.

So is Microsoft, but they can't seem to answer Apple's newfound independence with a better-engineered product, either. Why are they both so helpless?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:45 PM on January 27, 2010


850+ comments and still, not a single cat has been harmed or assassinated. I love you guys. Free hugs for all!
posted by the cydonian at 7:46 PM on January 27, 2010



So is Microsoft, but they can't seem to answer Apple's newfound independence with a better-engineered product, either.


I heard Apple just did it with marketing, Microsoft should look into spending some money on advertising.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:48 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know why Apple keeps doubling its sales figures?

Because their ipods keep breaking?
posted by smackfu at 7:52 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's the closing of the doors and possibilities that sends a bit of a chill down my spine. You have this really cool device that aims to do all the common stuff but you can't do something awesome or crazy with it unless Apple gives the OK. I'm not hot for Flash or Java on the IPad either but knowing it won't be on there because Apple decided no and not because of a technical limitation, is a bit scary to me.

Here's something I don't understand about this viewpoint. So you don't like the closed OS. Fair enough. So why not jailbreak and install whatever you want? Or port an open OS to the device? Because Apple won't give you tech support? If you're all about free software you should be used to relying on the community for tech support anyway.

So if you don't like the closed OS on the i devices, then by all means crack it open and build a better one. If it's what users actually want (through some combination of openness, price, and quality) then great. But if not, then them's the breaks. Proprietary software may sometimes produce better products, and people are sometimes willing to give up free access to the source code in order to get those products.

As far as the objection that closed software is morally wrong goes, well, that's just hypocrisy. Who is Stallman to tell people what software they should be (morally) allowed to use? Isn't that exactly what he's complaining Apple does?
posted by jedicus at 7:58 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


All I wanted was for Apple to reinvent the eReader market with something awesome. Instead their pimping a big, boring iPhone. iPad feels, forgive me, not so fresh.
posted by 26.2 at 8:01 PM on January 27, 2010


mazola: "I would totally buy this just to piss off some people at work.

But I'm like that.
"

Heh. I was just thinking how badly this will be received in universities with already strained tech resources. Yet another mobile device we techs aren't trained on; yet another way to have mail sync issues with campus desktops; yet another grant purchase made before consulting IT that will become some prof's sole store of mail and data, who won't back it up, and will require you to rescue it when he drops it in the parking lot. THANKS STEVE.

Just kidding about the 'Thanks Steve.' This could be the start of some game-changing trends in dramatically increased sharing of information. Go iPad!
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:02 PM on January 27, 2010


If it's what users actually want (through some combination of openness, price, and quality) then great. But if not, then them's the breaks.

You will like whatever Apple decides you will like!
posted by smackfu at 8:03 PM on January 27, 2010


The other takeaway from this: Steve looked good!
posted by mazola at 8:05 PM on January 27, 2010


You will like whatever Apple decides you will like!

Or you can stop whining like a baby and go like something else!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:07 PM on January 27, 2010


The NetFlix "Watch Instantly" movies are encoded wmvs using the VC1 Advanced Profile codec with PlayReady DRM wrapped in a Silverlight video player.

Youtube videos work on the iPhone because they are being served H.264 encoded video (i.e. not Flash).

Although Silverlight can also serve H.264 video, Netflix has invested quite a bit of time, money and energy into using WMVs. It would take a tremendous amount of will on someone's part to reverse that trend.
posted by jeremias at 8:11 PM on January 27, 2010


Think of the next generation of fart apps that will be possible on this thing. Imagine the possibilities!
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:12 PM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


The 'Whoop iCushion'?
posted by mazola at 8:16 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or you can stop whining like a baby and go like something else!

Gladly. I just hope there are no exclusive deals in the iBookstore.
posted by smackfu at 8:20 PM on January 27, 2010


This is the "Applications" directory. "Installed" is a much softer concept on OS X; there's no installation procedure, per se, you just copy the bundle over. Uninstallation is a matter of deleting the bundle.

Some things need to be added:

An application "bundle" is, simply, a directory with a special structure and a name ending in ".app". OS X's Finder hides this fact from the user, but if you use Terminal it becomes obvious.

Also, there certainly are programs distributed using specialized installers in MacLand, and worse than under Windows, there is no built-in way to remove all the system bits they install despite the installer keeping a log of changes made. You could drag these programs to the trash after installing, but those extra bits would remain.

I'm not hot for Flash or Java on the IPad either but knowing it won't be on there because Apple decided no and not because of a technical limitation, is a bit scary to me.

Not having Flash is a big limitation for web browsers. If Apple doesn't change their mind this will bite them, as someone else said up above, this isn't the second coming of the iPhone.
posted by JHarris at 8:35 PM on January 27, 2010


How about you just back right up and not post massive generalized insults next time and you won't have to retcon your arguments?

You did not state that it is acceptable for me to find it more intuitive, you stated that I think that because I'm used to it and my self worth is tied up in my computer and I should get a life.
Oh please. I got called an 'ignorant jackass' earlier in this thread because I wasn't fawning over this device. When people say that the Mac is intrinsically better, that windows is "Broken" and "wrong" you're essentially insulting everyone who dosn't agree and dosn't like windows as having no taste. It's annoying.

I wasn't insulting mac users. I was commenting on people who insist that their own subjective asthetic judgements were universal objective facts, and then run around insulting people who disagree. People who insist that all other machines are trash, that they're "broken", that they're all "annoying" for various reasons, etc.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Um, fuck Flash. It's the single thing I hate most about browsing. HTML5 is here and I can already use YouTube and Vimeo without Flash. In three years' time we will think of Flash the way we think of the blink tag now.
posted by unSane at 8:40 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see how HTML5 will easily allow people to replace Flash for videos, but what about games? I know they added canvas, and between that and javascript you can technically do everything that Flash ends up doing, but wouldn't someone have to develop the equivalent of the Flash authoring program too? And convince everyone to use it?
posted by smackfu at 8:49 PM on January 27, 2010


koeselitz said: "I don't think it's possible to make a computer that is both usefully powerful and intuitive enough that a moron can use it."

I can't think of a reason why it's not possible. Not easy, sure. Apple were doing well at this type of thing until they decided to change OS X to make it more familiar to Windows users. This iPad is their way of redefining the interface again, and the apps will be as powerful as the developers want them to be.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 9:00 PM on January 27, 2010


Metafilter: If you're going to snark then wait till after Steve Jobs tells you how dumb you are.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's some pretty hardcore trolling going on in here. Apple devices are not Jesus.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple devices are not Jesus.

Indeed.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:09 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wasn't insulting mac users. I was commenting on people who insist that their own subjective asthetic judgements were universal objective facts

If people are happy with Macs, good for them. But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it. And then on top of that you have this bizarre insistence that windows isn't annoying them because it's intrinsically wrong because for a lot of people, sadly, their attachment to their computer is like an important part of their personality, their own sense of self worth is tied up in having made a good consumer choice and they attack anyone one who disagrees with their ridiculous premises.

They need to get a life.


No, you addressed people who are happy about their macs that post about them being intuitive and awesome. I see you realize now that it was idiotic claim since you are pretending you didn't say it.


People who insist that all other machines are trash, that they're "broken", that they're all "annoying" for various reasons, etc.


Right...people that claim certain computers aren't intuitive and only deeply broken people who need to get a life would think otherwise.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:22 PM on January 27, 2010


Clearly, this needs to come to blows for any satisfactory resolution to be obtained.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I like my Macbook so I obviously need to get a life, I hear Fight Clubs can help with that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:32 PM on January 27, 2010


I like my iPod touch, I like my Dell E4300 64 bit Windows 7 laptop, I like my friend's MacBook pro. There's no good goddamn reason to shit on each other about all this.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 PM on January 27, 2010


26.2: All I wanted was for Apple to reinvent the eReader market with something awesome. Instead their pimping a big, boring iPhone. iPad feels, forgive me, not so fresh.

Yeah, I`m starting to feel the same way. No USB port without an adapter? Fuggedaboutit.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:43 PM on January 27, 2010


Sorry, the more I look at the big unveiling of this thing, the more I cringe. I mean, the main display is just an overgrown iTouch...the icons are the same size, just spread out more.

Surely they could have done some more innovative work on the default display...integrated RSS, Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, whatever...it just looks like an iTouch ate one of those "Eat Me" cakes from Alice in Wonderland.
posted by hiteleven at 9:45 PM on January 27, 2010


. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Wi-Fi models shipping in late March. 3G models shipping in April.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:54 PM on January 27, 2010


Smackfu: I was wondering the same thing. Fortunately Adobe are apparently working on a thing that will allow flash developers to easily convert their flash apps to iPhone/iPad apps.
posted by rifflesby at 10:00 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh god, two more months of this.
posted by smackfu at 10:01 PM on January 27, 2010


(That was about it not shipping until March, of course.)
posted by smackfu at 10:01 PM on January 27, 2010


For a trip through the wires, MeFi discusses this newfangled 'iPod' thing, back in 2001.

As many predicted, of course, it was a gigantic failure.


Heh. That was a lovely palate cleanser coming 100th or so out of the 700+ posts in this thread...
posted by fairmettle at 10:05 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


>iPood
>iPeed
>iPwd
>...


Given how Apple products are often deployed as fashion accessories and emblems of conspicuous consumption, I'm gonna go with iPaid.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:06 PM on January 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is well-designed, granted... with a lot of promise.

The thing is, what would make me buy a portable, laptop-sized device if I already have a laptop to carry around? Is it *THAT* much better at accomplishing its particular tasks? Does it justify the $700 after tax for a basic model, with case, keyboard doc, and the basic software?

Will it be seen as a "lock in" device, where you're paying for every last thing that you put on it, without the openness and flexibility you might prefer? Will they allow apps that allow you to use it for internet telephony? How would AT&T feel about me paying $14.99 a month to them for what would effectively be telephone service? And if the next generation model features a camera, wouldn't this make an *awesome* videophone?

Like many, I don't own an iPhone or an iPod Touch yet. This, however, could be an interesting device for me, if it straddles the usability of both of these devices and a laptop. Writing is the crux of my existence... so what I ultimately want most is a truly portable device that I can really write on, at full speed. I've tried the iPhone... and it just isn't it. From what I can tell, this isn't it either... but it could become such a device, over time.

What this seems to lack, for me, is:

- A more portable, foldout experience. Make it the size of a large paperback, so I can put it in a jacket pocket.

- More emphasis on being able to use a stylus to take notes, for art, etc. I want handwriting recognition, automatic spellchecking... and it would be awesome if they could partner with someone like LiveScribe to create the most incredible note-taking application ever.

- Keyboard options other than the dock. I type, a lot... and have issues with regular keyboards for this reason. I would love to have an external, foldout keyboard... ideally a more ergonomic, split keyboard model. Also, Apple has all that space on the screen with its virtual keyboard... so why not get its ergonomics people to design a split keyboard, angled lovingly towards each hand? Or why not give people the option of a Dvorak keyboard, while they're at it? These are *virtual* keyboards... so giving people options seems dead simple to me.

(Oh, and is it just me, or is it just sad that the one feature I most appreciate is that the iPad case opens in such a way as to elevate the keyboard for easier virtual typing?)

I hope that someone over at Apple will read through all of this and pay attention, because I communicate via text for a living at and can't justify using mobile devices that slow me down, or don't allow me to work with supreme comfort. Maybe they can even drop by and say "Hi. We hear you, we're paying attention, and I'm passing this on...", which is something that would frankly surprise me, as it's something they usually aren't very good at.
posted by markkraft at 10:08 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and in the obscure but wonderful software request category, I want someone to use this platform to program a virtual version of the Tenori-On.
posted by markkraft at 10:11 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mars Saxman: “This is the "Applications" directory. "Installed" is a much softer concept on OS X; there's no installation procedure, per se, you just copy the bundle over. Uninstallation is a matter of deleting the bundle.”

Maybe the concept is softer, but it's just as 'hard' technically, right? I mean, every operating system has to resolve dependencies. Behind the scenes, OS X uses the BSD package manager, right? I guess I don't know exactly, but I know there's a package manager at work when you drag applications into the "Applications" directory, and I know that it has to resolve dependencies and make sure that all requirements of an application are met.
posted by koeselitz at 10:25 PM on January 27, 2010


Not really, actually. An app's bundle (a directory that appears as a single file to the user) needs to contain everything it needs, apart from stuff that's part of the standard OS install. When you drag an app icon over, apart from some really minor filetype registering, virtually nothing happens apart from a lot of file copying.
posted by bonaldi at 10:30 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yep. It's like what Microsoft calls "XCOPY deployment". But they're geeks like that.
posted by BaxterG4 at 10:35 PM on January 27, 2010


On the bright side, it costs less than a hundred dollars to manufacture and will now be distributed to all of the poor children of the world.
posted by pracowity at 10:37 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


nicepersonality: “. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.”

Mr_Zero: “Wi-Fi models shipping in late March. 3G models shipping in April.”

Dude, you obviously didn't read the thread. The point was that it doesn't have 802.11b wireless – and if you can't use 802.11b wireless, what's the point of using wireless at all? And it still has less space than a Nomad. What's more, it doesn't have that awesome blue-lit screen.

This iPad thing is obviously useless.
posted by koeselitz at 10:38 PM on January 27, 2010


Wasn't "XCOPY deployment" a problem for resellers a few years ago? I remember reading that people would walk up to a machine in a store, plug in an external HD, and pirate Photoshop or what have you.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:41 PM on January 27, 2010


(drag & drop piracy, as it were)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:43 PM on January 27, 2010


Maybe the concept is softer, but it's just as 'hard' technically, right? I mean, every operating system has to resolve dependencies. Behind the scenes, OS X uses the BSD package manager, right? I guess I don't know exactly, but I know there's a package manager at work when you drag applications into the "Applications" directory, and I know that it has to resolve dependencies and make sure that all requirements of an application are met.

Nope. And you don't even need to move it to the applications directory, it'll run from anywhere.
posted by empath at 10:46 PM on January 27, 2010


"In America everyone finds facilities unknown elsewhere for making or increasing his fortune. The spirit of gain is always eager, and the human mind, constantly diverted from the pleasures of imagination and the labors of the intellect, is there swayed by no impulse but the pursuit of wealth. Not only are manufacturing and commercial classes to be found in the United States, as they are in all other countries, but, what never occurred elsewhere, the whole community is simultaneously engaged in productive industry and commerce.

I am convinced, however, that if the Americans had been alone in the world, with the freedom and the knowledge acquired by their forefathers and the passions which are their own, they would not have been slow to discover that progress cannot long be made in the application of the sciences without cultivating the theory of them; that all the arts are perfected by one another: and, however absorbed they might have been by the pursuit of the principal object of their desires, they would speedily have admitted that it is necessary to turn aside from it occasionally in order the better to attain it in the end."

-Alexis de Tocqueville. (On Democracy in America), De la démocratie en Amérique 1835-1840. (Volume 2, Section 1, Chapter 9)
posted by infinite intimation at 10:55 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


If people are happy with Macs, good for them. But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it. And then on top of that you have this bizarre insistence that windows isn't annoying them because it's intrinsically wrong because for a lot of people, sadly, their attachment to their computer is like an important part of their personality, their own sense of self worth is tied up in having made a good consumer choice and they attack anyone one who disagrees with their ridiculous premises.

They need to get a life.


I think you're full of it. Most people who are fanatical about Mac are fanatical about it because they used to use Windows. I did desktop support for the government for 2-3 years, during the time period where there was a new email trojan going around every single week and after spending all my time taking viruses off of my friends, families and coworkers pcs for about 9 months, I made the decision that I would never touch a microsoft OS again unless I was being paid to do it. And I've stuck to that.

The people who are most loudly complaining about OSX, are in fact the people who HAVE NOT spent a great deal of time using it, while most mac users are all too familiar with what an awful piece of shit windows is.

I have not used Vista, however I have heard good things from people who have. However, I'm still not going to buy it.
posted by empath at 10:56 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


bonaldi: “Not really, actually. An app's bundle (a directory that appears as a single file to the user) needs to contain everything it needs, apart from stuff that's part of the standard OS install. When you drag an app icon over, apart from some really minor filetype registering, virtually nothing happens apart from a lot of file copying.”

Wow. No wonder OS X is so strict about not migrating software across different versions. But... really, the more I think about this, the more I don't understand. Are the standard libraries really that incredible that nobody ever needs anything else whatsoever? If so, doesn't that take up an enormous amount of disk space?

So, er... what happens when you try to install a JRE2 program on OS X? Does OS X really come bundled with a copy of Java Runtime? And, if not, does every single JRE2 program really have to carry its own copy of Java Runtime? I have a feeling there must be a package manager running in OS X that does this, even if it's invisible and seamless.

Most Linux distros (Ubuntu or Debian, for example) come standard with most of the stuff any user would need... but there are still dependencies, and the awesome, seamless thing that apt does is gather and coordinate those dependencies so that, if you (for example) try to install something that requires JRE2, it spits back "you need JRE2 for this, so I'm installing that too, okay?" The reason package management is so awesome isn't even specifically because it's easy – yeah, it's true that dragging bundles around is even easier than package management in many ways, but package management (a) allows you to be as maximally efficient as possible with code reuse (only installing what you need, and never uninstalling something essential) – and it provides a much more secure and organized way to resolve and sort what software goes where.

I understand that Apple succeeds at making this appear almost instantaneous, and that's a really cool trick; I just kind of want to know the details now. All this would make me want to get a cheap Mac if I could afford buying anything.
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 PM on January 27, 2010


The iPad is two times more expensive than it's Kindle/Nook competitors, you can't read it in daylight and it has DRM -- this is a tough one.
posted by godisdad at 11:01 PM on January 27, 2010




The iPad is two times more expensive than it's Kindle/Nook competitors, you can't read it in daylight and it has DRM -- this is a tough one.


You can read it in daylight just fine, plus you can read it in the dark without another light source. It has twice the features of a Kindle, and the same level of DRM.


Really, so much reaching for reasons not to love this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:04 PM on January 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


"No wonder OS X is so strict about not migrating software across different versions." What? I'm running from a system image that started life as OS 10.4 on a PowerPC machine. It's now 10.6 on an Intel machine and upgrades have been essentially seamless the entire time.

If there's some code that's really widely shared by stuff, it's probably already in the system. There are mechanisms for library sharing (using a more complicated install routine than drag-and-drop), but program code is a small fraction of the storage used and there's little gain to sharing it. The linker is smart enough not to load new copies of libraries that are already loaded in some process. Many Mac apps the last few years have shipped with up to 4 binaries inside (PowerPC 32-bit, PowerPC 64-bit, Intel 32-bit, Intel 64-bit) and the difference in size is almost always negligible. It just works when you double-click the icon, though, and loads the best one for your system. A person running a 32-bit PowerPC app can send it to your 64-bit Intel system and you never even notice (or, eventually, think about it).
posted by BaxterG4 at 11:13 PM on January 27, 2010


So the loudest naysayer has fuck-all personal experience and no technical knowledge.

Yeesh.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:14 PM on January 27, 2010


Oh, I meant to add that there is a system JVM (well, several versions, actually) and the appropriate one is loaded when a Java app is started.
posted by BaxterG4 at 11:14 PM on January 27, 2010


Not really, actually. An app's bundle (a directory that appears as a single file to the user) needs to contain everything it needs, apart from stuff that's part of the standard OS install.

How does this handle shared libraries? Don't applications for OS X have dependencies, or do you just reproduce everything in every application folder?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:24 PM on January 27, 2010


It's much, much prettier than a Kindle. Almost ideal from a physical standpoint, really. Maybe a little small, but not by much. And the touch screen sounds great. Same thing with the ten hour battery.

But its got all this amazing wireless functionality and no simple way to plug into a larger computer - which is kind of weird. I guess I just want a scaled down, pretty looking computer and not a scaled up phone.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:25 PM on January 27, 2010


So, er... what happens when you try to install a JRE2 program on OS X? Does OS X really come bundled with a copy of Java Runtime? And, if not, does every single JRE2 program really have to carry its own copy of Java Runtime? I have a feeling there must be a package manager running in OS X that does this, even if it's invisible and seamless.

Generally, mac apps are written in Objective C.
posted by empath at 11:26 PM on January 27, 2010


How does this handle shared libraries? Don't applications for OS X have dependencies, or do you just reproduce everything in every application folder?

If you install something huge and complicated like Office or Acrobat, it has a 'real' installation program. But most apps just have everything you need in the bundle.
posted by empath at 11:28 PM on January 27, 2010


Most people who are fanatical about Mac are fanatical about it because they used to use Windows.

It's like those former smokers who cannot fucking stand the smell of cigarettes, even worse than those who've never smoked in their lives.

Anyhoo, my enthusiasm has waned; I am so totally probably the type of person this is being marketed towards (Not very savvy on the technical end, no fancy pants phone, with or without i as a prefix, looking primary for a web/media consumption machine), but the more tangential stuff like lack of proper USBness or an HDMI output so I can hook it up to the teevee and use it as a player(Cue someone telling me that I am a bad and stupid man for using a computer in such a manner) and frankly stuff that's entirely my own fault (Even if I don't plan on using a machine for more rigorous stuff, I'd like it to be capable should the need arise).

Also, I forgot hate iTunes like it's the goddamned plague. I was impressed to learn in this thread that an iPod with radio is now available, but again, effin' friggin' iTunes. Still, who knows where things will be in 5 years? I still like the verticalness!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:28 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


(err.. i meant Creative Suite, not Acrobat)
posted by empath at 11:29 PM on January 27, 2010


five fresh fish: “So the loudest naysayer has fuck-all personal experience and no technical knowledge. Yeesh.”

Who's naysaying?
posted by koeselitz at 11:30 PM on January 27, 2010


Here's the uninstall process for Creative Suite that should give you an idea of how apps with shared libraries install, but keep in mind, this is the exception, not the rule.
posted by empath at 11:32 PM on January 27, 2010


koselitz,

Dragging an application to /Applications--or anywhere--doesn't invoke any kind of package manager. Mac OS X's installation system is also not any BSD or Linux package manager. (I'm not talking about third-party stuff you can install yourself, obviously.)

As for this:

I understand that Apple succeeds at making this appear almost instantaneous, and that's a really cool trick; I just kind of want to know the details now.

There are two kinds of libraries, speaking unspecifically about any kind of OS: dynamic libraries (dylibs) and static libraries. In Mac OS X, we call dylibs frameworks. Let's get static libraries out of the way:

A static library is a compiled set of code; a single file on disk. When you build an application, that data is copied into your application's executable. A copy of the static library is now "baked into" the executable and thus follows it around everywhere. When the application is launched, it has access to all of that code.

A framework (dynamic library) is not part of the application's executable file. The framework is actually a bundle; it's a folder with special properties and subfolders of custom resources. It also contains a compiled binary file that contains the actual framework code. When an application wants to use a given framework, it's linked against the framework at build time. This is jargon for "special references that instruct the operating system to locate the framework code".

Custom frameworks in Mac OS X can exist in many different places, depending on how you need to build and distribute your application:

/Library/Frameworks
/Network/Library/Frameworks
~/Library/Frameworks
Your Great App.app/Contents/Frameworks

This list is not comprehensive. Look at the man page for dyld for more information (see below).

When an application is launched, Mac OS X's dynamic linker (a.k.a. dyld) searches all of the locations it knows about to find and load the frameworks required to launch the application. As you can see above, there are many places you can put frameworks. Applications can bundle their own copies of frameworks inside themselves, you can ship an installer that puts one copy in the system somewhere (useful if you have a suite of software that shares large portions of code), frameworks can live in "distant" places like across the network, etc.

All of the possible scenarios have valid use cases, so the developer gets to choose what's best for his or her app. By bundling Foo.framework inside your app, it's simple to distribute the app (easy to copy across the network to another Mac, for example) because it's completely self-contaned. You also can be sure that a specific copy of an app is rev-locked to the exact build of the framework you expected when you put everything together.

Hope that helps a bit. There's a bunch of awesome magic behind the scenes in Mac OS X that sniffs out what to load from where, basically.
posted by Mikey-San at 11:40 PM on January 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


empath: “Generally, mac apps are written in Objective C.”

Yeah, I vaguely remember hearing that. I only mentioned JRE2 because roughly 90% of the programs I know of that are cross-compatible with Win32, Linux, and OS X are JRE2 programs. Anyway, Objective C seems to make a hell of a lot more sense than C++, so that's probably a good thing.
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 PM on January 27, 2010


And just for reference, this is what i've got in my library folder for my macbook, which is a couple of years old now, and I've never done any cleaning to get rid of anything I've uninstalled:

Ableton Live Engine --(audio)
Omni Group (omni graffle, etc)
Adobe (creative suite)
PACE Anti-Piracy (No idea what this is, assume it's for some game or another)
Apple
PopCap (games)
CrashReporter
ProApps
Developer
Propellerhead Software (audio)
Digidesign (audio)
REX Shared Library
DivX (Divx Codecs)
REX Shared Library.bundle (audio)
FLEXnet Publisher
Wave Arts (audio)
Final Draft
GarageBand (Ilife)
iDVD
iLifeMediaBrowser (ilife)
Logic (audio)
iLifeSlideshow (ilife)
M-Audio (drivers for an audio interface I bought)
iMovie (ilife)
Macromedia (flash)
iPhoto(ilife)
Microsoft (office)
iWork '06
Mozilla (firefox)
iWork '08
Native Instruments (audio)
plasq
NetServices

This is maybe 1/10th of the programs that I've got installed on here, and it's generally all programs that have to interact somehow with other programs (for example, all the audio software, Adobe, Office, and iLife/Iwork)

Most of the stand alone stuff I've installed didn't put anything in there.
posted by empath at 11:42 PM on January 27, 2010


never used baby shoes, why the heck would you link to a lame ass site that just links to youtube?

Isn't it a bit easier to link to youtube itself?
posted by Sukiari at 11:44 PM on January 27, 2010


HDMI output so I can hook it up to the teevee and use it as a player

I don't see HDMI listed, no, but they will apparently have composite and component a/v cables available. Maybe HDMI later on?
posted by rifflesby at 11:45 PM on January 27, 2010


(There are lots and lots of caveats to what I just said. See in particular the "DYNAMIC LIBRARY LOADING" section of the dyld man page, where it talks about full dylib paths. As it states, "Darwin does not locate dependent dynamic libraries via their leaf file name. Instead the full path to each dylib is used (e.g. /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib).")
posted by Mikey-San at 11:45 PM on January 27, 2010


Mikey-San: “Hope that helps a bit. There's a bunch of awesome magic behind the scenes in Mac OS X that sniffs out what to load from where, basically.”

That's awesome, thanks! So it sounds like there's less emphasis on putting programs specifically in place at installation and more emphasis on a robust path-checking for possible libraries to load at runtime. You're trading a tiny amount of program startup time (repeated many times, of course) for a huge savings in (one-time) installation time, and trading a certain amount of hard disk organization homogeneity across the userbase (and the stability that gives) for a less regimented and less explicit heterogeneity (which of course gives users more flexibility).

That's really interesting.
posted by koeselitz at 11:52 PM on January 27, 2010


"But its got all this amazing wireless functionality and no simple way to plug into a larger computer - which is kind of weird."

USB doesn't count?!

To me, it sounds like even the storage capacity issues regarding the $499 model will be ones that are quickly a thing of the past, when you consider that you could likely plug in external storage devices or use online storage.

I would be pretty surprised if Google doesn't start designing specifically for the iPad in order to fulfill their longtime goal of making the browser become the defacto interface.
posted by markkraft at 11:53 PM on January 27, 2010


So if I get it, OS X has a dynamic library system like Windows or GNU; it's just that most of the time, app makers put dynamic libaries inside their bundles, instead of in the equivalent of /usr/lib.

Makes sense for many apps, since disk space and DVDs are cheap, and bandwidth isn't that expensive.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:56 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is, amusingly enough, almost exactly what I explained as being my ideal tablet device to the iPhone UI guy at the Tech Talk. He must have been giggling to himself as he did his spiel about his inability to comment or speculate.

The iPhone OS is perhaps the only thing I am not completely pleased with. But I think it could turn out pretty well regardless. I like little light games such as end up on the iPhone, I have a purse and a commute for which a device like this would be great for idle staring, and I have no need for video chatting while on the go.

I enjoy being the apparent target audience for once.
posted by that girl at 12:05 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


markkraft: “USB doesn't count?!”

I am a fan of this awesome gizmo, and I would probably buy it if I had the cash just to see if I could hack some sort of Linux onto it. But that stupid, stupid proprietary plug – which is not a USB plug – is the worst thing about it, and the worst thing about the iPods too (even though they are generally useful devices.) That proprietary plug thing is Steve Jobs' way of making sure that none of us kids can play wrong with this toy by locking it down as much as possible. It's obnoxious. 'Oh, look – we've got an adapter, in case you need to do anything complicated!' Well, what if I have purposes that won't take an adapter? A keyboard, a peripheral, etc – none of those will plug in, and Jobs' is basically saying he doesn't want to let you plug them in because he wants to have sole control over the cable, of all things.

I think there's a lot to be jazzed about in Apple products, but if there's any one thing that annoys me more than any other, it's that obnoxious weird proprietary 30-pin plug. Proprietary plugs should have stopped a decade ago.
posted by koeselitz at 12:05 AM on January 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


So it sounds like there's less emphasis on putting programs specifically in place at installation and more emphasis on a robust path-checking for possible libraries to load at runtime.

Mostly, you build the app and when you launch the app, it says to the system:

"I need to link /Library/Frameworks/Foo.framework."

The dynamic linker then attempts to load that. You can also put them in YourApp.app/Contents/Frameworks and tell the system:

"I need to link @executable_path/../Frameworks/Foo.framework."

In that case, dyld resolves @executable path and then the relative framework path. These are two examples. I do stress reading the dyld man page; it's a crazy world.

You're trading a tiny amount of program startup time (repeated many times, of course) for a huge savings in (one-time) installation time

It's not a big deal, no. System framework loading gets some optimization via update_dyld_shared_cache, which is run by Installer and Software Update. This tool generates/updates a shared cache for the dynamic linker, which reduces launch times significantly. It has a man page if you want to know more.

trading a certain amount of hard disk organization homogeneity across the userbase (and the stability that gives) for a less regimented and less explicit heterogeneity (which of course gives users more flexibility).

It's actually a mix of both. Users really never interact directly with framework bundles; the flexibility is there for developers to solve distribution/maintenance problems before users get bit by them.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:15 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


okay everyone back to arguing about stuff
posted by Mikey-San at 12:17 AM on January 28, 2010


So if I get it, OS X has a dynamic library system like Windows or GNU; it's just that most of the time, app makers put dynamic libaries inside their bundles, instead of in the equivalent of /usr/lib.

Mac OS X also has dylibs in /usr/lib; Darwin has its roots in the world of Unix, after all. Flexibility and power for developers, convenience for users (after the developers sweat the details).
posted by Mikey-San at 12:23 AM on January 28, 2010


Oh this is nice: it looks like Apple straight up stole the look and feel for iBooks from Delicious Library without so much as a thank-you.
posted by mullingitover at 12:27 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not the most amazing creative leap in the world that an app that revolves around storing a lot of books might use pictures of the book on a bookshelf as its user interface.

Shit, ask ten people to design book-collecting software, and nine of them will give you something that looks like that, I bet.
posted by rifflesby at 12:49 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nah, that is a pretty direct ripoff, not cool. Nine out of ten e-book apps are NOT using that interface.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:55 AM on January 28, 2010


Sorry, the more I look at the big unveiling of this thing, the more I cringe. I mean, the main display is just an overgrown iTouch...the icons are the same size, just spread out more.

It is basically an overgrown iPhone. Why introduce even more UI elements when the same ones work just fine and the user is already familiar with them? Do you think that they're spaced out too much, that this decreases the usability?

I get what you're saying because I thought a similarly when I first saw it, but when I thought about it, I couldn't come up with a good reason as to why it's bad.

And what about the rest of the interface? All the completely redesigned default apps? That's where most people are going to spend most of their time. What is so cringe inducing about them?
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 12:58 AM on January 28, 2010


It occurs to me that this thing was prototyped by a very ill Jobs laid up in a hospital bed.

That has all kinds of nifty implications.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:14 AM on January 28, 2010


rifflesby: "It's not the most amazing creative leap in the world that an app that revolves around storing a lot of books might use pictures of the book on a bookshelf as its user interface."

It's especially not creative or amazing when they hire up a bunch of talent from Delicious Monster before making that leap.
posted by mullingitover at 1:15 AM on January 28, 2010


I just don't desire it. no full os x, no multitasking, at&t, no camera. why do I need this? I read the nyt on my mbp or my iphone, I already do all the things it can (and I don't long for my books to be smaller, lighter and illegal to share). those 650 are going towards a new lens instead.

I have no doubt it'll do reasonably well but I am -at least for now- not getting one/it.
posted by krautland at 1:28 AM on January 28, 2010


Exploding Gutbuster wrote: "With that said, I think this device is a game changer. Personally, it's what I have wanted for five years. When nerding it up outside my office, a laptop is too clunky when surfing/reading. It's two surfaces stuck together at a 90 degree angle."

This is the device I've wanted for a lot longer than five years. I've been wanting something like this since 1996. Sadly, the software is completely unacceptable. I could deal with the UI meant for the terminally slow, but the lack of Flash, USB ports, multitasking, and non-AppStore applications tells me no effing way. It simply can't be my primary computing device, and that's what I'd want need something like this to be. :(

Also, something this portable demands a sunlight readable screen. And I'd rather have a resistive touchscreen. Something this portable also requires the ability to be used with gloves.
posted by wierdo at 2:31 AM on January 28, 2010


No, you addressed people who are happy about their macs that post about them being intuitive and awesome. I see you realize now that it was idiotic claim since you are pretending you didn't say it.
Well, let's go over what I said.
If people (1) are happy with Macs, good for them. But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it. And then on top of that you have this bizarre insistence that windows isn't annoying them because it's intrinsically wrong because for a lot of people (2), sadly, their attachment to their computer is like an important part of their personality, their own sense of self worth is tied up in having made a good consumer choice and they attack anyone one who disagrees with their ridiculous premises.

They need to get a life.
'People (1)' is a different group from 'People (2)'. I didn't say that all of the first group (people who like Macs) had just "a lot of people" -- a sub group of the first, but by no means a majority – had integrated their computer choices into their personality and felt the need to defend it.

Obviously people can interpret text differently, but I intended to talk about a subset of the first group and I think that's fairly obvious. In fact "a lot of people" wasn't even intended to indicate a majority of the first group or anything, just enough to post comments all over the place. Guys like Rory Marinich and others. Go read his comments if you want an example who's obvious obsessed with the comments. To suggest that those people don't exist is absurd.
So, er... what happens when you try to install a JRE2 program on OS X? Does OS X really come bundled with a copy of Java Runtime? And, if not, does every single JRE2 program really have to carry its own copy of Java Runtime? I have a feeling there must be a package manager running in OS X that does this, even if it's invisible and seamless.
I'm pretty sure Macs do come with JRE installed already. That said, if you think about it: with terabyte hard drives these days do you really need to still share libraries? Obviously it made a lot of sense when you were installing windows 3.1 on a 500mb hard drive. Things really would be a lot cleaner if every app had it's own copy of libraries, unless it's something really huge like the JRE.
posted by delmoi at 4:22 AM on January 28, 2010


Do people seriously believe all us iPhone users are unable to use our phones during the daylight? Where did this come from, some vampire show with product placement?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:23 AM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


If people are happy with Macs, good for them. But I find it obnoxious how they go on and on about how awesome and intuitive they are, when in fact it's just seems intuitive because they're used to it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:24 AM on January 28, 2010


And then on top of that
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:27 AM on January 28, 2010


I just don't desire it. no full os x

It has lots of apps in the App store. It just released a more powerful device with a large screen to run apps.

Large software companies with big programs (Microsoft and Adobe) should be freaking out and porting their apps to the store
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


That said, if you think about it: with terabyte hard drives these days do you really need to still share libraries?

Yes, for consistency. Otherwise, when a bug is fixed in some library, you have to patch every piece of software using it. Or you could end up with different versions of the same library in different packages, behaving in inconsistent ways and messing things up.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:41 AM on January 28, 2010


That said, if you think about it: with terabyte hard drives these days do you really need to still share libraries? Obviously it made a lot of sense when you were installing windows 3.1 on a 500mb hard drive.

Hard disk space isn't the real resource win with shared frameworks. When an application causes a framework image to be loaded into memory, that image's __TEXT segment (which contains the executable code of the framework) is loaded into a read-only region of memory. When another application that uses the framework is launched, the system need not load a second copy of the framework's executable code into a new memory location; the read-only nature of the executable pages means the segment can simply be mapped into the new process' virtual address space. Two apps, one copy.

There's another, less obvious, performance win lurking here. Because we're dealing with read-only pages, the kernel doesn't need to page them to disk when under memory pressure. Instead, the pages can be dumped and reloaded from the original framework image at a later point in time.

This doen't mean all applications should be installers that drop their frameworks into the system; each situation has its own reasonable requirements for distribution. Sometimes, it's a worthwhile win (large software suites, for example). Sometimes, it's not worth the effort.
posted by Mikey-San at 5:06 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I showed the pictures to my son - a 14 year old high schooler who would sooner do without his left leg than be without his iPod.
"It looks like an iPod for my grandmother. Does it come with a walker, too?"
And there you have it.


Even if he's right... so? He already has his iPod. What has Grandma had? The boomers are all hitting retirement age. They've been using computers half their working lives, they use the web for all sorts of things, but their eyesight isn't get any better.
posted by rory at 5:16 AM on January 28, 2010


The iPad is two times more expensive than it's Kindle/Nook competitors, you can't read it in daylight and it has DRM -- this is a tough one.

The Kindle has roughly 1/3rd the screen of an iPad, you can't get color or animation, and it has DRM. A 50% discount sounds about right.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:19 AM on January 28, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "It's silly to single out this "omission" on the iPhone when a perfectly servicable set of third-party alternatives exist."

Saying that being forced to use an FTP app to transfer a file rather than streaming it (or copying it) using a nice, integrated upnp or cifs interface is just silly. If this thing acted more like a computer, it would be ridiculously awesome. It could replace 90% of my computing needs. It would be this and a small cell phone. (Probably one of the smaller Nokia Eseries devices) No more laptop.

Instead it's like one of those steroid-laden cows we eat at McDonald's.

So close, it's painful!
posted by wierdo at 5:39 AM on January 28, 2010


I haven't seen any discussion of how the twitter account linked in the actual post turned out to be a hoaxer and just making stuff up.
posted by smackfu at 5:51 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Saying that being forced to use an FTP app to transfer a file rather than streaming it (or copying it) using a nice, integrated upnp or cifs interface is just silly.

So petition your NAS makers to write a standards-based client and put it up on the app store, if FTP or Bonjour or WebDAV protocols are not meeting your needs! Or write your own client! I'm writing a client to connect to Amazon's S3 service! These are not impossible problems!

Why is Apple obligated to write all the software for you when it gives you tools to do it? What are you waiting for?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:56 AM on January 28, 2010


"If you see something you like, tap it..." -Steve Jobs 10:50am
posted by gman at 5:57 AM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here's something I don't understand about this viewpoint. So you don't like the closed OS. Fair enough. So why not jailbreak and install whatever you want? Or port an open OS to the device? Because Apple won't give you tech support? If you're all about free software you should be used to relying on the community for tech support anyway.

I don't buy the Stallman and free software argument in general but it just 'clicked' this time when I was trying to figure out what was bothering me about the iPad. Rather than say "here, use our OS and our closed system model or figure out how to jailbreak and build everything on your own," I think a more reasonable approach is to offer a way to download and install any application. You don't get the AppStore distribution channel, maybe a big red warning on the first use and no technical support but the public API documentation and the basic compile toolkit but that's essentially what OSX is anyhow, isn't it?

Pointing to the jailbreak route as an alternative is misleading.
posted by tksh at 6:02 AM on January 28, 2010


I haven't seen any discussion of how the twitter account linked in the actual post turned out to be a hoaxer and just making stuff up.

Nobody reads the links, duh. Even I didn't and I posted the damn thing.
posted by mpbx at 6:05 AM on January 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


All my netbook does right now is give me a convenient coffee table computer, but I'm tired of opening it, hitting the power button, waiting for it to wake up, entering my windows XP password, and letting it settle down before I can get around to doing what I wanted to do with it.

Dude, install OS X on it instead of Windows.

My coffee table netbook went from sorta cute to actually useful when I switched to Ubuntu, and then from actually useful to really, really sweet when I switched to OS X.

Open the lid, instant on, go. I'm in yer threads snarking within a second or two.
posted by rokusan at 6:49 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stephen Fry's take on the iPad (he was at Steve Jobs' presentation and got to play with an iPad).
posted by Kattullus at 6:53 AM on January 28, 2010


I really hope someone sells a nice leather cover with words "Don't Panic" written in large friendly letters.
posted by device55 at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Pastabagel: "Knowing that other products on the market have similar features at the same or lower price point, what about you makes you want a product like this? What do you feel when you buy it? What do you imagine yourself doing with it? Who do you imagine seeing you with it? Where do you imagine yourself using it (not where will you use it, where do you imagine, or fantasize, yourself using it)? What does that place look like, the decor, the lighting etc."

Kattullus: "Stephen Fry's take on the iPad (he was at Steve Jobs' presentation and got to play with an iPad)."
You will see characters in movies use the iPad. Jack Bauer will want to return for another season of 24 just so he can download schematics and track vehicles on it. Bond will have one. Jason Bourne will have one. Some character, in a Tron like way, might even be trapped in one.
I think we might know Stephen Fry's answers!
posted by Drastic at 7:04 AM on January 28, 2010


"Yes, for consistency. Otherwise, when a bug is fixed in some library, you have to patch every piece of software using it. Or you could end up with different versions of the same library in different packages, behaving in inconsistent ways and messing things up."

More than this, when you have a security flaw and don't know which apps use their own copy of the library, you have a huge issue. Commercial vendors may not even exist any more to patch it.
posted by jaduncan at 7:10 AM on January 28, 2010


In comparison to Stephen Fry's fawning, here's what Tim Bray(wikipedia) had to say :
Compared to my laptop, the iPad lacks a keyboard, software development tools, writers’ tools, photographers’ tools, a Web server, a camera, a useful row of connectors for different sorts of wires, and the ability to run whatever software I choose. Compared to my Android phone, it lacks a phone, a camera, pocketability, and the ability to run whatever software I choose. Compared to the iPad, my phone lacks book-reading capability, performance, and screen real-estate. Compared to the iPad, my computer lacks a touch interface and suffers from excessive weight and bulk.

It’s probably a pretty sweet tool for consuming media, even given the unfortunate 4:3 aspect ratio. And consuming media is obviously a big deal for a whole lot of people.

For creative people, this device is nothing.
posted by delmoi at 7:12 AM on January 28, 2010


(of course the device actually does have a document editor and art software. People probably will write interesting creative apps for it just like they have with the iPhone.)
posted by delmoi at 7:13 AM on January 28, 2010


Stephen Fry's take on the iPad (he was at Steve Jobs' presentation and got to play with an iPad).

He has totally crossed over into gushing fanboy in that post.
posted by smackfu at 7:15 AM on January 28, 2010


Rory Marinich: When I want to open up, say, the Internet, I don't just push the Internet button.

My goodness. When a posts starts with such earnest misinformed stupidity, it's hard to rise from there. Personally, I've never quite groked the appeal of reading raw IPv4/6 packets. I'd much rather read web pages, read my mail, play a game, send and instant message, or open a file on my server.

If I have a hundred apps, scrolling, looking for the name, takes time.

I'm struggling to understand how this is magically changed by multi-touch, and it certainly seems that the current direction of iPhone/iPod Touch application development involves a whole mess of little applications for every little service.

Of course, both Windows 7 and OS X come with the ability to search for both documents and content, anything that's not on the dock can be found with a handful of keystrokes.

Are you related to ANYBODY over the age of fifty?

With two exceptions, everyone I know over the age of 50 have fully adopted those computer interfaces. They are writing newsletters, editing video, constructing family trees, composing music, and attending distance-education events.

But more importantly, it doesn't make all my files into little windows and have me drag them around places. It sorts them by name or by filetype, and I flick along them and find what I want.

I'm currently working on 6 projects that have over 400 files each, many of which have standardized filenames across projects. Here is where you get the speech that everyone who doesn't have a clue about content management gets. Folders are metadata. Metadata is a good thing. There is little semantically different from putting files into folder named "project 156" than there is in making a playlist or sorting your tunes by albums.

Never mind that the new thing is radically better. We learned the old system!

You do realize that the exact same things were said about the operating systems you disdain 25 years ago?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:28 AM on January 28, 2010


PlugPlayer:

Finally, a simple way to use your existing UPnP™/DLNA® software and devices from your Apple iPhone™ or iPod® touch. Introducing PlugPlayer, an application to stream music from UPnP™/DLNA® media servers or control UPnP™/DLNA® media renderers - all from the palm of your hand.

Looks like all the teeth gnashing over NAS can come to a halt. Stream away.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:31 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I realize this thread is mostly for those who care about portable computing devices, so I don't know how to say this without sounding snarkish or trollish, but there are billions of people who will not be buying this gadget.

There are also hundreds of millions of Western computer users who could afford to but an iPad, but who are satisfied with having a computer at home and a computer at work.

We might carry a small cellphone for emergencies, but in a coffee shop you will see us talking to a friend or reading a book or magazine. I sincerely do not feel superior to all the tech fans here; if anything, I feel a little disconnected with my fellow intellectuals in the 21st century due to my lack of computing knowledge.
posted by kozad at 7:35 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


He has totally crossed over into gushing fanboy in that post.

yeah, much as I love the guy, this was a tweet of his from macworld. like everyone else, he is welcome to his fanboyism, but damn.
posted by shmegegge at 7:35 AM on January 28, 2010


Five years ago, if someone had told me that my parents would be doing more digital photography and video than me, I would have laughed. And yet, there they are.

And really, I find it telling that the people praising the benefits of locked-down and limited computing devices are people who are power-users of one or more other systems.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:42 AM on January 28, 2010


I'm going to chip in and say that anybody who doesn't like to watch iRory spin the limitations of the iPad probably also doesn't appreciate kittens.

With that said, I'm guessing that Apple's brilliant transformation into a media distribution company is going to make them a lot of money.
posted by seventyfour at 7:49 AM on January 28, 2010


Comics by comiXology concept
posted by Artw at 7:54 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The iPad is a computer for people who hate computers. It lets you do stuff you'd do on the computer (communicate, learn, consume media--not even just "read email" or "surf the web" or "use iTunes") without a computer interface in the way. People who are arguing about how the file system works or the technical details of installing are missing the point of the iPad: this computer may be for you to develop for but not necessarily to use.

I think Steve Jobs saw Star Trek at a formative age and decided that's how computers should work. Captain Kirk says, "Computer, set a course for Starbase Nine" and the computer does it. Now we have GPS on our iPhones that we can talk to, and Jobs had the vision to make that happen. Captain Kirk doesn't care about file systems. To him, using the computer is like turning on the light is to us. You don't have to understand the details of how your house wiring works to use electrical devices, either.

Nobody in Star Trek uses keyboard computers in their spare time. They talk or touch. Keyboard-type things are for work. And if you can look at the 90s-era Star Trek designs with the glass fronts and not see the forerunner of the iPhone and iPad, you're not looking very hard.

The closed architecture and the proprietary USB cable aren't because Steve Jobs hates you; it's because he's designing for people who have different needs. He wants a skinny tablet and a standard USB cable doesn't work, and his design is more important to the device he wants to build than allowing users not in his target market to use it with any USB peripheral they own. With the iPhone, he doesn't even seem to care if people jailbreak it as long as they don't whine to Apple for tech support afterwards. I don't think he hates nerds; they're his software designers. But for the iPhone and the iPad, they're just not his target consumer audience.

I'm not in the target consumer audience for this device either as it stands. I like things I can do with my Mac too well to give it up for a machine like this and it doesn't offer enough advantages over my iPhone (and has some significant disadvantages over the phone, like "no phone") to make it worthwhile for portable use. But I know people who'll be really happy with this thing and I wish them much enjoyment of it.

Most of us are computer nerds here. A computer for people who hate computers isn't going to appeal to people who like them.
posted by immlass at 7:54 AM on January 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm excited about the possibilities for this and, more importantly, what it will develop into.

A few random points:

My gf & I are currently renovating & the kitchen is the big thing. I've been making semi-serious jokes about having one of those door or flip down screens to watch TV. Now I can have a stand/mount with protection & slip an iPad in. And use it to access recipes. (I've done both the above with a 13" MacBook Pro but it's more cumbersome.)

We could share the screen to look at magazines, web etc. (nobody seems to have picked up on the wide-viewing angle) and prod & poke away far more easily than sharing a keyboard/mousepad.

I can see it being used as a home media access/control device (which I use my iPhone for but the extra screen space would make it far better) and shared by the householders...until fights break out and they end up getting more.

At its most basic, an electronic picture frame (with video) whilst it's charging. You can actually see all of the pictures you've taken.

My gf's Dad owns a pub. He has a creaky laptop in the back room which he uses to
a) play music
b) find out sports broadcast details
c) randomly web surf

He knows nothing of the random updates that pop up or why strange things happen. His computer knowledge is about 5/100.

I get a feeling the iPad could be a major improvement for him. He, like may people, like things that get on with doing something simply without having to worry about why & how.

My friend works for a book publishing company and is working on a bird book. 3G. Out looking for birds. Map. Updates. Join the dots...

I think that there are a lot of developers rubbing their hands at the major possibilities this kind of device offers.

Ultimately, it's the closest we've got to digital, multimedia paper. I'm not going to gush or lambast but I am going to remain very interested. The music possibilities alone look like a lorra, lorra fun...
posted by i_cola at 8:07 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


immlass: The iPad is a computer for people who hate computers.

Practically everyone I know who started off hating computers ended up finding new, creative, and novel uses for computers that I never anticipated.

And in contrast, people who hate computers because they are rebounding from a torrid love affair with them seem to love the idea of restricted devices, as long as they can cheat with their office system now and then.

In regards to package managers: There are two big advantages to the Apple method of shipping everything in a file hierarchy.

First, I've managed to screw up both FreeBSD and Linux systems through packaged upgrades creating dependency or configuration hell. The latest edition involved sound not working because we chose the wrong option on the Ubuntu upgrade script and the audio driver was no longer compatible with the kernel. Thankfully, a number of other people had the same problem so it was a reasonably well-documented bug.

Another advantage is that many applications can be run from a personal directory or a keychain device without touching the system applications directory at all.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:20 AM on January 28, 2010


Mad TV got there first
posted by homunculus at 8:34 AM on January 28, 2010


Another advantage is that many applications can be run from a personal directory or a keychain device without touching the system applications directory at all.

Apple at one point had a problem with people connecting their ipods to in-store apples and copying the whole application directory to get the latest versions of all their software.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on January 28, 2010


And in contrast, people who hate computers because they are rebounding from a torrid love affair with them seem to love the idea of restricted devices, as long as they can cheat with their office system now and then.

The reason I was comfortable switching from Windows to OSX is that it's NOT locked down. The BSD guts and all the programming/scripting tools were very appealing to me. If they tried to turn the regular Mac line into iphones, I would probably dump OSX for some flavor of Linux or Android.
posted by empath at 8:43 AM on January 28, 2010


I definitely see the potential here, but it's not Jesus Phone potential.

Of course not, it's the Moses Tablet™.
posted by mazola at 8:51 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


First of all, I agree it is a great device. If you are sure you're going to buy an ereader, this might be sort of a slam dunk, depending on how the DRM, portability, and compatability work.

But Apple hyped this as literally the greatest device they had ever worked on. Let's say that again. Apple hyped this as literally the greatest device they had ever worked on. And in that context this device is sort of a turd. IPod/iTunes filled a massive need in the electronic media landscape and forced the music industry to change course at a time where they were suing everyone who tried any sort of change at all. The iPhone led the way in terms of making smartphones a powerful tool of the masses, rather than the all business Blackberry or the clunkwear Palm/WinMo phones. I didn't want either of those, mainly because I hate the Apple sandbox, but it was easy to see them as game changers.

But if the iPad is going to be a full featured media pad which is the greatest device they had ever worked on, it needs to have more of the obvious features. Like these -

- It needs to plug into my home theator and be a networked media hub.
- Anything on my DVR/PVR needs to be on my iPad.
- It needs to be a next gen gaming platform. Not just a larger screen for iPhone games.
- It needs to play my DVDs and Blueray discs.
- It needs to have Netflix or something on that scale built in.
- Flash, networking, HDMI, multi-tasking etc, all need to work.
- Plenty of storage. (seriously? 16GB? That's a toy. My Droid does 32GB.)
- A camera for video phone calls. GPS for socail apps.
- Direct USB connectivity for cameras, printers, etc.

Those seem obvious given the hype. And that doesn't touch the usual suspects of Apple deal breakers like no access to the battery.

The final straw for me is that all of those obvious features are already available on tablet computers, with many of them having a full keyboard as well. Yes, the iPad is lighter and the battery lasts longer. But that doesn't make it the greatest thing Apple every worked on. Hell, my Droid already does averything thing the iPad does, it's just smaller.

Bottomline - This is a great device, but it's just a bigger iPod Touch. If I needed a dedicated ereader I'd likely buy one. But since I can do all it does and more on a tablet, it would make more sense to just buy a new laptop/tablet. The iPad is either too big and I'd rather carry a smart phone, or it's too short on features and I'd rather carry a laptop.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:54 AM on January 28, 2010


Apparently there is USB.
posted by empath at 9:01 AM on January 28, 2010


The iPad is the Sarah Palin of tablet computers.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2010


Comics by comiXology concept

Okay, they missed the most obvious navigation method: swiping the pages to turn them. And what's with all the buttons to zoom? Why not pinch-zoom? Seems like it could be much easier and less frustrating to use if they just used the obvious multi-touch ideas.

If they want it to work on non-multitouch systems, they could still use the finger swipe to navigate, and then have a zoom bar somewhere else on the screen.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 AM on January 28, 2010


"Apparently there is USB."

"Camera Connection Kit" != USB

If it had USB the specs would say USB. Look under the input specs.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:15 AM on January 28, 2010


Hell, my Droid already does averything thing the iPad does, it's just smaller.

Your Droid can run apps from the App Store?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:19 AM on January 28, 2010


Your Droid can run apps from the App Store?

Blazecock, you keep coming back to debating whether Turing completeness means something or not. The Droid runs apps from the app store the same way the iPhone supports accessing files on NAS devices.
posted by GuyZero at 9:25 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Camera Connection Kit" != USB

If it had USB the specs would say USB. Look under the input specs.


Assuming that you don't need to buy a special camera for it, if you can plug the camera into a USB port, it has to support USB.
posted by empath at 9:32 AM on January 28, 2010


Stephen Fry's take on the iPad (he was at Steve Jobs' presentation and got to play with an iPad).

He has totally crossed over into gushing fanboy in that post.


That reads more like a giddy shareholder. Does anyone know if he is one?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on January 28, 2010


Really, it just has to support USB cameras.
posted by smackfu at 9:36 AM on January 28, 2010


From Onion News:

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard.
posted by seventyfour at 9:38 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


This would be really fun in the kitchen for following recipes.
posted by gatsby died at 9:43 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get excited over just about every new bit of shiny for the first five minutes after using it. Which is why I usually consider things over five days or so.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:43 AM on January 28, 2010


The Droid runs apps from the app store the same way the iPhone supports accessing files on NAS devices.

So: Droids run apps from the App Store?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 AM on January 28, 2010


The iPad is the perfect size for curling up in bed and posting short snark to MeFi, so it should be about perfect for most of you.

BTW, Penny Arcade about sums up this thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 AM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Burhanistan: That reads more like a giddy shareholder. Does anyone know if he is one?

From Fry's blogpost: "No, I don’t have shares in Apple. I came so close to buying some as an act of defensive defiance in the early 90s when every industry insider and expert in the field agreed that Apple had six months to go before going bust. But I didn’t. If I had done I could now afford to buy you all an iPad."
posted by Kattullus at 9:48 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


BTW, Penny Arcade about sums up this thread.

Holy shit is that spooky.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:52 AM on January 28, 2010


Cupcakes are dumb.
posted by mazola at 9:52 AM on January 28, 2010


Good Grief Blazecock, he meant that it had the same basic features and functionality. And yes, once I complete my iPhone emulator for Android, it will run apps from the Capital-A App Capital-S Store. My Droid already run C64 apps and NES games so it's just a question of engineering effort.
posted by GuyZero at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fry just got caught up in the RDF. He was on-site, he heard the words from Steve's mouth, he believed.

It's kind of like the total crazy that you see in the iPad promo video. If you haven't watched that, I highly suggest it for humor value.

The iPad is the perfect size for curling up in bed and posting short snark to MeFi, so it should be about perfect for most of you.

Actually it seems like it would be weird to type like that. Which is a good thing for MeFi.
posted by smackfu at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2010


Cupcakes are dumb.

Take that trollish crap to Metatalk, commie.
posted by bondcliff at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good Grief Blazecock, he meant that it had the same basic features and functionality.

Considering that neither a Droid nor an iPhone/iPod/iPad does much without its respective suite of applications, and that such a comparison is therefore unequal, I'll ask again to drive the point home into thick skulls: Do Droids run apps from the Capital-A App Capital-S Store? It's a simple yes or no.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:58 AM on January 28, 2010


I'll ask again to drive the point home into thick skulls: Do Droids run apps from the Capital-A App Capital-S Store? It's a simple yes or no.

Don't be fatuous, Blazecock.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:00 AM on January 28, 2010


Your Droid can run apps from the App Store?

BP, you keep saying that "there's an App for that." You've said it to counter various problems doing things that other actual computers already do in more standard ways, and you've said it as a selling point for the device. I have to confess that I don't understand your reasoning. Yes, I see that there are a lot of people just hating for the point of hating, but I really think the objections folks are raising about how limited this is as a platform are not being disingenuous. And I can't really see a defense of this as a non-limited platform. That doesn't mean there's nothing to defend. It's a cool little gadget! There will be a lot of kind of amazing single serving apps that get written for it, that are already written for the iPhone, and that will be thrilling. That isn't, however, the same thing as this being a robust and full-featured device.

I understand that there are all sorts of trade-offs imposed by form, basic functioning, and design choices. I think everyone who is taking this conversation seriously also understands that. However, I think a lot of my own disappointment is that Apple decided to put their business model at the forefront of decisions about how to have their device structured, and what's clear is that their business model has them controlling more and more of what their consumers can do and watch and listen to. That isn't the worst thing in the world, but I also think we should be honest about it, and the limitations it produces.

Also, and this is frankly probably closer to my gut, I'm disappointed by what this thing can't do. I want to go to the future also, with the coolest fucking touch-screen tablet ever messed with in a movie or a book. I really wanted this to be that tablet. But those tablets are partially cool because they do every fucking thing. This does not. It's too limited, it has someone else's finger prints too indelibly all over it.

Another way to think about this is in terms of the evolution in devices, of computing. That angle has been taken up by some here, but frankly, if this is the future of computing, it feels shitty. The things that make the iPhone a cool smartphone also make it a crappy computer. Sure, it's elegant, but so is a MacBook, and if I had to choose one it would be the MacBook. This thing (I really don't like iPad as a name) tries to make the iPhone bigger rather than the MacBook smaller, and for a lot of the reasons enumerated in this thread, that doesn't really excite me as the future of computing. It's really hard not to see in this device Apple's desire to control computing through controlling our fundamental interactions with computers, rather than by presenting a better product with which to undertake those interactions. I want a better product, not one that further restricts what I can and cannot do.

The only computers I've ever owned (as myself) are Apples. My family had an Atari 800, and an early IBM PC, but I've only ever owned Macs, and I have loved them. One of the reasons I've loved them is because I've felt that the finder, for all it's flaws, made it easier to manipulate my content than Windows did. This device does not do that, in fact, it takes away functionality that I've become accustomed to, without replacing it with anything better. I really want to want this, but it actually makes me kind of sad/mad instead.
posted by OmieWise at 10:00 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Capital A for something else then.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:02 AM on January 28, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: "PlugPlayer:

Finally, a simple way to use your existing UPnP™/DLNA® software and devices from your Apple iPhone™ or iPod® touch. Introducing PlugPlayer, an application to stream music from UPnP™/DLNA® media servers or control UPnP™/DLNA® media renderers - all from the palm of your hand.

Looks like all the teeth gnashing over NAS can come to a halt. Stream away.
"

mean rating for Plugplayer is 2 stars, with the median and mode being one star. Plus it only supports about 10 "streaming media servers" (which aren't NASes of the type everyone else is talking about).

I think people are allowed to be critical of missing functionality (like accessing network shares in a standard cifs/nfs way, which OS X can already do) without being constantly misrepresented or talked past. Its certainly not just being contrary for the sake of it.

that said, I think the iPad is another step towards Apple's walled garden, and would have very much prefered something running full-featured OS X.
posted by grandsham at 10:04 AM on January 28, 2010


I'll ask again to drive the point home

Why don't you just say what you're trying to say instead of being a passive-aggressive dick about it? I'll just continue to give equally stupid answers and never manage to figure out whatever your point is.
posted by GuyZero at 10:07 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I see that there are a lot of people just hating for the point of hating

That's about 95% of this thread, definitely.

I really think the objections folks are raising about how limited this is as a platform are not being disingenuous

A number of the limitations are addressed by developers who are writing apps or who have already bridged the gap between a stock device and the functionality people need.

It is telling that as soon as one objection is invalidated by the existence of a perfectly fine solution, a completely unrelated objection is raised.

Some advice: If you want your complaints taken seriously by honest people in a position to make useful things, complaining for the sake of complaining is not a great way to go about the changes you want to see.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:10 AM on January 28, 2010


Practically everyone I know who started off hating computers ended up finding new, creative, and novel uses for computers that I never anticipated.

This is why I'm really interested in seeing what the new, creative, and novel uses for the iPad that I never anticipated will be. There's a lot of complaining in this thread about what this device doesn't do. If people stop thinking about it as a defective laptop and start thinking about it as a consumer electronics device that can do different things to what laptops do, they'll be on the right road.

I never would have guessed my phone would turn out to be a great casual games platform but it is. I never would have guessed my phone would transform my grocery shopping experience because I can make a list at home and my husband can have it at work at the same time. I never guessed my phone would substitute for my white noise generator and my camera when I travel. I never guessed my phone would save the day when the KJ didn't have the song she promised she would in karaoke league finals. But all that happened!

There's no compelling use case for me to buy an iPad right now. Talk to me in six months or a year when people have started doing things with it and I may feel differently.
posted by immlass at 10:10 AM on January 28, 2010


From b3ta.com

"The amount of journalist-spaff this so called aspirational piece of fucknuggetry has generated
beggars belief. The papers are sopping in free advertising for what boils down to another bit of unnecessary touch-screen wanksorcery.

I just wish my kitchen light would stop flickering."
posted by lalochezia at 10:11 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see that there are a lot of people just hating for the point of hating

Steve Jobs started it!
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on January 28, 2010


I just wish my kitchen light would stop flickering

Screw the bulb in all the way you idiot.

The more you know
===============✩
posted by shakespeherian at 10:15 AM on January 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Do Droids run apps from the Capital-A App Capital-S Store?

No.

Do iPhones run apps from Android's Marketplace, you pedantic person, you?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why don't you just say what you're trying to say instead of being a passive-aggressive dick about it?

I already did, namely that Droids are not iPhones (and vice versa). No passive-aggressivity was used in making that point. The fact that you would not simply say yes or no despite understanding this is more than enough to convince me you're being obstinate and thick-headed about an unpleasant answer.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2010


Now, now, I think one thing we can all agree on is that everyone in here is being obstinate and thick-headed.
posted by smackfu at 10:18 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're all waiting to learn what Andrew Sullivan thinks, yes?

My own take is underwhelmed.

If newspapers and magazines were hoping for a miracle, it seems to me they were let down. Jobs barely mentioned them. As an e-Book reader, the iPad lacks the smaller size of the Kindle, and it just doesn't look to me as if it's something you can easily hold in your hands and read. Maybe I'll change my mind when I actually get to use one. It's very hard to tell from a distance.

Then there's the real problem: AT&T. I've found the reliability of my iPhone beyond frustrating. One out of three calls gets dropped even in a well-served metropolitan area. And if I really want to browse the web, I've learned that the iPhone is by far the least efficient way of doing so. Everything takes an age to load even on 3G; it feels like dial-up AOL much of the time. It's fine for quick catch-ups on email and some of the apps are way cool. But this does indeed look like a big iTouch.

I want one, of course. But I'm pretty sure I don't need one.

posted by Joe Beese at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now, now, I think one thing we can all agree on is that everyone in here is being obstinate and thick-headed.

Another point of mutual agreement: This long thread would probably hose the iPad's browser.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2010


A number of the limitations are addressed by developers who are writing apps or who have already bridged the gap between a stock device and the functionality people need.

It is telling that as soon as one objection is invalidated by the existence of a perfectly fine solution, a completely unrelated objection is raised.


Look, I kind of think you're being disingenuous, and I think you're countering a perceived failure to give this thing a fair shake with your own unfairness.

Having a bunch of separate apps, more especially, needing a bunch of apps, to do things for which there are already accepted and standardized solutions does not indicate that a given device is not limited by the initial omission. This also addresses your second point, which is that your completely unrelated objections are actually all related by being accepted parts of how modern computers basically work. I don't see the people actually engaging in this conversation with you, as opposed to dropping in for a drive-by, as disrespecting Apple or you. I'm glad you're taking the position you're taking, because I value your insight, but I wish that when you got your backup you would give other people the benefit of the doubt. I think it would help out all around.
posted by OmieWise at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2010


A number of the limitations are addressed by developers who are writing apps or who have already bridged the gap between a stock device and the functionality people need.

So: yes, but.

Yes, there's a very, very robust developer ecosystem for iPhone OS devices. There are legitimate criticisms about the openness of this platform, but for commercial purposes it's open enough. And yes, this ecosystem ends up fulfilling the needs of nearly all users who want to do something not supported by the stock OS. Also, this is hardly unique to the iPhone OS and if we were to compare to Android while there are quantitatively fewer Android apps there's also a lot of chaff in the iPhone app store that inflates its numbers.

But. The existence of a development platform does not preclude criticism, in the critical theory sense, of the platform itself. If we simply said "there's an app for that" every time, we'd still be on MS-DOS 1.0. There are features that people have to install custom firmware ("jailbreak") in order to access. There are lots of features that become significantly easier to use and more broadly accessible if they're in the platform and accessible across all apps instead of being isolated in a single app.

I think it's a legit criticism that a the iPad can't mount drives the way a desktop can. Now, if I were actually the iPad PM it would probably be so low on my priority list that it would ship in the rev 3 product, or possibly never as it fundamentally conflicts with ease-of-use requirements.

I'd prefer to pretend the people making dumb comments are trying to have a real discussion on the merits of the platform and the product as opposed to saying everyone's a hater and dismissing what can be a perfectly fine conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of the device.

Also: Steve Jobs did a great job of discussing the device's strengths which is why conversations here tend to gravitate to the weaknesses.
posted by GuyZero at 10:24 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another point of mutual agreement: This long thread would probably hose the iPad's browser.

I doubt it. I read it fine on various Android devices.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 AM on January 28, 2010


The thread has not yet begun to lengthen!
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on January 28, 2010


Plus it only supports about 10 "streaming media servers" (which aren't NASes of the type everyone else is talking about).

Come on, that statement is not even close to being true.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:27 AM on January 28, 2010


The fact that you would not simply say yes or no despite understanding this is more than enough to convince me you're being obstinate and thick-headed about an unpleasant answer.

They both run third-party apps! Who cares what the various walled-garden stores are called? I don't think the apps in Apple's App Store are any inherently better than the ones in the Android Marketplace or the Palm Store (or whatever they call it). I really don't understand your point at all - they all run third-party apps and thanks to the miracle of emulation and all being roughly equivalent hardware, in theory they could all run each other's apps.
posted by GuyZero at 10:29 AM on January 28, 2010


Assuming that you don't need to buy a special camera for it, if you can plug the camera into a USB port, it has to support USB.

Which just makes the design choice to use the god-awful iPod connector even more baffling. Why not join the rest of the world and use a microusb port? I mean, it not like there aren't third party iPod-compatible cable and accessory makers out there. Why incur the extra cost of a bigger port and make thinks harder for your customer base? I don't geddit.
posted by bonehead at 10:30 AM on January 28, 2010


I'm pretty sure Apple charges money for manufacturers to use their proprietary connector.
posted by GuyZero at 10:34 AM on January 28, 2010


Also, sorry for calling you a dick Blazecock. I think you were being passive-aggressive, but namecalling is poor form. My apologies.
posted by GuyZero at 10:35 AM on January 28, 2010


Which, to claim the higher middle-ground here between the swamp of reflexive Apple-hate and the chasm of evangelical nonsense, I do think this will change a lot. The Macintosh wasn't the first but it was the first to combine both the personal-computer form and user interface enhancements. The same is true of the iPod and the iPhone. The isn't the first tablet, but the combination of the form factor with an operating system that's very popular for portable devices certainly suggests multiple applications.

In terms of replacing laptops and desktops. I don't think multi-touch is ergonomically the way to go. Comfortable distance for my eyesight is a good arm stretch. I'd put my bets on spacial gestures or wands over touch-screens, and if anything is going to replace the keyboard, I'd put my bets on improvement in speech recognition and language-learning programs. I suspect that improvements in storage will make it possible to have dictionaries and phrasebooks that include every word printed and published in the last decade.

immlass: If people stop thinking about it as a defective laptop and start thinking about it as a consumer electronics device that can do different things to what laptops do, they'll be on the right road.

Certainly. I'm responding to the evangelism which says that the innovations for the iPad will revolutionize laptop and desktop computing. When I see them as two very different problem domains.

And in some cases, it probably will. When my mother worked as a home-health-care nurse, she rebooted a ruggedized laptop at every stop and synched the data via modem at the start and end of every shift. A handheld device with long battery life and practically ubiquitous data is arguably a better fit for that task. Laptops are a pain in the ass for labs and fieldwork, and I strongly suspect that we'll see vehicle mounts for these things as well.

Blazecock Pileon: A number of the limitations are addressed by developers who are writing apps or who have already bridged the gap between a stock device and the functionality people need.

"There are developers working on that" is one of the reasons why desktop Linux never broke out of the geek community. Stallman can rant about free software until he's blue in the face, but the market seems to be more than willing to shell out cash for products and features available now as opposed to vaporware that's perpetually in development.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:38 AM on January 28, 2010


Plus it only supports about 10 "streaming media servers" (which aren't NASes of the type everyone else is talking about).

Actually, any NAS that runs TwonkyMedia as mine does could stream to this app. Lots of NAS products run some variant of linux and it's relatively easy to offer DLNA/UPnP streams. Hunh. I see that iPods are even mentioned on the product page.

This is what I would term minimally useful though. It can act as a music and video stream client, then, but not really as a true content viewer. Like I said above, it's for consuming media only; you can't modify the stream and save it back to the source with DNLA. I'm not even sure you could make custom playlists with it, except on the device itself, ie you can't save the playlist back to the NAS---there's no two--way capability. DNLA is made to work on minimally capable TVs after all. It's not a replacement for real nfs access.
posted by bonehead at 10:43 AM on January 28, 2010


you can't modify the stream and save it back to the source

*face palm*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 AM on January 28, 2010


"if you can plug the camera into a USB port, it has to support USB."

You do understand that it doesn't have a USB port right? As in, there is literally no place on it to plug in a USB cord, mini or otherwise. Ditto HDMI, firewire, ethernet, etc. It's a dedicated media device that refuses to play nice with others. In fact it seems to be designed as a statement that other media devices have never existed. Your TV? iPad claims it doesn't exist. Your camcorder with the firewire cable? A lie. Me: "Hi massive electronics store person. Do you have any cameras that I can plug directly into my cutting edge media player?" Salesperson: "Ummmm........ No......"

Look, the iPod looks great. If you want a really big iPod Touch, it's perfect. I'm sure many of them will sell, and people will love them. Personally I won't travel without a smartphone and a laptop, and I think most of us here are the same. Adding a third device I'll need to carry that combines features of those would be a bit silly in my opinion.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:06 AM on January 28, 2010


You know, thinking about this last night, one of the main things that bugs me about this is the target market and what effects this will have on them.

My nieces and nephews are going to want these so, so badly and I would be very surprised if some of the older ones get iPads in the near future. No parent can truly resist a persistent preteen. Do you remember howyou wanted a computer at 10 or 11?

What did your harrased parents finally buy? A Mac, a PC? Or something odder---mine was a TI99/4A. We had a sidebus that expanded several feet. But, the other thing we had was a Forth cartridge (I know, TI couldn't decide if they were copying IBM or Atari), dad insisted on it. Soon the games were less important (graphics were crappy, you understand), and my brothers and I spent much of our time figuring out how to write how much each of us smelled on the monitor. The point being that most of our first computers came with a language kids could play with and was a reasonably welcoming programming environment that encouraged constructive play.

The iPad is the latest and greatest in a string of very successful products for consumers, iPods, iPhones, etc..., but none of them come with a scripting interface like AppleScript or GW Basic. My nieces and nephews aren't going to spend their time learning to put together HyperCard programs, they're going to learn to passively watch videos, listen to music or play (other people's) games. There's no opportunity for constructive play with, say, a javascript development environment. How cool would that be for a kid, a javascript engine on the iPad that they could make custom apps with? That was a first-class, even a featured part of the OS the way GW Basic and AppleScript were on DOS and Macs.

Yeah sure, the apps would all be for making fart noises, but that's what it's all about at first. By the time I'd finished HS, I'd already written half-a-dozen games and even made decent headway on a statistical analysis package (summer job).

So I wonder, where is the generation of kids of kids who get these as first computers going to learn to scratch those constructive itches? Kid's love to build stuff, that's not what I'm worried about. But they won't learn to play/build/make with computers, at least not with Apple devices like these.
posted by bonehead at 11:07 AM on January 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


*face palm*

What? Am I wrong? Does DLNA allow one to transfer back to a source? I thought it was all one way? It's basically a protocol for a smart remote control, isn't it? That's nice, but it's not what I really want, is it?
posted by bonehead at 11:09 AM on January 28, 2010


Blazecock is tired of having to correct everyone who is vaguely ambiguous or self-contradictory on the internet.

You said:
It can act as a music and video stream client, then, but not really as a true content viewer.

If it streams from server to client, then by definition it's a content viewer protocol. Maybe you want something different, but interpreted literally your sentence is contradictory.

BP gets very upset when people keep moving the goalposts for when the iPad will satisfy them. People say they need X, he demonstrates it has X, then people say "no, it also needs to do Y".

Whatever. People aren't here to the combination of self-psychoanalysis and time&motion required for a full requirements doc. They decide they don't like it and then they pick a reason, not the other way around.

What's really puzzling is why I keep posting. I think I need a doctor.
posted by GuyZero at 11:14 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"My nieces and nephews are going to want these so, so badly and I would be very surprised if some of the older ones get iPads in the near future."

Keep in mind the additional $30 per month for a data connection. I suspect parents will tell the kids they need to choose between a smartphone data plan or an iPad data plan. And it's a safe bet the much of the iPad only content will have it's own subscription fees.

The only new thing the iPad beings to the table is new revenue streams.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:16 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


mullingitover: "I'm gonna make the prediction now: before Apple can release the next rev, there will be better-spec'd Android hardware. The N1 already has a 1ghz proc, and at the moment I'd take Notion Ink's upcoming Android tablet in a heartbeat (especially with that sexy Pixel Qi display, *swoon*)."

Thanks! I am sooo looking forward to a real tablet, but I just am disappointed by apple's offering. I was excited about Crunchpad, but when Fusion Garage kinda dicked him over (whether they legally had the *right* to do so, doesn't concern me -- it was a dick move on their end, and in that case, I refuse to buy the "JooJoo")

I was happy with the price, but without multitasking I'm out. I also would like a "real" OS. I have no need for 3Gs, I don't use a cellphone, much. And I don't need to "always be connected" I want to go to a coffee shop and surf. Maybe write some simple stuff. I wanna lounge around on a couch and surf. That's all. Open is important, and flash. I like youtube occasionally.
posted by symbioid at 11:18 AM on January 28, 2010


If this iPad thingy can open MetaFilter, well that takes care of about 85% of my computing needs right there.
posted by mazola at 11:22 AM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


...People keep moving the goalposts for when the iPad will satisfy them. People say they need X, he demonstrates it has X, then people say "no, it also needs to do Y".


Fair enough, but that's not the process I'm going through here, nor, I suspect is it true of many of the other posters in the thread.

We all have mental models of what we (think we) want in a device. What I'm doing, and what I think most of the other people in this thread are doing is trying to has through the information available and work out if this is something we want. It isn't a binary process, which is how BP seems to me to see it. There are levels of fitness. Nothing is perfect.

This is a great looking little device, but it's got flaws, missing features and compromises like any other product. It's got a marketing strategy behind it that presumes certain behaviour patterns. All of those are worth discussing. Some of these things are going to be game killers from some, some are going to be, "eh, why the heck did they do that reactions".

A lot of us in this thread wanted something much more like a Macbook with a touch screen, than a big iPod. y6y6y6 says this above: Personally I won't travel without a smartphone and a laptop, and I think most of us here are the same. Adding a third device I'll need to carry that combines features of those would be a bit silly in my opinion. that's basically my feeling about this to. Questions about USB and nfs connectivity were simply my way of winkling through the process. It turns out that while it is actually possible to do some of the stuff I want, stream music and videos, it's not possible to do stuff I think is equally important, access documents, store pictures and such. It's not a binary, it's a continuum.

this thread has really helped me understand how this thing works, if I want one or not, and if I should support getting one for the kiddies. It's not about me condemning Apple out of hand, nor making personal attacks. It's a process of inquiry, not scoring points.

I'm sorry if this offends. It's just the way I'm built, that's all.
posted by bonehead at 11:27 AM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


My second problem with the iPad is more fundamental: The iPad appears to be Steve Jobs’s attempt to roll back the multi-decade trend toward more open computing platforms. Jobs’s vision of the future is one that revolves around a series of proprietary “stores” — for music, movies, books, and so forth — controlled by Apple. And rather than running the applications of our choice, he wants to limit users to running Apple-approved software from the Apple “app store.”

From The case against the iPad.
posted by lilkeith07 at 11:34 AM on January 28, 2010


I'm sorry if this offends. It's just the way I'm built, that's all.

Not me. I'm with you.
posted by GuyZero at 11:35 AM on January 28, 2010


You do understand that it doesn't have a USB port right? As in, there is literally no place on it to plug in a USB cord, mini or otherwise.

You didn't read the link. There's a USB dongle.
posted by empath at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2010


/removes thread from Recent Activity, FFS
posted by shakespeherian at 11:40 AM on January 28, 2010


BP gets very upset when people keep moving the goalposts for when the iPad will satisfy them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on January 28, 2010


My guess is $30 extra for the privilege of being able to connect your camera.
posted by smackfu at 11:44 AM on January 28, 2010


Actually, looking at the accessories page, do you have to charge this from a computer by default? It shows the AC adapater as an add-on.
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on January 28, 2010


Alright. No.

I live and work on XP SP2 and Linux. My phone is a PalmOS without 3G or wifi, but I get by.

Here's the thing. With the new integration of gadgets that's been coming out in the last decade, I've gleaned these and only these things from it, which have been useful for me:

1) Phone sync with desktop, so I can not fear losing it.
2) Netbook plus SSD, so I can not fear losing it and smacking it around.
3) Open-source OS's and software that are competitive with Windows for everyday tasks with a minimum of fuckaroundery, that I can reasonably use to do pretty much everything ever except autocad or some design bullshit I don't do.
4) Google docs/apps/calendar/the like, so I can hook peeps up with my data.
5) Portable versions of everything, so I can roll up anywhere with naught but a USB stick and be ready to get at my google storages.
6) NAS, so I can have a place to store all my shit that doesn't die/get corrupted/get infected with my primary computer's OS.

Here's what I want:

Open source platforms that could run a tablet-like gadget with bluetooth-or-similar connectivity for a dead-simple phone handset (or even better, noise-blocking headphones with corded phone-like display and thumb keypad, 'cause I like my music) that integrates with my tablet's wireless/3G connectivity. I'll carry said tablet in a sling case/messenger bag, and it will have insane battery life, and power my music on the road. It will be comfortably big, so that I can read on it, and have a roll-out keyboard, or laser keyboard, or something equally space-saving and spacious-when-it-needs-to-be.

At home, I want open-source remote control standards in my TV's/monitors/projectors (which, now, for me, are the same machines), so that I can whip out my tablet and be controllin' my mediaz. Same way, I want my tablet to be just sick-silly networked to a CPU workhorse in my house (and be able to come straight back to that machine and my NAS if I need them outside the house from my tablet), so that I can do hardcore design/typing shit on it if I need to. I want it to be able to IMMEDIATELY sync with monitors so that I can project anything I'm doing on a larger screen, and have a 12" wireless trackpad/interface thinger right in my hands. That's what I want. And I want the god damn tablet to run on AA's and outlet power if it needs to.

Until the available technology can give me that, I see no reason why I should move away from bluetooth-enabled, 2nd-hand phones that don't break $100, netbooks with multitouch trackpads, and cheap Chinese LCD TV's. Convince me, Apple. C'mon. I know you got it in you. This iPad fucker doesn't even seem like it has a headphone jack. I'll stick to my Treo & Aspire One for now.
posted by saysthis at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's the problem with no USB host ability and no SD card slot:
The iPad with $499 for 16GB, $599 with 32GB and $699 with 64GB. Aside from massively overcharging for flash (I can get a 16GB SD card for <$40), they've purposely denied the user the ability to upgrade storage capacity or carry around multiple portable storage devices to use with this thing.
posted by rocket88 at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2010


I really wish people would stop complaining about moving goalposts while moving the goalposts. Especially when it doesn't seem that the goalposts are really moving, only that people have very different ideas about what kind of functionality they want from a NAS client.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2010


"You didn't read the link. There's a USB dongle."

THE DEVICE HAS NO USB PORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like I'm stuck in a bad Star Trek episode.

Even the smartpad linked above includes USB, HDMI, GPS, a camera, and an SD reader. The iPad is literally one of the only media devices more advanced than a VCR that doesn't have a USB port. My frickin' TV has a USB port!!! AND a card reader.

I'm trying to be fair by admitting the iPad is a great device that will work well for people in a narrow niche market. And good for them. But the amount of coolaid chugging it takes to deny the bizarre nature of a dedicated media device with no USB, cardreader or HDMI is a little wacky.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


It isn't a binary process, which is how BP seems to me to see it. There are levels of fitness. Nothing is perfect.

I don't see it in those terms, either, frankly. I have my criticisms about the iPad and I have expressed some of them in this thread. What bothers me is that once the level of fitness is established, and something meets those criteria, when the fitness criteria suddenly change is what is irritating.

Mainly because of how disingenuous and irrational that act of shifting goalposts seems to me.

If you don't want it, don't get it, that's fine. But the moving goalposts betray a certain level of dishonesty on the part of its critics, a level of dishonesty that is endemic to criticisms about Apple products and, yes, users on Metafilter and the larger web, in general. I hate seeing it happen here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:06 PM on January 28, 2010


The iPad is the Sarah Palin of tablet computers.

Nope, she's more of a much-hyped vaporware product, appearing out of nowhere and causing quite a stir, only to disappear and come back as something different. Vice President of the US? Nah, talking head on Fox News is good enough.

The iPad is more similar to Barack Obama: seen as having the potential to bring great change, followed by a let-down when we see what he really does, but we'll probably look back and say "Damn, he really did change things. We were just looking for something really big."
posted by filthy light thief at 12:11 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You didn't read the link. There's a USB dongle."

THE DEVICE HAS NO USB PORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like I'm stuck in a bad Star Trek episode.

The fact that it has no usb port built in doesn't really matter if you can still connect USB devices to it with a dongle, which apple are selling, along with an sdcard dongle, and presumably, dongles for other connectors.
posted by empath at 12:13 PM on January 28, 2010


It'll fill a narrow niche market just like the iPhone did. A product that was met by much the same idiocy as we've been seeing in this thread.

Or IOW, I should purchase stock in Apple.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:14 PM on January 28, 2010


i8ny3x: All this and no one has mentioned Microsoft's Courier, and though I think it is still a prototype, it seems much more revolutionary than the iPad. I mean, it has TWO touch screens, so that you can read two full pages or something like that. And uh, Nintendo DS emulation.
Holy crap. For all the jizzing fanboyism around here about that crappy iPad, this is the first time I've heard of the Microsoft Courier (and Courier didn't even come up on a search of MeFi posts). That thing is dead sexy- the Gizmodo video is pretty much exactly what I'd always want from a portable computer: use it like a nice journal, but computerized and taggable!

That thing makes the iPad look like future landfill fodder...
posted by hincandenza at 12:15 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Apple site calls the USB dongle a "camera connection kit". So, is it really going to allow you to dongle up any usb device, or will Apple dongle you out with their dangling dongler dongling only approved dongles for donglinating?

(okay, I'll stop now)
posted by jefbla at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


"....with a dongle, which apple are selling, along with an sdcard dongle, and presumably, dongles for other connectors."

And how many extra dongles, all with Apple prices, are you willing to buy before you admit it would be nice to just have it come with 1 USB port?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact that it has no usb port built in doesn't really matter if you can still connect USB devices to it with a dongle, which apple are selling, along with an sdcard dongle, and presumably, dongles for other connectors.

You can't connect USB devices to it. It *is* a USB device and it can only attach to a USB host. I'll bet cash money there'll be no USB device dongles or SD dongles or anything else that would circumvent the tiered pricing model of the iPad.
posted by rocket88 at 12:21 PM on January 28, 2010


I'll bet cash money there'll be no USB device dongles or SD dongles or anything else that would circumvent the tiered pricing model of the iPad.

Specifications:

iPad Camera Connection Kit
The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2010


Dingle dangle dongle hey!

For pete's sake, wait for the reality distortion field to wane a bit, for some review units to go out to tech journalists, and for the critical hands-on reviews to come back.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:26 PM on January 28, 2010


Dongles do suck though. That cannot be denied. Especially since it's going in the same port as the dock, etc., so you you can't use it when it's docked. The iPad is dongleriffic.
posted by smackfu at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2010


The Free Software Foundation is unimpressed (via /.), and Defective by Design have another petition, this one stating "iPad DRM is iBad for our freedoms".

I'm looking forward to the hardware hacks and see-saw battle of work-arounds to the app store.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2010


Speaking of jizzz:
Used to be that to drive a car, you, the driver, needed to operate a clutch pedal and gear shifter and manually change gears for the transmission as you accelerated and decelerated. Then came the automatic transmission. With an automatic, the transmission is entirely abstracted away. The clutch is gone. To go faster, you just press harder on the gas pedal.

That’s where Apple is taking computing. A car with an automatic transmission still shifts gears; the driver just doesn’t need to know about it. A computer running iPhone OS still has a hierarchical file system; the user just never sees it.
Well, on one level I think that most users want to know which things are likely to disappear if a device is unplugged or the network connection is lost.

But on another level, hierarchal file systems are themselves an abstraction. They are no different than metadata tags. The fact that iTunes and iPhoto share a tag called "Applications" says nothing about how they are stored as data. It certainly may be the case that iTunes and iPhoto may be better file browsers for their domain-specific tasks, but much of their functionality is still that of a file browser.

"Folders" as metadata are a good and useful thing for a variety of reasons. When I send a zip archive to someone, my folder communicates how I've tagged the internal data.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:53 PM on January 28, 2010


empath: “I definitely see the potential here, but it's not Jesus Phone potential.”

mazola: “Of course not, it's the Moses Tablet™.”

'So, uh, me and a bunch of these other guys who work at Apple, we were all really bored on this one Friday afternoon, so we snuck into the dev lab and started messing around with all these weird touchscreen things. Then suddenly Steve Jobs came in, and man was he pissed off – he was just carrying these two tablets - er, iPads - back from the big demo, and when he saw how we were all messing around, he just flipped out and threw them on the floor and broke them. Then he said we'd all be sorry, because he was just on his way to his weekly meeting with God.'
posted by koeselitz at 12:55 PM on January 28, 2010


I have read this whole thread since it started, and what I see going on in here is a bunch of people for whom this device was not designed complaining about how it isn't going to work for them at all, and thus, the iPad sucks and will be doomed to failure.

If you have a smartphone, and you like your smartphone and it does what you need it to do, the iPad is probably not for you.

If you have an iPod (Touch or otherwise), and you like your iPod and it does what you need it to do, the iPad is probably not for you.

If you have a laptop/netbook, and you like your laptop/netbook and it does what you need it to do, the iPad is probably not for you.

If you are a power user or have very specific and highly technical things you need or want to do on a portable device, the iPad is probably not for you.

If you want to replace your desktop computer with a mobile device of equal power and usefulness, the iPad is definitely not for you.

If you have one or more of the above devices or needs, you don't need to get an iPad as it would be redundant.

I don't have a smartphone, because I don't need a smartphone. My current not-so-smart phone does what I need a phone to do. I also don't have a laptop, and the netbook I borrowed annoys me almost as much as I find it useful. The iPod I received as a gift is fun, but I didn't really need one and it isn't terribly useful to me. I have no outstanding technical requirements, and while I do some power user type things, I don't need to do them when I am away from my desk. The device I need is something that will display my (full-color) digital cookbooks and knitting patterns in a large enough size to see, allow me to read wherever I like, show off photos to family members at sizes the elderly can see without a magnifying glass, and possibly do some light typing in the form of short notes to myself.

Everything else the iPad does above and beyond those things is just extra stuff I may or may not use. The iPad seems to fill my needs perfectly at a price I am willing to pay, and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing one in person and trying it out. I don't doubt I will buy one eventually, because I have needed such a device for a while now, and I can't imagine I am the only person on the planet who will find it very useful to fill a few needs that don't really require a full-blown mobile computer or a smartphone.

All the bitching in this thread by people for whom this device was not designed is just ridiculous. You're power users, or you have special computer needs, well skippy for you, but everything doesn't have to be designed to suit your needs. It's not all about you or people like you. Different people have different needs.

In fact, I think if people would just stop thinking of it as a computer, that would be a start. I don't think of it as a computer. I think of it as something I can load some stuff on to look at somewhere other than at my desk and is large enough for me to see without squinting, which is what it seems to be. If you don't need something like that, then why spend all this time and energy griping about how it isn't going to work for you because it doesn't do/have X, Y and Z, and that therefore it must totally suck for everyone. It'd be better if some folks just admitted they are hating on it just to hate on it.

And yes, this "iPad fucker" does have a headphone jack. Why do people persist in bitching about it not having things it does, when the specs are only a web site away?
posted by Orb at 1:04 PM on January 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Plus, it actually seems like Apple was a little behind Microsoft this time. Balmer introduced the HP slate about two weeks ago, which is an ordinary PC that runs a full OS.
posted by delmoi


Delmoi, I know you're an apple hater. But this is below you. Yes, he introduced the HP slate two weeks ago, SPECIFICALLY because of apples announcement. And it sucked, and no one cared, and did I tell you that it sucked? It was announced two weeks ago and no one gives a damn about it It's gone. POOF! Bye bye.

And yes Artw, netbooks sucks. Don't get me wrong, for you they are AWESOME!

But for most users they're tiny, underpowered, ugly shrunken pcs. But remember, yours is AWESOME!

:)

That thing is dead sexy- the Gizmodo video is pretty much exactly what I'd always want from a portable computer: use it like a nice journal, but computerized and taggable!
posted by hincandenza


LOL hincandenza.

Even the smartpad linked above includes USB, HDMI, GPS, a camera, and an SD reader. The iPad is literally one of the only media devices more advanced than a VCR that doesn't have a USB port. My frickin' TV has a USB port!!! AND a card reader.

It is fucking hilarious when otherwise smart people display this level of ignorance. Apple hasn't been winning the number/kind of port contest in a long time, nor do they care to compete. Most users don't care. History is repeating. I still have fond memories of the doom that would fall upon the first imac due to no floppy disk.

The ability to look beyond your own needs; that's what you're lacking.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed at the attitude I see of "it's just a bigger iPod touch!" and "I wanted a smaller MacBook!"

Apple sells about 7x more iPods than Macs. Although they don't break out the numbers, the iPod touch is probably the most popular iPod, possibly accounting for as much as 50% of iPod sales. I wouldn't be surprised at all if, in terms of unit sales, the iPod touch is really Apple's flagship product right now. It's been a runaway success and it's really an amazing device.

I don't know anyone who owns an iPod touch who isn't enamoured with it. Its biggest drawback is that it's just a bit too small to read/write/do anything that takes more than a few minutes. This new device is obviously an incremental evolution of the revolutionary touch platform. Of course the iPad isn't meant to replace your MacBook or your iPhone. Apple wants you to have at least one of each.

Anyway, I'll go on record and say that I'll probably be one of the >5 million who will buy an iPad in the first year.
posted by ijoshua at 1:07 PM on January 28, 2010


Orb: In fact, I think if people would just stop thinking of it as a computer, that would be a start.

Except that most of the effusive boosterism is not only treating it as a computer, but as the computer that's going to radically change the way we think about computers.

Which yes, in 30 years we'll all be gesturing and talking like madmen and clowns into our personal phenomoscopes, but that was a given regardless of what Apple introduced today.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:10 PM on January 28, 2010


it would be nice if there were an OS developed by non-profits

not quite, but maemo on the n900 (or moblin on MIDs?) might come close :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 1:11 PM on January 28, 2010


Another bad review.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:13 PM on January 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


KirkJobSluder: “Here is where you get the speech that everyone who doesn't have a clue about content management gets. Folders are metadata. Metadata is a good thing. There is little semantically different from putting files into folder named "project 156" than there is in making a playlist or sorting your tunes by albums... Never mind that the new thing is radically better. We learned the old system! ... hierarchal file systems are themselves an abstraction. They are no different than metadata tags... "Folders" as metadata are a good and useful thing for a variety of reasons. When I send a zip archive to someone, my folder communicates how I've tagged the internal data.”

This is sort of a completely tangential point, and I don't think it substantially changes your point much at all, but I was just interested in this bit and wanted to point out: folders actually aren't equivalent to metadata, and there are some serious ways in which the folder model introduces some restrictions in categorizing information, in much the same way that spreadsheets are a good deal more restrictive and less rational than databases because they're forced to fit a graphical representation. Specifically, folders deal very badly with multiple shared attributes. The biggest problem anybody has had if they've done a lot of document-filing on a computer, any computer, is this one: 'widget.dwg is specifically a part of project X, but it's equally specifically a part of project Y, and is being developed by both teams in tandem. What folder do I put this in?' This happens a lot more than one would like, so sorting documents under the folder model involves trying to artificially create oppositions and mutually-exclusive separations. You're forced in this case either to try to make a huge folder called 'project X and Y' or to make a three folders, 'project X,' 'project Y,' and 'shared project X and Y.' Both of those options have big drawbacks. The only really useful thing to do is something completely artificial: dynamically linked copies of the same file, or a shortcut to the file in one of the folders, or something like that.

This is why Gmail's 'labels' model is really so nifty. It has its own drawbacks - specifically, it removes the useful characteristic of hierarchies which make folders so great - but, when combined with folders, labels (in general, the same thing as 'metadata') allow you to cross-categorize fluidly. You've got an email that's about work, but it's also from a friend? Put both labels on it. This file, widget.dwg, is part of projects X and Y? Fine - put both of those labels on it. Metadata doesn't imply a hierarchy, and can be applied to let you cross-categorize. That's why metadata really isn't the same as folders – unless you use folders in some strange way, say for example putting every single file in its own folder. There's also the fact that folders can be a drawback when using file compression, although there are ways around that. In general, though, for categorizing things, real, actual metadata can be awesome.

(Again, a tiny, niggling point, and probably not really impactful on your larger discussion. Sorry; just wanted to say it.)
posted by koeselitz at 1:14 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another bad review.

The misinformation in this thread is breathtaking. There are no Best Buys outside Berlin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:19 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is fucking hilarious when otherwise smart people display this level of ignorance. Apple hasn't been winning the number/kind of port contest in a long time, nor do they care to compete. Most users don't care. History is repeating. I still have fond memories of the doom that would fall upon the first imac due to no floppy disk.

Dennis Murphy: “The ability to look beyond your own needs; that's what you're lacking.”

This isn't about 'competing' in the demographic that demands a higher number of ports. This is about locked-down hardware and locked-down software that stifles development and assures monopolization of the architecture.

I said above that I don't have a horse in this race, and I'd be very happy to see Apple do well. And, specifically, I think this is a neat device, and the price is friggin' incredible. But the amazing thing is that obnoxious 30-pin plug is still there; you don't even have to think abstractly to know it's rigidly, militantly closed-source – you can see the proprietary nature of it every time you plug it in.

This is why the Defective By Design people are already circulating a petition against the iPad – because, with all its neat geekery and features, the closed nature of the architecture represents a dramatic step backward in the development of software and the management of content.

This is a really, seriously bad thing, and most of the hardcore Apple geeks I know aren't very happy about it either. I think this is a fantastic piece of technology regardless, and you're right that most people don't care, but they should.
posted by koeselitz at 1:28 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


sorry, the first paragraph of my comment there was actually a quote of Dennis.
posted by koeselitz at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2010


Another bad review.

Someone needs to hire Bruno Ganz as their technology correspondent. I'm sick of waiting a whole day for these to come out.
posted by Gary at 1:39 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


with all its neat geekery and features, the closed nature of the architecture represents a dramatic step backward in the development of software and the management of content

The floppy-less iMac is a good analogy for why devices are getting fewer ports. Windows 95 and 98's nonexistent to poor support for USB kept machines stuck with floppies well past the technology's lifespan.

In 1997, people needed to be be herded to higher capacity storage (optical and USB) and the iMac rightfully takes credit for leading that charge. It changed people's mindset, even for those who weren't considering buying an iMac, and that change in mindset filtered down to other computer manufacturers.

In 2010, for better or worse, personal computing is moving to a cloud-based arrangement where people can expect to access their data from anywhere, regardless of device or network. Extra ports are superfluous in that arrangement.

A legitimate criticism is that Apple wants to manage and monetize your access to that cloud. However, an equally legitimate point is that you can already access non-Apple cloud resources from an iPhone or iPod Touch, and unless Apple kills those apps, it seems likely you'll be able to access those from an iPad, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 PM on January 28, 2010


several months ago, apple agreed to a microusb phone charger standard in europe expected to begin sometime this year. I'm starting to wonder if this will have any impact on their designs for future products, actually, or if this will just be what they do with european iphones and that's it.
posted by shmegegge at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2010


I still have fond memories of the doom that would fall upon the first imac due to no floppy disk.

You have to admit that it is kind of amusing that the only laptops that followed the lead of the Air in removing the CD are Jobs' hated netbooks.
posted by smackfu at 1:43 PM on January 28, 2010


smackfu: how is it amusing? Apple is still selling laptops with optical drives.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:49 PM on January 28, 2010


Followed the lead?
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on January 28, 2010


koeselitz: Well, to start with, of course file hierarchies are metadata. Metadata schema can have rules including exclusivity. ISBN numbers uniquely identify a book for example. And in some cases, those rules are an accident of implementation. MP3 tags, for example, don't support multiple artists or albums.

You're forced in this case either to try to make a huge folder called 'project X and Y' or to make a three folders, 'project X,' 'project Y,' and 'shared project X and Y.' Both of those options have big drawbacks. The only really useful thing to do is something completely artificial: dynamically linked copies of the same file, or a shortcut to the file in one of the folders, or something like that.

Why do you object to an essential part of the POSIX filesystem model as "completely artificial" when you are imposing an arbitrary schema anyway?

Certainly, that's a limit of that particular schema, but then again, all metadata schemas have limits and places where they fall flat.

Metadata doesn't imply a hierarchy, and can be applied to let you cross-categorize.

Two easy counter-examples: Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal classification schemes. (How about a third, Lineaean classification?) Both are hierarchal, and both can let you cross-categorize information by using another schema.

And furthermore, once you understand that the filesystem is merely metadata, you can easily create folders that represent other queries of that dataset.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:53 PM on January 28, 2010


In 2010, for better or worse, personal computing is moving to a cloud-based arrangement where people can expect to access their data from anywhere, regardless of device or network. Extra ports are superfluous in that arrangement.

I don't agree that now is that time, nor do I think is going to happen soon. A big problem is that the cloud is still too proprietary and too fragmented. There's no standard way to access it yet. There are cameras that can talk to Flickr or Facebook, but what happens if (when) either changes their API? Private companies don't have great track recods of keeping old techs alive for more than a couple of years. It would have been great if something like WebDAV really took off in a big way, but it didn't and hasn't. I guess Apple feels that they can do this alone with their own family of devices, but Apple doesn't make a lot of kinds of devices, scanners/printers/copiers and cameras to name two of the big groups, for example. They, or their customers, are still going to want to talk to non-Apple devices and/or services sometimes.

Until this gets sorted out, we're going to need physical connectors, USB ports and removable storage like SD cards. I don't think it's safe to ignore these things yet. Not to mention that the iPad needs some connection to charge through (speaking of which an induction charger would have been a real wow feature for the thing---I think that is one of the missed opportunities here).
posted by bonehead at 1:55 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Though really, in the light of the Air the netbook antipathy makes some sense – they bet on pricey thin and magazine sized, but it turned out that people were happy with cheap and chunky more the size of a big paperback. Now, obviously Apple can’t accept that it might be wrong about something, so now the netbook market is meaningless, meaningless! And those hackintosh Dell Mini 9s that people are happily using mean nothing.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Cloud computing" is perhaps the biggest pile of bullshit since "Web 2.0." Yes! Let's take yet another 30-year-old concept and rebrand it as something new in order to convince people that we are developing a radical and new paradigm for information services!
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:05 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, the non hype bits are actually largely the same for both aren't they?
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on January 28, 2010


This iPad fucker doesn't even seem like it has a headphone jack. I'll stick to my Treo & Aspire One for now.

It has an integrated mic, speaker, and headphone jack. I would be shocked if said jack didn't support the iPhone style headphones with integrated mic.
posted by jedicus at 2:10 PM on January 28, 2010


"Cloud computing" is perhaps the biggest pile of bullshit since "Web 2.0."

Oh no. I'm not getting into this with you again! I see you there, being all like "hey, shmegegge. let's get into the cloud computing argument again!" fun as it was, I'm not doing it. You can't make me.

cloud computing is totally the future.
posted by shmegegge at 2:11 PM on January 28, 2010


(speaking of which an induction charger would have been a real wow feature for the thing---I think that is one of the missed opportunities here).

Yes, an induction charger, wireless syncing, and built-in wireless streaming from any computer running iTunes and Apple TVs. You'd virtually never have to plug it in to anything. Ah well. Maybe next time.
posted by jedicus at 2:16 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Considering that neither a Droid nor an iPhone/iPod/iPad does much without its respective suite of applications, and that such a comparison is therefore unequal, I'll ask again to drive the point home into thick skulls: Do Droids run apps from the Capital-A App Capital-S Store? It's a simple yes or no.
Wtf kind of question is that? Android phones can run apps from the android app store. But unlike the iphone, you can load apps over USB, or download eclipse and the android SDK and write your own, no questions asked, without jumping through any hoops.
I already did, namely that Droids are not iPhones (and vice versa). No passive-aggressivity was used in making that point. The fact that you would not simply say yes or no despite understanding this is more than enough to convince me you're being obstinate and thick-headed about an unpleasant answer.
No one said android phones were iPhones (btw, there is more then one. There's the G1, Droid, Nexus One, plus some others). If you had some kind of point, it's really lost here. The Android phones do the things the iPad and iPhone do, and with the benefit of being open source (first OSS operating system with a nice interface!) and the phones give you a lot of freedom (although you don't get root unless you buy a dev phone, which you can do if you want)
Delmoi, I know you're an apple hater. But this is below you. Yes, he introduced the HP slate two weeks ago, SPECIFICALLY because of apples announcement. And it sucked, and no one cared, and did I tell you that it sucked? It was announced two weeks ago and no one gives a damn about it It's gone. POOF! Bye bye.
Yeah, and the iPad is also underwhelming. People have linked to a bunch of other devices that look about the same. The Joojoo, the Norton Ink Tegra android thing, etc.

---

You have to admit that it is kind of amusing that the only laptops that followed the lead of the Air in removing the CD are Jobs' hated netbooks.

I got a Sony laptop with an external optical drive in '01. Last Sony garbage I ever bought, though.
posted by delmoi at 2:22 PM on January 28, 2010


I'll bet it's near the top of the list fo the iPad Maxi, I mean 2.0.
posted by bonehead at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2010


hincandenza: That thing is dead sexy- the Gizmodo video is pretty much exactly what I'd always want from a portable computer: use it like a nice journal, but computerized and taggable!
Dennis Murphy: LOL hincandenza.
¿Que?

The Microsoft Courier looks like the tablet PC device I've always wanted: just like those blue ~7" spiral-bound notebooks with tabs, but on electronic steroids. Any thoughts, doodles, ideas, diagrams I might have I can scribble in with a stylus, tag it, draw a box around it to "post-it note" it, and then have it searchable, sendable, syncable. If it has browsing and flash support with wifi/bluetooth tethering, then it's golden.

I'd never heard of it until i8ny3x posted it, yet (while not in production) it's exactly what I want from a portable computer! I don't know why that's LOLable: I'm a consumer, I have a Mac Pro tower and an iPhone, but that Microsoft Courier looks to be so much more what I'm looking for than this silly iPad I don't get the scorn. Tablet PCs have been around for more than a decade, but the Courier seemed to evolve more towards a new model than the iPad, which is just a larger iPhone. The Courier looks like how I'd use a computer if I was free from the constraints of typing: the same way I'd jot random ideas out in the stream-of-consciousness, where is my brain going, with the ease of easily sorting and finding stuff later. And from what I can read, it's not really any more locked down than the iPad (and being built on Win7, could potentially open up more if the market desire is there to do so).

Or are we just supposed to assume all Microsoft products are crap, while everything Apple is golden?
posted by hincandenza at 2:29 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


KirkJobSluder: “And furthermore, once you understand that the filesystem is merely metadata, you can easily create folders that represent other queries of that dataset.”

Ah – I see what you're getting at now. Sorry, I misunderstood; you're saying (I think) that the folder system is purely one of metadata, of no physical reality at all, and that, as metadata, it's just as fluid and useful as we want to make it, since it's "purely artificial" in the first place.

Which is true, and sort of interesting to think about.

“Two easy counter-examples: Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal classification schemes. (How about a third, Lineaean classification?) Both are hierarchal, and both can let you cross-categorize information by using another schema.”

Hm. Uh - forgive me... how do those library classification schemes allow you to cross-categorize? I guess you could do that in a catalog, but when I worked in a library (we used Congress) we were constantly struggling with where to put a particular book – for example, does this particular edition of Epictetus go in Ancient Greek Literature (PA3900, I think) or in Ancient Philosophy (B300, I think)? I guess the point is that you have to choose a physical point of storage, and because of that the Library of Congress system aims at an absolute standard, but through cross-referencing catalogs you can do that without worrying because a link is stored from other possible locations to that physical location anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 2:31 PM on January 28, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: “A legitimate criticism is that Apple wants to manage and monetize your access to that cloud. However, an equally legitimate point is that you can already access non-Apple cloud resources from an iPhone or iPod Touch, and unless Apple kills those apps, it seems likely you'll be able to access those from an iPad, as well.”

Well, the fact remains that you won't be able to SSH in remotely or anything with the thing out of the box. There really isn't much you can do beyond browse the internet and download stuff with it – you can view media, basically, but you can't manipulate the software of the device itself, at least not easily or directly. That's the point. It's heavy, heavy DRM, and it cripples the device.

Of course, within a few weeks of it coming out, somebody will actually succeed at SSHing in remotely, I'm sure; but they'll have to hack through stuff to get there.
posted by koeselitz at 2:40 PM on January 28, 2010


cloud computing is totally the future.

Sometime in the next century, we'll have a massively-parallel supercomputer that will rival practically any system built in the 20th century on a bus or light rail car in a city near you. The question is, what will we do with a collection of tiny, battery-powered computers that are individually more powerful than most existing desktop systems in 2010?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:46 PM on January 28, 2010


That Microsoft Courier is frickin' sexy. It's a god damn Jedi Moleskin.

If it does eBooks, movies, photo editing, and music/podcasts I may have to buy one.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:46 PM on January 28, 2010


The question is, what will we do with a collection of tiny, battery-powered computers that are individually more powerful than most existing desktop systems in 2010?

Porn.
posted by Grangousier at 2:48 PM on January 28, 2010


The question is, what will we do with a collection of tiny, battery-powered computers that are individually more powerful than most existing desktop systems in 2010?

Pick them apart and snark because they're lacking a port we're sentimental about?
posted by mazola at 2:48 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, the fact remains that you won't be able to SSH in remotely or anything with the thing out of the box.

You can't do that with any version of Windows, either. Does that make Windows an equivalent target for criticism, on that basis, if we're fair and balanced?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:49 PM on January 28, 2010


The question is, what will we do with a collection of tiny, battery-powered computers that are individually more powerful than most existing desktop systems in 2010?

Porn. Kittens.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on January 28, 2010


what will we do with a collection of tiny, battery-powered computers that are individually more powerful than most existing desktop systems in 2010?

Whatever Apple lets us do?
posted by bonehead at 2:53 PM on January 28, 2010


Look, it's pretty clear to everyone that this is basically a cable TV box with the TV attached. It's a monthly subscription machine.

That said, the size of the multitouch interface will probably introduce a rather profound shift in how people interact with, and expect to interact with, digital data. It's a step away from 2D point-and-click, and a tiny, measured, but nonetheless real step toward 3D whole body interactivity and spatial immersion. It will, however, take some time for apps to arrive that really exploit this opening.

In any case, there's little point in handwringing, or tooth gnashing-- and none at all in feigning surprise-- at the passive, consumer-rather-than-producer-aimed nature of the device. Jobs' vision is monopoly, and maximal perfection through minimal choice; it always has been. Just as Apple's devices have always been about interface, rather than horsepower.

I was as shocked as anyone when, after he retook the company, his squelching of Mac clones, tightening of control, and raising of prices worked to restore Apple's health; but so it did. And when it did-- and, moreover, when the underpowered but very pretty and very simple iMac succeeded-- it laid down Apple's course permanently.

Apple, as we all know, has long had a following among graphic designers-- but, again, because of interface. When designers, the least technical of power users, turned to computers, they found Apple. Apple, in a sense, isn't abandoning power users; it never really focused on them in the first place. Apple has really only ever been about making the interface as invisible as possible, for the largest possible group that was motivated to buy a computer. In the past, that group was mainly a subset of power users-- digital artists, and some coders who were focused on computer use as aesthetic pursuit and lifestyle; now, in the age of the pervasive Web, that group is everybody but power users.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:53 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Look, it's pretty clear to everyone that this is basically a cable TV box with the TV attached. It's a monthly subscription machine.

Heh. Remember when "set top boxes" were a real big deal and going to replace computers?
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's take yet another 30-year-old concept and rebrand it as something new in order to convince people that we are developing a radical and new paradigm for information services!

It bears mention that, thirty years ago, we did not have a lot of things that make this old concept either a reality or worth pursuing as a reality:

• ubiquitous and powerful computing that scales from a telephone up to a desktop
• cheap and fast local storage
• an Internet that connected said computing devices
• "media-rich" email, digital audio, photos, and video (all requiring a fast Internet and cheap storage)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2010


Thin client is sort of kind of here, only our definition of thin has changed.
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


But apple products are not about doing things. They are about consuming things. The ipad and iphone are as close as you can get to selling a TV but still calling it a computer. It is a content consumption device.

This is actually where things are going. People who "do" or produce things with computers are vastly outnumbered by people who consume things with computers.

Sure, we'll still have desktops, but they're going to thin clients before too long. It's really only important that the computing device does what the person who buys it wants to use it for, and for most people, outside the office anyway, that's consumption and simple communication.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:08 PM on January 28, 2010


Or are we just supposed to assume all Microsoft products are crap, while everything Apple is golden?

Apple is good at creating demand for new devices. MS is good at innovating sometimes, but they lack the cachet of Apple. If this does well, chances are you'll see a lot more devices like this very soon, and people will be buying those, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:12 PM on January 28, 2010


MS is good at innovating sometimes

What.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:15 PM on January 28, 2010


in the light of the Air the netbook antipathy makes some sense – they bet on pricey thin and magazine sized, but it turned out that people were happy with cheap and chunky more the size of a big paperback. Now, obviously Apple can’t accept that it might be wrong about something, so now the netbook market is meaningless, meaningless! And those hackintosh Dell Mini 9s that people are happily using mean nothing.

This certainly is an entry into the netbook market. It's comparable in performance, portability factor, capability, and price. It definitely has a media consumption flavor, but it's clearly capable of an awful lot of general purpose computing. There are going to be some feature issues with some subset of potential buyers (built-in physical keyboard, physically connections for peripherals, semi-closed software ecology, etc), and Apple will cede those buyers, but I'd almost* be willing to bet cash that enough of the market won't care about those things that the iPad will put Apple in the top three manufacturers if its sales are considered with the netbook market as a whole.

* not until I actually play with one, though.
posted by weston at 3:22 PM on January 28, 2010


Adobe on Flash and the iPad: 'Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices'

Open screen project
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on January 28, 2010


You know what? I f'n hate hierarchical filesystems. Honestly I want all my files in one giant, tagged database. Windows was actually moving in that direction, but apparently they gave up before before they renamed "Longhorn" "Vista"

What strikes me is that this is actually like a gameboy for grownups. A gameboy doesn't do anything except play games that Nintendo authorizes. Yeah, there are lot of different things that fall under the games rubric, and here there are going to be lots of apps. But ultimately it's just game machine with a built in screen and some office apps.

Oh, and here's what Paul Krugman had to say:

Here's what Paul Krugman had to say:
On a totally nonserious note, I’ve been reading all the stories about the iPad and sort of wishing I could find some reason to get one. But I can’t come up with a justification.

Right now, I carry a dumb phone — GSM, so it works all over the world and in parts of New Jersey; a Lenovo X61 (with an aircard, so that New Jersey Transit is my mobile office); and a Kindle 2. I lug all of them almost everywhere, so I’m kind of a beast of burden.

If the iPad were an adequate substitute for the notebook, it would let me lighten that load. But from what I’m seeing, it isn’t: I need lots of files available, number-crunching capacity, basically the ability to do whatever I would do sitting at my regular desk.
posted by delmoi at 3:26 PM on January 28, 2010


Somebody's mom isn't using torrent

I showed your mom how to torrent last night.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:27 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


But apple products are not about doing things. They are about consuming things. The ipad and iphone are as close as you can get to selling a TV but still calling it a computer. It is a content consumption device.

Have you used a mac? The mac is all about doing things -- making DVD's, songs, graphics, whatever. It's got tons and tons of stuff for the creative types.
posted by empath at 3:28 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I think it's reasonable to believe that devices that are good for creating are not necessarily great for consuming, and having one for both purposes might be better than trying to make a desktop computer or a tablet do everything.
posted by empath at 3:29 PM on January 28, 2010


>Plus, it actually seems like Apple was a little behind Microsoft this time. Balmer introduced the HP slate about two weeks ago, which is an ordinary PC that runs a full OS.
posted by delmoi

>>Delmoi, I know you're an apple hater. But this is below you. Yes, he introduced the HP slate two weeks ago, SPECIFICALLY because of apples announcement. And it sucked, and no one cared, and did I tell you that it sucked? It was announced two weeks ago and no one gives a damn about it It's gone. POOF! Bye bye.


The weird thing about this is that tablets have been around for a long time in the non-Apple world, as have convertible devices. Three years ago, I was thinking of buying a Samsung Q1, but I wanted a keyboard. Two years ago, I was looking at Lenovo and HP convertibles, but they were too expensive. I ended up buying a Gigabyte t1028x abouit 6 months back, which is a 10-inch, touchscreen, convertible device that, if I were so inclined, I could run a hacked version of MacOS on, but currently just dual boot with Windows 7 and Ubuntu. It has a camera, multiple USB ports, a multitouch touchpad in addition to the touchscreen, 2Gb of RAM and a 300Gb harddrive that I can replace with an SSD if I wanted, is a totally open as a platform, and simply rocks as an ereader. For about the same amount of money as a midrange iPad. And, you know, I can swivel it open and use the keyboard if I want to. The industrial design, though rock-solid, isn't very pretty, to be sure, but I couldn't be happier with it.

Not saying that the iPad isn't sexy in some ways (and would be sexier without the cynical walled-garden stuff) but the implication in the exchange that I'm quoting above, that the PC world is somehow playing catchup with this miraculous new toy is precisely backwards. There are all kinds of tablet and convertible form-factor machines out there. Here are 46 of them.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:29 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


In fact, I've started to think of straight OSX as mostly a tool to design things to run on the other apple devices.
posted by empath at 3:33 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adobe on Flash and the iPad: 'Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices'

Isn't it kind of cynical for Adobe to talk about restrictions, when they hadn't put out a Flash plug-in for Linux until late 2008?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:36 PM on January 28, 2010


Well, the fact remains that you won't be able to SSH in remotely...
Very true, but I have a tough time thinking of a reason to SSH into the iPad (god I hate that name), and it seems like it wouldn't be ridiculous to use it as a terminal to another machine, which seems super useful.
posted by georg_cantor at 3:36 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here are 46 of them.

They mostly kind of suck though, and I'm not entirely sure Apple is going the wrong route in simplifying and limiting options in order to make the concept not suck. It's just that nothing here is really making me say "zing! They really nailed it!" In the way the iphone/touch did, so I just default back to being grumpy about price and the weird netbook diss and how ungainly the typing looked and a bunch of other stuff that, lets face it, is intrinsic to the tablet form factor.

Not that there isn't every possibility that eventually I'll get to try one and the typing won;t be that bad, and the price will drop or there will be some new feature and I will be all about getting one.... but it certainly isn't a given.
posted by Artw at 3:41 PM on January 28, 2010


hincandenza:"The Microsoft Courier looks like the tablet PC device I've always wanted: just like those blue ~7" spiral-bound notebooks with tabs, but on electronic steroids."

That's the thing, though - for left handers like me, those old notebooks were a huge pain in the rear. I like the idea behind Courier, but imo, the form factor of the iPad is much better because you can use it equally well with either hand.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:41 PM on January 28, 2010


Isn't it kind of cynical for Adobe to talk about restrictions, when they hadn't put out a Flash plug-in for Linux until late 2008?

I'm not utterly convinced that there would be a reason for Adobe to care about flash plug-ins for linux until late 2008. Linux may have been around for donkeys years but consumer ready Linux has only really bee around for 2 or 3 years.
posted by Artw at 3:43 PM on January 28, 2010


They mostly kind of suck though

I don't disagree, although some very nice devices have been coming out in the last year (many, admittedly, hard to get in North America). Which is why I waited as long as I did to buy mine.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:44 PM on January 28, 2010


BP: It bears mention that, thirty years ago, we did not have a lot of things that make this old concept either a reality or worth pursuing as a reality:

My objection to "cloud computing" and "Web 2.0" is that they are used in ways to obscure the fact that we are talking about old and not terribly innovative concepts. (Hard to implement perhaps, but I'm not convinced that's really changed.)

My vision of cloud computing involves using the miraculous machines that we'll have in every pocket to the fullest extent of what's possible for their technical limitations. I want things like highly accurate real-time transcription and translation and computer-enhanced visualization for people with vision problems for a start.

delmoi: You know what? I f'n hate hierarchical filesystems. Honestly I want all my files in one giant, tagged database.

A filesystem is just a giant, tagged database.

Without radically reinventing the wheel, how do you avoid it? As a typical example, most open-source software comes with Makefile and README. Without some sort of grouping, how do you ensure that the Makefile and README for foo stays with foo, and doesn't end up in your listing for bar?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:52 PM on January 28, 2010


How screenwriters will use the iPad
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on January 28, 2010


(I actually get a lot of use out of Zeptoliner on my iPhone for outlining things, and it's become an invaluable part of my writing process. Knowing film folks this guy probably wants something a little more specialised that has all the latest faddish terminology built in)
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on January 28, 2010


How screenwriters will use the iPad

At the risk of being an irrational hater, he could do the all those things with a tablet PC today. Plus with a pressure-sensitive stylus he could actually draw really well on it too. The only difference is about $500. And how cool people think you are.
posted by GuyZero at 4:08 PM on January 28, 2010


That's probably an important part of what he does.
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on January 28, 2010


Guess what?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:11 PM on January 28, 2010


1000 screaming fanboys approved this comment.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:12 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


How did we get 1,000 comments without someone mentioning the Axiotron Modbook?
posted by GuyZero at 4:18 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Modbook is kind of sweet.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:19 PM on January 28, 2010


The integration of hardware and software is what Apple excels at, so it'll be interesting to see what these comments look like after people have had a chance to use the iPad.

Many of the critiques above are related to the closed file system, the lack of [x] feature, Apple's seduction of people through marketing, the fact that this is for consumers not creators, it's a big Ipod touch and that sucks, etc.

Meanwhile, independent of all the opinions and hype was a quiet announcement yesterday of a new patent given to Apple for advanced multitouch. The debate on the wisdom of issuing such patents will take place elsewhere of course, but this patent is for a "proximity sensor" for multitouch devices. The basic idea is that they are developing hardware that includes a screen that is able to sense that your finger (or stylus, glove, random appendage) is nearby and trigger ui accordingly. So as your hand approaches the screen a menu would fade in and as you move it away it disappears. So yeah, basic "Minority Report" shit.

Except it will be real and we're seeing a hint of what this will look like now. What has been weird to read here is this mix of disdain and disappointment. I also think I understand both a little. The self-congratulation that comes out of Apple marketing and spokespeople can be cringeworthy and insufferable. I actually understand that better than the disappointment. For all of Apple's marketing bs, the problem is that they sometimes deliver what they promise.

For those disappointed, this is version 1.0 of a new category of device. It's kinda like the first Mac and kinda like the first iMac and kinda like the first iPod. What these all had in common was that people often slammed them hard without ever using them. (A fair share slammed them after using them as well but you don't get to sell 35 million+ iPhones, for example, without having some intrinsic merit). At the same time maged to make some of those who loved these devices feel like suckers for laying down the cash for something that felt outdated in months.

Personally, I'm capable of separating the good from the bad: I love Apple's attention to detail when it works, I dislike their insular world that demands you accept their standards. I could go on, but really I just wanted to say: chill out, it's just a computer.
posted by jeremias at 4:36 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think you're full of it. Most people who are fanatical about Mac are fanatical about it because they used to use Windows. I did desktop support for the government for 2-3 years, during the time period where there was a new email trojan going around every single week and after spending all my time taking viruses off of my friends, families and coworkers pcs for about 9 months, I made the decision that I would never touch a microsoft OS again unless I was being paid to do it. And I've stuck to that.

The people who are most loudly complaining about OSX, are in fact the people who HAVE NOT spent a great deal of time using it, while most mac users are all too familiar with what an awful piece of shit windows is.


I've used both, and Ubuntu. I don't think you're full of it, or even full of shit, you just have your personal experiences and preferences, which happen to differ from my own. To me it's the person that matters, not what fucking OS they use or device. As for being fanatical about a computer or OS, I had that for the Amiga when I was 14 but I grew up and thankfully computers and the like are so very commodity these days I simply can't get a rush out of them, but others can, go for it, that's great. We all get rushes out of different things.

I've been in organizations that use Windows in Enterprise. No viruses, no worms, no trojans, no problems. Same with friends, families, and lovers. My Mac owning friends and family have way more problems but that doesn't mean Macs are shit, it just means manufacturing can sometimes be shit, despite the vendor or OS.

Not using OS X is not complaining about it. I've used it, I use it ever so often, I tried to use it for over a month. It doesn't appeal me. It's nice, but I can do everything I need to in Windows, which allows me to customize my hardware, particularly in the professional space, and if it weren't for a few applications, I could ditch Windows as well and use Linux entirely, which also allows me to customize my hardware.

It's wonderful that you can call something you don't care for a piece of shit. The iPad, for example, is a piece of shit compared to my Netbook, but that said, I'm an individual with my own needs, my own interests, my own way of thinking, and I recognize that for others, the iPad is a wonderful device, despite what I consider limitations, despite a lack of multitasking, despite not being open in regard to getting applications not vetted through Apple, and that is perfectly fine. In truth, it's not a piece of shit, it's just not for me. But it's wonderful to be told that one's own preference is for a piece of shit by others. That level of class is hard to find on the Internet. Brav fucking O. Mindless platformism lives. I'm so fortunate to work with a bunch of people on a number of different platforms that appreciate the work executed by the people, and don't give a fuck how they did. Fortunately if application binaries aren't cross platform, data usually is.
posted by juiceCake at 4:38 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Amiga was clearly the best computer in the world though. Fuck that Atari ST shit and all that blah blah blah we've got MIDI ports rubbish.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on January 28, 2010


You can't do that with any version of Windows, either. Does that make Windows an equivalent target for criticism, on that basis, if we're fair and balanced?

RDP? Oh, that's not EXACTLY like SSH, because you get a GUI. Right.

When it comes to Apple vs MS, your "fair and balanced" puts Fox News to shame. You've posted almost 50 times in this thread! It's as if you can't live with the thought that someone, somewhere, won't acknowledge the iPad as the second coming of Christ. And, without fail, in any post covering software that happens to run only in Windows, you're right there to point out the heretic! Does God kill a kitten every time someone decides not to buy an Apple product?

This thing looks kind of neat, and I'll probably get one myself - 3G is for suckas though. And I'm sure it'll be fairly successful in the market. But this isn't a replacement for a computer for most people, a replacement for eInk devices for most people using them now, and the whole thing is underwhelming for a lot of people. You're defending the omission of all these features; won't you feel kind of silly once they're added to the product? Because that's how these things normally work out. You don't need the features until Steve gives them to you, right?
posted by me & my monkey at 4:42 PM on January 28, 2010


Do Macs not have a remote desktop? That would seem a weird omission. Though, admittedly, not everyone is like me in spending an ungodly amount of time remote desktopping.
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on January 28, 2010


you know, every time I come back to thinking about this thing, I get a little heartbroken. I really REALLY wanted a lightweight comic book reader laptop replacement. I keep thinking about the fact that marvel has a $5 a month digital access pass (if you pay yearly) that I would totally get so long as I could curl up with something to read it in portrait mode in bed or on the couch. my experiences reading comics on my macbook in cbr format were so uncomfortable that I'm just not gonna bother with it any more.

and this thing was SO CLOSE! so close. but marvel's in flash, alas. also, since that would be the major thing I'd use this for, the price point (though reasonable for what it is) is a little steep for a thing that lets me read other things I still have to pay for. (likewise, I'm not fond of the kindle and nook prices. but that's me.) I feel confident that this will pave the way for marvel switching to a better format, but they're notoriously slow about a lot of big changes, so... it might require a future, better iPad for that to happen anyway. I don't know. damn it. so close.
posted by shmegegge at 4:52 PM on January 28, 2010


Heh. Of course they do. It would be just plain weird otherwise.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on January 28, 2010


Marvel are being a big bunch of babies about it as well, so expect them to dig in rather than do anything sensible.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on January 28, 2010


RDP? Oh, that's not EXACTLY like SSH, because you get a GUI. Right.

Did you read the question? Wasn't the question about SSH in relation to how closed the Apple system is? RDP support is only available on certain expensive versions of Windows. How long did it take for Microsoft to open RDP, anyway?

There's a lot of hypocrisy in calling out the iPad because it doesn't do remote access out of the box, when many other commercial vendors do the exact same thing and yet no one ever seems to call them out for it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:56 PM on January 28, 2010


Actually, where previously I had been mulling over an ebook reader vs. an iPod touch, that decision has clearly shifted to iPad vs. iPod Touch. Although I'm leaning a bit more towards the iPod because while I know I listen to a ton of music, I'm still iffy on reading stuff on screen.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:04 PM on January 28, 2010


GuyZero: “How did we get 1,000 comments without someone mentioning the Axiotron Modbook?”

We didn't. Worth mentioning again, though. The Axiotron Modbook is like what this would be if this were what a lot of us would rather it be: a tablet Macbook with a touchscreen. It's $700+, but for full OS X 10.6, 2GHz+ dual core, 60 GM+ storage, that $200 more is probably worth it to some of us.

To be honest, that Modbook makes me drool more than the iPad. I kinda really want one.
posted by koeselitz at 5:07 PM on January 28, 2010


immlass: "Now we have GPS on our iPhones that we can talk to, and Jobs had the vision to make that happen."

Wait, Steve Jobs invented the GPS, electroacoustic transduction, digitisation, and speech synthesis? I had no idea.

I guess all those PDAs and phones and dedicated GPS dashmounteds that were doing this years before Apple's phone were just delusions?
posted by meehawl at 5:17 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fact, thinking about it, the Modbook pretty much renders the top-of-line $700 iPad pointless, at least in my mind; since for the same price you can get the same form of device with a much higher screen resolution, full operating system, and better hardware - the only step down is from 64GB to 60GB on the hard drive - why would you get the iPad? You'd have to really believe that the iPad's OS is substantially superior to OS X, and I guess that might be true for some people in certain circumstances (yeah, people who don't like to futz with anything and just wanna watch stuff) but it'll never be true for me or honestly for most of the people I know. OS X is fine, even in that form, and is more flexible and powerful.

That doesn't mean the base-model iPad isn't going to be a huge success, of course.
posted by koeselitz at 5:18 PM on January 28, 2010


I searched for it but oh well. And it's not $700 - it's $700 if you send them a MacBook. From scratch it's more like $1650. Still, far more useful.
posted by GuyZero at 5:18 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


RDP support is only available on certain expensive versions of Windows.

What? No. I RDP into my XP box at home. I think you have to download the RDP client separately for XP but it's free.
posted by GuyZero at 5:20 PM on January 28, 2010


RDP support is only available on certain expensive versions of Windows.

Yes, you must have a SOLID GOLD edition of Windows XP Pro or higher. Or you could install VNC, or SSH, or rcmd, or whatever on any version of Windows. Or you could use GoToMyPC, or Acrobat Connect, or lots of other online solutions to remote access. On the iPad, you'll only be able to install what Apple approves for the App Store. Are there any SSH servers in the App Store now? No?

There's a lot of hypocrisy in calling out the iPad because it doesn't do remote access out of the box, when many other commercial vendors do the exact same thing and yet no one ever seems to call them out for it.

Maybe those other commercial vendors aren't claiming to be selling THE NEXT BIG THING. You should be happy if people have higher expectations from Apple, shouldn't you?

Most of the complaints here aren't saying that the iPad won't be successful, they're saying they don't like it, or they're disappointed by it, because it doesn't have feature X or Y. Need you rebut each one? Why on earth does it matter so much to you? Personally, I don't give a rat's ass about being able to SSH to the iPad, because I'm going to play silly games and look at stuff on it, but complaints about features are entirely valid to the people making the complaints, and there's NOTHING you can do about that.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:20 PM on January 28, 2010


I concede that the streaming app does in fact work on more than 10 devices, which was hyperbole on my part about how few devices the program seemed to work with.

That said, its still a crappy app, and doesn't fullfill what most people seemed to want for NAS access. I would personally really like something like cifs/nfs access at a low level that other apps can hook into, so that you wouldn't have to switch between apps to move files onto your machine and then do something with them (as with the ftp client) or require that every app developer implement their own cifs/nfs/whatever stack in a self-contained app.

But that was Apple's decision to not include it. It won't be the reason I won't buy it (that would be because I have a perfectly serviceable netbook and don't have the cash anyways), but I can see why it would be a legitimate criticism of the device. Definitely not a criticism worth getting so worked up about or taking so personally.

That said:

Blazecock Pileon: "A legitimate criticism is that Apple wants to manage and monetize your access to that cloud. However, an equally legitimate point is that you can already access non-Apple cloud resources from an iPhone or iPod Touch, and unless Apple kills those apps, it seems likely you'll be able to access those from an iPad, as well."

so what you're saying is that Apple is embracing cloud computing and extending it with their own ecosystem and App Store that they control. I'm pretty sure I know what comes next, and if Microsoft was doing it, BP would be very upset about it.
posted by grandsham at 5:21 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well not all of us are calling an iPad a failure because it doesn't do X or even that it'll flop (I really the momentum they have with the iPhone/iTouch will push through). Some of us were looking forward to Apple's answer to the netbook: something not quite as heavy, powerful or expensive as a regular MacBook but more versatile and abled than an iPhone. The iPad, despite Job's introduction of the iPad, is not such a device, it is a different beast and approach altogether. Some of us are disappointed at that.
posted by tksh at 5:24 PM on January 28, 2010


I guess all those PDAs and phones and dedicated GPS dashmounteds that were doing this years before Apple's phone were just delusions?

Yeah, and the Rio and the Nomad were all way better in the MP3 space than iPods too, too. What Jobs brought to the table was superior design and usability for the technology that was already partway there.

I would love to have a conversation about the iPad that doesn't recapitulate the exact same (generally wrongheaded) complaints I've heard about every other Apple product since 1998 or a pathetically unfunny feminine hygiene joke (generally complete with sexist/gender essentialist gag about Apple's marketing department having no women and geek men who never have contact with women or menstrual products). I was doing so well here, too.
posted by immlass at 5:33 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well on the whole maxipad joke issue, I have only heard it from women who universally (in my limited sample) make the connection right away. It's not some locker-room-men-acting-like-boys thing.
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on January 28, 2010


jeremias: So as your hand approaches the screen a menu would fade in and as you move it away it disappears. So yeah, basic "Minority Report" shit.

Except it will be real and we're seeing a hint of what this will look like now.
Microsoft was ahead of Apple there too, with the Touch Table/Microsoft Surface 5 years ago.
posted by hincandenza at 5:54 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not some locker-room-men-acting-like-boys thing.

No, it's almost all women, which is part of the crankiness for me. It's like every bad stereotype of nerdy boys who've never been through sex ed and junior high girls who are too embarrassed to say the word 'period'. And all men (especially geek men) are like THIS and all girls are not geeks and they're like THAT and if ever the twain had met in Apple marketing we would not have had this horrible name that is making Mrs. Grundy faint. Because we're all still making urination and penis jokes about the Wii, which shows us we can never get over name choices that are scatalogically mockable.

Sexist, essentialist, and annoying as hell coming out of the mouths of feminist women, even on the rare occasion that the jokes are actually funny. Most of them aren't, which just makes it worse.
posted by immlass at 6:19 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Microsoft was ahead of Apple there too, with the Touch Table/Microsoft Surface 5 years ago.

I did it with my TV and a magnet 30 years ago.
posted by GuyZero at 6:20 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and the Rio and the Nomad were all way better in the MP3 space than iPods too, too.

Not really. Back then, players were either huge (the Nomad was not really pocketable), or had really little storage (like, 64 or 128 MB). For large drives, transfers took an ungodly amount of time (hello USB 1.1). The iPod was simply a more practical player.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:49 PM on January 28, 2010


It's a pity it doesn't have a camera. The iPad could have been a cool device for augmented reality apps with the larger-but-portable screen, there are quite a few cool ones out for the iPhone already.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:55 PM on January 28, 2010


In fact, thinking about it, the Modbook pretty much renders the top-of-line $700 iPad pointless, at least in my mind; since for the same price...

"Complete modbook built from customer supplied MacBook base system."

That sounds to me like first you buy the MacBook, then you send it to them along with $699, and then they send it back to you, which is probably the only way they can legally get away with this.
posted by weston at 7:56 PM on January 28, 2010


Yeah, I wasn't reading carefully enough there.
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 PM on January 28, 2010


Why The iPad Is Crap Futurism
posted by homunculus at 8:02 PM on January 28, 2010


MSM: I think I missed out my HAMBURGER tag in that comment. We're in violent agreement there.
posted by immlass at 8:04 PM on January 28, 2010


I'm pretty surprised at the amount of negative press this thing is getting. I don't think it can be due to the features or the specs or anything like that. I'm seeing it get slammed in articles and on Twitter and Facebook by people who I know don't know enough about computers to care that it doesn't multitask. There's something else going on here, and I can't put my finger on it.
posted by painquale at 8:20 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


jeremias: So as your hand approaches the screen a menu would fade in and as you move it away it disappears. So yeah, basic "Minority Report" shit.

Except it will be real and we're seeing a hint of what this will look like now
.

hincandenza: Microsoft was ahead of Apple there too, with the Touch Table/Microsoft Surface 5 years ago.


Really? Are you just out trollin' today or do you not know how a Surface works? Because it doesn't have a pressure-sensing system, it uses multiple cameras to track movement and a projection screen to display. It definitely does not have anything similar to the capacitive system that you're quoting me on.That's not to say the Surface isn't innovative technology but I find it hard to swallow that a $10,000 system that had an official commercial release in April 2008 can be "ahead" of a $500 device released in June 2007.

Like I said before, we can all get along though. I introduced an iPhone and the Surface to each other last year and they did just fine.
posted by jeremias at 8:33 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's because I didn't quote the part of the comment I disagreed with, immlass. It's this one:

What Jobs brought to the table was superior design and usability for the technology that was already partway there.

And then it depends on what you mean by "design and usability". I think the iPod was superior on purely technical ground, in addition to design, and I believe that the technical reasons trumped the design ones. Or maybe I just didn't like the wheel on my roommate's iPod nano. From my point of view, Apple used its first mover advantage to then build the iTunes store, much like Steam was launched on the strength of Valve's games.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:36 PM on January 28, 2010


Oh this is nice: it looks like Apple straight up stole the look and feel for iBooks from Delicious Library without so much as a thank-you

This is a complete non-issue which Wil Shipley's already addressed quite a bit on Twitter.
posted by sparkletone at 8:36 PM on January 28, 2010


as cool as this thing sounds - and it sounds cool from top to bottom - as someone who believes that wireless technology on the whole has been implemented with little regard to long term health consequences, the thought of everyone with one of these and of omnipresent wifi networks makes me more than a bit uncomfortable.
posted by jake1 at 8:47 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The iPad will have a camera on release or in a next release. The API already talks about its presence. The iPod Touch will also soon have the camera. All Apple devices are soon going to have music, a bsaic camera, basic location and orientation awareness, and basic wifi. It can't be more obvious.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:51 PM on January 28, 2010


Oh all you spec-crazy noodle heads don't know how to evaluate an Apple product at all.

There is but one metric:

Does this product make you shit in your pants?

I can confirm that it does.

Or that may be the burrito I ate.
posted by mazola at 9:09 PM on January 28, 2010


Jobs' netbook comparison reminds me of when Apple claimed that the IIGS was competitive with the Amiga.

And right now I would say, speaking as an iPod classic owner, that the best mp3 player, based on price, size, and features, is the Sansa Clip.
posted by rfs at 9:13 PM on January 28, 2010


This is a complete non-issue which Wil Shipley's already addressed quite a bit on Twitter.

Doesn't come across like he thinks its a non-issue. I hope he's talking to a lawyer.
posted by empath at 9:19 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Notably, he says, “[Delcious Monster co-founder] Mike Matas was a UI designer on the iPad, [former employee] Lucas Newman is an iPhone / iPad engineer, and [former employee] Tim Omernick was an iPhone / iPad engineer but left a while ago to work on games independently.”

“But the thing about iBooks is, it’s a book-reader. So, of course they looked around, found the best interface for displaying books (Delicious Library’s shelves), and said: yup, this is what we’re doing,” he went on to say. “Although Delicious Library was the first to do it, we didn’t try to copyright the idea of wooden shelves, or of showing books photo-realistically. ‘Look and feel’ is kind of an outmoded concept, I think.”

“Now, of course Apple couldn’t contact me ahead of time and say, ‘Hey, we’re taking your idea, thanks.’ Their lawyers would worry they’d open themselves to a huge lawsuit, for one, and they’d also be leaking a secret. Nor could they write me a check. Even a token one would be an admission (in their lawyers’ eyes) that they were copying something. They are a public company — they can’t write someone a check unless they got some value in return. And if they got value, the lawyers would ask, how much was it? How was it determined?,” he continues

“So their official policy has to be, ‘No, of course it’s a crazy coincidence that these shelves look almost entirely like Delicious Library’s shelves.‘,” he concludes

But this goes even deeper for Shipley:

“As a creator, part of what I seek is recognition, immortality. I don’t work for Apple, or Google (I’ve been offered jobs & buyouts) because I want the fame myself. It’s my shot at immortality. My designs are my children. So it stinks when I feel like Steve might get the fame for my innovation. I lose my children, as it were.”

“But your children aren’t really yours. They have lives of their own. So when your designs do change the world, you have to accept it. You have to say, ‘Ok, this was such a good idea, other people took it and ran with it. I win.’”

posted by empath at 9:22 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Isn't it kind of cynical for Adobe to talk about restrictions, when they hadn't put out a Flash plug-in for Linux until late 2008?"

It would be if it were true. It's always been a pain in the ass to get working thanks to differing library versions and whatnot, but Flash has been available for 32 bit Linux for ages. At least back to Flash 6. In late 2008 Adobe finally released a not-really-supported 64 bit version for Linux.

jeremias wrote: "you don't get to sell 35 million+ iPhones, for example, without having some intrinsic merit"

I don't think the following comparison is quite fair to the iPhone, as it does have some use, but: Chia Pet
posted by wierdo at 9:28 PM on January 28, 2010


Doesn't come across like he thinks its a non-issue. I hope he's talking to a lawyer.

What?

I only linked to a smattering of his posts about it. Did I not grab one of the ones where he says he has no intention of suing them? He says it, like, 5 times and goes on to suggest that only dumb people think he would.

To save you some effort, according to him:

The shelf metaphor is the best one available to display things like this, and he had the first UI doing that. Apple regularly hires away his people. Clearly they think he and the people he hires do really good work. iBooks and Delicious Library do not compete as apps, so there's no harm there. So... They're not harming him in any way, materially or otherwise. They haven't stolen anything from anymore than his app has stolen certain standard OS widgets, metaphor, behaviors from them. Why would he sue them?
posted by sparkletone at 9:33 PM on January 28, 2010


(Also he said at one point he hopes they won't mind when he takes some of their refinements to the appearance of the shelves.)
posted by sparkletone at 9:37 PM on January 28, 2010


Hitler responds to the iPad (yeah I know you've seen a billion of these and they're often not that funny, but the synching of "Bloons" at ~3:00 is amazing)
posted by juv3nal at 9:44 PM on January 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's something else going on here, and I can't put my finger on it

I think people are getting annoyed that Apple seems to want even more of their money on something that - to the eye of someone who isn't a software developer who can see new potential for amazing products - is just a big dumb iPod.

I can understand this feeling but I'm not going to let it get me down when I am hopefully toiling away at an app they'll spend $5 or $10 on a year from now and be very happy with.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:56 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree with hincandenza (and others) that Microsoft Courier looks interesting...
posted by Termite at 11:43 PM on January 28, 2010


A filesystem is just a giant, tagged database.
Uh, no it's not. In a hierarchical FS you have one 'folder location' and lots of files, and of course you can simlinks, hardlinks and shortcuts, but those are still real files in folders.

Let's take a music example. Say you have the files sorted by band, and sub folders with albums. Now lets say you want to find all the pop music released in 1998. There's no way to do that with an ordinary file system. You could use a bunch of shortcuts (tens of thousands) to organize your music by genera and year, but there's no way to create shortcuts for every combination.

Obviously there are programs that will build databases of your music for you, but I'd like to have the entire filesystem indexed in a database.

Windows has a really nice indexing system now, actually indexing by plaintext context and filenames, which makes it easy to find files. I think macs have something similar.

What I'd like to see, though, is a standardized tagging system, and then you would just get rid of the central file system, although you would probably need a special 'path' key/value pair for backwards compatibility with old software. (Actually I'm thinking key/value pairs plus tags).

Of course, that kind of thing would actually require quite a bit of computing power, but I think today's machines could handle it.
Meanwhile, independent of all the opinions and hype was a quiet announcement yesterday of a new patent given to Apple for advanced multitouch. The debate on the wisdom of issuing such patents will take place elsewhere of course, but this patent is for a "proximity sensor" for multitouch devices.
Pen based systems can already do that. Basically you're talking about what, a thermin-style RF sensor?
In fact, thinking about it, the Modbook pretty much renders the top-of-line $700 iPad pointless, at least in my mind; since for the same price you can get the same form of device with a much higher screen resolution, full operating system, and better hardware - the only step down is from 64GB to 60GB on the hard drive - why would you get the iPad?
The Axotron modifies user supplied Macs. That means the $700 is on top of the cost of all the hardware.
posted by delmoi at 1:38 AM on January 29, 2010


you don't get to sell 35 million+ iPhones, for example, without having some intrinsic merit

So this still applies if you said you don't get to sell millions of copies of any version of Windows or Britney Spears CDs without having some intrinsic merit?
posted by juiceCake at 2:57 AM on January 29, 2010


I agree with hincandenza (and others) that Microsoft Courier looks interesting...

The Courier is an idea that perhaps seems neat in concept, but isn't that practical when you get into the details (at least not in Microsoft's hands). Most GUI concepts that make use of two screens can easily be done with one screen, but the reverse is not as elegant. The only advantage of the Courier is that you can double the screen size compared to it's closed size. And I'd agree that that's one big advantage, if it wasn't for the huge gap down the middle. Perhaps they can revisit the idea when flexible displays are good enough for production.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 3:10 AM on January 29, 2010


Some people have pointed out that while they don't think this device will necessarily be a failure, that is isn't for them because it lacks certain features doesn't work a certain way. While I'm sure that's genuinely the case sometimes, the truth is that most people, even the smart people here, don't really know what they need or like until they have actually been using it. Much of it is simply because people get used to a certain way of doing something, or don't think they could cope without feature X or Y. The other part is that interface design and workflows are something that need to be tested in the real world, because even the experts aren't that great at only theorising what concepts work best.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 3:38 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Soupisgoodfood: I'm not sure if the notebook metaphor is the best way to go when we develop future computer devices, but still... The way you could open the Courier, flip through an endless number of (searchable!) pages - even flip through them from the top of the page, like index cards, not only sideways like a book - was impressive.
posted by Termite at 5:33 AM on January 29, 2010


delmoi: Uh, no it's not. In a hierarchical FS you have one 'folder location' and lots of files, and of course you can simlinks, hardlinks and shortcuts, but those are still real files in folders.

Of course it is. A database is simply a system that maps two different kinds of data together in a relationship. SQL is simply an elaboration of earlier key/value databases. The fact that you can now build databases with multiple indexes does not change the fundamentas fact that a single-index database is still a database.

Files are not real, and neither are folders. They are nothing more than arbitrary keys that are indexed in a database and mapped to other layers of machine-sense abstractions (such a inodes) , which in turn, are mapped to physical locations on a medium. POSIX hard links do nothing more than create a new key-value pair mapping in the database.

Let's take a music example. Say you have the files sorted by band, and sub folders with albums. Now lets say you want to find all the pop music released in 1998. There's no way to do that with an ordinary file system. You could use a bunch of shortcuts (tens of thousands) to organize your music by genera and year, but there's no way to create shortcuts for every combination.

Sure, you and I both like to have systems with multiple indexes which are not supported by traditional filesystems. But that doesn't change the fact that the POSIX filesystem is just a simple database of key/value pairs. It just doesn't have additional indexes for artists and albums.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:59 AM on January 29, 2010


you don't get to sell 35 million+ iPhones, for example, without having some intrinsic merit

> So this still applies if you said you don't get to sell millions of copies of any version of Windows or Britney Spears CDs without having some intrinsic merit?

Sure. 'Familiarity' is also an intrinsic merit.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:10 AM on January 29, 2010


The Courier doesn't exist yet, right? Not even in the "shipping in 60 days" sense of the iPad.

If that's so, it strikes me like many of Microsoft's previews: the same as those prototype show cars which look amazing, but turn out hinky when they hit production.

In the Courier's case, I imagine that when you tried to flick a picture from a website over to your journal, what would actually happen is a dialog box would come up telling you that you didn't have the rights to the image, and then you'd have to connect a mouse to hit the "OK" button.
posted by bonaldi at 6:11 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Of course, a problem with multiple indexes and tagging systems its hard to find the sweet spot between too generic and too specific. Let's take music for example, existing music managers work very well for pop music, but frequently make questionable compromises for classical music. Media producers need a completely different set of fields beyond what's needed by media producers. The solution used by the OS X spotlight of a freeform comments field that can be used for tags should work for many people tough.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:30 AM on January 29, 2010


Pee-wee shows his new Apple iPad to the Playhouse Gang.
posted by mazola at 6:49 AM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Pee-wee shows his new Apple iPad to the Playhouse Gang.

"It's a napkin that is superclean!"
posted by Burhanistan at 6:53 AM on January 29, 2010


Yeah, I've had a 4x4 Microsoft Table coffee-table on backorder for about five years now.
posted by rokusan at 6:53 AM on January 29, 2010


If that's so, it strikes me like many of Microsoft's previews: the same as those prototype show cars which look amazing, but turn out hinky when they hit production.

I think it's a little different. Microsoft has always had great hardware designs. They just aren't generally a hardware company. It's the same issue that Google has run into, and in that case they've basically had to shove aside their hardware partners and say "this is how this should be done".
posted by smackfu at 7:12 AM on January 29, 2010


so what you're saying is that Apple is embracing cloud computing and extending it with their own ecosystem and App Store that they control. I'm pretty sure I know what comes next, and if Microsoft was doing it, BP would be very upset about it.

I don't think Apple has the same reputation as Microsoft, in the extinguish department. In fact, Microsoft pretty much has a monopoly, if you will, on using their market clout to destroy everyone else's good technology.

You will have a legitimate right to behave like the smarmy jerk you are when Apple does begin to have and wield that power, though. That day is not today, and it won't come with the release of the iPad, so sorry, but it might be coming.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:22 AM on January 29, 2010


I don't know, BP, iTunes is worse than anything Microsoft has ever invented
posted by KokuRyu at 7:34 AM on January 29, 2010


iTunes has suffered from its success, getting progressively clunkier as it has added features, but it hasn't extinguished anyone's products. You have a wide choice of media players, including Windows Media Player.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:43 AM on January 29, 2010


Holy fuck, the Playhouse looks great! Is Pee-Wee working regularly again? That was one seriously awesome Saturday morning tv show. Man. Thanks for linking that, mazola!
posted by BeerFilter at 7:48 AM on January 29, 2010


I don't know... does anyone still use Musicmatch Jukebox? (slogan: sort of like iTunes, but without the upsides)
posted by Artw at 7:50 AM on January 29, 2010


BeerFilter - did you see him in 30 Rock?
posted by Artw at 7:51 AM on January 29, 2010


Negative. Will check it out! Thanks!
posted by BeerFilter at 7:58 AM on January 29, 2010


My favorite clunky thing about iTunes is that it refuses any knowledge of The Beatles just because they aren't sold in the iTunes store.
posted by smackfu at 8:05 AM on January 29, 2010


Pee-wee shows his new Apple iPad to the Playhouse Gang.

Milk? Milk? Lemonade?
posted by shmegegge at 8:22 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


eh, the itunes store is pretty fantastic. likewise, steam and the xbox live marketplace and the playstation network and netflix streaming and on and on and on. this stuff is how it's gonna be done from now on, unless a service like OnLive takes off, or Apple's acquisition of LaLa proves to be the huge deal. In truth, I think digital download services are a step toward cloud based storage and streaming solutions like LaLa. (cram it, KirkJobSluder)

no, what's frustrating for a user like me is that the iPad isn't a computer. If I could install stuff on it without apple's permission, it'd be fantastic. I can't, and that's why the iPad is an ereader/ipod and not the future of computing. cloud storage is awesome, and I want more of it, so great for that. but computing simply isn't going to be as monolithic as apple wants it to be, where it all has to go through their approval process. Jobs wants to be the king of all media, and he's either going to wise up and shift his priorities a bit for future versions of his devices or he's going to finally lose his lock on the coolest gadget of the year prize.
posted by shmegegge at 8:29 AM on January 29, 2010


Well, there's computing and then there's computing.

There's a sizeable audience who doesn't want software to have to go through an approval process and be distributed through a single source. Their needs are being catered to with more capable (and expensive) devices elsewhere.

Apple's banking on there being an unsatisfied consumer market that would likely benefit from this 'computing lite' approach. This allows non-techies to focus on what they want to do, and not troubleshoot things they don't understand.

I think some techie push-back on this device is that they see this as a power grab by Apple -- control over services is being put in the consumer's hands rather than the local tech guru and his fiefdom.

Others welcome the sweet release from being everyone's personal tech support.
posted by mazola at 8:38 AM on January 29, 2010


It's not really an Apple problem, but iTunes on Windows stinks like week-old cod guts. It's slow, it messes up your music collection and it doesn't adapt well to the Windows UI conventions. It's a total pain in the ass to use, in my experience. I've known several people to refuse to buy iPods just because they don't want to deal with iTunes. Those of my friends that do have iPods, quite a number actually, tend to use things like Winamp instead (which in my opinion isn't really much of a step up, but still).

I've never used iTunes on a Mac, so no comment there.
posted by bonehead at 8:44 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


iTunes on a Mac never quite matches the current OS X UI look and feel, but people seem far more accepting of it than a third-party program like Firefox.

Check out the fail in this iTunes Mac screenshot.
posted by smackfu at 8:51 AM on January 29, 2010


shmegegge: I don't know what you are being so hostile about. Digital downloads are a good things, cloud-based storage solutions are a good thing (ideally peer-to-peer as well as client-service.) My position is that we can do much better with the miracle-machines in our pockets than emulating decades-old applications as a client-server system in a sandbox of WebKit or Mozilla.

And I'm not talking about power-user hacking stuff here, although that's nifty too. What I want is an AI for my frail, semi-blind, and elderly relatives that can help them navigate the world better. What I want is real-time translation and transcription so that I can more easily communicate with people beyond my cultural context. I want word processing software that doesn't annoy me. I want to put on a pair of shades and slip into a virtual world. I want interactive systems than learn and anticipate my needs. All of this requires local processing and data storage.

And I want a pony, but that has nothing to do with this.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:01 AM on January 29, 2010


shmegegge: I don't know what you are being so hostile about.

no no no! I was kidding! seriously, I was just fucking around. I'm really not trying to be hostile about anything, it was meant as a good natured elbow nudge cause we got into it months ago about the chrome OS thing. sorry if it came off as hostile. I was seriously just kidding when I put your name in there.
posted by shmegegge at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2010


mazola: Apple's banking on there being an unsatisfied consumer market that would likely benefit from this 'computing lite' approach.

Most people I know who start with the 'computing light' approach, end up moving towards uses and cases that had not been anticipated by the original developers. I actually think that techies are more enamored of the 'computing lite' approach than novices.

smackfu: FF is second only to Safari on OSX. The problem with FF is that while it superficially looks like it's integrated to OSX, the lack of integration with OSX services annoys some people. I don't mind iTunes that much myself.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2010


It'll fill a narrow niche market just like the iPhone did. A product that was met by much the same idiocy as we've been seeing in this thread.

Original iPhone thread doesn't seem idiotic to me; it seems well informed. The general consensus was that the iPhone would be a huge success.

Likewise, this thread also reads as (mostly) well-informed to me. Consensus seems less convinced of this product's success/impact.

People expect phones to be locked down. But not computers. Apple is trying to sell this as a computer. That's what I see as one big problem (for me and perhaps others like me). Also, it doesn't differentiate much from the iPod Touch (yet).

I'm seeing it get slammed in articles and on Twitter and Facebook by people who I know don't know enough about computers to care that it doesn't multitask. There's something else going on here, and I can't put my finger on it

Talking to a Mac user yesterday ...

she: what's the point without the phone?

me: well, the iPod Touch is pretty cool

she: so it's like a big iPod Touch

me: with a better display and some new features i can't remember

she: yeah, i don't need that

I also think Apple is due for an inevitable backlash against the iPhone ecosystem.

iTunes is worse than anything Microsoft has ever invented

Hmm. Sure, iTunes sucks ass, but is WMP any better? No.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2010


sorry, shmegegge, one of those weeks.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:11 AM on January 29, 2010


Well, there's computing and then there's computing.

I agree, and I think this device makes it clear that we need to sort of clarify the word, a bit, the same we make a distinction between an xbox (console) and a pc (computer). this thing is more like an xbox than a computer, to my mind. and as an ereader it's awesome. as a web capable device, it seems pretty decent, too. But I think computing has typically always been a kind of democratic thing in that you can contribute to it directly. even in the most closed source OS ever you could code apps for it if you wanted to and give the code away to someone else to use if they wanted to, and no one else's permission was ever required. while there are down sides to that (piracy, viruses, hacking, etc...) I'm beginning to think that that ability should maybe be considered required in the standard desktop or laptop sense of computing.

before this, it wasn't a question, so the notion that a computer could be this thing you can't put your own programs on wasn't even born. I mean, when the palm pilot came about, or the nintendo or atari, the distinction between those devices and "a computer" was natural. nobody needed to codify it. atari was the thing you played games on. palmpilot was a digital address book. the iphone is a phone. this thing is trying very hard to look like a computer, and I'm starting to think maybe we need to draw the line.
posted by shmegegge at 9:21 AM on January 29, 2010


as cool as this thing sounds - and it sounds cool from top to bottom - as someone who believes that wireless technology on the whole has been implemented with little regard to long term health consequences, the thought of everyone with one of these and of omnipresent wifi networks makes me more than a bit uncomfortable.

You should make a FPP out of that, jake1. It's an interesting find.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:24 AM on January 29, 2010


You will have a legitimate right to behave like the smarmy jerk you are when Apple does begin to have and wield that power, though. That day is not today, and it won't come with the release of the iPad, so sorry, but it might be coming.

You do not have a legitimate right to call someone a smarmy jerk for expressing disagreement. But in any case, Apple's rejection of Google Voice, etc, from the App Store looks like a classic case of the behavior you're saying Apple doesn't display.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:54 AM on January 29, 2010


Most people I know who start with the 'computing light' approach, end up moving towards uses and cases that had not been anticipated by the original developers. I actually think that techies are more enamored of the 'computing lite' approach than novices.

I agree, if people go in saying "oh I don't need a full computer, I just need a simple computer" they tend to buy something underpowered, cheap, and something they quickly outgrow. The key here, is they are looking for a computer to begin with. That's the basic problem Steve mentions in the keynote with regards to netbooks: what is delivered doesn't match expectations -- they're mostly just cheap laptops and set-up users for disappointment.

Apple is selling these things as specialized consumer appliances -- ebook reader, internet browser, media player. If you buy into those functions, the apps are a bonus and add value. When it's time for a 'real' computer, well they sell those too. This approach worked for the iPod and the iPhone and it may work for this too. Time will tell.

If you approach this as "I need a cheap machine to do word processing" then I think it's clear pretty quickly that this isn't for you. If you buy into basic functions and you can fire off the odd document -- that's pretty nifty.
posted by mazola at 9:57 AM on January 29, 2010


You do not have a legitimate right to call someone a smarmy jerk for expressing disagreement.

He wasn't expressing disagreement, he was very clearly being a jerk by inventing a strawman and attacking it to score cheap points ("if Microsoft was doing it, BP would be very upset about it").

But in any case, Apple's rejection of Google Voice, etc, from the App Store looks like a classic case of the behavior you're saying Apple doesn't display.

If Apple blocks Google Voice from Safari, then I'd agree. If Apple blocks Google Voice from Google phones, you'd definitely have a point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:13 AM on January 29, 2010


Blazecock, everyone else, take it to meta.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on January 29, 2010


(Now all I need to do is start and iPhone related Project post and I'll have MeFi bingo)
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on January 29, 2010


I'm already a little warmer to the iPad than it was when it came out. I didn't see any use for it when I already have a laptop and an iPhone. But after a couple of days I've heard/seen/been tossing around a couple of ideas for apps that wouldn't work on the laptop or the iPhone but would work brilliantly on the iPad's size: things to do with the kitchen and things for tabletop gaming. And the more I think about how I could use an iPad, the more I like it. But the apps are going to be the killer and what the new apps will be--how the ones that are designed to take advantage of the form of the iPad when it isn't even on sale yet--isn't something we can yet predict.

Apple is trying to sell this as a computer.

No, it's a consumer appliance like a game console or an ebook reader (or even an iPhone). It's just a really fancy one with an app store. It's really not a computer, even though people want it to be. Metafilter is a bunch of people who like computers, and they look at it through that paradigm. A lot of the tech people pushback is that Jobs is getting out of that paradigm. He broke the paradigm for smartphones with the iPhone; he's breaking, or at least trying to break, the netbook/ebook reader paradigm with the iPad.

One of the really interesting parts of the iPad that I've seen very little discussion of here or elsewhere is that Apple made their own chip for the iPad. That they bought their own chip design company and are designing device-specific chips tells me they're not making these new devices as computers. Apple's not interested in competing with Google or Microsoft with the iPad, other than in a general entertainment dollar sense. They're aiming to be the next Sony: the maker of consumer entertainment devices, not computers.
posted by immlass at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


They're aiming to be the next Sony: the maker of consumer entertainment devices, not computers.

That's probably very true. Unfortunately, Sony has a horrible track record with proprietary technology specifications (I won't call them "standards" because by definition, they're not).

MD, Memory Stick, UMD, etc, etc.
posted by GuyZero at 10:38 AM on January 29, 2010


Now you mention it, ugh...
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on January 29, 2010


One of the really interesting parts of the iPad that I've seen very little discussion of here or elsewhere is that Apple made their own chip for the iPad.

Which will also be a litmus test to separate the Apple haters from all others. Abstractly, a hardware company that makes consumer electronic devices and decided to own its supply chain and be able to optimize their software by making their own silicon with its own GPU and CPU would be seen as pretty badass.

Unless that company was Apple, in which case this is just evidence that they are control freaks and want to lock down the entire system and turn us all into passive consumers.
posted by jeremias at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's probably very true. Unfortunately, Sony has a horrible track record with proprietary technology specifications (I won't call them "standards" because by definition, they're not).

.mov, .aac, the 30-pin dock connector, FairPlay, etc, etc
posted by kafziel at 10:50 AM on January 29, 2010


Sony has a horrible track record with proprietary technology specifications

Yeah, I keep thinking about Betamax and Apple TV, speaking of things I want to somehow make work with the iPad in a serious way. The Apple TV is close to what I want it to do as an entertainment device, but it's just not there yet.
posted by immlass at 10:52 AM on January 29, 2010


(Now all I need to do is start and iPhone related Project post and I'll have MeFi bingo)

Isn't there an iPhone app for that?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:06 AM on January 29, 2010


The Apple TV is close to what I want it to do as an entertainment device, but it's just not there yet.

this is a description of every frustration I have regarding my "digital life" at the moment. I have an xbox360 that does ALMOST everything I want in this world. and that almost is the motherfucker. because the damn thing plays console games, streams downloaded video from my pc or mac, has netflix streaming access, its own video and music store built in, newly added social networking apps, im clients... and a game controller input device.

and that shouldn't be the end of the world, and it's not. but my iphone remotely controls itunes (on my pc) over wifi, so I often end up using the pc and its crappy speakers to play music, and now the music streaming function of the xbox is unused by me. and the iphone can be a video remote, too, for apple tv and my macbook. but why would i use that when I can watch video on my tv on my 360? I'm not going to plop money down to have the apple tv be my SIXTH video device (wii, ps2, ps3, 360, dvr/cable box being the other 5) when 90% of its functionality is replicated by another device. and i'm not going to watch video on my macbook, as opposed to my tv. and the iphone has no control over my xbox, so it's like my digital remote for everything I have EXCEPT the xbox. microsoft had promised, years ago, a Live Anywhere experience such that the 360 (or a media windows box, like the shuttle) would be the hub of a house-wide wireless shared experience remotely controlled by your smartphone. that turned out to be vapor, and the iphone neatly slid into place to do so much of that for me, except only on apple devices.

so here I am, with this 9/10s solution spread out over so many god damn devices but when it comes down to it I might as well have no solution at all since the devices don't like each other for corporate competitive reasons that are totally outside my user experience.

and I think that gets close to explaining, for me anyway, the frustration of yet another closed device. the technology is there to make my apartment into the Jetson's apartment, and it's not happening because apple wants me to buy an apple tv and microsoft wants me to buy a smartphone (though not enough to make a good one.) or a zune. And all I want are standards-compliant wireless devices that play with each other nicely by default, and app stores for any platform that are so ubiquitous that competitors offer apps on each other's stores because it'd be suicide not to be omnipresent in the marketplace.

here is where I would type out "sigh" if I didn't hate that. oh well. maybe next decade.
posted by shmegegge at 11:12 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


One of the really interesting parts of the iPad that I've seen very little discussion of here or elsewhere is that Apple made their own chip for the iPad. That they bought their own chip design company and are designing device-specific chips tells me they're not making these new devices as computers. Apple's not interested in competing with Google or Microsoft with the iPad, other than in a general entertainment dollar sense. They're aiming to be the next Sony: the maker of consumer entertainment devices, not computers.

John Gruber did a post on the implications of the chip that I think is worth a read. However, I disagree that this doesn't mean that Apple wants to compete with Google or MS. I think controlling better hardware, and controlling the software as well, is all about competing with those guys. Who cares about Sony if all you leave them with is TV production?

Which will also be a litmus test to separate the Apple haters from all others. Abstractly, a hardware company that makes consumer electronic devices and decided to own its supply chain and be able to optimize their software by making their own silicon with its own GPU and CPU would be seen as pretty badass.

Unless that company was Apple, in which case this is just evidence that they are control freaks and want to lock down the entire system and turn us all into passive consumers.


This is complete BS. I have no idea why you think a hardware company that also controls all of the approved software for a platform that aims to control the way we consume our media and use the internet is the same thing as a company that owns it's own supply chain and is "able to optimize their software." You've elided the part where Apple, in a substantial subset of their current system, wants to control other people's software.

I'm really not sure why you think that's something unworthy of comment, or, when commented upon, indicative of Apple hate. I think the best you can say for it is so far, so good, but I also think that the iPad may show a desire for even greater control.
posted by OmieWise at 11:24 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, everyone bitching about the lockdown that the App Store process entails, remember when they weren't going to do third party apps? And the developers bitched? And then they made the App Store? And the developers bitched?

Yeah, bone up on HTML5, and the circle is complete.

Artw > (Now all I need to do is start and iPhone related Project post and I'll have MeFi bingo)

Is it iPad HyperCard? 'Cause I'd be down for that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:41 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah... Hypecard...

/drifts of into reverie.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, Hypercard is actually a pretty good argument for the case that adding complexity ruins stuff. I'm pretty sure that adding colour ruined it. And then there's Director, which is basically a more complex attempt to do the same thing, and that ended up being the flagship of the never-really-took-off CD ROM revolution...
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2010


(How this applies to the iPhone/iPad I am not sure, but I am pretty sure it does in some way)
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2010


iPad software ideas for Wacom
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on January 29, 2010


Artw > You know, Hypercard is actually a pretty good argument for the case that adding complexity ruins stuff.

For varying definitions of 'ruins' (and I'm not even getting into the later iterations.) It's an argument at least.

It was pretty powerful and relatively easy to get up to speed with. There were a lot of ossim stacks that did some insanely useful basic record keeping/databasing. There were police departments who used it.

Not what you wanted? You could easily scratch that itch yourself!

And so many cool "Text Adventure with Graphics" stacks. (There were even Stacks to make those Stacks.)

But then there were the horde of Kill Barney stacks.

And then HC viruses.

etc.

I think Apple walked away from that for a reason. Not the least being complaints from Devs about the competition from savvy users.

Once again Devs, you reap what you sow when it comes to Apple.

*sigh*
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:58 AM on January 29, 2010


If someone can make an OS X application that's basically a web-services enabled Hypercard with the capability of outputting iPad apps that somehow get around the app-store (some kind of hypercard player app?) then they'd make a fortune.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on January 29, 2010


Artw >If someone can make an OS X application that's basically a web-services enabled Hypercard with the capability of outputting iPad apps that somehow get around the app-store (some kind of hypercard player app?) then they'd make a fortune.

I'm interested in your ideas, Sir, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:15 PM on January 29, 2010


Who cares about Sony if all you leave them with is TV production?

But that's just it--Sony is TVs and walkmans and all kinds of other devices and not a just-one-thing company. I'd seen the Gruber piece you'd linked (which was great; more people should read it) and there's a part in there where he talks about who Apple compared themselves to. It's not MS and Google, it's the device makers: Sony and Samsung. I'm not saying that Apple doesn't want to sell Macs over Windows (as long as the Mac stays Maclike) or iPhones over gPhones of all stripes. I'm talking about their overall focus. It's the same thing Gruber said, that they are taking over the penthouse suite. But the suite isn't just over computers, it's over all sorts of consumer devices.

so here I am, with this 9/10s solution spread out over so many god damn devices but when it comes down to it I might as well have no solution at all since the devices don't like each other for corporate competitive reasons that are totally outside my user experience.

I have five remote controls for different devices, not counting my iPhone, sitting on my coffee table. I know exactly what you mean. I love all my devices, but I wish I could get all that functionality in one of them.
posted by immlass at 12:25 PM on January 29, 2010


psst! for your remote control needs!

the low end harmony is so cool I asked for it for xmas a few years ago, and it has changed my life. it really is the last word in universal remotes.
posted by shmegegge at 12:37 PM on January 29, 2010


If Apple blocks Google Voice from Safari, then I'd agree. If Apple blocks Google Voice from Google phones, you'd definitely have a point.

Blazecock, meet Blazecock:
We seem to be in a marketing phase somewhere between the first two waves of extend, embrace, and extinguish. It's up to end users to keep us from ending up at the tail end of that story.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:39 PM on January 29, 2010


You know, there is a reason I started that meta thread.
posted by Artw at 1:47 PM on January 29, 2010


Heh, Adobe blog response to iPad.
posted by smackfu at 2:05 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact that they use a porn site as one of their top of the fold examples is hi-larious. shows you what their markets are.
posted by bonehead at 2:14 PM on January 29, 2010


Bang Bros - subtle Adobe.
posted by GuyZero at 2:14 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Subtext? What subtext?

At least they didn't put company logos on the actors' heads.
posted by bonehead at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2010


KirkJobSluder wrote: "cloud-based storage solutions are a good thing"

As primary storage. I still want to make my own backups, thanks. Didn't Palm lose bunch of data not that long ago?
posted by wierdo at 2:28 PM on January 29, 2010


My issue with iTunes is AAC and the inability to *easily* share music across machines or platforms - this is a design feature. If I buy music, why do I have to "authorize" machines to play it? Truth be told, I hate iTunes so much that I've resorted to buying CDs in the store (there are only two independently owned music shops in my town), and no, I don't download pirated MP3s.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2010


So you mean if I get an iPad Hulu will display a big 'plug in required' icon instead of a 'content cannot be viewed outside the United States' warning?

OUTRAGE!
posted by mazola at 2:42 PM on January 29, 2010


My issue with iTunes is AAC and the inability to *easily* share music across machines or platforms

Not to be nitpicky but:

There isn't much left in the music section of the iTunes store that is DRM'd. The issue is not AAC, which is an open standard. None of those A's stand for "Apple."

I can't think of a popular media app that doesn't support AAC. However, your portable player supporting it is a bit hit and miss.

Why not just buy mp3s from Amazon? No DRM, works on everything, reasonable (but not super awesome) quality. Pretty much the same deal you get from the music section of the iTunes store these days.
posted by sparkletone at 2:42 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


immlass wrote: "He broke the paradigm for smartphones with the iPhone"

Not really. There were centralized locations to download applications for smartphones before Apple came along.

What Apple did with the iPhone was 80% marketing, and about 20% better UI for touchscreen phones.

The concept of the device manufacturer offering an area for third parties to post applications the users could easily download wasn't something they did first. It's something they were the first to do on a large scale.

Maemo has had a simple, easy method for finding new applications since the 770. But, as a relatively unpopular tablet-type device, it wasn't high profile enough to change the way everybody does business.

I wouldn't even be participating in this discussion but for Apple getting it so close to having a device that's exactly what I've been envisioning portable computing to be. My problem with Apple's choice of locking down the platform is just that it would have been just as easy to make it just like it is now, but still give the users that desired it the option to write programs and hack around on it.

Yes, a large part of the market wouldn't bother to do those extra things with the iPad, but those of us that want to would have the option.

Here's to hoping Nokia comes out with a hardware knockoff running Maemo sometime soonish. I love my N900, but it's a little smaller (and thicker!) than I'd really prefer.
posted by wierdo at 2:43 PM on January 29, 2010


What Apple brought was a browsing experience that actually worked. I think you could easily make an argument that it was 80% making proper use of multitouch.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on January 29, 2010


Artw wrote: "What Apple brought was a browsing experience that actually worked."

I've been using browsers that actually work on tablets and cell phones since 2005. Sometimes even using WebKit.
posted by wierdo at 3:00 PM on January 29, 2010


There's Opera and the like, but by comparison the epxerience is pretty terrible. All that messing about to magnify... Sadly Google's phone suffers the same problem.
posted by Artw at 3:01 PM on January 29, 2010


I may be a freak but I prefer the magnify icons to using my other hand to zoom as I often read the web while I eat breakfast. Having said that, yes the icons are annoying when you're not using them.
posted by GuyZero at 3:12 PM on January 29, 2010


Isn't the problem that Apple has patents on multi-touch so no one can copy it for things like zooming?
posted by smackfu at 3:20 PM on January 29, 2010


There's some debate on that upthread, but it's not really conclusive. I'm pretty sure seen non-phone multitouch pinch and expand before.
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on January 29, 2010


What Apple did with the iPhone was 80% marketing, and about 20% better UI for touchscreen phones.

Man, if only other companies could afford to do marketing. Then they could have defeated the iPod.

but still give the users that desired it the option to write programs and hack around on it.

Yeah, I hear this a lot. But it's not really right, because it's no a zero-cost option to the people who don't take up the option.

My iPhone hasn't kernel panicked once in the years I've had it. Apps crash, but the system pretty much never, ever does. And that's not qualified. It's not "It doesn't crash so long as you are careful about what apps you install and have virus protection" or "It wouldn't crash if you wouldn't install all this malware without thinking", nor "I maintain my system, so it doesn't crash". It just ... doesn't crash.

There's a whole thing about "giving people the option" to make their system unstable and crashy, because when they install the hacks they know the risks, but ultimately it's patronising. It's saying "well, there should be this area of computing that normal people can use, but this area, that's off-limits to you normals. You shouldn't go there". Because if it's there, people will go there, as every tech person who has gone home for Christmas to find their parents running torrents or clicking spyware links in emails will attest.

Give people these options, and they'll end up taking them without even knowing what they're doing it. Ending up in these areas without maps and making decisions without understanding the ramifications is the majority of why people end up having trouble with computers.

In contrast, Apple doesn't do that. It says, "stay in our gated community; we'll shepherd it for you. If you're like 90% of people, you won't miss anything, and you won't accidentally get into trouble. If you're in the 10%, you'll know what you're missing, but we make the rest work so well you'll be happy enough to stay anyway".

It's what's making them rich, because the market is going "thank god, where do I sign up?".

(I have a lot of affection for Nokia too, but really, they had years to do this and none of the legacy hindrances that Microsoft have. They had a blank sheet of paper with Maemo, and on it they drew ... menu and scroll bars)
posted by bonaldi at 3:28 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your iPhone has never hung? of all the OS's I run it's the one that requires the most resets.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on January 29, 2010


My issue with iTunes is AAC and the inability to *easily* share music across machines or platforms - this is a design feature.

This is the thing they finally got right with Home Sharing! I'm glad they waited until they got it right. As frustrating as dealing with lousy third-party options that didn't work to keep my library and Mr. immlass' library synced was, the wait was worth it for it to just work.

Also, I cosign everything bonaldi said, except I have occasionally done things that make my iPhone hang. It's not perfect but it doesn't hang very often. And when I reboot the thing, it reboots and I don't have to deal with crap like Safe Mode.
posted by immlass at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2010


It really is quite strange that we live in an age where people will put up with a phone that hangs.
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on January 29, 2010


So, here's food for thought regarding some of the business-model theories as to why Apple won't support Flash: If they implement HTML 5 will <video /%gt; not allow people to do many of the things they are supposedly against?
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on January 29, 2010


OK, I'm a Mac fanboi, but really people.

bonaldi > My iPhone hasn't kernel panicked once in the years I've had it. Apps crash, but the system pretty much never, ever does.

Does an iPhone ever display a Kernel Panic? I know I've brought the little beastie down a dozen times over the past couple years (just loading this page would have done it a few versions ago), but it just gets unresponsive and needs a two-button reboot. The GF has done it twice as often, but she's more impatient than I, and may have been jumping the gun there and not giving Safari time to crash by itself.

Gods forbid you have music playing at the same time, and it just loops through some buffer the entire time. Yikes.

immlass >This is the thing they finally got right with Home Sharing! I'm glad they waited until they got it right

They did? The GF and I have separate iTunes accounts. We rarely use them anymore because sharing across accounts is not, as far as we could tell, possible.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:57 PM on January 29, 2010


bonaldi wrote: "My iPhone hasn't kernel panicked once in the years I've had it. Apps crash, but the system pretty much never, ever does. And that's not qualified. It's not "It doesn't crash so long as you are careful about what apps you install and have virus protection" or "It wouldn't crash if you wouldn't install all this malware without thinking", nor "I maintain my system, so it doesn't crash". It just ... doesn't crash."

Neither have any of my other smartphones, at least not when I don't make them do it with some bad programming on my part. Apple simply makes it so devs don't have the option of doing that (messing with things so low level they can crash the phone), which could be construed as a good thing, I suppose.

Moreover, that hasn't been the experience of any of the iPhone users I know. Their phones reboot themselves from time to time. Rarely, yes, but well within the range of "normal."

And FWIW, I've never had to contend with stupid zoom in and zoom out icons taking up part of my display area. That's because, until my N900, which has a zoom gesture (and can use the volume rocker for the zoom function in the browser), my phones all had buttons that could do that.

What I don't get is the menu hate. You really like having no organization whatsoever to your apps? Just pages and pages of similar looking icons? If the N900 didn't have it's incredibly excellent completely customizable four homescreens I'd be driven batty by the inability to organize my stuff into folders where I can find it more easily.

I'm not at all arguing the iPhone lacks a nice UI. I think it's a little too limited (see my previous graf), but overall it's quite nice. Very simple to use. It just lacks the same revolution in functionality, despite what the smug class of iPhone users thinks.

With the iPad being larger, and presumably even more amenable to having all sorts of nifty programs to do all sorts of nifty things, I think using the iPhone UI untouched is a mistake.

And I strongly disagree with your assessment of Maemo. I thought Maemo 4 had a great UI. I'm a little sad they ditched it entirely for 5 when they could have adapted it to be more finger friendly. It was already pretty decent, I only rarely used the stylus with my N810. Maemo 5 is even better, aside from the aforementioned lack of organization to installed applications.

I guess my very roundabout points are that the iPhone was only a modest improvement in the state of the art for smartphones, and even then in some ways was a regression, the ability to tinker is good and need not introduce instability for those who choose not to tinker, and the iPad needs a better UI.
posted by wierdo at 3:57 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw wrote: "So, here's food for thought regarding some of the business-model theories as to why Apple won't support Flash: If they implement HTML 5 will <video /%gt; not allow people to do many of the things they are supposedly against?"

On not-preview: No, because HTML5 video will be a dud amongst sites like Hulu until it gets the ability to be laden with DRM. Yes, that sucks, but that's the business reality of the situation. Moreover, HTML5 video isn't all that standard, given that different browsers will support different codecs.
posted by wierdo at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2010


I'm informed that Safari will actually handle a video tag in a similar way to other embedded video, i.e. by trying to open it in QuickTime when you click on it.
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on January 29, 2010


(which, come to think of it, would be another feature request - not having a more or less 100% faliure rate when trying to open video)
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on January 29, 2010


No, it works in Safari for OS X at least. Given that, I personally think that Youtube still works better in Flash - the HTML5 version has an annoying tendency to just sit there doing nothing for longer. And this is on OS X where I've been reliably informed that any Flash should make my machine kill itself.
posted by smackfu at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


ChurchHatesTucker, it's a relatively recent thing, like in the last couple of months. My husband and I share an account, and now if I add something--rip, buy from iTunes, buy from Amazon, whatever--he can actually pull up my library in Home Sharing, see what I have that he doesn't, and import it. With two accounts, I bet you need to authorize both accounts on both machines. You may have to check libraries and import twice (once per account) but I don't remember seeing anything in the documentation to suggest you can't use two accounts that way.

It really is quite strange that we live in an age where people will put up with a phone that hangs.

It's never when I'm using it as a phone. But the phone part is the piece I use least; I use it as an internet-connected PDA most of the time.

iPad needs a better UI.

The iPad (and iPhone) have a different kind of UI, which is part of what I'm getting at with saying it changes the paradigm.

One of the big things I notice about the UI is that there's no difference between a web page bookmark and a local app. So, for instance, from the user perspective there's no difference between using a Twitter app to get to Twitter or the mobile Twitter site. In this way it's more task-oriented than the desktop OSes. You pick an icon to do a task, not based on how it works in the file system. This isn't something that people who are heavily invested in the current desktop metaphor/paradigm will necessarily get as a big change ("oh, you can clutter your desktop with bookmarks that could be in your bookmarks in your browser") but for people who don't already think that way, this is a big difference. For some of them, Apple hopes many of them, it will be a better UI.

It just lacks the same revolution in functionality

For you. The iPad (and the iPhone before it) isn't designed to do what you want it to do because it's designed to do different stuff, to meet other people's needs. The smug class of geek who thinks all computers should be made for them to hack isn't the target audience for the iPad. I'm sure someone will jailbreak it, though, and then geeks who want to can hack on it to their heart's content.
posted by immlass at 4:29 PM on January 29, 2010


immlass wrote: "One of the big things I notice about the UI is that there's no difference between a web page bookmark and a local app. So, for instance, from the user perspective there's no difference between using a Twitter app to get to Twitter or the mobile Twitter site."

Desktop OSes have been doing that for almost 15 years now.

immlass wrote: "For you. The iPad (and the iPhone before it) isn't designed to do what you want it to do because it's designed to do different stuff, to meet other people's needs. The smug class of geek who thinks all computers should be made for them to hack isn't the target audience for the iPad. I'm sure someone will jailbreak it, though, and then geeks who want to can hack on it to their heart's content."

No, irrespective of my preferences, there's nothing revolutionary about the iPhone's functionality. The UI is better than most, yes, but as for plain functionality, it was and remains decidedly not revolutionary.

The only revolutionary things Apple has done recently are the iTunes Store and the App Store. Prior to that you had the iPod click wheel, which I think was marvelous. They did also mange to give the touch screen smartphone segment a good swift kick in the ass. The interface was light years beyond Windows Mobile and PalmOS as far as finger friendliness goes, but again, functionally, it does nothing that existing market offerings didn't already do.

Apple is great at simplifying things. One of their weaknesses is that seems to be their only strength. When adding (some, minor) complexity would benefit a device, like the iPad, they choose not to do that.

There's a reason WebTV didn't end up replacing PCs. This is something that seems like it should be squarely aimed at replacing a PC, and could, if Apple could add a small amount of complexity. It's not as if there's no complexity whatsoever to an iPhone. When all my clients were buying iPhones I spent quite a lot of my time setting them up because people just didn't get it. They use it just fine, but there's already a level of complex stuff they don't want to mess with. For those people, adding options wouldn't matter a whit to them because they never see them in the first place.
posted by wierdo at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


immlass > ChurchHatesTucker, it's a relatively recent thing, like in the last couple of months.

I'll have to give it another look, then. Apple does have this weird habit of not emphasizing changes in updates.

wierdo > The only revolutionary things Apple has done recently are the iTunes Store and the App Store. Prior to that you had the iPod click wheel, which I think was marvelous. They did also mange to give the touch screen smartphone segment a good swift kick in the ass. The interface was light years beyond Windows Mobile and PalmOS as far as finger friendliness goes, but again, functionally, it does nothing that existing market offerings didn't already do.

I think you're confusing innovation with invention. Apple hasn't invented a whole lot (that new chip aside, which may end up being the most important thing announced.) but they can innovate rings around almost anybody else. E.g., smartphones vs. iPhones.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:13 PM on January 29, 2010


Why not just buy mp3s from Amazon?

Sadly, I live in Canada and this service is not available.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:24 PM on January 29, 2010


The chip in the iPad is a SOC design that basically combines a licensed CPU & GPU with support circuitry. I agree it's a big deal, but they really didn't invent 95% of it. See here. It's yet another example of how they took a bunch of known quantities and somehow engineered them into something better.
posted by GuyZero at 5:28 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


My iPhone hasn't kernel panicked once in the years I've had it. Apps crash, but the system pretty much never, ever does.

I"ve had the phone for a year now, I use it pretty heavily and I think I've had it actually crash completely just a few times (mostly one game in particular -- Sneezies). Safari used to crash pretty regularly when i first got it, but one of the patches seems to have fixed that.
posted by empath at 5:28 PM on January 29, 2010


Desktop OSes have been doing that for almost 15 years now.

In the sense that you can put a bookmark on a desktop AND you can put an alias for an application on a desktop, yes. In the sense of there is only the one type of thing to click, and it doesn't matter whether it's a bookmark or it's an application, absolutely not. To someone who knows what an application is and what a bookmark is, this is nothing. To someone who doesn't know or care about the underlying file system and the differences between apps and web pages, this is an order of magnitude simpler.

Geeks don't see the difference because how computers operate, the habits of thinking you pick up using them, are so ground into us all that they seem instinctive. There's nothing instinctive about directories or using applications or any of that. It's a metaphor we're trained to use. The iPhone OS is moving toward a different metaphor--not all the way there yet but moving down the road to it.

there's nothing revolutionary about the iPhone's functionality.

It's not the "what it does", it's "how it does it" and how the UI makes things that were hard for non-geeks, people who aren't immersed in communicating/creating/consuming in the current metaphor, easy for those people to do. That's the part that's breaking the paradigm.

There's a reason WebTV didn't end up replacing PCs.

I had a friend who had a WebTV. A big reason it didn't end up replacing PCs is because it was a piece of shit and the user experience sucked. We won't know what people think of the iPad UX until it's actually out there in their hands.
posted by immlass at 5:32 PM on January 29, 2010


immlass wrote: "In the sense that you can put a bookmark on a desktop AND you can put an alias for an application on a desktop, yes. In the sense of there is only the one type of thing to click, and it doesn't matter whether it's a bookmark or it's an application, absolutely not."

Those two sentences contradict each other. To a user who doesn't know what the start menu does, a desktop filled with icons for applications and web pages is indistinguishable from a system that somehow treats them identically.

As far as other smartphones not being accessible by non-geeks, I think you should look at things like Symbian which have been used quite successfully by non-geeks for many years.

I've already stated that Apple did indeed make things simpler with the iPhone's UI. It's not clear that there was an abundance of required complexity in competing products, however. Aside from the App Store, that is.

If the problem with the WebTV had been a matter of implementation, someone else would have come along and made it happen. They didn't. They didn't because people wanted computers that could do more.

The iPad is priced like a computer, yet is dependent on a computer for full functionality. At its size and price point, it should be able to replace my laptop for any "normal" use. If it did that, and it wouldn't take much for Apple to get it there, I'd buy one.
posted by wierdo at 6:40 PM on January 29, 2010


Holy shit long thread. Here's my 2¢:
posted by Mister_A at 6:45 PM on January 29, 2010


There's nothing instinctive about directories or using applications or any of that. It's a metaphor we're trained to use. The iPhone OS is moving toward a different metaphor--not all the way there yet but moving down the road to it.

Sure, it's a metaphor we're trained to use. But it's all metaphor because we don't directly twiddle switches anymore. And in some ways, we want for the abstraction to be, well, more abstract because the manual processes they replaced are unwieldy and valuable only as part af a dedication to a particular craft. Pressing a name is easier than looking up and dialing an 11-digit number. Selecting Helvetica from a list is easer than searching through drawers of leaded type. Clicking on an icon for "italic" is easier than swapping out a dirty golf-ball-sized type head. Copy and paste and drag and drop are easier than correction fluid and rubber cement. Adjusting the contrast on an image using a slider is better than spending an hour with smelly chemicals exposing sheet after sheet of expensive paper. I grew up with a dial telephone and started using a typewriter at age 9. I'm quite happy that my use of a typewriter today is a recreational luxury, and my word processors share little of a typewriter's behavior.

Of course, the whole concept of a folder was a metaphor specifically chosen out of Eurocentric business practices. So that's a learned metaphor, and I suspect that the reason why people have such trouble with it is that we have a generation that never was indoctrinated into those ideas.

Pretty much the only instinctive user interfaces would be:
1: a nipple to suck on
2: bright, pretty, and easy to grip
3: a speaker that makes soft and non-threatening noises back at the user
4: I suppose we could do something with smells, but we really wouldn't want that

Beyond that, it's all learned metaphors of various levels of depth. About the only thing instinctive about the iPad is being bright, pretty, and easy for most adult hands to grip. Everything else involves some complex semiotics combined with some good old B. F. Skinner-style operant conditioning. And I really wish people would stop talking about "instinct" in these interface discussions, it's embarrassingly ignorant and misguided.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of the nifty new features introduced with the iPad is a bookstore. What do babies do with books? They drool on them and throw them to see if the book or the parent makes an interesting noise. The keynote feature for this item is a metaphor for a technology that didn't exist for 90% of the time humans have been on the planet, and one that demands that people rewire their brains through considerable effort.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:18 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


KirkJobSluder: "Digital downloads are a good things..."

Sir, this is where we duel.

Digital downloads are a con. You don't own what you buy, you only license it, and so you can never sell it when the day comes, as it inevitably will, that you want to get rid of it/upgrade it.

For example, when the day comes that a Playstation 4 is released and EB offers customers the chance to trade in 10 PS3 games for $100 off the new console or something, I can take them up on it. EB will be ripping me off by doing so, but at least I have that option. And of course, I could just go sell them all on eBay and maybe make $150 or $200 instead.

But If I had bought those 10 games digitally, I wouldn't have either option. Similarly I can never trade in my iTunes music purchases at the record store for cash or credit, and I can't lend my books to friends multiple times or trade them at the used bookstore or donate them to good will if I buy them for the Kindle or iPad.

Digital downloads benefit only one party; big media. They are terrible for the consumer and anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:23 PM on January 29, 2010


Effigy: That's a licensing issue. The ecosystem of downloadable software and content includes FOSS and public-domain material.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:33 PM on January 29, 2010


And I really wish people would stop talking about "instinct" in these interface discussions, it's embarrassingly ignorant and misguided.
Instinct is mentioned once in this thread before your post, and that usage is to say that some computer terms are so ingrained in us that they seem instinctive; the thought is finished by underlining that there's nothing instinctive about the interface at all.

As for books, well, by the time we're 8 years old we have so much experience of books that if you give us a book-shaped object, we'll try to open it like one -- with the spine side depending on our language orientation. Design that plays to these learned instincts -- intutions -- is intuitive, and it's how Mac people can talk about iTunes seeming totally intuitive while for Windows people it's a clunky mess.

The iPhone (in stark contrast to Symbian) plays to non-computer intuitions, in so far as that is possible. It mimics real-world physics for scrolling, grabbing, zooming, shrinking and selection. That in a lot of ways it relies on much simpler intuitions than Windows or the Mac is what allows people to claim it's more intuitive than either, even if it's not as literally instinctive as a nipple.
posted by bonaldi at 7:34 PM on January 29, 2010


bonaldi: Instinct is mentioned once in this thread before your post, and that usage is to say that some computer terms are so ingrained in us that they seem instinctive; the thought is finished by underlining that there's nothing instinctive about the interface at all.

The implication was that non-iPad interfaces were somehow "more instinctive." I agree, there is nothing instinctive about either interface, or intuitive beyond the ergonomic form-factor either.

Design that plays to these learned instincts...

These are two mutually-incompatible concepts. If it's learned, its got little or nothing to do with instinct. If it's instinct, there's no fucking need to learn it. This is high-school level material here folks. If you don't understand the distinction and why it's important you can't understand what Apple tries to do with its user-interface conventions, including those on the iPhone. It's not literally instinctive, it's not metaphorically instinctive.

It mimics real-world physics for scrolling, grabbing, zooming, shrinking and selection. That in a lot of ways it relies on much simpler intuitions than Windows or the Mac is what allows people to claim it's more intuitive than either, even if it's not as literally instinctive as a nipple.

Unless those icons have force-feedback, it has nothing to do with physics. Take for example, the gestures for zoom. Pinching gestures have multiple uses and semantic meanings depending on contexts: to pick up something small, to squeeze something, it is tiny, to draw something out, shut your mouth. Apple's choice may have been grounded in considerable research about those associations, but it's still one that's rather arbitrary applied to something that isn't obviously squishy. When I pinch a page, I expect it to crinkle.

The spread-to-zoom is, likewise, only weakly connected with physics. No physical objects uniformly enlarge when manipulated in that way. The obvious zoom gesture would be to bring the object closer to the eyes or push it away. So the arbitrary chices here limited by the hardware input device.

In both cases, Apple has to teach the user an entirely new set of arbitrary associations, and that's basic operant conditioning, not instinct or intuition. And because Apple is very, very, very good at applying that principle to their interfaces, it's easy for the user to make those associations, but they are still arbitrary and taught associations.

And that's not getting into gestures that are completely arbitrary. Drag horizontally to delete? Where does that come from? A fast flick to start uniform scrolling? Is the operating system a frictionless universe filled with uniform balls?

And of course, you forget the fact that the Xerox, MacOS, Widows, and related interfaces were also based on real-world, physical metaphors, some even used pointing fingers to represent the pointer. In Apple's drawing program, the pointer became a hand, an eraser, a pencil. You arrange files on a desktop. You manually move files into folders. You reach out and touch things. Apple removed a layer of abstraction by ditching the mouse on the iPhone OS, but the metaphors are pushing 30.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:26 PM on January 29, 2010


To a user who doesn't know what the start menu does, a desktop filled with icons for applications and web pages is indistinguishable from a system that somehow treats them identically.

Exactly! To a user who doesn't know the difference, they're the same. The user never has to learn the difference. The orientation of the objects on the screen is by task and not by how the software works. This is a step away from the interface resembling the underlying computer and/or the current desktop metaphor and towards an abstraction based on how people think and act. This is what I think bonaldi is also getting at when he's talking about how the iPhone plays to real-world physics (scrolling, grabbing, zooming, shrinking. selecting).

They didn't because people wanted computers that could do more.

Quite possibly, although that's an unproven assertion. But that doesn't mean that an iPad that can use every iPhone app ever made plus whatever new iPad apps come out for it specifically is too limited for most people, even though it's going to be too limited for hackers and heavy computer users without a jailbreak.

I suspect that the reason why people have such trouble with it is that we have a generation that never was indoctrinated into those ideas.

And the iPad is looking toward a metaphor that people NOW can use as easily as people who were trained in office procedures use the office metaphor on the desktop. You're absolutely right, none of how we use computers is instinctive. That's the whole point I'm getting at. We don't have to use that metaphor. The iPhone/iPad is moving away from that metaphor and toward a new one.

This doesn't make it instinctive but it may make it easier for people who don't find the current metaphor compelling or useful to use the iPad than a regular desktop. These aren't stupid people; they're just people that the current metaphor doesn't work well for. It's like the difference between people who learn better by reading books vs people who learn better by listening to lectures. Computer metaphors favor some users who think the way computers operate. Why shouldn't somebody make a computer that's more useful to people who think differently?
posted by immlass at 8:32 PM on January 29, 2010


on failure to preview: The implication was that non-iPad interfaces were somehow "more instinctive."

Someone else may have implied it or you may have read it into what I said, but that was not an implication of mine. Computer metaphors are not instinctive. That's why I think Jobs is trying to make a new metaphorical language, because the current metaphor set isn't working well for a lot of people.
posted by immlass at 8:48 PM on January 29, 2010


Design that plays to these learned instincts...

You quote me out of context, so evidently my punctuation was failing me: the "learned instincts" I'm talking about are our intutions; I'm building on immlass's idea that some of our computer habits are so ground in that they seem instinctive.

But the rest of your rant just suggests bloodlust for a scrap at this point. I can't get your reading of immlass's post at all, and beyond her nobody in this 1000+ post thread was mentioning "instinct", let alone misusing it on your terms, before you came in and kicked off about how embarrassing it all was. You're shadow-boxing.

As for the physics, immlass has it. The abstractions they've chosen are such good fits with real-world operations and manipulations (swipe to delete comes from crossing things out, and all scrolling has momentum, btw) that there isn't really any training at all: there's a tiny mention in the manual, which is more to let you know that there are things you can do with this interface, like pinching and spreading, which you might not think to try if you'd been brought up with computers.

The original Mac, by contrast, had two chapters of a manual and an entire application dedicated to mouse technique. There was a real-world metaphor, yes, but it was leagues shy of the iPhone's.
posted by bonaldi at 9:19 PM on January 29, 2010


immlass: “This doesn't make it instinctive but it may make it easier for people who don't find the current metaphor compelling or useful to use the iPad than a regular desktop. These aren't stupid people; they're just people that the current metaphor doesn't work well for. It's like the difference between people who learn better by reading books vs people who learn better by listening to lectures. Computer metaphors favor some users who think the way computers operate. Why shouldn't somebody make a computer that's more useful to people who think differently?”

But KirkJobSluder is right – it's not a new metaphor. There is nothing new whatsoever about the way the iPhone encourages people to envision computer stuff: they still trade on precisely the same ideas, applications and documents. The iPhone presents a tiny, graceful version of the Applications folder in OS X. The only thing – the only thing – that the iPhone changes about the metaphor is this: it attempts to make the directory tree invisible. And even then it can't completely do that, because the directory tree metaphor is really the only thing that allows a person to envision that stuff on computers is in a place, so they can find it. Try attaching a document to an email on the iPhone – you'll see the directory tree again.

Moreover, I disagree firmly with all this nonsense about how "pretentious computer people" and "geeks" are stalwarts behind the filesystem metaphor because they don't see how anyone could see things differently or find something else easier to use. I invite you to look around, and to think back especially to 1968 and what programming meant then: the filesystem concept exists precisely in order to make computers accessible to non-geeks. There were people at IBM who sneered at anybody who used a 'programming language,' and who said that using shorthand with real words and stuff wasn't really programming, since you weren't working directly with the assembly language of the machine. Files, folders, filesystems – all of these are the most convenient, and only, metaphor yet devised which makes computers accessible to people in general. You can sneer at people who like the metaphor, but notice please that businesspeople, students, artists, writers, and all kinds of people who are not "geeks" by any stretch of the imagination use computers today, whereas even twenty years ago they would have probably thought that computers were overcomplicated and inaccessible. These people save files and arrange folders; they use web browsers and make images and edit video every day, using the filesystem metaphor fluidly and happily. That's because the filesystem metaphor allows them to visualize, in a powerful way, what's going on inside a computer. There is no metaphor as yet which as powerfully does this.

Finally, you may think that the iPhone is simple and intuitive, and that removing the directory tree makes it easy as pie for non-computer people to use, but this is not my experience at all. I'm a big geek, but I have an inordinate amount of trouble navigating around on an iPhone. My brother has one, and so sometimes I putz around with it, and I'm constantly finding myself asking him "hey... uh... how do I get back to... uh... yeah." You may think I'm stupid, or that I'm just not intuitive, but it's not an easy thing to move around in for lots of people. And I'm not the only one; I've observed that older people, the few who have never had a social incentive to actually get into the computer experience, hardly ever find that the iPhone hooks them where other computers couldn't. My own belief about this is that, in eschewing the display of the directory system, the iPhone doesn't offer any metaphor to take its place; there's never anything on an iPhone to indicate where you are and what you're doing. That works well if your goal is to efficiently use screen space, but it makes the thing confusing. Moreover, I found this commentary on the iPhone which jeremias linked way, way back in this thread very interesting, but it's telling that he's examining the iPhone from the point of view of designing kiosks for public spaces. iPhones work very well on that basic level of conveying maximum information on a small screen, but when it comes to indicating what a user is doing, or conceptualizing larger things like memory storage on the phone or "where" you are in the filesystem, it's not as good.

I'd like to believe that, since the iPad gives Apple a lot more space to work with within the OS, it'll allow them to actually develop a metaphor to replace the directory tree. But I honestly don't think it will. Part of the reason is that I haven't seen any replacement metaphor anywhere on any Apple product before, and I don't see one in the iPad demo. There's no new way of seeing computers that the iPhone or this new iPad can add. And I think that by now, if people aren't really into using computers and find them cumbersome, we just have to accept that they don't want to use them; that's okay. But acting as though we're pretentious geeks just for pointing out that there's nothing new there isn't really fair at all. I'm not the average person in every way, but as I pointed out earlier in the thread, I have a hard time using most Apple products, including the iPhone and OS X. The fact is that these things seem intuitive because you're used to them, not because they are objectively more intuitive than anything else.

Also, bonaldi: the idea that the iPhone uses "real-world physics" is great and all, but I'd like to know what world you live in where get closer to things by pinching your fingers together and see another view of things by putting two fingers on them and stroking them downwards. Again, it makes sense to you, but that's just because you've used it for a while and 'get it'; you aren't everybody else, and sadly I don't think non-computer people are going to find all that any more 'intuitive' than moving a mouse around on a pad.
posted by koeselitz at 9:51 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


bonaldi: “... there's a tiny mention in the manual, which is more to let you know that there are things you can do with this interface, like pinching and spreading, which you might not think to try if you'd been brought up with computers.“

Wait – so you're seriously suggesting that someone who'd never used a computer before, and who happened to pick up an iPhone, would think to pinch three of their fingers together to zoom in their view of what they were seeing on the tiny screen?

I really, really don't believe that. And you can say that it's more intuitive, that it only warrants a tiny mention in the manual, but it's still a metaphor, so it still requires a mention. It doesn't make any more sense to non-computer people than it does to computer people; it's just a different paradigm. Yes, there's some resistance to it from people who don't like new paradigms, but it's still a metaphor, not an identical action. And since it's still a metaphor, it's a metaphor that has to be learned just as much as the mouse or the keyboard metaphors have to be learned.
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2010


– I mean, "you might not to think to try it" whether you were brought up with computers or not. I appreciate that you're not saying that everyone is born knowing how to use an iPhone, but I feel as though the abstract assertion I think you're making – that people who are not native or natural computer users will find it easier to gradually get their bearings and use an iPhone fluidly than other computing devices – is a stab in the dark, and notably untested. If you can point to a population of people who have never used computers before, and who have delightedly taken to the iPhone, I'll be intrigued, but my experience thus far is that people who use iPhones are usually the most computer-savvy amongst the population, or at least in the top 10%. This says that the vast majority are 35-49 and have incomes of $25,000 per year or more – in other words, they're professionals who have almost certainly used computers in their work before. Moreover the iPhone introduces complications, I think, that make it utterly inaccessible to people who've never used computers; the 30-pin plug, for example, and the process one has to go through to 'sync' it with a computer or even to charge it. These are things which immlass, bonaldi, KirkJobSluder, and myself – computer people all – don't think about; but they present a very real obstacle to all those who are trying to use a computer for the first time.
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 PM on January 29, 2010


The iPhone presents a tiny, graceful version of the Applications folder in OS X. The only thing – the only thing – that the iPhone changes about the metaphor is this: it attempts to make the directory tree invisible. And even then it can't completely do that, because the directory tree metaphor is really the only thing that allows a person to envision that stuff on computers is in a place, so they can find it. Try attaching a document to an email on the iPhone – you'll see the directory tree again.

Have you really putzed with an iPhone? There are no documents on it, at all, anywhere. You can't add an attachment from within the Mail app -- there's simply no way to do it. If you want to mail something, you mail it from within the app that created it: you hit the action button, and one of the actions is "Mail". Even in the notepad app, the metaphor that these things you're working on are notepad pages is seamless. There's no visible directory tree, ever.

It's not really got applications, either: it has buttons on a home screen, which open new screens. Technically some of these screens are applications, others are web applications and others are web bookmarks. But there's fundamentally no "Application/Document" interface. That's new, and different, in iPad.

Also, not only do they not let you conceptualize the memory storage on the phone, they don't even tell you how much memory it has. Seriously, it's not on the tech specs page. They sell it based on storage size, but the only place to check that is in settings.

I'd like to believe that, since the iPad gives Apple a lot more space to work with within the OS, it'll allow them to actually develop a metaphor to replace the directory tree.
But, no, they're not replacing this, either. Applications will create and open documents, but not cross-app. Documents are represented as objects within their parent applications, not as discrete items stored on a filesystem. You find them either by opening their containing application, or by searching with spotlight.

nd I think that by now, if people aren't really into using computers and find them cumbersome, we just have to accept that they don't want to use them; that's okay.
This is deeply pretentious. My mother would love to be part of my internet life: she wants to see the pictures I put up on Flickr, she wants to send me emails, she wants to read some of my web stuff. She really isn't into using a computer, though, so is that her just knackered then? And it's "okay" for the tech industry to say that they'll never meet her needs because they're accepted that she really isn't into using computers? Fuck that. They need to make computers easier for her to use.

That you can't see beyond applications and documents doesn't mean there isn't a new way of doing computing. She took to the iPhone like a duck to water; she does most of her computing on it now.

(I personally think that a lot of your problems with OS X and the iPhone come from this totally filesystem-fixated mindset you're revealing: you get lost in the iPhone because there are no documents and no path, so there's no "where" for you to be; you got confused in iPhoto likewise because it deals with the documents for you -- sometimes creating multiple documents to support one single "photo" and you assume the only way to email an image is to have a filesystem item to grab)

The fact is that these things seem intuitive because you're used to them, not because they are objectively more intuitive than anything else.
For the love of god can you please stop shouting at us? I'm only saying it seems more intuitive based on how everybody I've shown it to has "got" it pretty much within seconds, and that includes my mother. She's an intelligent and educated person, but I had to make an honest-to-god cut-out paper reel gizmo to explain to her how scrollbars work because she wasn't getting it at all. She still isn't totally comfortable with getting around really large documents, and mixes up the direction she wants to go from time to time.

That two-finger stroke, though? Got it first time. No "using it for a while and getting it". As for my world: imagine a photo that could grow and shrink under your fingers, but you couldn't touch the edges. How would you make it bigger and smaller? The interfaces don't have to be obvious, but if the result you want is achieved by the first or second thing you try? That's miles ahead of the world where I get calls like "how come there's no Print entry in the File menu now? What do you mean Word isn't the active application -- the window is filling the screen, it's all I can see!"

On preview:
Moreover the iPhone introduces complications, I think, that make it utterly inaccessible to people who've never used computers; the 30-pin plug, for example, and the process one has to go through to 'sync' it with a computer or even to charge it.
Oh come on, really? Overheard, my mother to her mother: "Can you put my phone on to charge please? The charger's on the shelf, it plugs in the bottom".
Grandmother: "Sure, got it!"
Syncing too was pretty easy: "You connect it to the Mac, iTunes opens and what it does is send any new music and pictures from the Mac to the phone, and takes a note of all the stuff on the phone in case you lose it or it's damaged. You want to get pictures and music from the Mac into the phone? Connect the cable."
posted by bonaldi at 10:27 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Connected graphs without cycles have some nice properties, yes.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:33 PM on January 29, 2010


You may be like me koeselitz: I've spent most of my life using computers that have hierarchical file systems. Trees + chunks (files) is a pretty neat and efficient way of organising information: a path defines one and only one location, and you could implement a tree filesystem even on the puny microcomputers of the 80s. But the success of Unix may have made us a little too reliant on it. For many kinds of information, other data structures are more useful. I think this is the case for most "chunky" media (movies, music, books): titles + tags in a big old list seems better, at least for playback. Games are another application where you can often do without a tree: many of the newer (and smaller) games don't have the concept of a "save game": in Braid, World of Goo or Torchlight, everything persists automatically, no need to hit F5/F7.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:00 PM on January 29, 2010


(I'm sorry; if you read bolded text as shouting, I won't do it. For me, it's just emphasis, and shouting looks like allcaps, but it's different for everybody I'm sure, so I'll drop that.)

me: And I think that by now, if people aren't really into using computers and find them cumbersome, we just have to accept that they don't want to use them; that's okay.”

bonaldi: “This is deeply pretentious. My mother would love to be part of my internet life: she wants to see the pictures I put up on Flickr, she wants to send me emails, she wants to read some of my web stuff. She really isn't into using a computer, though, so is that her just knackered then? And it's "okay" for the tech industry to say that they'll never meet her needs because they're accepted that she really isn't into using computers? Fuck that. They need to make computers easier for her to use.”

Look, it sounds pretentious – and yes, you've picked out the bit that sounds pretentious from everything I've said – because you guys are nullifying and negating forty years of hard work, sweat, and toil on the part of computer people to make computers accessible to everyone. This is what annoys me most about the Apple debate and the position some people take in it – they think that, by portraying Steve Jobs as this tireless crusader for accessibility in the face of scorn and ridicule, they're painting a fantastic and inspiring portrait of the opening of the computer interface. But – this is the most important point – Microsoft is not even 5% of the development and work that's gone into the computer industry over the last four decades to make it useful and accessible. Microsoft has made lots of money off of people's folly, I know, and MS Windows is a huge mistake, but it succeeded because it incorporated (and flat-out stole) all the best and brightest ideas we'd come up with thus far to make computers useful and workable to everybody. Apple has done the same thing; they've merely had more style and grace about it. When they took the window interface and the mouse from Xerox, it was an intelligent thing to do; but it was out there because somebody had already come up with it. And what's insulting and in fact untrue is this implication that for forty years all the ubergeeks have been hoarding their tech stuff, trying to keep anybody else from using it, or at the very mildest using all sorts of jargony words and obscure phrases to keep everybody else out of the loop.

Look around – everybody uses computers. They do. Everybody knows how. A fantastically large number of people have been welcomed in to the awesome and interesting world of computing. The vast majority of these are not the people you're painting them as – ubergeeks hoarding their tech by using jargon. They're just normal people who happen to get the idea of 'directory.' KirkJobSluder made the great point earlier that 'directory' is just a metaphor, and a limited one in some ways, for the way we see computer storage; it is the only one that's stood the test of time because it's the only one that works well for describing computer memory and what's stored within it. And you seem to agree with me on that:

Honestly, I know the people you're talking about, or at least I know people like them and am familiar with them and care about them. The woman who used to be my mother-in-law is hopeless with computers; files and folders and things confuse her endlessly, and she can sort of putz around on the internet, but beyond that she isn't very happy. A guy tried to show her an iPhone at an Apple store once, and she was just as confused as ever; I understand that it was just a first look, and you actually have to hande and use it to get into it, but I object to this notion that Apple is somehow making dramatic inroads with this segment of people who are not familiar with computers. I welcome statistics, but that's simply not the case in the computer world where I live. I simply do not see Apple winning over new converts among people who do not normally use computers. I see them winning over converts among life-long MS users who are completely fed up; but that's different.

“Have you really putzed with an iPhone? There are no documents on it, at all, anywhere. You can't add an attachment from within the Mail app -- there's simply no way to do it. If you want to mail something, you mail it from within the app that created it: you hit the action button, and one of the actions is "Mail". Even in the notepad app, the metaphor that these things you're working on are notepad pages is seamless. There's no visible directory tree, ever. It's not really got applications, either: it has buttons on a home screen, which open new screens. Technically some of these screens are applications, others are web applications and others are web bookmarks. But there's fundamentally no "Application/Document" interface. That's new, and different, in iPad.”

So apparently the "new metaphor" which is supposed to replace the old metaphor of a directory tree, which described computer memory, is: no metaphor at all. Nothing. It does not exist. It is removed from the user's purview. How is that a new metaphor at all? It seems more like a dramatic simplification.

“(I personally think that a lot of your problems with OS X and the iPhone come from this totally filesystem-fixated mindset you're revealing: you get lost in the iPhone because there are no documents and no path, so there's no "where" for you to be; you got confused in iPhoto likewise because it deals with the documents for you -- sometimes creating multiple documents to support one single "photo" and you assume the only way to email an image is to have a filesystem item to grab)”

Yeah, I'd thought of that, and I accept that it's part of my trouble. But the biggest reason I feel this gap is because of the complete lack of a metaphor for storage or the machine or anything like it that you talked about; there is no roadmap, no way to conceptualize where you are or what you're doing. It's possible, but you just have to remember and keep track in your mind of what you're up to at any given moment and how you can get back. The thing I always have trouble with is getting back to the main screen when I'm playing a song; but I'm sure this is simpler than I remember it. Mostly, it's just the feeling that there's no metaphor, no guide, at all there to tell me what's going on. And among the people I know and work with who are confused by computers, the most comforting thing is that title bar, that directory tree, that indicator of what's going on and where they are; taking those things away doesn't help at all.

Taking away any guide to the hardware or idea for conceptualizing what's on it or what's going on is not the same thing as adding a new metaphor. It seems like the opposite to me. And the implication that anyone who thinks otherwise is a "Microsoft person" who hasn't been spending their whole lives trying to do this very thing – make computers more accessible – is mildly insulting. If there's a reason I jumped back into this, it's because the stuff immlass was saying about irked me a bit on that level. And I find all this bluster about the new innovations Steve Jobs is introducing on the 'computing metaphor' front a bit unrealistic simply because I've actually tried to introduce people to Apple software as a way of making their lives easier, and the vehemently rejected it. Put it any way you want, but Apple's major growth over the last few years has had very little to do with the spread of OS X and a whole lot to do with the coolness cachet of a certain mp3 player / cell phone line. If they're going to bring about a revolution in the way people use computers, they haven't shown signs of it yet.
posted by koeselitz at 11:03 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Monday, stony Monday: “You may be like me koeselitz: I've spent most of my life using computers that have hierarchical file systems. Trees + chunks (files) is a pretty neat and efficient way of organising information: a path defines one and only one location, and you could implement a tree filesystem even on the puny microcomputers of the 80s. But the success of Unix may have made us a little too reliant on it. For many kinds of information, other data structures are more useful. I think this is the case for most "chunky" media (movies, music, books): titles + tags in a big old list seems better, at least for playback. Games are another application where you can often do without a tree: many of the newer (and smaller) games don't have the concept of a "save game": in Braid, World of Goo or Torchlight, everything persists automatically, no need to hit F5/F7.”

Yes, I know; and that's why I was the one way back in this thread who jumped in to correct KirkJobSluder and tell him that directories are actually a limited form of metadata in some ways contrasted with, say, Gmail's labels system, which overcomes the problem of cross-directory metadata (ie when you have one thing that would fit in two different folders.) And I don't mind the idea of a different metaphor; but I haven't even heard of another metaphor yet. I'm trying honestly to picture one in my mind. Maybe you can help me: what other way is there to picture collections of information in storage within memory on a computer, and to visualize the relationships between them? I can sort of see a flow chart, maybe, or a sort of ordered list like the one you're talking about, although that doesn't really allow you to imagine real relationships between things. In the end, I think, any system that expresses those relationships is functionally the same thing as a directory tree; so when you talk about "a different metaphor," you're talking about completely rejecting any consideration of what's in storage in memory with regard to how it relates to itself. More than that, bonaldi seems to be saying that on an iPhone, you don't even have anything like an ordered list of what's in memory. In place of the metaphor is... nothing at all. And, yes, for those who are used to having that mental crutch, losing it can be jarring; I guess we can hope that non-computer-users are not so easily daunted, and won't need the crutch of having a way to think about what's on the machine... but that seems odd, doesn't it?

I have to say that there must be some other possible metaphor. I'm sitting here wracking my brain trying to think of one, but I keep coming up with dead ends - OS/2, BeOS, Solaris... every OS I can think of uses the same general idea.
posted by koeselitz at 11:13 PM on January 29, 2010


koeselitz: Have you ever used a Smalltalk image? It usually has some kind of hierarchy, but it's very much unlike a traditional file-based OS.

If I understand it correctly, even the iPhone uses a tree. It's just that the depth is limited: "objects" live in "apps", and then you have a root node that contains the apps.

I, too, have a hard time imagining a computer where there isn't a big tree. Trees are neat: instead of using, say, a unique number, you can refer to a piece of information by a path from the root node. It's unique, and it can be used by humans. I think we'll keep using trees for many things, including the underlying infrastructure.

But we may not always use them to the extent that we did in the old days, because computers are becoming much more powerful. All my music is organized in folders, but that's because it was like that on my old computer. Now I've just imported it all into my player, and navigate my collection with tags. The only time I have to think about the underlying tree is when I want to back up. I'm doing pretty much the same thing with games and steam. The only directory structure I still manage is my personal stuff, and I'm not very good at it (never was).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:38 PM on January 29, 2010


bonaldi: You quote me out of context, so evidently my punctuation was failing me: the "learned instincts" I'm talking about are our intutions; I'm building on immlass's idea that some of our computer habits are so ground in that they seem instinctive.

Only if you assume a complete mangling or misunderstanding of the term "instinctive."

swipe to delete comes from crossing things out, and all scrolling has momentum, btw

What, move an icon horizontally to delete it rather than to put it in a different location, rewind it, move it forward, scroll the frame sideways, or turn the page? And you are aware that "crossing out" has not a thing to do with physics, and is a copyeditor's convention? Crossing out sideways of course assumes a horizontally-oriented text.

Scrolling has momentum? I've never noticed that. A sheet of paper on a flat surface tends to have high friction compared to its weight, and quickly stops in the absence of force. Scrolling with momentum only makes sense in a cartoon physics world with banana peels and acme anvils, not real-world physics. And again, in what world do you live in that pinching a page makes it smaller rather than wrinkles it in unsightly ways? This isn't real-world physics we're talking about, it's Willy Wonka physics. Which is fine, but don't pretend it's got some real world intuitiveness to it.

The original Mac, by contrast, had two chapters of a manual and an entire application dedicated to mouse technique. There was a real-world metaphor, yes, but it was leagues shy of the iPhone's.

Sure, you can argue that the iPhone has a better set of metaphors. But that's what the iPhone interface is, an arbitrary system of metaphors.

Have you really putzed with an iPhone? There are no documents on it, at all, anywhere. You can't add an attachment from within the Mail app -- there's simply no way to do it. If you want to mail something, you mail it from within the app that created it: you hit the action button, and one of the actions is "Mail". Even in the notepad app, the metaphor that these things you're working on are notepad pages is seamless. There's no visible directory tree, ever.

Well, why not? Sometimes I'm working on a document and I want to send it to someone. And sometimes I'm replying to a mail message and think, "you know, my grandfather would really like a cat photo." This strikes me as a case where the real-world metaphor breaks down. This month, I'm going to send a half-dozen different documents to the IRS and another half-dozen and a check to my old school. Bundling collections into a single message is done all the time in the real world.

But, no, they're not replacing this, either. Applications will create and open documents, but not cross-app. Documents are represented as objects within their parent applications, not as discrete items stored on a filesystem. You find them either by opening their containing application, or by searching with spotlight.

However, most of the power of modern computing systems comes from the fact that data is treated as data and can be processed by different applications in different ways. Photos chained to the photo application are not very useful.

I personally think that a lot of your problems with OS X and the iPhone come from this totally filesystem-fixated mindset you're revealing: ...

Actually, I'm finding the iPhone advocates to be terribly filesystem-fixated. Most people think in terms of documents and folders, which in turn may have additional layers of meaning. A document-oriented view of the system is a perfectly reasonable way of viewing things, especially for those of us who make our living creating and editing documents that are themselves, mashups of multiple other documents.

I'm also perfectly happy with keeping large chunks of my personal life completely flat and using applications and searches to manage it. I've given up on email folders, I just use smart searches instead and only archive out of performance necessity. I don't really care how iPhoto or iTunes works under the hood, as long as I can drag-and-drop stuff elsewhere as needed.

And a certain sign that you are less than objective on this is the fact that you blame the operating system when it supports your point and blame the user when it doesn't. Which again, I'll probably love having a iPhone OS device in the near future. I just don't see it as radically new.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:56 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


koeselitz wrote: "If you can point to a population of people who have never used computers before, and who have delightedly taken to the iPhone, I'll be intrigued"

Interestingly, that market is solidly locked up by Nokia dumbphones and their smartphones to a more limited degree. There are a lot of people in the rest of the world who don't have computers, which is where Nokia has by far the largest market share.

I dare say menus and up and down arrows work pretty well for non-computered people. That's not very efficient with screen space if you don't have physical buttons, obviously.
posted by wierdo at 12:29 AM on January 30, 2010


The flick to scroll thing feels so natural that I forget it's an innovation - previous touchscreen devices still had scrollbars, right? It doesn't really feel like a metaphor for anything so much as an imitation of a physical thing.

One of the better interface components on the iPhone is the keyboard, with it's keys that balloon upwards as you press them. Somehow it ends up being a perfect fit for thumb typing on a non-responsive glass screen. There isn't really anything about it taht people would intuitively expect or that makes any kind of metaphorical sense, and yet to borrow a phrase "it just works", and incredibly well.

I'm a bit suspicious of overly explicit metaphorical interface stuff TBH - all the folks faux-book stuff and animated turning pages would definately be one of the first things I would be trying to turn off.
posted by Artw at 1:12 AM on January 30, 2010


Scrolling has momentum? I've never noticed that. A sheet of paper on a flat surface tends to have high friction compared to its weight, and quickly stops in the absence of force. Scrolling with momentum only makes sense in a cartoon physics world with banana peels and acme anvils, not real-world physics. And again, in what world do you live in that pinching a page makes it smaller rather than wrinkles it in unsightly ways? This isn't real-world physics we're talking about, it's Willy Wonka physics. Which is fine, but don't pretend it's got some real world intuitiveness to it.
Well, I disagree with that somewhat I think the multitouch metaphors are really great. While it's true that pages don't "scroll" or "pinch-zoom" on their own, the innovation is that they are very, very easy to discover. Think about it, you're probably going to end up swiping the page on accident at some point. I never read about how to scroll on my android phone, but I got it right away (Of course I'd watched video demos of multitouch prior to that :P)

You might not discover pinch zoom right away but it should be obvious if you see someone else do it. On the other hand, scrollbars aren't that hard either so I'm not sure where
I, too, have a hard time imagining a computer where there isn't a big tree. Trees are neat: instead of using, say, a unique number, you can refer to a piece of information by a path from the root node. It's unique, and it can be used by humans. I think we'll keep using trees for many things, including the underlying infrastructure.
Uh, have you ever used a relational database? Unique ids work fine, and tags and key value pairs work fine. Of course, you're still going to need a concept of "path" for backwards compatibility with all the software ever written. So any computer is going to have "a big tree" at least in some sense, but it doesn't need to be the primary way that files are stored or accessed by the user. I can't wait until I just have a huge-ass database and get rid of the whole path concept forever.

And of course once paths become "just a property" divorced from how files are stored and accessed you'll be able to move files from drive to drive without needing to "move" them to "a different folder" Want the file backed up? Just click a checkmark so that the file gets mirrored on another drive, check a box for version control, move the secondary drive to another machine and there it is in exactly the same 'place'

But if you want to manage your files with a folder metaphor you certainly can. But it will even easier because you'll be able to setup equivalent folders of, for examples, all the photographs taken on a certain date. Or all the photos that are mostly blue or feature a certain person's face.
posted by delmoi at 3:25 AM on January 30, 2010


The flick to scroll thing feels so natural that I forget it's an innovation - previous touchscreen devices still had scrollbars, right? It doesn't really feel like a metaphor for anything so much as an imitation of a physical thing.
Keep in mind all this stuff was thought up by Jeff Han's group, same way the GUI was thought up by Douglass Englebart and PARC.
posted by delmoi at 3:27 AM on January 30, 2010


Termite wrote: "I'm not sure if the notebook metaphor is the best way to go when we develop future computer devices, but still... The way you could open the Courier, flip through an endless number of (searchable!) pages - even flip through them from the top of the page, like index cards, not only sideways like a book - was impressive."

But that can be done on a single screen device. All it means is that you need to flip the page twice as often. Is that really such an annoyance that it's worth adding a second screen? The only reason books have two pages is because of the way they're physically constructed. Why carry this into the digital world where the idea no longer matters? When you really think about it, the Courier doesn't offer anywhere near as much of an advantage as it first seems.


wierdo wrote: "With the iPad being larger, and presumably even more amenable to having all sorts of nifty programs to do all sorts of nifty things, I think using the iPhone UI untouched is a mistake."

Well, exactly what is missing from the iPhone OS that you think is required on the iPad?
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 5:30 AM on January 30, 2010


TL;DR

In all the hype about the iPad, Apple's other major product release went unheralded...their new offering to pirates, the iPatch.
posted by schyler523 at 7:28 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


delmoi: Where you repeatedly go wrong is that paths are already just a property. The folder is just a convenient metaphor for communicating that property. The metaphor of tying a tag with a bit of string to an object is a metaphor for a different property, and the two are entirely compatible with each other and available now.

In regards to devices and storage, ohh shit no. The concept that an iPod, camera, or flash drive is a container that holds stuff is much easier to explain than trying to figure out synchronization options.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:35 AM on January 30, 2010


In regards to devices and storage, ohh shit no. The concept that an iPod, camera, or flash drive is a container that holds stuff is much easier to explain than trying to figure out synchronization options.

I think cloud storage is even easier to understand. I've got a google account with a ton of stuff on it. I have no frigging idea where it's actually stored and in how many places. I just know that when i click 'documents', whether from my iphone or computer or whatever, i have access to them.

I'd really prefer not to worry, every about what I have on my iphone. I'd like to be able to play all of my mp3s no matter where i am, and whether i've decided to sync them or not, etc.
posted by empath at 9:43 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


the filesystem concept exists precisely in order to make computers accessible to non-geeks.

And that worked brilliantly in the 1980s and made computers a lot more accessible to more people than could use them before. But that was 25-30 years ago. Now someone is working on evolving toward a different metaphor. Going back to my Star Trek theory, nobody ever accesses a file system in Star Trek. Why do people need to do that to perform tasks? The computer is a tool for doing things and task metaphors may work better without a direct interface to the file system. (And no, the iPhone isn't perfect yet for that, not even close, but it's closer than Mac OS, for sure. I'm talking about evolutionary steps here.)

I've observed that older people, the few who have never had a social incentive to actually get into the computer experience, hardly ever find that the iPhone hooks them where other computers couldn't.

This is not my experience, save for with people who have no interest in the tasks the iPhone does. Neither one of our anecdotes are data, though, and neither of us is the one making the bet. Jobs and Apple are the ones making the bet. They could be totally wrong about it. Sometimes they are. But ... what if they're right?

If there's a reason I jumped back into this, it's because the stuff immlass was saying about irked me a bit

Yeah, and I pretty much read you as one of the guys Fraser Speirs is talking about, so the feeling is somewhat mutual, if eyerolling can be equated to irkage. Speirs and Steven Frank have said most of what I have to say better, and I'm seeing a lot of repeating without advancing the conversation, so it's probably time for me to bow out and remove this thread from recent activity.
posted by immlass at 9:50 AM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


empath: Unless you are dealing with some low-level operating system programming, no, you don't have a frigging idea where your data is stored on your MSWin, OS X, or Linux system. At most, a file browser tells you whether a blob of data is located on this device or that device. But changing the name or path of a file does not touch the content of the file. It only changes a property in a database.

(Google Apps is finally worthwhile to me now that I no longer have to use Google's gimped word processor.)

And it seems that everyone here is misunderstanding the file metaphor, while showering praise on something else that hasn't been made clear which is just about the same thing.

imlass: On the contrary, crew on ST:TNG are clearly navigating hierarchal chunks of data mediated by (unfortunately) text-based menu systems with little differentiation between items. ST:TNG strikes me as a bad example of an ideal interface because everything looks the same.

And that's all we are talking about with files and folders, convenient ways to chunk blobs of data. Until we can use genetics and cybernetics to hack human memory, hierarchal chunks of data are going to be a critical necessity for usability. I can't begin to deal with my 1500 individual items in iTunes without chunking, much less 5,000 mail messages. Those chunks can be:

* albums, artists, and composers in iTunes
* drafts, parts, and notes in Scrivener
* events and tags in iPhoto
* folders and smart folders in Mail.app.

We can smother that chunking under a ton of syntactic sugar, but it's still the same thing for largely the same purpose.

And the "file" metaphor has utility in that it's a lowest-common denominator way of describing a blob of data that can be used for multiple tasks: writing mail, writing web pages, formatting print documents, or making video.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:47 AM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or for the tl;dr version. The iPod has folders, it just doesn't use a folder icon or language to describe them.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:52 AM on January 30, 2010


immlass: “Yeah, and I pretty much read you as one of the guys Fraser Speirs is talking about, so the feeling is somewhat mutual, if eyerolling can be equated to irkage. Speirs and Steven Frank have said most of what I have to say better, and I'm seeing a lot of repeating without advancing the conversation, so it's probably time for me to bow out and remove this thread from recent activity.”

Well, enjoy dividing the world into 'technologists' and 'normals.' If you look around for a moment, you might notice that bill of goods that Steve Jobs is so eloquently selling you happens to be very, very far from the truth, and people are more diverse than your little 'geek' and 'non-geek' divisions. If you want to see that illustrated most nicely, you might try categorizing yourself.
posted by koeselitz at 11:07 AM on January 30, 2010


On the contrary, crew on ST:TNG are clearly navigating hierarchal chunks of data mediated by (unfortunately) text-based menu systems with little differentiation between items.

Well, they do say "access file alpha gabba blah blah" every so often, so I guess they have some kind of speech-based context driven searching going on.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


'technologists' and 'normals.'

I'm with Morlock block, who are you fighting with?
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on January 30, 2010


And that's all we are talking about with files and folders, convenient ways to chunk blobs of data.
No, it isn't. Since this isn't a discussion about bits on platters, what we're actually talking about are interface metaphors: some of them restrictive in the way that files and folders in Windows Explorer are, some of them less so, in the way that iTunes chunks your music collection.

Or for the tl;dr version. The iPod has folders, it just doesn't use a folder icon or language to describe them.

In a discussion about user-visible metaphors for managing data, what exactly are you objecting to when people say the iPod doesn't have folders, then?

Strikes me that this discussion would be vastly more rewarding on all sides if you engaged with it at a constructive level, instead of erupting endless pedantic fights about literal meaning.

When people contrast a filesystem that's built atop a database with a traditional filesystem, they're actually talking about something meaningful to almost everybody here, regardless of how often you stamp your feet and say "the standard filesystem is a database! a database! I'm not even going to answer your points unless you agree with me that there's no difference. I will now condescendingly say that everyone else here is just frightfully wrong, continually, on my terms. It's so embarrassing to me! What an affront you all are"
posted by bonaldi at 11:26 AM on January 30, 2010


delmoi: Uh, have you ever used a relational database?

I use one every day. And except for 1, 52, 9622, 16000 and 100000, I don't know the primary key of anything on it. Files already have a numeric primary key: an inode number, or whatever NTFS uses. I think unique, human-readable keys are important and here to stay.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:28 AM on January 30, 2010


Agregate keys are kind of hairy territory.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on January 30, 2010


If you look around for a moment, you might notice that bill of goods that Steve Jobs is so eloquently selling you happens to be very, very far from the truth, and people are more diverse than your little 'geek' and 'non-geek' divisions. If you want to see that illustrated most nicely, you might try categorizing yourself.

Or maybe there's a continuum between ubergeeks on one end and nongeeks on the other and I'm happy with my place in it instead of threatened or upset by the fact that someone made a product that isn't aimed square at my point on the continuum. Or maybe I'm a geek who's tired of being Generation Tech Support and cheers for the idea of a device that does useful computer-type tasks but I don't have to fix it or explain it. And if a dose of contempt is the best argument you've got, it's a lousy argument.

I came back because I did think of something useful to say about the iPad interface that I didn't think had been said before in this thread. There's another company that's working absolutely brilliantly in the non-hierarchical filespace: Google, with Gmail tags. You don't ever negotiate file folders in the Gmail interface on the web. It's all tagging and looking at tag views.

There are also a bunch of companies doing the same thing on the Mac OS. I'm not using them myself, but a lot of people swear by them. That's because the tagging metaphor works better for them than a file manager metaphor. I'm not one of those folks, but I think devices aimed at them are cool. So also with the iPad, which isn't aimed square at me either.
posted by immlass at 12:15 PM on January 30, 2010


Meanwhile, the Faulty iMac Saga continues: We Have Your Internal Memo, Apple.
posted by homunculus at 12:18 PM on January 30, 2010


I use one every day. And except for 1, 52, 9622, 16000 and 100000, I don't know the primary key of anything on it. Files already have a numeric primary key: an inode number, or whatever NTFS uses. I think unique, human-readable keys are important and here to stay.

Files have an even more obvious key: Their content. When you move a file, it's identity doesn't change, just it's location.
posted by delmoi at 1:16 PM on January 30, 2010


bonaldi: In a discussion about user-visible metaphors for managing data, what exactly are you objecting to when people say the iPod doesn't have folders, then?

I'm objecting to the false dichotomy that the ordered lists based on metadata created by the iPod are a fundamentally different thing from the ordered lists based on metadata created by the OS X finder, especially given that in the finder there's little practical difference between a folder view created using path metadata, and a folder view created by a Spotlight metadata search, or a view created by a Spotlight full search. The criticisms of file paths as metadata strike me as ignorant of something that's been part of that model since the 70s, and ignorant of the fact that you've been able to use flat tagging file organization in OS X since 10.5 (possibly 10.4). If you don't like deep file trees, you never have to use them.

iTunes is certainly restrictive in completely different ways. One of the more interesting quirks is that you can't have "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" filed under both the Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield. The metadata structure doesn't support a one-to-many relationship between a media object and multiple artists. And there certainly would be room for more fine-grained hierarchal tagging within iTunes. It would be nice to have multiple sub-categories of Classical music for example beyond the union of tags: Classical - Orchestral, Classical - Chamber music, Classical - Opera. Hierarchal classification schemes are not an inherently bad thing, and are quite good for a fair number of tasks.

It's not a pedantic fight about literal meaning. It's a fight about understanding how these things really work.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:36 PM on January 30, 2010


delmoi: Files have an even more obvious key: Their content. When you move a file, it's identity doesn't change, just it's location.

Its location doesn't change either unless you copy to a different device. The only thing that changes is an arbitrary string in a database.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:38 PM on January 30, 2010


immlass: Thanks for responding a bit. And I know I've probably been far too emotional about my arguments here; I hope you know that I honestly value hearing from your perspective. Spirited debate is something I like, but I can see it with enough detachment to know what my opponents are w