Posted January 28th, 2010 @ 09:32pm by Erik J. Barzeski
Some quotes followed by brief commentary.
My Box of Cruft:
Remember way back to January 2007, when the iPhone was announced? Oh Internets, you wailed and gnashed your teeth endlessly. No 3G network? No MMS? No apps on the iPhone? No replaceable battery? Oh, your complaints were endless. You were sure that the iPhone was doomed because it didn’t meet all your requirements.
And what happened? Well, Apple has sold 40 million iPhones. FORTY MILLION. They have become the largest mobile device company in the world.
So today, you moan on and on about all the features you expected and demand in the iPad. What no Verizon? No two-way camera? It’s not weightless? A full half inch thick? Only 10 hours of battery life? You make tons of predictions on the success and failure with scant details and without ever actually trying one.
Well, I am lucky enough to have been at the Apple Event today. Deep within the Reality Distortion Field. I saw the demo live, not snap shots on a web site. I got to use the iPad and see how it worked in person. I talked with other people that had tried it.
And you know what, just like Steve Jobs said, you need to hold it for yourself. It’s a different computing experience. It’s intuitive and simple. The device is blazingly fast and obvious how to use. It is a third kind of computing between a smartphone and a laptop.
3G, MMS, and apps came. That doesn't render the gnashing of teeth irrelevant. In fact, it does more to prove the opposite - that they were necessary features. And now that we have them, it seems silly to roll out an iPad that lacks some key features.
From Stephen Fry:
You know how everyone who has ever done Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? always says, "It's not the same when you're actually here. So different from when you're sitting at home watching."? You know how often you've heard that? Well, you'll hear the same from anyone who's handled an iPad. The moment you experience it in your hands you know this is class. This is a different order of experience. The speed, the responsiveness, the smooth glide of it, the richness and detail of the display, the heft in your hand, the rightness of the actions and gestures that you employ, untutored and instinctively, it's not just a scaled up iPhone or a scaled-down multitouch enhanced laptop - it is a whole new kind of device.
This is in response to those - like me - saying that it's just a larger iPod Touch. I've jokingly called it the "iPod Touch Pro" or "Plus" a few times.
It still is. I get the user interface. I get how fun and awesome it is. That's beside the (my) point.
I would say that redefining mobile computing is exactly what happened. It is surprisingly, delightfully, iPhone-esque in many ways. But if you use it for just a few minutes, it becomes obvious that the iPad is not a big stretched-out iPhone, but rather that the iPhone is a shrunken stripped-down version of the iPad. The iPad is what they’ve been building toward all along.
The iWork apps are amazing. Totally usable. Totally new UI for office apps — there’s no menu bar. Maybe the best comparison is the Calendar app. It doesn’t look anything like the iPhone Calendar app. In terms of, say, style and UI grammar, yes, it’s the same vibe as the iPhone. But in terms of scope and ambition, it’s a far bigger thing.
John drank the Kool-Aid. I cannot fathom how using Pages or even Numbers on a smaller screen with a software keyboard to write a document of any size or length can compare to using Apple's smallest laptop with a real keyboard. Even when docked and using the physical keyboard the process isn't as smooth.
And who cares whether the iPhone is a smaller iPad or vice versa? The simple fact remains that the iPhone is small enough to carry with you, and makes phone calls (and has a camera), while the iPad occupies a very small niche.
Everyone (these days) needs a phone. Virtually everyone needs a computer (even the iPad needs a computer to sync to). Who needs an iPad?
That remains my single biggest issue with the iPad: it's not a needed product. It creates a niche that nobody thought even really existed two days ago.
John's right: it's not an iPhone. Given the choice between carrying my iPhone and carrying an iPad around, the iPhone will win every time. If I want to check the weather and I'm too lazy to open my laptop, my phone does just fine. If I'm at home and want to work on something, the laptop works fine. I get the best of both worlds: multitouch on the trackpad AND an actual keyboard, more power, the ability to print, to save and send files of different types, and so on.
I said before I might consider a tablet if it let me get rid of my magazines. No such announcements were made, and thus I have no need for an iPad.
A more beautiful calendar doesn't change that. (I prefer BusyCal anyway.)