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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Apple's iPad

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2010 05:03:00 pm

Apple's iPad: a thing of beauty—but is it any use?

A number of people—commenting on the blog and in email, IM and physical conversations—have asked your humble Devil for my thoughts on the Apple iPad. Having had a few hours to digest the announcement, and glide around the web to see the opinions of others (most notably this superb rundown from Daring Fireball), I am now ready to unburden myself (with the usual disclaimer*).

First, I would like to say that it is quite obviously a thing of beauty. When Steve Jobs first held it out, between his two hands, I was unconvinced; once he sat down to use it, however, holding it in one hand, I realised that the proportions were exactly right.

Second, there are some features that are sorely lacking (although I expect them to be in the next release). The first is that there is no camera; no, not in the back, but in the front—surely being able to make video-calls via Skype or iChat is an obvious use for the iPad? I cannot understand why this would have been left out, as it would have been superb to demo too. As such, I shall have to put it down to a desire to keep something back for the next edition.

The next gripe here is the lack of multi-tasking—and I have two specific problems (which may or may not transfer to the final product). The first is with music: on the iPhone, some of Apple's applications do run in the background—I am thinking of the Mail programme and of the iPod element. As such, I can listen to music whilst doing other things, e.g. answering an email, etc. I have heard that one cannot do this on the iPad at present and it seems counterintuitive since one can perform these tasks on its smaller sibling.

Further, I have heard that one cannot have more than one Safari browser window open at a time: this, too, is a problem since one of my main activities—blogging—requires me to shuttle back and forth between windows, copying and pasting sections of text and URLs.

As I have pointed out, however, both of these features are present in the iPhone, so it may simply be that the software was not ready for the demo and that Apple intend to replace these features in the two or three months before the iPads actually go on sale. Or, of course, they may be provided in a software update shortly afterwards.

One of the other main criticisms is, of course, that the iPad ecosystem is, like the iPhone, entirely closed—even to the extent that you cannot see the file system. For many, this is, of course, a deal breaker but I am not sure that it entirely matters.

Why? Well, the iPad is clearly not intended, for most people, to be their main computer but an adjunct to it. As long as one can transfer files between the iPad and one's main machine (a Mac Pro in my case—this has relevance later) then this is not really a problem.

In fact, for many people, it might actually be a virtue—as Frasier Speirs notes in his excellent Future Shock article.
For years we've all held to the belief that computing had to be made simpler for the 'average person'. I find it difficult to come to any conclusion other than that we have totally failed in this effort.
...

I'm often saddened by the infantilising effect of high technology on adults. From being in control of their world, they're thrust back to a childish, mediaeval world in which gremlins appear to torment them and disappear at will and against which magic, spells, and the local witch doctor are their only refuges.

With the iPhone OS as incarnated in the iPad, Apple proposes to do something about this, and I mean really do something about it instead of just talking about doing something about it, and the world is going mental.

Fraser makes the point that many techies are up in arms about this because "secretly, I suspect, we technologists quite liked the idea that Normals would be dependent on us for our technological shamanism" but for many normal people, a computer can be a massive hassle.
The tech industry will be in paroxysms of future shock for some time to come. Many will cling to their January-26th notions of what it takes to get "real work" done; cling to the idea that the computer-based part of it is the "real work".

It's not. The Real Work is not formatting the margins, installing the printer driver, uploading the document, finishing the PowerPoint slides, running the software update or reinstalling the OS.

The Real Work is teaching the child, healing the patient, selling the house, logging the road defects, fixing the car at the roadside, capturing the table's order, designing the house and organising the party.

Think of the millions of hours of human effort spent on preventing and recovering from the problems caused by completely open computer systems. Think of the lengths that people have gone to in order to acquire skills that are orthogonal to their core interests and their job, just so they can get their job done.

If the iPad and its successor devices free these people to focus on what they do best, it will dramatically change people's perceptions of computing from something to fear to something to engage enthusiastically with. I find it hard to believe that the loss of background processing isn't a price worth paying to have a computer that isn't frightening anymore.

I couldn't agree more, and I think that the iPad is aimed at precisely this market.

It is also worth noting that a consensus is forming, amongst those who have actually used the iPad, that there really is no substitute for getting the machine in your hot little hands—here's Cruftbox on its power.
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.

For those that have iPhones, you know the experience of showing someone the iPhone for the first time. The look in their face, when they first flick the screen or squeeze the image to zoom. The realization that this is something different, very different, than what they have experienced before.

I am a technology professional. For almost 20 years I’ve tested, used, broke, fixed, and played with all kinds of technology from broadcasting to air conditioning to software. I am not easily swayed in these things. But even with all my skepticism, I think the iPad is something different. A new way of computing that will become commonplace.

Oh Internets, I know you won’t believe till you hold one in your hands. You’ll bang on about features, data plans, DRM, open source, and a multitude of issues. You’ll storm the message boards, wring your hands, and promise you won’t buy one till ‘Gen 2’. The din will grow and grow as time passes.

And then one day, in a few months, you will actually hold one and use it. And you will say, “I want one. Iwant one right now.”

This lack of multi-tasking is massively offset by just how fast the damn thing is—applications launch instantly. John Gruber points out that a very significant development—not simply that the iPad is fast but that one of the reasons for this is that it's driven by an Apple-manufactured chip. This is extremely significant: Apple have never manufactured their own chips before—yes, they had financial input into the AIM chip group (before the switch to Intel) but they didn't actually design or manufacture the chips. Apple really do want to control the whole eco-system—because the company believe that this allows it to make better products (and thus more money).

Now, I know that very many people object to this—after all, they have popped up on this blog to criticise Apple's control of the far less closed Mac platform. And that's just fine—you don't have to buy an iPad (or a Mac).

But, your humble Devil simply isn't worried about such things: I am a designer, a graphic artist, a website coder, a writer, whatever—I don't want to get down and dirty with my computer. As Fraser Speirs points out (above), fucking around with my computer is not my Real Work—my computer is a tool that allows me to do my real work more efficiently. As soon as I spend even an hour fixing, hacking or otherwise configuring my tool then I am able to do an hour's less of my Real Work.

Do I really need to start mucking about in the guts of my machine? After all, as Jeff Lamarche succinctly puts it...
I'm a techie, but I don't need to be able to program on every electronic device I own. I don't hate my dishwasher because I can't get to the command line. I don't hate my DVD player because it runs a proprietary operating system. Sheesh.

And how much more exciting would websites be if the only browser that anyone used was WebKit? As it is, we will have to wait many years before we can use the amazing CSS advancements—such as CSS-driven animation—that the WebKit group have built in.

Unless, of course, you are designing websites purely for the iPhone or iPad—because they run WebKit as the rendering engine for Safari. In the same way that I currently design websites for standards-based browsers and then hack for those that aren't (yes, IE, I'm looking at you) can see myself starting to design websites for WebKit browsers, and then hacking for less-advanced browsers such as Firefox and IE. It's incredibly exciting.

Anyway, that is slightly off-topic and yet also relevant because, ironically, the iPad is also desirable to techies like me (and yes, this is where I answer the question, "will you get one, dear Devil?")—and, yes, I will get an iPad when they are available. Why?

It is because I am a power-user that I will get an iPad. Let me explain...

I have had Apple laptops but I never really used them very much. The screens were too small for me to do graphics work on them and, besides, the trackpad is not much good for that. So, I used to find myself carrying not only the laptop and its heavy power block, but also a mouse so that I could use it half-way effectively.

But still I didn't really use it—I had no real need to. With a bigger, more powerful machine at home and a reasonable one at work, I had no need to use the laptop in any meaningful way—it felt underpowered and, as such, rather frustrating (although this is partly because Adobe's software is increasingly bloatware). As such, I always felt that I was wasting its potential. And, of course, once it was nicked, I felt no need to get a new one.

In short, because I am a power-user a laptop does not have enough power for me—and yet it is too expensive and too powerful for me not to try using it for the power work.

Nevertheless, I do travel more and more these days—both for work events and for speaking engagements on behalf of the Libertarian Party—and, given the volume of it, I want to be able to get work done whilst I am travelling.

What I mainly need to get done is presentations or speech-writing: these are two activities which the iPad—equipped with the new iWork Suite—is admirably suited for. In fact, it gets even better...

One of the problems that I have is that I am constantly translating my Keynote slides into Powerpoint so that we can present them on the work's demo laptop—and, of course, a lot of things just don't translate tremendously well. Sure, there are other options, but at present I still need to spend the time to check and make corrections to my slides. But with the addition of a VGA-out dock, I can simply connect my iPad to the projector, thus avoiding all of the translation problems that I currently have—plus I can use a remote control to move my presentation along without breaking my rapport with the audience.

In addition, the iPad will do all of those other things that I want to do whilst on the move—although an iPad edition of Coda would make my day (hear that, Panic?)—and in a package that is smaller and, crucially, cheaper than one of Apple's (admittedly superb) laptops**.

In other words, the iPad does enough for me to use it as a mobile device, whilst being cheap enough for me to justify buying one.

Plus, of course, it is a thing of beauty—and, yes, I just want one.

* DISCLAIMER: I own an insignificant number of Apple shares, which have provided a pretty good return, i.e. 200%+ over the last few years. They have, as usual, fallen after the news of this announcement (they feel pretty heavily after the iPhone announcement too—and I picked up some more on the cheap) to a current price of $192.06. It's a good price since they were up at around $217 a few weeks ago. Not, of course, that I am giving anyone investment advice.

** This is not to say that I think that Apple's laptops are overpriced—I don't think that they are. It is just that they are too expensive for me to justify buying another one given the very limited use that I would get out of it.

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 1/31/2010 05:03:00 pm


37 Blogger Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold the front page! Apple releases a product and...the Devil loves it! Sheesh...

1/31/2010 07:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Gladiatrix said...

The iPad is impractical for 2 reasons. 1. It is just too expensive and 2. for those of us of a female disposition it is too big to fit in a handbag and cannot be transported easily.

1/31/2010 07:49:00 pm  
Blogger Roger Thornhill said...

1. I do believe the iPad will replace laptops in the hands of many. What do most business laptops do? Presentations, email and document creation. Sorted. If anything, dssktps, or even "headless servers" will become a feature in the home.

2. Anyone coming on here and crapping on about "real computing", "not a toy" or "serious machine" in the same breath as "Windows PC" deserve to be laughed out of town. Apples are closer to big iron than any product of Redmond.

I do suspect that the iPad will get multitasking when v4 of the iPhone OS comes out. It will happen as the OS is OSX underneath, albeit somewhat "kiosked".

1/31/2010 07:59:00 pm  
Blogger Paul Lockett said...

Apple tend to strike me as the New Labour of the computing world - very costly, style focused and fixated on exerting control.

1/31/2010 08:12:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

That I would like it is not really the issue here. The question that I endeavoured to answer was "would I buy one?" and, if so, why. In doing so, I am attempting to answer the question, "who will buy this?"

I do not, as it happens, love every Apple product unreservedly—I remain less than enthusiastic about the MacBook Air, for instance.

Gladiatrix,

I foresee that women will get bigger handbags. And I anticipate poacher's pockets making a serious return to men's overcoats (naturally, I already have one big enough to carry an A4 envelope: I just need to have it strengthened).

DK

1/31/2010 08:17:00 pm  
Blogger Shug Niggurath said...

I asked my daughter if she would use one of them. Computer said no.

She has an iPod touch, a Mac desktop in her bedroom and access to a Mac Mini in the main room. IF it is able to run Yahoo messenger then she might be into it.

1/31/2010 10:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This product is probably a good fit for the global warmist green ecoloons and antismokers (Apple doesn't honour warranties if the owner smokes near their products).

It looks nice but apart from that, offers nothing beyond an opportunity to identify its owner as belonging to the cult of Shepherds.

1/31/2010 10:56:00 pm  
Blogger John Trenchard said...

i have a nagging feeling that the ipad will be to publishing , what the ipod was to music.

imagine browsing the iBookstore and ordering the latest issue of the Spectator as easily as it is to get a song from iTunes.

1/31/2010 10:57:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No flash because Apple wants to protect its video revenues vs hulu/iplayer/skyplayer/etc/etc. User is screwed.

No SD card slot because Apple doesn't want people buying cheap memory cards instead of paying exorbitant amounts for a higher memory model. User is screwed.

No camera because Apple wants to sell you Ipad2 next year. User is screwed.


It's a nice form factor, it's true, but dozens of other companies will be producing better and cheaper over the next 6 months. In particular, higher resolution - there's no real excuse for only having 1280*720 on these.

1/31/2010 11:37:00 pm  
Blogger John Trenchard said...

"No SD card slot because Apple doesn't want people buying cheap memory cards instead of paying exorbitant amounts for a higher memory model. User is screwed."

you can buy an SD card adapter. plugs into the docking port:

http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

"ipad camera connection kit" (at the bottom)..

2/01/2010 12:10:00 am  
Blogger Roue le Jour said...

I realise you are quoting, DK, but no techie I know, myself included, wants non-techies to be dependent on us. We would love everybody to have computers that just work so that we can visit family and friends without the obligatory "my PC has been acting a bit funny lately, would you mind just having a quick look...?"

2/01/2010 03:54:00 am  
Anonymous Winston said...

"there's no real excuse for only having 1280*720 on these."

Ahem, I think you'll find it's 1024×768 4:3, not even a proper 16:9 native 720p display.

2/01/2010 08:41:00 am  
Blogger JuliaM said...

"...for those of us of a female disposition it is too big to fit in a handbag..."

A little mini or clutch handbag, sure.

Most of the humungous bags I see carried around all the time? No way!

2/01/2010 08:53:00 am  
Blogger Francis Turner said...

My basic complaint - as I point out at my blog - is that it is philosophically hobbled. You have to have either a bigger computer or the apple store in order to use it long term because as it is you can't plug in cameras, flash drives etc. More to the point the box is firmly tied into the Apple infrastructure - if St Steve says you shall not do something you can't do it. Should you decide that you like a different UI (or even tweaks to the UI) you can't do it unless they are approved tweaks. And so on.

I absolutely take the point that many (all?) existing non Apple computer thingies get in the way of "real work" and require "power user" help now and again but it seems to me that both these features are ones that are gradually being eroded.

2/01/2010 08:56:00 am  
Anonymous cheap r4i software said...

iPod Touch update with the new camera that's in the iPhone 3GS "is a no-brainer. iPod Touch updates have always followed the iPhone updates by a few months.

2/01/2010 09:00:00 am  
Blogger FlipC said...

I can see this as an adjunct to 'real' computing, but even then I sense frustrations ahead.

I can picture DK using his Mac to write a speech and then transferring it to the iPad. I can even picture him being sat on a train and reviewing it with some minor edits, but I can't see anyone using it to write anything major; just think what happens the first time you want to accurately quote someone.

Save file, close app, open app find quote, copy, close app, open app, paste; and that's assuming you can copy/paste between apps.

As for reading, there's a reason electronic books never took off until now - it's tiresome to read for any length of time off an LCD.

It's a start, but it just doesn't feel like a finished product to me.

2/01/2010 11:11:00 am  
Blogger Phil said...

I agree with Francis Turner when he says Apple users are at the whim of 'St Steve'. As a user currently at the whim of St Bill (Gates) I prefer the way Windows allows me to work with virtually any data form. As an example, I won't have an iPod because you are forced to use the proprietary music format of iTunes - and that is not good for computing.
Finally, DK, I always remember, from my days of designing systems (in a very small way :-)) that I held fast to Bill Gates's axiom: 'Make it difficult for the computer; easy for the user'.

2/01/2010 11:14:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Phil,

"As an example, I won't have an iPod because you are forced to use the proprietary music format of iTunes..."

FFS. No. You. Are. Not.

You can play MP3, AAC, and most other audio formats on an iPod (although not WMA or WMV). The iPod has been around for nearly a decade: I really shouldn't have to correct people on this now.

Francis,

"Should you decide that you like a different UI (or even tweaks to the UI) you can't do it unless they are approved tweaks."

This is just my point: most people do not want to do this. Actually, if you want to change your UI—or the aesthetics, at least—then you can do it, e.g. using Insanity's Shapeshifter (roughly $25).

And, if you really, really want to change your UI, you can actually get into the guts of the system and do it.

But most people don't—which is precisely one of the major points that I was making in the post above. And to most people, the Mac is the UI. If you don't like the UI, then don't buy a Mac.

FlipC,

I generally agree—and the quoting was something that I raised in the post.

However, in my presentations I don't usually quote people.

DK

2/01/2010 11:44:00 am  
Blogger Phil said...

DK: I am - with red face - in your debt. I fell foul of the curse of 'experts' who base their knowledge on old truths. When the iPod first came out it was restricted (so my Apple-loving mate told me) to AAC. I am pleased to know that it is more 'open' now. Thank you.

2/01/2010 11:59:00 am  
Blogger FlipC said...

DK - I know you mentioned quoting, but I wasn't sure if you'd grasped how much of a hindrance the lack of multi-tasking could be.

Without it the iPad might fall into the pit of static device - you pick it up to use it as a reviewing device or as a music device or as a ebook reader, but not as a reviewer, music player and a reader.

Although it does perform many functions it's easy to veer into that type of mindset if it's a chore to switch.

Wait for v2 :-)

2/01/2010 12:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@winston: yeah, silly editing error, was meant to be "no excuse for not having..."


1024*768 just is just too restricted for web pages - the difference in usability up to 1280*720 is enormous. I'm surprised Apple went the cheap route tbh.

2/01/2010 12:36:00 pm  
Blogger chris said...

Interesting take on the iPad and why you (DK that is) might buy one.
That said, Fraser Speirs' observations were largely summed up by Richard Feynman - "the problem with computers is that you play with them" - an observation that he must have made in the glory days of DOS and the first Apple Macintosh, about 30+ years ago.

I'm very sceptical that the iPad will change this; the lack of multi-tasking is probably a major plus, as way too many computer users simply don't need it at the application level, just simple and fast context switching a la Sidekick in the DOS environment. Most people, (IME) are quite happy to sit and wait while the spreadsheet recalculates, or the database query runs, or the photograph is converted to vector paths. Yet the OS these days probably needs to support it, if only so the user knows when new mail has arrived.

Yet, as you point out, the iPad is probably meant as an adjunct to a main computer; the iPad has no keyboard or mouse, so defining that database query, extracting the data to the spreadsheet for analysis and then updating the business report while sitting on the train doesn't seem viable. You'd still do all of that stuff back at your desk. So the iPad is not a computing tool for all that real work.

So what are Apple actually selling? It doesn't appear to be a tool that's actually usable enough to replace the box sitting under or on the desk. So the device itself probably isn't intended to represent a major revenue stream for Apple, regardless of them making the processor, but they won't sell it at a loss.

So where do Apple's major revenues come from these days? Not Mac hardware, as desktop and portables account for 37% of total sales; Peripherals, software and services is only 10%. Under half of total sales comes from the activities you'd normally associate with a computer manufacturer. Those activities are probably plateauing, just ticking over, if not already ex-growth.

So the real, growing revenue is elsewhere; about 22% of sales (for FY 2009; all this stuff is from the Annual Report) come from iPods, though that showed a 12% decline YoY. The growth areas are the iTunes store and related stuff (growth slowed a bit from '08, but still up 21%, to about the same sales as from desktops), and the iPhone (sales up a whopping 266%, to about 150% of desktop sales, and about two thirds of portables, but already facing stiff competition from Android and other PDA type phones).

My best guess is that the iPad is an attempt to capture as much of the forthcoming publishing (including video) paywall business as possible; the screen is big enough to catch up with last night's Corrie; that proprietary processor is probably fast enough to deal with the Champions League final (as long as its not processing your invoices in the background). Swore never to pay the evil Murdoch for The Times or Sky? That's OK, as that line on your credit card bill says Apple. And they're the nice guys, not that horrible nerdy Gates bloke.

Still, sell enough of these devices, get enough content into the new iNewsagents or whatever they want to call it, and Apple, with that closed software environment, will own the UI for mobile content browsing. The W3C won't get a look in. Google and Amazon (and Microsoft and IBM) can own all the cloud computing data centres they want, but Apple will own the mobile UI. Or a very large critical chunk of it that simply can't be ignored.

And poachers pockets; great things, as long as you don't mind looking as though you're the proud owner of a seriously deformed arse, having your shoulders pulled out of their sockets backwards, or sitting on the contents. Which is fine with paper, but a bit of a problem with about a grands worth of shiny kit. Those deep internal pockets in Barbour Border jackets are much better.

2/01/2010 02:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Apple brought out a gold plated turd the Macolytes would still buy it. This is not the game changer that Jobs would have you believe. It is I suggest more a triumph of style over substance.

2/01/2010 04:00:00 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

DK: Can it play Ogg and FLAC now? The only reason Apple supported MP3 was because of the large amount of ready encoded content out there. They would have loved to made iTunes as the one and only source of music for the iPod but realised people wouldn't buy such a limited player.

However it's entirely the move they are making for the iBook store.

As for multi-tasking the iPad supports it (it is running OS X underneath after-all). However multi-tasking isn't available to apps because Apple doesn't make the full SDK available for non-Apple developers. You just get the limited sandboxed App environment. For all Apps that don't compete with Apple apps of course, the ones that do never get approved.

2/01/2010 04:30:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Alex,

"The only reason Apple supported MP3 was because of the large amount of ready encoded content out there. They would have loved to made iTunes as the one and only source of music for the iPod but realised people wouldn't buy such a limited player."

The other—main—reason why they allowed iPods to play MP3 (and AIFF) is because when the iPod was first released the iTunes Music Store didn't exist.

Yes, that would do it, eh?

(By the way, Phil, that's the answer to your Apple-loving mate—he is wrong, I'm afraid. When the iPod originally debuted (in October 2001), it was Mac only (and connected via Firewire) but such was the demand that it was then ported to Windows. It was then that iPod sales exploded and the iTunes Music Store was born (in April 2003).)

"For all Apps that don't compete with Apple apps of course, the ones that do never get approved."

That's right, big man: there definitely aren't, for instance, any other browsers out there in the App Store, eh? And Apple definitely wouldn't approve any competing Notes applications at all either. And you can kiss all of those music applications goodbye too.

Sheesh.

DK

2/01/2010 04:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calling it the iPad makes it sound like some form of female sanitary aid according to my wife (and by default I agree), iSlate would have been better. I don't like Apples, purely because it has been and always will be over-priced, for exactly the same shit you can get elsewhere.
I'm not suggesting that a Win machine is superior, alas that would be an out and out lie, however, I don't believe I should be fleeced for double the money because they have an annoying ad campaign and a high wage bill. And this bullshit of offering standard kit (camera, flash etc) in the next, seemingly unending stream of revisions, is clear that they rely on the not so bright individuals to purchase their tripe

2/01/2010 08:22:00 pm  
Anonymous microdave said...

Yet another variation of the Hitler Downfall video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQnT0zp8Ya4

2/01/2010 08:47:00 pm  
Anonymous renantech said...

I have already turn on my iphone to ipad and it is really great. Ipad will hits on the market because of its design and new features added. By Sikat ang Pinoy

2/02/2010 12:59:00 am  
Blogger Alexis said...

It might not be an "open platform" but you don't have to be a genius to design your own apps, I am a doctor who has created a couple of simple examples just to play around. Plenty of resources around if you want to get into it (the apress books: learn c on the mac, learn objective c on the mac, learn cocoa etc)

2/02/2010 06:12:00 am  
Blogger FlipC said...

@Anonymous - iSlate does sound more classy, but as I've said elsewhere if you misplace the space it becomes "iS late" and my mother when first hearing the term thought it was "isolate". So there are pitfalls there too.

2/02/2010 09:09:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

FlipC,

Also, iSlate is a gift to journos wanting to slate it, of course.

DK

2/02/2010 09:29:00 am  
Blogger FlipC said...

DK,

But surely no journalist would ever stoop to using such obvious puns?

Back on topic though, if they bring them out staggered, as they supposedly are in the USA, would you wait for the 3G version or snap up the wireless-only?

Rumour-mill has it that unlike the iPhone the initial release won't be tied to a certain network; if it were would you still consider the 3G?

2/02/2010 09:55:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

FlipC,

No rumour—Jobs announced that it would not be tied to a particular network. In any case, I have an iPhone on 02 (since I was on 02 anyway).

And the answer is, of course, yes, I shall wait for the 3G version—Wi-Fi simply isn't ubiquitous enough to be able to rely on.

(And yes, I realise that this will up the cost but, ultimately, it's a service that I'm willing to pay for.)

DK

2/02/2010 10:15:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bluetooth it to your iphone and use its net connection. No need to pay for another 3g subscription.

I assume Apple would allow you to do that? *sniggers facetiously*

2/02/2010 11:02:00 am  
Blogger Alex said...

DK: I can't let those selective examples slide by without comment. Sure you can get some browsers, if they are based on Safari, so no Opera or Firefox. I'm unsure how Apple would categorise Chrome(ium). There are as you point out other music apps, but none that compete with iTunes. Spotify were lucky, even though it took Apple a month to approve their app. Google Voice for example fell foul of the Apple's critera.

And that's the problem any App writter faces with Apple. They may think they meet all the critera and still have Apple turn around and arbitarily reject the application. That's not to say there isn't a vibrant 3rd party application eco-system, but it's one that exists purely at the pleasure of Apple.

2/02/2010 03:59:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Alex,

On the other hand, you can get Google Voice on the iPhone—as a web app (and those do not need to be approved by Apple).

Apple make revenue from the carriers: they are not going to allow an application that affects that revenue stream—why be surprised?

Like Safari, Chrome(ium) is based on the Open Source WebKit rendering engine (which is backed and funded by Apple and, to a lesser extent, Google). WebKit is, quite simply, the best rendering engine out there—it is so far ahead of Gecko (Mozilla's engine) that it just isn't funny. And Opera is just a bit of a joke.

As I said in the article above, as a designer I am looking forward to being able to design sites for WebKit browsers and then let them degrade for more crippled engines.

That's not to say that there aren't problems with the App Store: they are not, however, problems that most people give a shit about.

And, despite these problems, designers are—by and large—still queuing up to get their apps into the store.

Ultimately, if you don't like the way in which Apple runs their ecosystem, you don't have to buy their products.

Unfortunately, most people seem to want Apple's products without the control that Apple exerts over those products—without understanding that the reason that Apple's products work so well is because they exert that control.

DK

2/02/2010 04:23:00 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

DK: Sure, and if we have learnt anything is that people should be free to make the choices of what they buy with their money. However I consider it civic duty to point out the gilded cage Apple users are walking into, just in case they didn't notice. They are perfectly free to ignore me and go straight to the Cool-Aid dispenser ;-)

Great as WebKit is I think the debate about rendering engine mono-cultures can wait until another day!

2/03/2010 09:11:00 am  

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