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Jan 28, 2010

It's called iPad, and the Kindle is rooted

2009 wasn’t just the year of the ebook reader. 2009 was the only year of the ebook reader. Goodbye Kindle, hello iPad.

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Gorgeous. Awesome. Revolutionary. Yes, yes, yes… Apple’s new iPad is all of those things. Of course it is. That’s what Apple does. But iPad also means Apple has taken over the publishing industry just like they did the music industry.

iPad also means 2009 wasn’t just the year of the ebook reader. 2009 was the only year of the ebook reader. Goodbye Kindle.

Apple fans and slack-jawed gadget-bling-besotted media are crowing about the iPad’s technical specifications. They’re certainly a solid achievement, especially at the price.

What’s important, though, is iPad’s position in the media food chain.

A few weeks ago, Apple sold its 250 millionth iPod media player. Add in the iPhone, which commands around a one-third share of the smartphone market, and their laptop computers. Apple is now, or so they claim, the world’s largest mobile devices company.

Apple’s iTunes Store is already the world’s largest music retailer. They’ve already got 125 million customers’ credit card numbers on file. Those customers are already used to shelling out a dollar here or there for an iPhone app or a song or a TV program.

When iPad ships “worldwide” in late March for Wi-Fi models, or April for models with 3G mobile connectivity, there’s already 125 million pre-registered customers for iBooks, Apple’s new integrated online bookstore. Just drag and drop your simulated paper purchases into your simulated wood-grain bookshelf and your very real micro-payment makes a 30% retail margin for Apple.

Five major publishers are already on board: Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group (which before 2006 was the Time Warner Book Group).

The New York Times is on board too, with their iPad newspaper app featuring heavily in Apple’s launch this morning, and on Apple’s website now.

“We’re incredibly psyched to pioneer the next generation of digital journalism,” said Martin Nisenholtz, their Senior VP for digital operations, at Apple’s launch.

Of course Nisenholtz is confusing “journalism” with “content delivery”, but we’ll let that slide.

Almost all existing 140,000 iPhone apps run on iPad unchanged, and developers will soon develop new apps to take advantage of iPad’s larger screen. But Apple also has a sleeping giant.

iTunes LP.

Launched in September 2009, Apple currently promotes iTunes LP as a way to add artwork and DVD-like special features to music and movies. But it’s actually a general framework for integrating multimedia content, all compatible with the iTunes Store. So, actual new forms of journalism with integrated micropayments, anyone?

With all that, why pay US$489 for Amazon’s Kindle DX to read static black and white text and listen to a few MP3s when for just $10 more you can get a base model iPad? The iPad’s the same size screen, but in colour and with video and games and the internet and 16GB of flash memory instead of 3.3GB and it is, really, a complete general purpose computer.

Sure, iPad doesn’t seem to run content in Adobe’s Flash. Compared to the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t have a camera or GPS and isn’t, you know, a phone – though you could use VoIP such as Skype.

“Lousy battery life,” did you say? But iPhone owners already scurry to find power outlets at 3pm. It doesn’t seem to have affected sales.

I doubt anyone will care.

In the US, Apple has cut a deal with mobile carrier AT&T so that iPad users can get 250MB of data transfers a month for $14.99 or unlimited for $29.99, plus free use of AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotpots. iPads use GSM micro-SIMs and will be sold  unlocked – unlike iPhones, which were sold locked to a particular carrier.

Apple expects to finalise international deals by June. The questions now for Australians are how big will Apple Australia’s price mark-up be above currency conversion, and what data deals will carriers be offering?

Oh, and how cheaply will we be able to buy second-hand Kindles?

Bonus link: 8 Things That Suck About the iPad (and they’re all spot on, except the first one about “Big, Ugly Bezel”, which is just an inverse size queen thing).

And it seems Amazon shares survived rather well, up 3% at end of day’s trading!

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52 comments

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52 thoughts on “It’s called iPad, and the Kindle is rooted

  1. Nate

    “Of course Nisenholtz is confusing “journalism” with “content delivery”, but we’ll let that slide.” ZINNNNGGGG <3 it! HAHA!

  2. Looking Confident

    Great article and I have taken the ‘Liberty’ to have posted in on my blog. Thanks.

    And ….”Of course Nisenholtz is confusing “journalism” with “content delivery”, but we’ll let that slide.”

    I’ve already commented on this aspect earlier on today. – FWIW, of course.

    “Apple will become a huge player in Ad Marketplace”

    Apple’s purchase of Quattro heralds a big future for Apple as a ‘stand alone’ Ad Network or, an Advertising Exchange (?) of enormous potential.

    The Apple move to buy Quattro quickly came following Google’s own acquisition of the already very successful mobile Ad Network in AdMob.

    This linked article supports such a thought as it points out, “How Apple brought AdMob from zero to 4 billion-plus ad requests”

    And there may well be an even bigger (shared) “prize” for an Apple-Microsoft “get-together” and one that could be built along the very same lines as that of the Microsoft – Yahoo Search – Ad “deal”, that awaits for DOJ approval.

    Apple’s new “Tablet” (reader – just out) would quickly become most attractive (in competition with Amazon and it’s Kindle ‘portable’ plastic reader) particularly when considering the following scenario:

    “Can Apple’s Tablet Save Newspaper and Magazine Publishers?”

    http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/36191-lookingconfident/45865-apple-will-become-a-huge-player-in-ad-marketplace#comment_update_link

    Cheers and thanks again.

    Looking Confident

  3. Stilgherrian

    The New York Times being shown in Apple’s demo is the website, not a app. Oops. Also, there is GPS in the higher-end models of iPad that have 3G as well as Wi-Fi. Any other glitches?

    That said, those are all minor issues, and this isn’t meant to be a review. And checklisting features misses the bigger-picture issues I reckon.

  4. Leighton Haynes

    I’m still not convinced the Kindle and the iPad occupy the same niche. The Kindle reads books… that’s pretty much it – it’s better for reading books because epaper is better for reading extended periods than an LCD.

    The iPad won’t be good for extended reading sessions. You’re right, that it won’t matter, but it won’t matter because the people buying it aren’t buying it for reading books – they’re buying it to browse facebook and check their email while maybe occasionally reading a book.

    I accept the niches are similar, but until there is a display technology that gives the eyestrain free reading with a high refresh rate I’d say these uses can’t be effectively merged. People who read lots of books – most Kindle customers – will stick with ebooks.

  5. Blue Tyson

    Other things about it that will likely suck – they will sell very few books to Australians as most of them will be blocked.

  6. Patrick Brosnan

    Looks like a waste of money. You could buy a netbook for less that does more and is roughly the same size. And you could read email AND have a browser open at the same time. And if I wanted to read this kind of fanboi rubbish I can get it at the SMH. Apple seem to be having a golden run with the media, publicshing has always been their redoubt so it’s not surprising that we get fed this hagiographic tosh.

  7. David Chapman

    No doubt the 2nd generation iPad will be a real improvement (not to mention to the 3rd or 4th) – but the real question I have is: do I need one?

    Work provides me with a macbook, I have the iPhone – do I really need a toy for the in-between? I don’t think so…

    However – I did think of a market that may find it useful. My grandparents (90 and 86) still have no computer. Perhaps this would be a simple enough solution that would give them the instant connections without the learning curve of a full blown OS.

  8. Stilgherrian

    @Patrick Brosnan: I’m actually quite offended you think this is “fanboy rubbish”. I thought I’d avoided most of the gee-wow fawning and instead looked at the media pipeline. Plus I’ve been far from uncritical of Apple and its products over the years.

    Now you mention that you can buy a netbook that can multitask for less money. No argument. But that’s not the market Apple is competing with. A netbook is a small, cheap computer for use on the road. The iPad is a media consumption device. And in that context, the lack of multitasking isn’t as important — in the same way that that lack hasn’t harmed the iPhone market.

    Curiously, it feels like I’ve spent the afternoon listening to people saying “But the Kindle is better at X, Y or Z.” And they’re right. But, as I say, the individual technical specs aren’t important. If they were, then people would get, say, a Nokia Nseries smartphone. Which is what I did. Better camera, swappable battery, multitasking etc etc.

    But, media-consumers don’t give a toss about that. It’s the seamless integrated media experience that Apple sells, and here it is in another attractive form.

    Tell you what. If Kindle sales through 2010 exceed iPad sales, the bottle of whiskey is on me.

  9. Michael James

    People rabbiting on about cheaper Netbooks simply don’t get it. The iPad is designed to be an accessory to a full-function Mac laptop/desktop. I have a MacBookPro but on a recent 2 weeks waft around Asia I found myself frustrated–not wanting to lug the thing around, it ended up mostly in the hotel safe except at the end of the day. Like Stilgherrian I do not have an iPhone but have a Nokia N-smartphone. The iPad (not the early versions) will fill my needs and be in my shoulderbag 24/7, then mate with my laptop at the end of the day etc. I will have a Bluetooth keyboard (& BT headphones). Yes it will be a bit like a low-function Netbook but much, much nicer to use and have all the additional functionality of an e-Reader made by people who know how to give a user experience that doesn’t grate everytime you use it.

    Alas, the GPS is pseudo-GPS that simply triangulates as an approximation using the 3G cell towers. However, I suspect true GPS will arrive because more and more Apps will demand it.

    I wonder how many of those who claim that the Kindle is so much better on the eyes have actually used one (not me)? Here is David Pogue’s response: “Really? I think that’s kind of a myth. I spend 10-12 days reading on my laptop screen, and I’ve never had any problems with eyestrain. Don’t even really know what that is!— David Pogue”
    Sure e-ink maybe less straining but most people are comparing their clapped out cheapo Dell screens, not Apple devices made for the job (and I expect the 1.0 low-rez screens will soon be replaced with better options, but at the beginning Apple need to hit certain (low) price points.

    Incidentally Stilgherrian expressed surprise that Amazon shares have held up. That is because Amazon will be selling many of the e-books that will be read on the iPad. Amazon may shed a few tears over the likely demise of the Kindle but they will be crocodile tears…

  10. BoxingCandle

    Why are people griping about the lack of multitasking? Am I only seeing the complaints made by the Ladies? I have never been able to multitask and both my wife* and I consider that a great strength. This souped up little placemat iFad thingy sounds like a veritable pillar of Zen singularity. Takes this fanboy wistfully back to the days when DOS was King. I’ll have what he’s having, thanks.

    * I may not be quoting her verbatim here but her intent was clear to me.

  11. Patrick Brosnan

    Well you did start with “Gorgeous. Awesome. Revolutionary” and move on to “Apple has taken over the publishing industry”, I mean what happened to books? And the thing has only been released today! Oh I expect you’ll say, “Hey a little overblown rhetoric doesn’t hurt, I’m a writer for god’s sake”. But then the fanboi comment is just levelling the playing field a bit. It’s fairly evident that it’s not going to get much critical analysis amoungst the chattering classes.

    “Tell you what. If Kindle sales through 2010 exceed iPad sales, the bottle of whiskey is on me.”

    How could I take that bet when

    A) You’ve said (probably correctly) that folks will buy it despite it’s obvious limitations and:
    B) It will be endlessly spruiked in MSM publications where the computer vendor of choice (for DP anyway) is …. Apple.

    I’m not a mug punter … (and WTF is a Kindle anyway!!?)

  12. Patrick Brosnan

    And Michael James, no I don’t get it. You lugged a MacBook around, why didn’t you get a netbook, there anti-luggable. And why would I need an accessory to a laptop when a netbook can do everything a laptop can? So now you carry your Mac Iphone, your Mac laptop and you Mac iPad (oh and you Mac iPod i suppose) whereas I’d just take a netbook and a mobile phone. Simpler, more apps, less gadgets.

  13. Patrick Brosnan

    BTW I have an MSI Win netbook which I think is superior to most of the others I’ve seen (although I haven’t looked for a while).

  14. Simon Ives

    Such an unoriginal name, so unoriginal in fact, that MadTV beat Apple to it years ago. You can view their parody on You Tube -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTzhXMbOWHE&fmt=

  15. Justin

    No mention of the biggest problem with this toy? The scary part is the iPad’s position in the media food chain. This is advertised as a general purpose computer, but every application and book comes straight from apple, and only apple. There is no way for publishers to even opt out of these restrictions – an author who wants to allow people to share their work is not permitted due to apple’s compulsory DRM on ebooks (and videos too).

    From the Free Software Foundation:
    http://www.defectivebydesign.org/ipad
    “The iPad’s unprecedented use of DRM to control all capabilities of a general purpose computer is a dangerous step backward for computing and for media distribution.”
    And:
    “This is a huge step backward in the history of computing,” said FSF’s
    Holmes Wilson, “If the first personal computers required permission from
    the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of
    computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple’s
    famous Super Bowl ad.”

    And anyone who cares books beyond what they smell like should have a look at Cory Doctorow speech on How To Destroy The Book:
    http://thevarsity.ca/articles/23855

  16. Stilgherrian

    @Justin: There’s only so much that can be said in a 600-word piece, and DRM truly deserves another entire piece all to itself. I’ll see what I can do.

    @Patrick Brosnan: This is a Kindle. But you’re right, it’d be a mug’s bet. The iPad will sell squillions — despite the limitations you mention and all the rest.

  17. Stilgherrian

    Hmmm… WordPress ate my link. I’ll try again. This is a Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/bvq42o

  18. Jackson Harding

    The reason people will shell out $490 for a Kindle DX is because it does one thing, and it does it really well. It lets you read books. You can read them on the beach, you can read them in the park (I did so this afternoon) and you can read them on the train. You can do it for days without recharging. And what’s more you can do it in full sunlight. That’s right folks, vampirism is not required with Kindle, but mandatory with the iPad. Try reading the New York Times, or any other paper on your iPad as you trundle to work on the 7:34 with the sun streaming through the window. The first time people try that with their iPads they’ll realise they’ve been had.

    Jackson

  19. Justin

    Thanks, @Stilgherrian. Please do. I look forward to it.

    The biggest story here I think is not how shiny the package is, but what it means for a single company to control all the media you consume, and everything you can do with the devices you own.

    We should be clear, that this device is absolutely not a general purpose computer. It’s a portal to the iTunes store, nothing more.

  20. Carny

    @ Justin: “There is no way for publishers to even opt out of these restrictions – an author who wants to allow people to share their work is not permitted due to apple’s compulsory DRM on ebooks”.

    I’m not sure where you have gotten this hyperbole. Just as an iPod can play non-DRMed music files bought from iTunes or not bought from iTunes, what makes you think the iBooks bought from iTunes must have compulsory DRM, or that iBooks bought from iTunes will be the only method of getting an ebook onto the iPad? The analogy of Apple being the only source for Apps on the iPhone is not yet warranted for the case of iBooks (or ebooks) and the iPad. Are iBooks sold from the App store, or alongside non-DRM’d music and movies from the iTunes store?

    The iPad supports the free and open source EPUB. While this format can contain DRM (and likely it will do if book publishers are cut from the same cloth as music, TV and movie publishers), it does not mandate DRM. And what about good old PDF? Theres a ubiquitous format already used for ebooks that the iPad supports.

    I loathe the way DRM has been handled thus far, and I am not a fan of Apple’s control of the Apps on an iPhone/iPod touch, but there is not enough evidence to suggest that iBooks will be treated like Apps rather than like music/movies, to justify your sentiment.

    @ GPS included: So far it looks as if the iPad will have the same GPS as the iPhone 3Gs, ie. hardware GPS. Compare the tech specs for the iPhone 3Gs to the iPad (3G + WiFi) – they are identical in terms of “location” specs: “Wi-Fi, Digital compass, Assisted GPS, Cellular”. As with the iPhone 3Gs, the term “Assisted GPS” refers to a hardware GPS with cellular/wifi assistance (so it takes seconds rather than minutes to get a trace – unlike car GPS), not a pseudo GPS, as far as I can tell. Although I’m not sure a GPS

    @ Netbook comparisons: I agree with the OP that the minutia of tech specs are a back-story, but I think it stacks up pretty well in the areas that actually matter for a netbook. It’s essentially a 10in multitouch SSD netbook that is chargable over usb, displays and outputs hd, is only 600gm and 1cm thick, runs iPhone and iPad apps, and has apple store support (perhaps not so important in Australia, but in UK and I imagine US this is a very big bonus)… add easy syncing, the Apple media ecosystem (if it suits your needs)… and almost certainly handwriting software on release and a chat camera in the not too distant future (perhaps when that slot is filled on the iPod touch). For 300 quid thats not too shabby I say. Certainly worth considering for all the areas where a netbook is really needed.

  21. Patrick Brosnan

    “The biggest story here I think is not how shiny the package is, but what it means for a single company to control all the media you consume, and everything you can do with the devices you own.”

    This has been Apple’s business model for most of its life. I got a bit confused when they started to use linux as their OS but now (I think) they’ve gone back to the Apple only model. What I don’t get is, with all the free media that’s available via bittorent why anyone would bother with iTunes. Just getting it to work is a PITA.

    Apple are somewhat successful at making some types of IT based devices. Generally these are for the public at large. That’s OK but most people in the programming industry don’t regard them as innovative and most don’t use their products. So I wish they’d get the same treatment as say, oh, Samsung when they release some new kit. You know a bit of the old “pros” and “cons” sidebar action rather than an “oh my god there’s Steve and he’s holding something and .. hang on I just wet myself” hagiograph. Can’t wait to see which nut-job lines up all night to get one.

  22. Patrick Brosnan

    @Cary
    Actually I’ve found the inclusion of a USB port very useful on a netbook. Scenario – you buy a SD HDD video camera while away from home. You have a netbook which has USB but no DVD drive. You ask man at desk to transfer contents of DVD to USB stick. You go back to your room and install driver etc for your new toy. You go to bed rather pleased. Now how would you go with your iPad (assume you are in small provincial town with no Apple store so you can’t buy the add-on)? Punctuation will count.
    This kind of stuff happens all the time. Netbooks are very small PCs, they have all the fruit. Mine has a camera. And more storage and I can have a backup battery. Does this thing have a SS disk anyway? It should at least have that standard if it wants to be cutting edge.
    As someone said somewhere else, Apple bring out these crap products that get hyped to the hilt and crowd real innovation out of the market. Aside from the GUI what have Apple contributed?

  23. Justin

    @Carny: Fair point, I may have been a little hyperbolic. We don’t know what the iBookStore policy will be, but their policy on audiobooks at the iTunes store is that every book must carry DRM:
    http://torrentfreak.com/apple-says-audiobooks-must-have-drm-091212/
    So even though they’re being sold alongside non-DRM music, they are required to have DRM.

    Also, having iTunes as the only method of accessing media on the device (i.e. no direct access to the filesystem without hacking) means that the use of purchased media is entirely at apple’s discretion.

    So I should qualify my previous statement and say that device is nothing more than a portal to iTunes.

  24. Carny

    @Justin: “The biggest story here I think is not how shiny the package is, but what it means for a single company to control all the media you consume, and everything you can do with the devices you own.”

    I think you have missed something Justin. Your claim that Apple is positioned to control all the media you consume is nonsense. As I mentioned above, there is a big difference between Apps on the iPhone/iPad and MEDIA on either of these devices. Apps go through Apple’s verification process (which has positives and negatives), Media for these devices does not have to. It is just as easy loading your own (legal, pirated, homemade) music, movies, and (all signs point to) books/newspapers onto the iPad as it is use iTunes store (different to iTunes) to buy this media.

    Even if newspapers (for instance) choose to create Apps instead of downloadable media or just having an iPad optimised website, it seems absolutely unfeasible for Apple to have any say whatsoever in the content that is provided to these Apps on a continual basis. The shell would have to be approved by Apple, but the streamed content would be straight from the publisher.

    If books are like music and movies on the iPad then you would be as free to read whatever book you want (subject to an electronic copy of it being available) just as you are free to listen or watch whatever you want. I really see nothing that even remotely looks like what you are suggesting with regards to media.

    As for “…and everything you can do with the devices you own”, that is a different story and your comment has a hint of reality, although I think you are being extreme. Every device you own is limited to the functions that the manufacturer chose to include. And you choose the device that best suits the functions you need/want. The pros and cons of Apple’s App store have been debated elsewhere and if you really think the cons outweigh the pros, you are free to not participate in the app store, or you can even jailbreak the device. That the iPad doesnt have a desktop or accessible filesystem like your PC or Mac was a design decision that Apple made to fit the needs of the people to which the device is targeted. If it is no good for you, there are many other netbooks out there that probably suit you better. Apple are clearly going for an area between computing and entertainment that is just a slight step above a couch surfer but is absolutely clearly below the customisability of a netbook, and no one is suggesting otherwise. The fact that it will be synced should indicate it is not a computer replacement.

    The majority will not need this device and given all the hype that was generated before the keynote, there seem to be a lot of people that feel alienated that they don’t need this revolutionary (for some) device. It is OK to not fit the target group.

  25. Carny

    @Patrick Brosnan: ‘So I wish they’d get the same treatment as say, oh, Samsung when they release some new kit. You know a bit of the old “pros” and “cons” sidebar action…’

    The difference is that when most people see a new Samsung device they can accept that they don’t fit the target audience that the device is aimed at, if this is the case. With the hype behind Apple announcements, many people that do not have a lifestyle/job/need that would get benefit from owning the device, instantly come out strongly against it, probably because they feel alienated from the “cool” that Apple portrays (to some). I’m guessing this is a mixture of Apple fanbois over hyping prior to release (“this will change everything”), Apple’s effective marketing (“this will change everything”), and the fact that it is not made clear enough that the device is not intended to change everything for everyone, only a select few who would actually benefit from the device. No body likes feeling left out.

  26. Carny

    @Patrick Brosnan: “(assume you are in small provincial town with no Apple store so you can’t buy the add-on)? ” – So in this one rare case, where you haven’t thought ahead to bring probably the most important accessory for the iPad, and you have instead purchased this device without thinking about buying the accessory at the same time (will be sold other than at Apple stores), then perhaps the netbook will work out better for you. But what about everyday life? Yes it has SSD, which is a vast improvement over notebook HDD. And multitouch so you dont need to carry a mouse or cramp your hand on a touchpad. Can you use iPhone apps (lots of shit, but lots of awesome too)? Can you sync calendar/mail/podcasts/media easily? In an emergency you have a replaceable battery, but can you charge your netbook from USB? Prevention >> cure. Anyway I feel this backwards and forwards is pointless because I don’t even really want an iPad – I just find it interesting how baseless a lot of arguments against it really are. And how people are so unwilling to let a device exist that doesn’t fit their own needs, but may fit the needs of millions of others.

    “Apple bring out these crap products… Apart from the GUI what have Apple contributed?” – If you exclude the GUI, perhaps the iPhone/iPad is a piece of junk. But the GUI is the most important part, so how can you reasonably exclude it? What is multitouch without the GUI? Have you used touchscreen PCs? Apple sell hardware and software packaged together, remember? They aren’t Dell, Sony etc selling laptops for you to run whatever you want. They aren’t Microsoft selling software to install on whatever you want. They are selling a (supposedly) seamless package.

  27. Justin

    @Carny: Good discussion. I’m enjoying it. Don’t stop now just because you don’t want an iPad. There’s nothing less than the future of computing at stake here. How’s that for hyperbole? To your points:

    “…there is a big difference between Apps on the iPhone/iPad and MEDIA on either of these devices. Apps go through Apple’s verification process (which has positives and negatives), Media for these devices does not have to.”

    I never said there wasn’t a difference, but I would say that the difference is not that great. Setting aside modifying the device (which you claim I’m free to do, but which apple has claimed is illegal) apps go completely through apple, as you say. But everything else is mediated by another apple product – e.g. iTunes, Safari (no other browser has been allowed to my knowledge). So everything, regardless of whether you own it, made it, or otherwise acquired it, is mediated by apple, whether directly or via an apple product.

    “it seems absolutely unfeasible for Apple to have any say whatsoever in the content that is provided to these Apps on a continual basis. The shell would have to be approved by Apple, but the streamed content would be straight from the publisher.”

    This is not true. Witness for instance the twitter app that was initially rejected because twitter may contain bad language. It was eventually allowed with age restrictions. Apple vets the content as well as the “shell”. Not on a tweet by tweet basis, obviously, but the fact is that they do look at the content that is provided to the app, and can and do reject or restrict apps because of it. Also, even if only the shell were vetted by apple, this also restricts the content that can be provided. Their restrictions say (or at least said last year, when I last went through it) that no app can, for instance, run interpreted code, which prohibits things like emulators, flash players, and even, hilariously, web browsers.

    “If books are like music and movies on the iPad then you would be as free to read whatever book you want (subject to an electronic copy of it being available) just as you are free to listen or watch whatever you want.”

    As I said, mediated by an apple product. And only in apple approved formats.

    “Every device you own is limited to the functions that the manufacturer chose to include.”

    Come on. That’s true of wristwatches. It’s true of toasters. It’s true of games consoles, even. It is not, and should not, be true of a “general purpose computing device”. And should it really be illegal to try and overcome those limitations? Especially if the limitation is as ridiculous as “you can only use this web browser”.

    “That the iPad doesnt have a desktop or accessible filesystem like your PC or Mac was a design decision that Apple made to fit the needs of the people to which the device is targeted.”

    I think this is extremely naive. Beyond this specific device, is it so difficult to imagine that future iterations of apple laptops or desktops will run this operating system? It already does what most consumers need from a computer, and with the keyboard attachment it really could be a computer replacement, with no need for syncing to an actual computer. It doesn’t seem to me to be just filling a niche between computing and entertainment, but rather extending the control that apple exerts over their mobile devices into the broader computing market. As I’ve been saying, the actual product is not really the point.

    And as for me being free to buy or not buy one, that’s not the issue either. It’s not exactly common knowledge what an obsessively controlling company apple is, nor why this is a problem. For the average punter this looks a pretty good device. The problem is if everyone gets these things, then it’s not only your average punters that are beholden to apple, but anyone who wants to reach them. And that’s why we need to be concerned.

  28. Justin

    @Patrick_Brosnan
    “This has been Apple’s business model for most of its life.”
    That’s true as far as I know, but the problem is that they’re getting into everything now.

  29. Carny

    @Justin: It seems quite a change in tune to jump from “a single company to control all the media you consume, and everything you can do with the devices you own” to the lesser “So everything … is mediated by another apple product”. I would not really argue with the second because it is true and it does not raise any red flags for my usage at the moment, given Apple’s track record. For instance, iTunes will never stop me from putting any song about anything on my iPod/iPhone (besides tech limitations), nor will it stop me putting any objectional/questionable (to whomever) videos on these devices. Safari wont stop me surfing to any website I wish, nor will mail stop me from reading anything I am sent. You are trying to conflate Apple’s mediation (your word) of MEDIA with censorship or limitation – and this it is not. Sure there are technical limitations associated with only having the one browser, one mail, one maps, one phone, etc available to you, but this wasnt the original argument you were making. You were talking about DRM and content control by mac daddy Apple.

    As I think we both agree, the technical limitations are shit. Apps are a different (also shit) story, and you are right that some Apps in the past have had poor decisions made regarding classifications or outright bans, some for nothing more than what seems like business advantage.

    The rest of your comment I think echos what I said above, that there is a difference between a (manufacturer imposed) technical limitation and content restriction. I think (you may have a different opinion) that a lack of “emulators, flash players, web browsers” is not based on a decision to block a certain type of information, but is either technical (CPU/battery life) or a transparent business decision. Luckily there are other products out there if we need flash, emulators etc etc.

    As for books, I think you missed what I was getting at. You said books will be “mediated by an apple product. And only in apple approved formats” – how does this differ from Kindle or any other eReader out there… Apple approved format does not mean Apple controlled format. As I said, EPUB + PDF (at least) gives a lot of flexibility and restriction free viewing, even if it is in an Apple program that doesnt restrict what you view.

    Totally agree that a “general purpose computing device” shouldnt have the limitations of the iPad. That is probably the reason most people don’t see it as a general purpose computing device. Jobs said that it should do SOME things better than a laptop (it does) and SOME things better than a smartphone (it does). But by no means was it implied it does ALL things better than either. That is why they both exist. He did quip that netbooks aren’t better at anything compared to a laptop or smartphone except price. He never implyed the iPad was better than a netbook at everything, and I’m not sure anyone really believes that. Simply put, I think the target market for the iPad overlaps with netbooks but they are not one and the same. For instance you seem like you could benefit from a netbook (and probably do?) but wouldn’t benefit from the iPad.

    “is it so difficult to imagine that future iterations of apple laptops or desktops will run this operating system?” – I don’t think it’s as clear or dangerous as you make out. Why can’t the two (OSX lite and OSX) live side by side? Each taking from the other what it needs to in order to succeed? Bit of multitouch here, a bit of productivity suite there…. I really don’t think you have a leg to stand on if you are trying to suggest Apple will force all Applications for OSX to be vetted by them in the future, or that they will restrict browsers etc in the same way they do for the iPhone or iPad. Not unless you have no experience with Apple except for the iPhone and iPod.

    “It already does what most consumers need from a computer” – Then is it so bad if people use it as their computer? Smugness aside, I couldn’t disagree more. It already does what most consumers need most of the time from a computer. I can imagine very few people who could totally replace their laptop with an iPad. But at 500 US I think a lot of people may try and find a reason to use it for something they currently do on their laptop.

    “extending the control that apple exerts over their mobile devices into the broader computing market.” – I can see where you are coming from here, and I think it is a good argument. If the iPhone and iPad become ubiquitous, maybe Apple will turn their laptops into non-filesystem non-desktop App restricted devices too. And that would definately be a product that doesnt sell well. I don’t think Apple can go much more “general computing” than the iPad (which isn’t very “general computing”) and be as restrictive as they are with Apps.

    “The problem is … And that’s why we need to be concerned.” – I can’t see the average punter being any less computer savvy then they are now, so unless I misunderstand what you are trying to say, I can’t see any reason to be as concerned as you ask. If by beholden you mean obliged to use only the Apple browser and Apple music player on your Apple device, perhaps that is the price to pay for the stability and snap of such a device. Luckily there are others out there are just different enough that you might find what you are looking for. There is no one right way to do anything, let alone one right way to build a restricted couch surfing device.

    Are you really worried that the success of the iPad might lead to apathy for computing freedom? I definitely wouldnt want to live in a world where every device had to do everything that everyone wanted. Specialisation is not such a bad thing, afterall.

  30. ToshiBoy

    Skype won’t work well without a camera, and without USBs there ain’t going to be a camera. Ah, more marketing, because you can have USB if you use an Apple Adaptor, which is also optional, proprietary and expensive. And I think the iBook add-on is going to be optional in Australia, too, and access to the store won’t be available for some time yet, either.

    Apples will be everywhere because of the name and the prestige, because it won’t be because of the features.

  31. Carny

    @Toshiboy: There’s talk of the iPad getting the camera when the iPod touch does (stripped at the last minute last update) but that could just be argumentum ad consequentiam. It certainly seems like a massive limitation that they left the camera out when it seems such an easy add-on and an obvious (to me) perfect function for the iPad. Very strange indeed.

    Where did you find out the price of the USB adapter? Definite minus that a USB port was not included as standard. Imagine the touch-to-focus remote live view SLR shooting… mmmmm.

    The iBookstore certainly won’t be live overseas at the US launch date, likely due to publishers demands, but there is nothing to suggest overseas iPads will not have iBook functionality. The contrary actually.

  32. ToshiBoy

    @Carny: The prices for the adapters haven’t been finalized as far as I know. I don’t think they have even released the actual pricing for the device here in Australia. I know, in the US it’s cost $499 in the basic form, up to $699 with 64GB and some other extras (http://apcmag.com/the-apple-ipad-what-you-need-to-know.htm).
    I am not sure where I saw that the iBook app is only going to be standard in the US, and optional everywhere else.
    In defense of Apple, I guess this is going to be another “First Version”, and by the time we see the third and fourth generation of this tablet, we probably get the cameras and maybe even USB ports. If you compare it with the iPhone, where the first one was a 2G brick with hardly any features, and look at the latest ones now, the next few generations of the iPad will improve.

    But I think we can split hairs on features. In the end, this is a phenomenon. It’s an Apple, and many people would buy it just because of that. Just like the iPod and the iPhone and all the other gadgets. There are better products on the market for any given purpose, but they are not Apples. They are not sexy and not so stylish.

  33. Stilgherrian

    There’s some interesting points coming through here, but one that always strikes me is the level of… shall we say “emotional engagement” that comes with any conversation about the differences between Apple’s approach to building devices and the general PC or (now) smartphone market.

    On the one side, there seems to be a concentration on listing the features and specs. Yesterday Leslie Nassar referred to Nokia, for example, as building Homerphones — a reference to an episode of The Simpsons where Homer was asked to design a car and the random collection of must-have features resulted in an ugly, clunky mess. Microsoft can claim that for Windows 7 they listened to the customers. And they did. They had to after the disaster that was Vista. And while Windows 7 is still Vista, it’s still far more complicated than 90% of computer users need because everything has to be included to satisfy the other 10%.

    Apple’s approach is instead to concentrate on user experience — to the point of control-freak obsessiveness — and to make the purchase choice simple. In the case of iPad, for instance, it comes in three capacities, with or without 3G. Take it or leave it. If there’s some specific feature missing, tough. But, because Apple obsessively controls the entire stack from hardware all the way up to packaging and in-store signage, if the product they’re selling is right for you then it all does tend to work smoothly.

    I do get confused about the emotional level, though. If HP or Lenovo or Asus release a machine and it doesn’t match a specific person’s need, no-one has a go at them for “forgetting to include a Bliggo port”. They just don’t buy the product.

  34. CID

    The mistake most people seem to be making with the iPad is viewing it as a standalone device. Little of what Apple sells is a standalone.

    This really twigged for me with the iPhone. As a phone, it’s… ok. However, for example, when you install the iTunes Remote app, tie it to your Mac (and I won’t even get into how easy this is compared to Windows) and then plug some speakers into an AirPort out on the balcony, it’s a joy. Complete control over your music library wherever you are (within WiFi range obviously).

    Take your iPhone and connect it to your MacBook for Keynote presentations and you have a remote that shows you current, previous and next slides or current slide with presenter notes as well as timers and other useful information for presenters.

    What Apple are all about is the ecosystem – no one device will do everything you want, but string a few together and you have the long promised digital revolution.

    That said I would’ve love to have seen some extra hardware on the iPad (an ir port would’ve allowed the most fantastic home theatre remote), but as far as software goes, as the ad says, there’s an app for that. Or there will be.

  35. Neville Page

    Don’t write off the kindle just yet. I own one and I just love it. The dark grey on light grey display is perfect for reading books and newspapers without the eyestrain you get reading a bright screen. I already own an iPhone, MacBook Pro and iMac, and I’ll probably get an iPad in due course when it arrives in Australia, but it will be for a different purpose than reading books. The kindle runs on a tiny fraction of the energy required for the iPad. I can read for hours on the kindle without any concern about a flat battery. 3G connectivity is an issue. I don’t pay download charges with the kindle, Amazon does, and no extra upfront costs. And get this: I read Crikey on my kindle. The forty odd pages each day comprising the Crikey e-letter is a bit daunting to read on my laptop screen, scrolling down through the document. So I print it to a .pdf file and transfer it to my kindle and read it at my leisure without the eyestrain. The 30 seconds or so that my kindle is connected to me laptop is all it takes to top up the kindle battery ready to read on for another week. Forget about 10 hours. The kindle display is not a touch screen, so I can put my fingers and thumb on the screen without making the device go berserk opening up new apps.

    NEV

  36. Patrick Brosnan

    @Carny
    “just find it interesting how baseless a lot of arguments against it really are.”

    Yes well, perhaps you need to broaden you horizons a bit. One could easily point to the lengths that you go to to try and justify the lack of basic features the iPad exhibits and the mindless defence of Apples patent gouging of the techo ignorant. I mean your spiel about not buying the most “important accessory” for the iPad is nonsensical when you realise my point about these being standard kit for a netbook. And I thought the whole idea was to reduce clutter?

    As you say the back and forth is pointless, Apple will continue to have a cheer squad. The real innovators will struggle and we’ll all be the poorer for it. And BTW these aren’t “arguments against it” they are points of criticism based on comparisons to existing devices and the value for money. It would be a breath of fresh air if the Apple boosters took the same approach.

  37. Patrick Brosnan

    @StillHerigan
    “If HP or Lenovo or Asus release a machine and it doesn’t match a specific person’s need, no-one has a go at them for “forgetting to include a Bliggo port””
    The thing is they never do. Reductio ad absurdum. As for “emotiaonal engagement”, well now I know how AGW deniers feel (I’m most definitely not one).
    @CID
    “speakers into an AirPort out on the balcony”
    Why choose an Airport? They’re more expensive and limited. I’ll field that one Steve, well you have to as you have a Macintosh. I use Mediagate, Ziova, Pinnacle for playing all types of media wirelessly throughout the house. I think that’s a problem for Mac users, they don’t realise Apple is not the only firm that can provide this type of connectivity, that there are devices that perform better for less. Most of them run a form of linux so there’s none of the proprietorial media problems that you have with a Mac.

  38. CID

    I choose an Airport because it’s easy. I’ve been down the UPnP route and it’s flaky, hard to setup and keep working (and believe me I’m no noob) and anything but Universal. Apple delivers on the promise – you plug it in and it works. Just for the record, I don’t only have Apple. I have Windows and Linux boxes and peripherals as well, and none are nearly as easy to run.

  39. Patrick Brosnan

    @CID
    I agree some of these UPnP based things have been useless (I have 2 MP 101s that sit unused in a cupboard). But the later stuff it pretty reliable. You only need a basic knowledge of networking to set it up. I had to change the network setting in my brothers Mac, man what a hassle. But the main point is I like the idea of picking the best tool for the job. It appears you’re locked into Apple. I expect Apple is working on the iPostItNote as we type.

  40. Robert Collings

    I recognise the author may be offended by the fanboy term, but that is certainly how the post reads. Too much Apple Kool-Aid perhaps?

    The iPad is not revolutionary in any way whatsoever. Those of us who perhaps expected Apple to ‘change the game’ in this regard are more than a little disappointed. This is an evolution, not a revolution.

    And if Apple is about to change the publishing industry it has *nothing* to do with the iPad! Apple could have announced the iBookstore sans iPad and the effect on the industry would be the same. It is an interesting change nonetheless.

    Can I see myself buying one? Sure (but not 1st Gen). But that’s because it fits within my Apple/Mac/iPhone workflow and most of the world is very PC. It’s one thing to fork out a couple of hundred bucks on a pocket sized music player, but it’s another thing entirely to spend quite a few hundred on a rather large media player that may have an unfamiliar UI.

    One of the advantages of the iPod/iTunes ecosystem is that it let people place their own music (i.e. CDs) on their device. That is a much more open system than users are likely to encounter when buying ebooks.

    The iPad is hugely underwhelming and I find the post-launch hype surprising.

  41. Carny

    @Patrick Brosnan: “being standard kit for a netbook”: – and if the iPad was supposed to be a netbook I would totally agree. I have been trying (poorly it seems) to suggest a crippled “not supposed to be a netbook” device that excels in only the subset of entertainment-like things most people do most of the time on their laptop/desktop is not easily tarnished by people continuing to quote things that they think it must have, but it is designed not to have.

    I agree with Robert Collings that it is an underwhelming evolution, rather than a revolution. I think it’s an impressive package for the price, particularly for (but not limited to) those that have already adopted the media ecosystem of iTunes/iPhoto.

    But, as I’ve already said, I don’t want one. If it had proper OSX and some USB ports, or if the A4 is abnormally quick and it’s easy to crack open the GUI, it might be a different story. Chances are I’ll never want one, unless it adds some more tricks to its repertoire. But I can certainly see the niche it will fit in the market.

    Patrick, it will probably not surprise you how little your “locked to Apple” and “forced to” comments resonate with people who have actually used Apple products for what they are designed to do (whether they are Apple fans or not). I’m not the biggest Mac user because not a lot of my work can be done in OSX. I am not a Mac “fan” although I was given a Macbook pro (ironically, by work). When I get home from work of an evening I’ll boot to either Win7 or OSX and in both instances I’ll have the exact same (all non-Apple) programs available to me for surfing the net, editing photos/movies, watching movies, skyping, IM, torrenting, spotify-ing, etc etc everything that I do that is not work. I often find myself boothing to OSX to do something I can’t do in Win7, but rarely the other way around. Other people have different needs, and luckily, there are different options! I use iTunes for my music in both OSes (even before I had an iPod) and iPhoto for my photos (previously were sitting in nested folders), and often stream both (+movies) to non-Apple devices that I would consider to be the best on the market that I can afford or can justify the money for. Contrary to your implications, none of my media in OSX is hidden or restricted from being accessed/copied/moved, and if I wanted to adopt a different method for using my media, I’ll just move it all over to the alternate, no problems.

    I can see where the “locked to Apple” and “forced to” comments come from (people who don’t need/use the products), but I really can’t see that they are justified. Even before I owned any Apple products I couldn’t see how they are justified. Say it’s the kool-aid if you want to feel warm and fuzzy, but maybe it’s more constructive to realise some people have different needs to you, and for some of those people, some Apple device may fill that need. Just like any other manufacturer or any other device.

    So you say Apple aren’t innovators. That’s a fair enough opinion to have. I can’t really see it, but then again it’s not something I’ve really considered or cared about before. How do you think they stifle the “real innovators”. Sounds like a pretty shit thing to do if you ask me, stopping real innovations from surfacing. Or do you mean that because Apple are popular the “real” innovations don’t find room in the market? Isn’t that just the market? If you can’t convince someone to buy from you, they won’t, regardless of how innovative you are. Maybe it’s less of a poblem with Apple and more with the “real innovators”? And where does Microsoft fit into all this? I like some of their products too, but maybe I’ll have to rethink if they also stifle the “real innovators”. Maybe Apple and Microsoft should leave a gap in the market for the “real innovators” to fill with their innova(pour)tions?

    I apologise for “arguments againt it” if it offended you. I meant it to mean “..points of criticism based on comparisons..”, but I can it was perhaps poorly worded.

    As for “broaden you horizons”, “the lengths that you go”, “mindless defence”, “techo ignorant”, “your spiel”, “cheer squad”, “Apple booster”… I guess that’s where I’ll leave it then, lest this back-and-forth be reduced from a good enjoyable discussion of opinion to ad hominem.

  42. Justin

    @Carny: Some good points, and I think we’re finding at least some common ground. I don’t want to labour my point, but I think firstly we’re arguing about the semantics of the word ‘control’. I don’t see much of a difference between having to go through an apple employee or an apple product. There may be a question of degree, but both are troubling to me. And these technical limitations, as you call them, I believe aren’t so technical, but deliberate business decisions. Were the microsoft antitrust cases so long ago? All they did was bundle a browser or a media player with their operating system. That just seems quaint now. How is this not much much worse? Where are the lawsuits?

    “…how does this differ from Kindle or any other eReader out there…”

    It doesn’t much, I’m not at all keen on Kindles either, especially with their so called take backsides feature, scarily similar to the iPhone’s and, presumably, since they’re running the same OS and from the same store, the iPad’s killswitch. The biggest difference is that the Kindle is a very specialist device, whereas the iPad is positioning itself as a general purpose computer. Either way, these are really bad developments for the future of computing.

    “I really don’t think you have a leg to stand on if you are trying to suggest Apple will force all Applications for OSX to be vetted by them in the future, or that they will restrict browsers etc in the same way they do for the iPhone or iPad. … I don’t think Apple can go much more “general computing” than the iPad (which isn’t very “general computing”) and be as restrictive as they are with Apps.”

    Unfortunately this is almost exactly what I’m suggesting, and this is my main point. Perhaps not with OSX, but expanding this iPhoneOS to their computer line. They’ve proven this model is hugely lucrative for them in a phone, they’re now attempting it with a more powerful device, why would they stop there? They’ve proven it’s not an impossible task to vet x thousand apps for a phone, many gnu/linux distributions have repositories organised by small groups or companies, so in principal there’s no organisational reason they can’t do it. Why do you think it’s so unreasonable?

    “I can’t see the average punter being any less computer savvy then they are now… Are you really worried that the success of the iPad might lead to apathy for computing freedom?”

    They don’t need to be less computer savvy than they are now – this trend is already happening. And most people don’t care. Ask anyone about computing Freedom, and I bet they wouldn’t know or care what you were on about. This really depresses me.

    “I definitely wouldnt want to live in a world where every device had to do everything that everyone wanted. Specialisation is not such a bad thing, afterall.”

    Perhaps, but there should at least be the option to modify the devices that you own, or use them however you want within reasonable laws. This is about more than specialist devices. You wouldn’t buy a car with the bonnet welded shut after having signed an agreement that it’s illegal to drive it except on commodore approved roads. Would you? What’s the difference here?

  43. Justin

    Um, obviously I didn’t mean “take backsides feature”. Something of the appropriately named cupertino effect there.

    It should have been “take backsies”.

  44. Patrick Brosnan

    “As for “broaden you horizons”, “the lengths that you go”, “mindless defence”, “techo ignorant”, “your spiel”, “cheer squad”, “Apple booster”… I guess that’s where I’ll leave it then, lest this back-and-forth be reduced from a good enjoyable discussion of opinion to ad hominem.”

    F**k me that’s a long slag off! Anyway I don’t really want to get into such a long discourse. It’s simple really. No USB means no standard connectivity. No camera means no Skype. No battery means … no back up and … throw it away. If you can tolerate this kind of mis-treatment then you should join the cast of Oz.

  45. Carny

    @Justin: “expanding this iPhoneOS to their computer line”, “this model is hugely lucrative in a phone”, “why would they stop there?”, “in principal there’s no organisational reason they can’t do it. Why do you think it’s so unreasonable?”

    – I think it’s definitely achievable, and may even be reasonable, but I don’t think it would be very successful, at all. And I certainly think that people would expect more flexibility out of a full-blown computer than iPhoneOS, so much so that I wouldn’t think many people at all would buy such a crippled machine. It is one thing converting someone from a PC to OSX, but I would imagine this would be almost impossible if the alternate to a PC was as inflexible as the iPhoneOS.

    As I alluded to, I think the iPad is about as “general computing” as a device could go with having such a restrictive OS. But I think this OS is useful enough to achieve all the things Apple wants out of the iPad, with the bonus of being very simple and familiar, for a device that is championed on being simple and familiar.

    “I bet they wouldn’t know or care what you were on about. This really depresses me.” – Me too, 100% behind you. I really hope it doesn’t come to that, but thankfully I think consumers are too demanding for that to become a reality. I am glad there is significant discussion about this though, because I do think it is an important issue.

    “You wouldn’t buy a car with the bonnet welded shut after having signed an agreement that it’s illegal to drive it except on commodore approved roads. Would you? What’s the difference here?” – I wouldn’t, no. But my mum or my friends that aren’t interested in what’s under the bonnet might, if this car provided some benefit that offset that cost. For instance, if the car ran on water alone, or could “fold” down to the size of a wheelie bin for storage. I could see lots of people buying welded-shut, road restricted cars that provided some other large benefit they were after. I can’t see anyone buying them if they only provide the same experience as a car that could go anywhere or have it’s bonnet opened. I don’t think that is too ridiculous an answer given the question?

  46. Carny

    @Patrick Brosnan: “If you can tolerate this kind of mis-treatment then you should join the cast of Oz.” – Or perhaps I just won’t buy the iPad, like I have said numerous times?

    I imagine the consumer that would buy the iPad will not be using USB except for the odd occasion when they whip out their USB accessory, and feels it is just as good being able to charge from USB (if they could ever find a USB port and one of those rare iPod/iPhone/iPad dock to USB cables) than it is to lug around a spare battery in their bag… Still not sure why you find it so hard to believe that such people might exist (and some very technical I’m sure, maybe even some of those people in the programming industry whose opinion you value so much).

  47. Carny

    I think no camera is a doozie, though. I’d say a significant people will opt out based on that alone. My mum just did.

  48. Justin

    @Carny
    “I wouldn’t think many people at all would buy such a crippled machine.”
    “I think consumers are too demanding for that to become a reality.”

    I have to completely disagree with you there. I think it would be hugely successful. I keep going on about this, but the iPhone was the thin end of the wedge, the iPad is today’s test case, and the general apple computer line is (in my opinion) up next. This “simple and familiar” experience disguises what’s really going on. As you seem to say with the car analogy, people would buy anything if the imagined benefit outweighed the cost. And one of the biggest costs is the lack of Freedom, which, as we agree, most people aren’t even aware of, and wouldn’t care much if they were.

    Anyway, we may have a test case even sooner than the next apple announcement. Google are working on their ChromeOS for netbooks, which consists of a whole OS that’s basically just a browser. That’s at least built on open source software. But can the iPhoneOS on macbooks be far behind?

  49. Carny

    @Justin: If you are right and Apple do pitch MacBooks with only iPhoneOS and similar restrictions as those in place with that OS today, it will surely not be regarded as a competitor to a PC anymore, and I would hesitate to call it a general computer. The biggest downside here would be less competition for MS and Linux in the general computing arena.

    But if this hypothetical new crippled Mac gives some (or even most) people the ability to do everything they want to do, but with an advantage in some metric (easier/faster/less effort/cheaper/more interesting/cooler), and even if by some unlikely massive change in circumstance that crippled Mac becomes “the norm”, I can’t see whats wrong with that. I really don’t see it happening, but I don’t see what would be so wrong with it. So what, if the majority don’t want the flexibility and ability to tinker that we enjoy now, and are willing to sacrifice a file system or desktop or the ability to write their own non-App-store-compliant App, in order to get a benefit in another area? For those that want to tinker, or want more “computer freedom” than whatever is this unlikely hypothetical “norm”, there will always be a different device that doesnt have the kudos or whatever benefit “the norm” has.

    I am not convinced that people need to be as steadfast in bartering with their “computing freedoms” as I think they should be in bartering with their basic freedoms. I can’t see what’s wrong with some people trading freedom of operating system for whatever benefit (real or imagined) they think is “worth it”. Of course if they make this trade without considering if it is “worth it”, that is their gaffe, but not one that I think the average computing punter will make, or one that the general punter needs to be protected from. I can’t say the same about basic freedoms, though, which I think should be protected much more staunchly. But I guess this is where we differ in opinion, which is fine with me. 🙂

  50. Carny

    (I didn’t mean to imply that you don’t think basic freedoms should be protected staunchly – on the contrary I was suggesting you were elevating “computing freedoms” into that staunchly protected group. I hope I haven’t misinterpreted)

  51. JimmyF

    The number of articles I’ve read on the iPad that claim it lacks GPS or only has cellular GPS is quite ridiculous. Is it so hard to check the Apple website:

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

    Of course Apple didn’t bother with GPS in the WiFi-only version (it would be slightly useful but you’re hardly going to use WiFi while driving), but the 3G version clearly has Assisted GPS, which is “real” GPS, just like the iPhone 3G/S.

  52. The Nihilist

    Blah. Why must there be a debate. If you don’t like the iPad don’t get one. For those that do like it and want to buy one, do it. Don’t let the fun police bring you down. You don’t have to justify anything to them. You wish to buy one for your own reasons.

    Me. I want one as a glorified e-reader. It’s also nifty that I can use it for other media applications. The iPhone can only do so much I am afraid. And when it comes to reading PDFs which is what I do most of the time it’s a nightmare.

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