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Apple iPad

2010-01-28 16:09:05.295343+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

In yesterday's State of the Union address, President Jobs didn't say anything about healthcare, but he did unveil a bold new initiative: the Apple iPad. It's basically an iPhone with a thyroid problem, 9.7" diagonal 1024x768 screen, no camera, on-screen keyboard or a physical one provided by a docking station. There have been complaints about the name, on another forum Topspin suggested

C'mon, Dan. Write a cool flight sim for the thing. "Give your iPad wings!

I've tried to be cynical and nerdly about the whole thing, but the reality is that I want one, or a least the promise of what it suggests is possible, for these reasons:

  • It's a more social laptop. It's the sort of thing you could pull out of a purse at a gathering and show picures on. It's also the "What other films was Joey Lauren Adams in?" device, you can do the IMDB/Wikipedia thing while still being engaged with people, because flat on the table other people can read it too.
  • It's an ebook reader without being a dedicated ebook reader. Yeah, the screen isn't nearly as nice as a Kindle, but I'm not sure that matters for much of what I read online.
  • People joke about "best universal remote ever", but it could be an interface to a host of devices. Some of which I can only hint at here.

Reasons it sucks:

  • Just buy a netbook. Cheaper, faster, does more stuff. Runs Flash.
  • No camera. Maybe. I haven't played with the iPhone 3GS, but the camera in the 3G barely qualifies and could easily be replaced by a Bluetooth camera
  • No SD card slot. You get this through an external adapter. But it also means that Apple's charging one hell of a premium for non-volatile storage.
  • Fragile. Yeah, it's an Apple product. You will need AppleCare. I can't tell if it's the glass screen of the iPhone, but at that scale it'd be a double-whammy.
  • iTunes. That's a biggie for me.
  • No USB host. Well, kinda, there's what looks like a limited USB host capability in that SD card reader, but this makes that "best universal remote ever" thing a little harder.

So along those lines: Anyone know of a device that'd plug in to the USB side of an FTDI USB chip and give you a Bluetooth interface? There are a lot of devices out there that use the FTDI to TTL serial USB chip for their USB interface, something that did that would open up a whole bunch of possibilities...

[ related topics: Apple Computer Wireless Photography Invention and Design Macintosh iPhone ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-29 10:17:39.443856+00 by: DaveP

I've been trying to figure why I'm just not that excited about the iPad, and come up with a few things.

1 - It's big and won't fit in my pocketses. I thought briefly I wanted an iPad nano, and then realized I already have one that works as a phone, too.

2 - Yeah, it'd be handy for showing photos, etc. Sharing. Being sociable. That might be a bigger selling point if a guy were more social.

3 - I don't see the ways of getting data into it today. If it had SD/CF card-readers built in, and ran Lightroom so I could use it instead of a laptop for the "snarf the photos from the camera and do a quick first pass on them" thing I do when I'm out shooting a lot...

So I'm pretty sure I'm waiting for version 2. But I might start poking at the SDK to see if any other ideas pop up.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-29 06:16:39.711323+00 by: igor'

THe coolest thing about it is a 2 or 4 core ARM CPU that is an in-house (well an acquisition). I would be curious to see how quickly it gets hacked and re-purposed.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 20:09:36.413882+00 by: Dan Lyke

TC, I'm totally waiting for the WiMax version. Hopefully they'll use that as the prefix.

Petronius, if you view this as an iPhone that can do more rather than a MacBook that does less, I think that's the right framing.

Eric: Thanks!

I'm actually going to head out to buy a Mac in a bit so that I can do iPhone and iPad development: The iPad led to a "we aren't sure enough yet to commit to buying one for you, but we'd appreciate it if you got a head start on learning the platform" discussion this morning. For personal use I'd be much better off with a Netbook, but for all those people who have a Windows XP machine that their kids set up for them so they could see email and pictures of the grandkids, this is going to be a very important platform.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 19:55:59.160596+00 by: petronius

Anybody remember the PC Junior from IBM? It was the home version of the Beige Monster, the IBM PC. It had extra joystick ports and slightly beefed up graphics. However, the thing seemed to have been deliberately crippled so you couldn't run IBM's business apps on the cheaper machine, where IBM saw the real market. It was also notorious for its rubber "chicklet" keyboard, like you found on cheap calculators of the era. It made serious typing a trial. It failed in the market, while in the meantime that Seattle geek IBM hired to do the operating system was waiting in the wings for Big Blue's first misstep....

Is it possible that Apple has left out things like the camera or USB host to keep from cannibalizing its other product lines? The self-contained Apple universe seems open to such tricks, but eventually somebody finds a way to break out. I remember the company I worked with wouldn't buy a small computer until IBM came out with one and gave the market credibility. The big step for the IPAD will be its second version, or its first serious rival.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 18:04:33.805365+00 by: ebradway

It's really hard to believe that the MadTV clip is almost 2.5 years old:


#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 17:50:54.5814+00 by: TC

Just in case I had not brought this conversational thread down enough. More iPad wackyness...

http://www.fastcompany.com/blo...designerati/apple-ipad-name-not- winning-women

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 17:50:34.848911+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

Job's SotA address worlde vs. Obama's SotU address worlde:

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 17:42:33.69525+00 by: ebradway

I follow Levar Burton on Twitter (one of the few celebs I bother with - he's actually very geeky). His comment yesterday:

I wonder if the ipad is as fun to use as Geordi's Engineering PADD was?

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 17:35:04.776178+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think by the time it finally ships someone will have apps written for an external Bluetooth camera sufficient for video chat and basic AR.

Rafe muses on the closed nature of the device:

I think that it’s a real possibility that in 10 years, general purpose computers will be seen as being strictly for developers and hobbyists. The descendants of the iPhone and iPad and their competitors will rule the consumer market and people will embrace the closed nature of these platforms for the same reason that Steve Levy hyped Palladium almost 10 years ago — because what you get for trading off freedom is reduced risk. There will be few (if any) viruses, and applications will “just work.”

And Lyn looks at the feature set:

... But I don't care about games, so none of the gaming stuff matters to me. And I'm not really in the market for an e-book reader. So the current combination of features doesn't hit any of my sweet spots. Where's the wireless sync over the air so I don't have to dock the thing periodically? Where's the camera for that matter, so that I can let TheLittleGuy Skype with his grandparents without being tempted to bash my laptop keyboard?

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 17:34:58.922983+00 by: TC

Yeah I really want one too. Sharing information on my iPhone has always been tricky and I think the iPad format will fix that. I think I have always wanted one of these since I saw them on Star Trek the Next Generation. I might wait a year for iPad 2.0 as Apple has been very good developing/adding features that I want. I hoping for memory card and induction charging to be added iphones(and now ipads) next. iTunes is the reason I will probably leave the iPhone/iPad family and go to Android or whatever cooler open platform some day but that is probably a few years away. Some good ol puerile fun.


btw: Joey Lauren Adams? did she do anything besides Chasing Amy? (loved that movie)

#Comment Re: made: 2010-01-28 17:30:09.153413+00 by: ebradway

Unfortunately the lack of a camera makes the iPad less useful for augmented reality applications. This would have made a great AR platform.