iPad: it doesn’t have hooves because it isn’t a horse

I wasn’t entirely convinced by the iPad until Steve Jobs announced the price: at $499, it’s a pretty amazing bit of kit. That’s netbook money, and that means it could be a pretty big deal. I’m quite excited about it, because I can think of three people who’d like it a lot: me, Mrs Bigmouth and my mum.

Me and Mrs Bigmouth first. I’ve already got a computer for work, so I’m not greatly bothered by the iPad form factor. What I do need, though, is a replacement for the old Windows laptop I keep downstairs. It’s used for web browsing, Twitter, the odd bit of Facebook, the odd bit of video and the odd bit of typing. The iPad with a dock can do all of that, and it can also do iPlayer (or at least, I can’t think of any reason why it can’t – iPlayer works on iPhone using streaming H.264 video).

Don’t underestimate the power of iPlayer, by the way. It brings Shaun The Sheep to angry toddlers.

I also have a £702/year newspaper habit. Imagine if I could come downstairs in the morning, grab the iPad, and use it as a newspaper. It’s big enough so there’s still the serendipity of seeing articles you might otherwise miss, and it’s digital enough that I can get my news for free (or nearly free, depending on what the Guardian, Sunday Times etc do about online content). When I’m done it becomes a photo frame until Mrs Bigmouth fancies a bit of Facebooking, emailing or newspaper reading.

So: it replaces the laptop, it saves me money. It’s an easy sell. It doesn’t have e-ink, but I wouldn’t be using it long enough for that to be an issue.

Then there’s my mum. She doesn’t really need a computer, but she has one. She uses it for email, for viewing Flickr, and for booking flights. If the iPad can print wirelessly – and I hope it can, because it renders iWork pretty useless if you have to sync with a desktop just to print a letter – then again, replacing her laptop with an iPad is an easy sell.

I’ve written a few other things over at Techradar. First, why I think the iPad is more revolutionary than it appears, and why some of the criticisms so far don’t make sense:

No, it doesn’t have a camera. Why on earth would you want to take photos with something the size of a large paperback book? It doesn’t make phone calls because it’s not a phone. It doesn’t have hooves because it’s not a horse.

Then, whether the iPad is a Kindle killer and a netbook nuker.

The problem is that netbooks are essentially cheap laptops, which is both their strength and their weakness: the price is right but they’re slow, they’ve got small screens and they’re still PCs – with all the complexity, malware and hassle that entails. The iPad, on the other hand, has a much bigger screen, is much simpler, is a proper media device, gets ten hours out of a battery and doubles as an eBook. We wouldn’t want to type on it all day, but then we wouldn’t want to type on the average netbook all day either. We’ve got proper computers for that.

67 thoughts on “iPad: it doesn’t have hooves because it isn’t a horse”

  1. What’s happened to me? I’m sure I used to be an Apple fanboy, but, even after being utterly uninterested in all the build-up hype to this thing and so being in no danger of suffering from an anticlimax, I still find this dull. At the American price, nice toy, but nothing more. At the British price (assuming Apple convert to Sterling using their usual piss-taking 1:1 exchange rate), overpriced and underfeatured toy.

    And I totally don’t get touchscreen for things that are supposed to be good viewing devices. Why would anyone want to watch anything on a screen that is absolutely guaranteed to be covered in finger-smears?

    To be honest, I still really like OS9.

    The best thing about this is that it will be widely copied. As one of the commenters on Techradar says, the copies will be cheaper and more adaptable and will have revolutionary features like standard ports.

    1. To be specific, it’s the lack of multi-tasking. As you know, I’m a Nokia fan, but not uncritically: I’ve refused to go anywhere near their Series-40 devices for many years, because they are utter shit. And the reason they’re utter shit is that they can only do one thing at once. Series 60 multitasks and hence is great.

      So, on a mere phone, I detest an inability to do two things at once to the extent of finding it unusable. On a computer? People will buy any old crippled shit off Apple these days, won’t they?

      I bet Apple announce multitasking in a couple of years, with much fanfare as if it’s an incredible new thing that they actually invented, and thus persuade people to chuck out their Ipads and get new ones, probably while demanding that the shops who sold them the first ones give them new ones for free for some reason.

      1. It’s funny, the lack of multitasking is a plus to me. I don’t want whatever I’m doing to be interrupted by a text message, or a tweet, or a notification from Facebook, or anything else. I don’t want to have multiple things going on at once when I’m trying to read the paper. I have a whole bunch of computers for that.

        That’s one of the reasons reading on a PC hasn’t really taken off, IMO. You’re at a thrilling bit of the book and Windows Update wants to install something.

        I think whether this appeals or not depends a lot on what you want it to do. If you want a device for working, then of course the lack of multitasking, USB ports, etc etc is going to be an issue. But if you want it for relaxing, those things are irrelevant – it’s like saying a paperback book isn’t any cop because you can’t tweet from it.

        I’ve given the usage scenarios for me in the blog post, but there’s one that’s no use for the iPad unless you want mugged: typing in the pub. It will apparently support any bluetooth keyboard, but you *will* look like a dick.

        1. On a related but wider point: really, there is too much noise in computing. It really pisses me off when someone – or more likely, some firm – hits me with an SMS when I’m reading news feeds on the phone, or when a program interrupts my train of thought for something I don’t care about and don’t need to know about. That’s one reason Macs running software such as Writeroom, Scrivener etc tend to appeal to creative people more than, say, Windows running MS Word.

          1. > I don’t want whatever I’m doing to be interrupted by a text message, or a tweet, or a notification from Facebook, or anything else.

            I absolutely agree, which is why I switch stuff off. (As an aside, did you see on TV how Terry Pratchett works? Six screens, with everything on all the time. How the hell he’s managed to write any books at all, let alone two a year, is beyond me.) But that’s a limited view of multi-tasking. What about flicking between an article on the Web and a PDF? Or having it play music while you read something? And what about plain old stopping doing task A so you can go spend some time on task B but then going to back to task A exactly where you left off?

  2. I’m afraid I have to agree with Gary on this – the iPad is phenomenal, truly revolutionary. Get used to it.

    What amazes me most is all the negative comments about iPad. These bitter techie cynics are missing the point of this device by such a wide margin it’s astonishing; I don’t know what on earth these people were expecting. This is not a computer and it’s not about specs, which is precisely why iPad is such a market defining product.

    iPad is a media consumption device for the masses, which for most normal people wipes out the need for a computer, taking usability and convenience to a whole new level. These factors alone make a massive difference. It’s been a long time coming.

    This is also the first product which really could monetise digital content in a way that pleases both publishers and consumers alike. App store has already proved a big point here; it works, it’s big now and it’s going to get really, really, big.

    Most non-tech people don’t like computers and don’t particularly enjoy using them. Now they have a product which does most of what people want without the shittery that comes with using a computer, PC, laptop, operating system, etc..

    I was sceptical at first, but the more I think about it, the more I can see how revolutionary this is. Pricing is keen too – the cheaper Android-based iPad clones will need to be very good indeed to justify what will probably be modest price difference.

    I think iPad could be huge, and a lot of people will be eating their words…

    1. I think a lot of people expected a tablet OS X machine, rather than a big iPhone. But a tablet OS X machine wouldn’t have been $499.

      A lot of the criticism so far has been very similar to the iPhone criticism. iPhone 1 didn’t do 3G. Its camera was shite. The only apps were web apps. It didn’t have copy and paste. And the critics were right. Apple didn’t sell any, and promptly went bust.

      I’m being a tad sarky, obviously, but the point is: the critics didn’t buy the iPhone – but *millions of other people did*. The software, the user experience, was good enough that the lack of copy and paste, of 3g, of a decent camera weren’t deal breakers.

      It’s entirely possible that Apple’s got it wrong, that the iPad won’t sell. But if that happens, it won’t be because it doesn’t multitask, or because it doesn’t have an SD card slot, or because it has the wrong kind of SIM, or because it doesn’t do Flash. It’ll be because Apple can’t convince punters – non-techie punters – that they need it.

      1. To fully establish itself, iPad will also need to get noticed out in the field, as some other ‘pad blogger mentioned recently. Beyond the initial stampede it could be a slow burner, but definitely not a fail. We’ll also see these things popping up all over the place – there are loads of vertical applications for it.

        I was about to carp on about the lack of camera connectivity – I will always need my MBP for photographic activities anyway – but people should be able to hook up their digicams without having to use another computer… but they can:

        Has anyone noticed the ‘iPad Camera Connection Kit’? There’s a USB socket and SD card reader for getting photos directly into the iPad. Of course it’s a bit of a cheek that you have to buy the kit if you want this functionality (two adaptors that plug into the dock port), these should be built in and maybe will be in the future.

        To quote Apple:
        “The Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera. The Camera Connector lets you import your photos and videos to iPad using the camera’s USB cable. Or you can use the SD Card Reader to import photos and videos directly from the camera’s SD card.”

  3. S2, I can’t reply inline. Don’t know why.

    > what about plain old stopping doing task A so you can go spend some time on task B but then going to back to task A exactly where you left off?

    That’s not multitasking, that’s just saving the window/app state. Tweetie 2 (iPhone app) does that just fine without multitasking.

    > Or having it play music while you read something?

    If the iPad doesn’t do that, I’ll eat one. I bet you the iPod app multitasks (as Mail and Safari do) even if third-party apps don’t.

    1. You’re right. According to El Reg:

      the iPad’s operating system remains a single-tasker – that is, when running third-party apps, since Apple reserves the benefits of multitasking for its own apps, such as iTunes.

      On the one hand, this is not so bad, then: it can multitask. On the other, it’s taking the piss somewhat: it can multitask, but won’t if you’re using the “wrong” app. MS quite rightly got roundly piss-taken for suggesting that with Windows Netbook, didn’t they?

      1. Multitasking in a desktop computer sense – where a tiny minority of people might want files to upload, 3D to render, video to transcode, etc. – is not relevant in a mass market consumer device like iPad. Nerds use computers to do stuff like that.

        What it needs to do ‘in the background’, however, is play music, fetch email, update content, and probably not a lot else. I too hope it can at least manage this.

        With a fast responsive interface and the ability to drop/resume tasks with state in tact, is pretty much all most people would want it to do.

        There might be a few shortcoming in this dept, but it’s pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.

        1. > where a tiny minority of people might want files to upload, 3D to render, video to transcode, etc. – is not relevant in a mass market consumer device like iPad. Nerds use computers to do stuff like that.

          Well, if you pick examples of nerdy things, you will obviously come up with a list of things that nerds do.

          Gary mentioned Scrivener earlier. With a Bluetooth keyboard, the Ipad could be pretty excellent for that. But Scrivener is not made by Apple, so, assuming L&L made a version of it for the Ipad, you wouldn’t be able to write in it while listening to music on Itunes. Writing while listening! Only nerds do that!

          It is obviously very easy to come up with examples of multitasking. It is also easy to come up with examples of multitasking for people who don’t know the background histories of all the characters in Deep Space 9. Er, whatever that is.) In fact, I see you have:

          > What it needs to do ‘in the background’, however, is play music, fetch email, update content, and probably not a lot else.

          And what if you don’t like Apple Mail and choose some other email app? (I’m assuming some are or will become available in the App Store; I’d be very surprised if Postbox didn’t release a port for the Ipad.) It won’t be able to run in the background because it will flick Apple’s third-party switch. Nothing to do with resources or anything like that: it could run, but Apple won’t let it for no particular reason.

          > With a fast responsive interface and the ability to drop/resume tasks with state in tact

          Does it have that ability built-in? Gary mentioned Tweetie 2. That that app exists shows that the Iphone can’t do it inately.

          1. > you wouldn’t be able to write in it while listening to music on Itunes. Writing while listening! Only nerds do that!

            Ah, no, that’s not how it works. The iPod app multitasks in the background, as does mail and safari. It’s only third party apps that don’t run in the background.

            > it could run, but Apple won’t let it for no particular reason.

            I agree entirely and have said so repeatedly in print (well, web articles). The quoted reason is battery life and stability; I’d say it’s our gadget and it’s up to us if we want to run the battery down or risk the odd lock-up. That’s the thing with Apple, though. The control freakery means they occasionally do things that drive you nuts. My personal hate is the Marker Felt font in Notes.

  4. Hey, Gary. I think WordPress is set to allow only a certain number of inline comments before we’re forced to continue at the bottom.

    > Ah, no, that’s not how it works. The iPod app multitasks in the background, as does mail and safari. It’s only third party apps that don’t run in the background.

    Fair enough It’s still fairly easy to come up with other examples, though. Especially if you want to use a third-party browser or mail app or music player. I don’t think using Firefox instead of Safari is something only hardcore geeks do.

    > That’s the thing with Apple, though. The control freakery means they occasionally do things that drive you nuts.

    To be fair, it’s currently the thing with most tech manufacturing, DVD region codes being probably the most egregious example. And remember the “difference” between data CDs and the far more expensive audio CDs in the late 90s? They were exactly the same apart from the 1 or 0 at the start which told the player “This is a data CD. Don’t record audio on it.” Bastards.

    I just wish that a company who are so dedicated to making the user experience good would realise that this “How dare you use your stuff the way you want?” attitude is a large part of what’s wrong with modern tech.

    And I still reckon they’ll introduce multitasking in a couple of years and advertise it like it’s impressively innovative. I still can’t get over their actually advertising copy-and-paste on TV.

    1. >>It also doesn’t have USB and that for me is a put-off.

      (fx: palm of hand slaps forehead)

      You’re joking, right?

      1. Why would that be a joke? Of course that’s going to put some people off. (In fact, the irony is that it was Apple who popularised USB in the first place — the fact that the first Imacs had USB made it possible to ditch floppy drives.)

        I think your trouble, Guru, is that you can’t distinguish between a person giving their reason for not wanting to buy an Ipad and the entrenched old-world reactionary industry explaining why no-one should buy one.

        1. Just to give a for-instance, there are many mroe USB keyboards than Bluetooth ones. I know plenty of non-geeks who don’t care about OSes and such but do care about what keyboard they use — in some cases, this is because they’re old and they used to use typewriters — I remember my dad had an early Olivetti word-processor in the 80s and swore by it precisely because of the keyboard action, unsurprisingly good coming from an ex-typewriter-manufacturer. If your favourite keyboard is available in USB but not Bluetooth and you write lots of long emails and don’t want RSI, then the Ipad is not for you. Pointing this out is not the same as saying it’s a piece of shit that no-one will buy.

        2. >>>>You’re joking, right?
          >>Why would that be a joke? Of course that’s going to put some people off.

          Honestly, I can scarcely believe that such a relatively trivial issue would count as a deal breaker. If you were comparing specs of similarly priced laptops and couldn’t decide between them, maybe this would sway your decision. But to write off something like iPad for that reason is just bizarre.

          Sure it might benefit from a std. USB port, not to mention a few other things, but it’s not a big deal with BT and WiFi on board. Anyway, aren’t iPod usb leads suppied with all iPhones/iTouch/iPads?

          1. > But to write off something like iPad for that reason is just bizarre.

            Again, you seem to have a problem distinguishing between “I don’t want one” and “It’s shit and based on stupid ideas and will never catch on”. Brennig didn’t write anything off. He just said it’s not for him. You appear to be unwilling to allow anyone to make that decision.

          2. So why are they promoting iphoto? Not only can I not connect my camera either in mass storage or MTP/PTP mode but I also cannot connect my card reader. Do we transfer pictures using magical pixies?

            64Gb isn’t all that much storage these days. My photo library is 150Gb and my itunes library is 30Gb. The obvious answer is to use a USB drive. Oh wait… Or NAS. But it’s using the iphone OS – which doesn’t support SMB either.

            As someone pointed out earlier – the iphone’s interface was excellent but the phone itself was lacking in standard features from any smartphone such as copy/paste and MMS. Then Apple announce their addition over a year later as if it was a bonus. No – it was a cock-up. The ipad is interesting but, in the end, is lacking in basic functionality such as even a mini-USB port and I fully expect the OS to be lacking basic functions that users expect. iPad 2.0 will be better and anyone in their right mind will wait for it.

            Gary isn’t in his right mind and will buy an ipad 1.0 though. :-)

          3. > Again, you seem to have a problem distinguishing between “I don’t want one” and “It’s shit and based on stupid ideas and will never catch on”. Brennig didn’t write anything off. He just said it’s not for him. You appear to be unwilling to allow anyone to make that decision.

            Err, I do understand the difference between a personal opinion and a weak argument and no, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest whether someone wants an iPad or not. It’s got nothing to do with me, it’s a personal decision.

            Read it again – Bennig stated that *lack of a USB port* was a put-off, which is just a personal opinion. Not wanting an iPad (even without having used one) is fair enough, but not wanting one because it hasn’t got a USB port is a relatively weak reason *in my view*, but if that’s a showstopper for someone, then fair enough!

            The iPad is not right for everyone, but the point we are trying to make here is that for *most people*, some of these spec shortfalls are pretty much irrelevant. The decision on whether or not to buy one is more likely to be financial, emotive, understanding what it can do, etc, not the lack of USB port, camera or multitasking.

  5. Steven F:

    The iPad as a particular device is not necessarily the future of computing. But as an ideology, I think it just might be.

    Yeah, I’d agree with that. I’ve long argued against pro-PC-anti-Mac people (including the ones who were apoplectic about the lack of a built-in floppy drive on the Imac) exactly what Steven’s saying: that making a machine easier for experts to tinker with at the expense of the users’ experience is a stupid approach. You’d never make a car that only mechanics could drive.

    I just don’t want an Ipad, that’s all. And I don’t want a high-quality viewing screen to be a touchscreen, for the same reason I don’t dip my hands in butter and wipe them on my TV. I still really like the idea of two screens, one for viewing, one for touching.

    Look at the touchscreens Hans Zimmer has had set up (very end of the first video on that page). That’s what I want.

    1. I do wonder why Apple have pulled back from the “this is the greatest thing ever” hype – compared to the iPhone (original) launch they’re being quite restrained with this.

      > You’d never make a car that only mechanics could drive.

      Indeed. It’s not as dramatic today – tech is slowly but surely getting more user friendly – but I’ve spent an awful lot of my career writing tutorials to show intelligent people how to do things that should be easy. The problem isn’t them, it’s the way things are made.

      A good example is the newish Ribbon interface in Microsoft Word. It’s there because people were asking Microsoft to add features that have been in Word since the beginning of time. It’s so complex/powerful (delete according to your point of view) that nobody really knew what it could do. That’s computing in a nutshell. Too often it’s based on iteration, on adding things to what already exists.

      > I just don’t want an Ipad, that’s all.

      The more I think about it the more I want one :) It’s amazing how angry people get (elsewhere) about this, though. I’m pretty sure if I wrote some articles explaining why twiglets and dairylea are the best food combination ever – and they are, closely followed by roast beef Monster Munch with dairylea – there wouldn’t be people lining up to call me a bastard :-D

  6. Fraser Speirs:

    Those of us who patiently, day after day, explain to a child or colleague that the reason there’s no Print item in the File menu is because, although the Pages document is filling the screen, Finder is actually the frontmost application and it doesn’t have any windows open, understand what’s happening here.

    Yes, that is absolutely the single worst thing about OSX.

      1. Thinking about it, the same thing wasn’t anything like as much of a problem in OS9 — for some unfathomable subconscious GUI-interpretation reason — so I can see why they kept it in 10.0. I just don’t understand why they haven’t ditched it since.

  7. Here’s another pro-iPad chap, Joe Hewitt, the facebook app dev.

    http://joehewitt.com/

    “While the rumor mill was churning with all kinds of crazy possibilities for the Apple tablet, I mostly rolled my eyes, because I felt strongly that all Apple needed to do to revolutionize computing was simply to make an iPhone with a large screen. Anyone who feels underwhelmed by that doesn’t understand how much of the iPhone OS’s potential is still untapped.”

  8. >>I do wonder why Apple have pulled back from the “this is the greatest thing ever” hype

    Why do they need to? This was hyped as the greatest thing ever before it was announced and is now the most talked about thing ever. It’ll sell shedloads. Anything Apple say now won’t make a difference.

    >>The problem isn’t them, it’s the way things are made.

    Bit of both – it’s often them. For some reason otherwise intelligent people have a couple brainfart if the task involves a computer. Don’t mind – keeps me in a job.

    1. > It’ll sell shedloads. Anything Apple say now won’t make a difference.

      I know, but Apple are usually a bit more triumphalist at their keynotes. I’ll never tire of the Amazing Apple Keynote Video:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx7v815bYUw

      > Bit of both – it’s often them.

      Yeah, I’ll give you that. I do think a lot of stuff is too complex though. Remember Eddie Izzard’s “Control-P-PRINT!” routine?

      I wonder, too, how much time we spend just on protection and clearing up messes – installing and updating virus software, security patches, scanning for malware, all that kind of thing.

  9. > I wonder, too, how much time we spend just on protection and clearing up messes – installing and updating virus software, security patches, scanning for malware, all that kind of thing.

    God, yeah. I find that, as time goes by, I hate computers more and more. I know that it’s ultimately not computers I hate, it’s developers, but there don’t seem to be any computers that I can use without having to interact with obtuse anal aspergic shite written by developers.

  10. i just found out where the ipad goes in my flat, the kitchen wall (well any wall but the kitchen more so). The studio has an imac/emac/g4 setup with a macbook that floats front room/bedroom as and when needed, but the kitchen doesn’t have a safe place to use a laptop.
    Stick up a shelf so that the its sits snugly and you’re in the future near enough. Think next gen trek wall computers. Just stand and tap the wall with your finger and see how it feels.

  11. >>Err, I do understand the difference between a personal opinion and a weak argument

    Err, I think that by stating that you understand the difference between an opinion and a weak argument you’re kinda making the point that you don’t.

    Your opinion is valid, yet S2’s is a “weak argument”. That implies that it is wrong. No, it’s not a “weak” argument. It’s an opinion that differs from yours.

    As I mentioned earlier, as an example of flawed reasoning, the ipad has already been touted by apple as a device that is useful photographers but cannot connect to 99% of all digital cameras which is ridiculous. Assuming that it is compatible (which it probably isn’t, since it’s using the iphone OS) the only ways to transfer photos is using an eye-fi card or transferring it via a PC. What is the point of having a photo editing suite when you can’t easily import pictures and the devices doesn’t have a camera is daft.

    The iphone isn’t compatible with most bluetooth devices. A device using the same OS is unlikely to be any different. That means that you are stuck with apple peripherals, even if they suck.

    The ipad is going to sell a great deal of units. The same way the iphone did. And in the same way the iphone is a underfeatured mobile phone with a great UI and some cool toys, the ipad will be a substandard tablet PC with a great UI and some cool toys. Eventually apple will add the obvious missing functionality but will still charge through the nose for adaptors for ports that competing devices will have as standard. There will be a linux variant, probably by Asus or HTC which will be better in every single meaningful sense but it will never catch on because it doesn’t have the Apple “cool” factor.

    I don’t believe for a second that Apple have in any way revolutionised anything. ASUS, HTC, MS, Archos and various others have had similar devices around for ages. Where Apple’s genius lies has never been in the product itself but in the hype machine around it. The iPod is not as good as most of the other MP3 players out there. The iphone, as a phone, is below average and as a mobile computer is more limited than Windows Mobile or Android. The ipod touch and iphone have rather crap sound quality and awful battery life, despite costing more than their competitors. The iPhone 3g is a complete pile of crap in terms of build quality. (The iphone 1.0 was ace) The iMac is good value for money the week it is released and then costs way more than it should for 6 months and we’re meant to be happy when it comes down to a reasonable price again?!?

    They can make a device that nobody wants or needs and make people decide that they want and need it. Total genius.

  12. Jings I ramble on a bit after a couple of pints. In the cold light of morning I realise that I really don’t care.

    It’s weird but there is usually some piece to tech that I really want to get, even if I can’t afford it. At the moment there isn’t.

    1. >Your opinion is valid, yet S2’s is a “weak argument”. That implies that it is wrong. No, it’s not a “weak” argument. It’s an opinion that differs from yours.

      mupwangle, who cares? Don’t interpret my opinion of the ‘no USB’ argument being weak as a statement that someone is ‘wrong’. Where did that come from? Yes, my opinion differs on this point and that’s as far is it goes, it’s just part of the discussion process.

      While you (wrongly) suggest that I am trying to deny someone else an opinion, you seem to be denying me the right to have an opinion! I would suggest that if anyone here has got a problem with someone having an opinion, it might be you. But that’s only my opinion!

      Did someone spill your pint..?

  13. Guru,

    > it doesn’t bother me in the slightest whether someone wants an iPad or not.

    Well, some other guy’s been posting under your name here for last day or so, and it really pisses him off.

    1. I’ve just realised that’s an enormously long piece. If you’re in a rush, the main bit is here:

      “the release of the iPad marks a classic battle between two philosophies:

      Is it better to have a device that is loaded with bullet-pointable features?

      Or is it better to have a device that has a shorter list of specs … but which does everything right?

      That’s not a loaded question. It’s the key difference between the Android and iPhone operating systems. It’ll also define the difference between a netbook and an iPad.”

  14. On the subject of purpose-built task-orientated machines, I should say that I’m all for them. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen for years that you should never use a PC or Mac to program keyboards; hardware sequencers are better in every important way. If I could afford one, I’d get a big hard-disk multitracker for recording audio, too.

    If Apple are heading down the purpose-built task-orientated machine route, then, consdering that they’re already making the computers of choice for the music industry, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that they make something truly spectacular on that front in the next few years. A touchscreen multitracker with a good built-in multi-line audio interface would be fantastic.

    1. You know, I think it’ll be a big shame if the iPad doesn’t do well. I really do think it’s a proper “computer for the rest of us”.

      A couple of things, though:

      * Looks like it’ll be able to print, to WiFi printers at least. You can get iPhone apps that do the same thing.

      * It really needs to be able to do its own over-the-air updates. Having to sync with a PC or Mac massively reduces the utility. It could and should be a computer for people who don’t have a computer, IMO. Apple’s famously expensive Mystery Data Centre could provide cloud-based storage for files, backups etc.

      * I suspect Apple are still keeping something up their sleeve to reveal nearer launch day.

  15. It’ll do well. Every Iphone owner’ll want one.

    I just hope, once the precedent of popular inflexible task-orientated devices is established, Apple start making slightly more nichey ones. The more I think about a multitracker, the more I think it could be one of the perfect things for them to make. Imagine a machine with a load of built-in audio and MIDI and USB inputs and a big touchscreen with all the sliders and knobs on it. I think there’d be a big enough market for it to be worthwhile, especially when you consider what musicians are already paying for all the clever peripherals that turn a PC or Mac into a decent studio. They could blow Steinberg and Tascam out of the water at the same time. And imagine if you made them linkable, so rather than upgrading from a smaller machine to a bigger one, you just buy another one the same and they work as one. Then they could keep them cheap while still grabbing the top end of the market.

    I’ve been utterly uninterested in all the Apple tablet hype, but my imagination has now created a hypothetical Apple must-have product that I suspect I’m going to be waiting for forever. Tsk.

  16. Apple have always been a bit ahead of the game with music shite, so how come I’ve had to buy a midi connector from ebay?

  17. So has anyone been following the reviews and online arguments over this now it’s actually shipping?

    Also, iPhone 4.0 is being announced on the 8th.

  18. Still finding it hard to give a crap.

    You seen the HP slate that they announced the other day? Ipad with USB, SD Cards and cameras running a full OS.

      1. …of both the iPad and the slate. €599 for the big Slate works out as £527, or £483 for the 32GB model.

        The interface is crucial too, of course. Remember the touch-screen HP Win7 PCs we mucked about with in Ireland? They were a pain in the tits to use with your fingers.

  19. I’m a lot more interested in this. A decent computer that runs OSX but doesn’t come with Apple’s bastard pricing structure? Count me in. My Macbook needs a new logic board; a brand new one of these would actually be cheaper.

      1. I’d be wary of any unsupported OS X machine – Apple often releases OS X updates that just happen to stop OS X working on non-Apple kit. It’s quite a gamble unless you’re happy with a version of the OS that you never update.

        That said, I still fancy an MSI Wind hacked to run OS X :)

        1. Yeah, I’m waiting to see if any reviews appear on the Web from people who’ve actually put the thing to the test with OSX. And I certainly don’t mind not updating. I find updates usually contain more things that piss me off than improvements. I’m assuming that, in order to make the claim, Commodore are at least ensuring there are no hardware clashes with OSX as it stands now.

          A friend of a friend has got a Dell Mini 9 running OSX, and says it’s one of the best computers he’s ever had. The more streamlined OS is apparently one hell of an upgrade and causes the underpowered netbook to run, he says, “like shit off a shovel.”

          I’m really not that impressed with my Macbook. I just love Apple’s OS. I’d love a machine that would run the OS but was affordable in the first place and whose parts were also affordable and readily available and easily replaced. Apple are saying over 400 quid for a new logic board. Fuck off to that, I say.

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