Thursday, January 28, 2010

No more " Future in the Present " : The new Apple IPad and why i'm furious about it !

After months of hype and expectations Steve Jobs finally introduced yesterday the Apple IPad. Before i go further i have to say that i'm a huge Apple fan something that all faithful Disney and more reader probably know as i've told you this before. Of course i was expecting this new tablet but i think it's fair to say that my expectations were reasonable.

Now, is this new IPad simply a big IPhone? On a certain point of view, yes it is. Will you be able to do with it all you can do with a Mac Book or even a Net Book? Definitely not. Is it a problem? Well, yes and no. No, because it's a new device which don't intend to replace the laptops. And yes, because on the IPad some features are missing and as we will see it's unforgivable.

Let's talk about the good things first: great screen, undeniably, although book reading will be probably more tiring for your eyes than the eInk technology of the Amazon Kindle. Also, definitely great and elegant multi-touch interface which, just like on the Iphone, works like magic. And the IWork multi touch version looks great too (although you'll have to buy it separately for a reasonable price). Watching movies, sharing photos and playing games will be much better on the IPad, there is no doubt about that. Surfing on internet or reading/writing emails on a big screen will be highly appreciated. And the keynote feature will be fantastic for any designer/photographer/graphist, do their presentation to a client. The biggest surprise came at the end of Steve's keynote when he revealed the price: starting at $499 (wi-fi connection only) the IPad should be a success and probably a danger for the Net Books sales. Although...

And this leads me to the second part, i.e the features desperately missing. First, no USB port or no SD card reader include - you have to buy for $29 the adapter package to be able to upload your pictures/movies. $29 is not dramatic but where was the problem to include this directly in the IPad? Frankly...!?!

Also, just like on the IPhone, there's no possibility to run multiple third party apps at once, outside of the Apple apps that can work in the background, such as iPod which mean that you'll be able to type an email AND listen your music at the same time, which honestly is the least we can expect of this kind of device.

Then comes the first big mistake: although you'll have access to internet and go on any site you wish, all this on a big screen, don't expect to watch videos - like the one i can post on Disney and more or any other site - as the IPad OS don't support Flash!!! So, what's the point to have a fast internet access on a mobile device with a big screen if you can't access ALL internet? Since when internet is only about text and pictures? I don't know the reason behind this missing Flash (officially it's because the use of Flash is "eating" too much battery) but frankly, it's stupid. However, you still can go on Youtube and watch almost any Youtube videos, even high-definition videos.

And here come the missing feature which drive me crazy: there is no webcam on the IPad! And this is really an unforgivable mistake. Why? Here is why: when the first IPhone appeared, back in 2007, with his new multi touch interface, suddenly it was "the future in the present". A kind of Star Trek device which would have been teleported to the 21st century. Of course, now we don't have this feeling anymore but back three years ago this "future in the present" effect was one of the big reasons of the huge IPhone hype.

Do we have this feeling with the IPad? No we don't. And what enrages me is that it could have been the case. Think: you're sit on a bench in a park, or in a remote place 10000 miles from your home and you want to call AND see your girl/boy friend or anyone you wish. Then, instead to take out of your bag a laptop that you need to unfold, etc... what you have is something that looks, virtually, like a piece of glass. And thanks to it - and Skype! - your girl/boy friend would magically appear even if you're up in the mountain or lost in the jungle as long as there is a 3G connection. Wouldn't it be great? Do you remember the sequence in Stanley kubrick's "2001, a Space Odyssey" when the scientist on a space station use a videophone to call on Earth his little daughter for her birthday? In the movie they were in 2001 and we are in 2010! Okay, i'm kidding, but frankly what the hell was the problem to put a web cam on the top of the IPad? It would have changed everything.

If Steve has to learn a lesson in all this, it's this one: ALWAYS BRING THE FUTURE IN THE PRESENT, that the key of the success. And Steve better don't tell me that Apple don't have new innovations! Just go to the excellent PatentlyApple web site , a great site tracking all Apple new patents, and read the three parts article called The Tablet Prophecies HERE, HERE and HERE where you'll discover all the great inventions that Apple researchers created for a tablet device. Sure they'll come in the future, and sure, Apple keep some bullets for the IPad V2, but honestly i'm sick to have to wait for the next version, specially when what i am asking for - Flash support and a webcam - is so simple, so elementary...

Edited: More about all this with a good analysis on the missing features on HERE

Let's end by something less negative with pictures of accessories that Apple developed specially for the IPad. First, this dock and wireless keyboard (virtual multitouch keyboard is of course include in the IPad) which can be helpful. Apparently the regular wireless keyboard of the IMacs will work with the IPad.

And the next one is a neoprene case which will not only protect the IPad but also reverses into a triangle to convert the tablet into either a freestanding TV orientation, or lays down to become a full screen mini-laptop. Not bad at all.

Let's end with some fun. As here at Disney and more we have the sense of humor, here is three videos of Apple products that you will never see in the future! Very funny.

This third video was released in 2007 and believe it or not, but it's all about the IPad! Well, a different kind of IPad! (I must tell you first that in America the word IPad also mean a woman personal hygiene product...)

All pictures: copyright Apple Inc


Oliver said...

Hi there! I am totally on your side, but:
You have to understand Apple's marketing strategies! When the iPhone was introduced, there was no video function or UMTS. Also, a second camera for video chating is still not integrated. But Apple did prove that the iPhone has quite different values. Video features and UMTS were indeed missing, the joy of additional benefits, however, prevailed. Apple is giving away its 'extra features' year by year to appeal old buyers and convince them to buy a new iPhone.
That's exactly what they will do with the iPad! The web cam and a customized software is propably tested and/or built into new iPad prototypes. They will use their 'old trick' to sell new versions each year. Believe me! Patience. ;-)

Gilad said...

Don't buy it now!
Wait until a better version comes out. The third version is the best, they will probably call it somthing with 3G and S for speed.... do I have a deja vu?
Now being serious, it looks more like a prototype than a finished product. Wait three years and you'll have an iPAD that would look more a MAC than an iPOD TOUCH.

Alain Littaye said...

I believe you, Oliver, but precisely, i'm not patient anymore!

Court said...

I agree with the above posters, the camera and card reader and flash support will all come with later models. This thing is going to sell like hotcakes and once they've built a strong enough following around it they'll start to add features. Keep in mind that with most technology like this, the early adapters are essentially free beta testers.

I think you're wrong about one thing though. This thing *IS* meant to replace the laptop although for a very specific, and very large group of people.

Most people don't use their laptops or PCs to the fullest extent. Many people buy them and only check email and facebook and the web and look at pictures and video. They don't create documents or program or do any of the great number of things you can do on a computer. This is for the casual user who wants to be able to stay connected without the expense or bulk of a laptop or desktop. This is where Apple is really going to succeed. The $499 pricepoint really shocked a lot of people who were expecting it to be far more expensive as is Apple's tradition. This thing really is going to revolutionize the way we use computers. I can't wait to get one a generation or two down the line.

Alain Littaye said...

Dear Court, I never said it was not going to replace laptops - it will probably, i agree with you - i just said that you can't do with it all what you can do (even if you don't use all the possibilities) with a laptop.

So far it's the case and let's hope that in a near future it won't be, that it would get closer to a real laptop.

honeymaker said...

The reason why iPad (& iPhone) can't play flash, is because Adobe refuses to write a better flash plug-in for Mac OS X (Apple's operating system which is also the basis for iPad/iPhone OS). The current Flash plug-in for Apple's web browser Safari is really unstable and causes the application to crash a lot. It's also very demanding on the CPU and that obviously has a negative effect on battery life. So, when I (with my four years old Mac) visit a website with a lot of flash elements all the fans begin to run at full speed: browsing through it really slows down my computer; sometimes Safari crashes.
Luckily, some third-party developer came up with the Click2Flash plug-in, which automatically disables all flash elements and allows you to click on it, when you would like to see them.

This is why Apple is not that eager to implement flash in their mobile devices, because they want to provide their consumers with the best user experience. Using a flash plug-in that slows down everything and causes applications to crash doesn't fit into that picture.

Besides, I really do think that flash will be gone soon. HTML 5, for example, will be a much better way to watch video on the web. YouTube is already experimenting with that.

By the way, I enjoy reading your (Disney related) articles. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

What a sense of entitlement...

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point. On the surface the iPad may not appear futuristic or a new idea. But what it intends to do is incredibly futuristic. It intends to transition LOTS of users finally away from a Desktop metaphor interface, to an interface without files or folders. The success of the iPhone proves that people are ready for it. The time has come to move beyond Mac OS X and Windows.