The iTampon misses the mark — since there’s no hole

Well, we lived to see that too: a major product by Apple that misses the mark. The iPad.

Where do I start with this?

Flash? No. How the hell is this supposed to take over netbook market? Without Flash it is a no-go. I can eat the bullshit that the iPhone can’t do Flash for this or the other reason, but not having it on the iPad is a major mistake. Even if Apple adds it eventually, the damage is done for this product’s prospects in the minds of consumers.

Keyboard? Not only this keyboard requires both your hands, but it requires your lap too. How’s that any better than a freaking netbook? Instead of implementing a RESIZABLE split-keyboard, and have the full screen keyboard only as an option for when you sit on a couch, they go with the full screen keyboard by default. This is a MAJOR mistake. The large bezel and screen makes it IMPOSSIBLE for people with small hands to type when in vertical mode either — our fingers are not long enough to reach the middle of the screen. This is where the *resizable* split-keyboard would be a LIFE SAVER. [Update 1: Gizmodo on the terrible input method. Fully agreed with them.]

No multi-tasking? What the hell? Again, how’s that any more useful than a netbook? Just because it looks nicer and has a nicer interface doesn’t mean that it’s essentially more useful than a netbook. Again, Apple puts form over function as a priority, but I have the feeling that this time that strategy won’t be so kind to them. People wanted something better than the iPhone, not just an enlarged version of it. Daily Finance wrote it best (thanks goes to Dominique for the link).

And then, just like Andreas wrote, no camera for video chat? Sure, I get it. AT&T wouldn’t want to overload their towers, and I respect that. But Apple could easily have implemented an iChat or VoIP SIP version (or having Skype do it) that would only use WiFi. You can lock down that shit in application level. But, nooooo….

The last part is that with AT&T’s 250 MBs per month for $15. I’m sorry, but 250 MBs are not enough for a netbook-killer device. For $15 bucks per month, that should have been at least 1 GB of data. The last time I checked, just Engadget’s front page is 1.3 MBs usually. Even by doing light web browsing, the 250 MB per month will be eaten up within a week by a modern internet-er. Easily.

Finally, Gizmodo also has a nice list of 9 things that suck on the iPad. Thanks for the link @AsAPeople. [Update 2: Not to mention the lack of a microSDHC (or SDHC) slot. Sure, the iPhone has the excuse of being a small device and not having extra space for a slot, but the iPad doesn't have the luxury to lie to us about it. Selling the cheap version of the iPad with just 16 GB of storage, with no expansion option, is a slap in the face of the modern consumer.]

Jeez. What a freaking over-hyped piece of shit of a product this is. Sure, I still expect the iPad to make its R&D money back, but this is not the next “iPhone”, not by a long shot. This is not the next big thing. Not with this implementation anyway. It’s half-baked at the points where it counts. My main concern though is that this product is not half-baked because Apple didn’t have the time to work on these points, but because these were their design decisions. And this shows a possible problem at Apple right now. It’s very possible that they’re suffering from the Microsoft/IBM syndrome: that one of the dinosaur.

Update 3: Thanks to Guy for the video link!

31 Comments »

Andreas wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 1:50 PM PST:

Lol, the title is hilarious.


Vast Majority wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 2:31 PM PST:

Yeah, I’m disappointed about the whole iPad thing too. Oh, but just for the record, in addition to the 250MBs per month for $15, there is an unlimited option for $30/mo. Whoop-dee-fricken-doo.


Tom Lowe wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 2:32 PM PST:

Preach on, sister! This iPad is crap, I agree. At a minimum I was hoping to use it as a sooped-up iPhone/iPod to watch HD videos, make video-conference-style calls, etc, but NOooo! It should have at least 720p for video. What decade do they think this is?


Crazyberns wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 3:42 PM PST:

@Tom, yes it has the h.264 720p feature. No buy for me though, IMHO this should be called “iCrap” and not iPad. LMAO!


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 3:43 PM PST:

Tom was referring on the resolution, not the decoding ability.


Florian wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 4:00 PM PST:

The lack of Flash may well be a blessing in disguise (at least for those who don’t own the device) because it might substantially speed up HTML5 video adoption on the web. I don’t believe that the timing of YouTube’s and Vimeo’s simultaneous HTML5 video roll-out last week was coincidental.

Other good news, for the rest of world, is Apple’s decision in favor of epub for e-books. Hopefully this will help killing the proprietary Kindle e-book format.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 4:25 PM PST:

Video is not the only thing that Flash does. In fact, video ability came late in the Flash history. Most of the music band sites use Flash for navigation. For better or worse, Flash is needed, and HTML5’s video curse won’t be benefited.


memsom wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 4:41 PM PST:

…as predicted, she hates it ;-)

Flash? Who cares? Not I.

Keyboard? It has an external keyboard option. I could tell you about what the SDK offers you can do with the OSKB too, but then I’d have to kill you. ;-)

Data plan – it is unlocked. Who gives a shit about the US. In the UK, I can buy a £10 PAYG sim card with at least £5 credit in most supermarkets. Top up the right amounts and many providers would give me a capped unlimited data service with as much data as the $15 plan every day.

SD Slot? That would be a kludge. The iPhone OS doesn’t mount external volumes, so I have no idea how that would work or even how you would access the data from the UI is an elegant or seamless way.

Large bezel? This is essential, else how are you planning to hold the device without touching the screen? Touching the screen would be a total non started as it would scre up almost all interaction with the device. Try it on an iPhone and see what happens. Many apps only register the first click.

The blows are:

1) No mention of multitasking
2) Still a closed app store ecosystem
3) No camera (but then I’d want a forward facing one as the rear facing one would be awkward to use on such a large device.)
4) The SDK *requires* Snow Leopard (WHAT?? Talk about forced upgrade…)
5) Price – I can’t justify it over my already owned iPhone 3G, MSI Wind u100 and MacBook… especially as I will upgrade my phone in July.


memsom wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 4:44 PM PST:

Any site that doesn not provide both a Flash and non Flash version deserves not to be visited. If the bands you are speaking of are really that stupid, so be it.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 4:45 PM PST:

>Flash? Who cares? Not I.

The rest 99% of the users do. So we don’t care if you don’t care. ;)

>It has an external keyboard option

This is a laughable proposition and you know it. If I was to put the tablet on the desk and add the keyboard, I might as well get a netbook instead and sit in front of the TV while watching LOST. Why the heck would I want to stay in my office in that case? Besides, I don’t want to use a hardware keyboard. I just want a virtual keyboard that MAKES SENSE.

>Data plan – it is unlocked.

Not so fast. The iPad uses ON PURPOSE a microSIM, not a real SIM. Except AT&T, no one else has these yet. Which shows how shady the whole plan is. They tell you “it’s unlocked”, but there’s one big fat catch behind it.

>SD Slot? That would be a kludge.

Not at all. The iPad is big enough to have this without looking bad. And adding mounting support for these on the SDK is not that difficult.

>Large bezel? This is essential

Yes, but no. The bezel is larger than it’s required.

>Any site that doesn not provide both a Flash and non Flash version deserves not to be visited. If the bands you are speaking of are really that stupid, so be it.

Sorry, but it’s not up to Apple to decide how people should design their sites. I don’t like Flash for navigation either, but it’s there, and it’s needed. This is about a product not being able to do something, not about a product not doing something in order to show how its customers are stupid. That’d be a terrible strategy. And it is.


maniacdev wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 5:50 PM PST:

“I still expect the iPad to make its R&D money back”

What R&D spending.. they took an iPod Touch and made it bigger.


Mathias wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 10:27 PM PST:

David Pogue has an interesting piece on blog entries just like yours:
http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/the-apple-ipad-first-impressions/

No offense, that doesn’t mean your points are not valid, just that the exercise is a bit easy at this stage …


Mathias wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 11:17 PM PST:

Flash (a proprietary resource hog that is like a mole on the face of the web, used 99% of time for no good reason) is like the floppy disk, the earlier it dies the better and I hope Apple’s drive to get rid of it is as effective as it’s been for the floppy at the time of iMac’s release.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 27th, 2010 at 11:39 PM PST:

First off, David Pogue is a major Apple supporter. I don’t disagree that the iPad will sell satisfactory. But it’s not going to be a game changer as the iPhone was. iPhone 1.0 had it _right_ for the most part, as an 1.0 product. The iPad doesn’t, not by a long shot.

Personally, I don’t read ebooks. I would want it primarily for web browsing, and A/V chat/VoIP that are able to work in the *background*. Guess what, the iPad fails me on both counts.

As for Flash, it’s not Apple’s job to kill a format, just because. By the moment it’s needed by internet users, it should have been there.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 12:02 AM PST:

One thing I noticed today. A lot of people who have commented on the iPad, but decided to not be as aggressive about it as myself and other bloggers were, simply said: “Looks nice, but I just don’t have a use for it”.

And this made me realize that the problem with the iPad is much more fundamental than missing an SD slot, or even multitasking and Flash.

The problem with the iPad is that its main “advertised” functionality is to be an e-book reader. But there are not really THAT many people who read e-books (certainly not as many as an Apple product would need to be deemed “successful”), and those who do read e-books, already have an iPhone or iPod Touch (or a Kindle), and are happy with its small screen regardless. Sure, some people will buy it for its e-Book capabilities, but that number of people is small. If you already have an iPod/iPhone, and a netbook/laptop, you won’t see much value on the iPad — apart from the cool factor and novelty of it.

Gizmodo just published an editorial saying that Apple will succeed where the Kindle/Nook failed: bring e-book reading even to people who wouldn’t consider it before. But I disagree with that editorial. It’s one thing to get people to sit down on the train or jog or work, and listen to entertaining music via their iPods, and another to get them to actually READ. Reading is much more brain consuming action that most of the population does NOT want to do. Maybe in 10 years from now every household will have a tablet and e-books. However, this adoption will be slow. It won’t explode like an easy to carry smartphone or mp3 player did. And certainly, the kind of specification/features misses this iPad has, won’t help the situation at all.

Apple should have innovated with the iPad in a different way. As Stu Maschwitz wrote today, it would have been useful if the iPad was to also work as an EXTENSION to the Mac desktop. No, not as a virtual screen via VNC, but to host special “guest” plugins of OSX applications that can run parts of the OSX app inside the iPad. Kind of like the “Remote” app works for iTunes. That would have been a really good idea for the professional sector: sound apps, video apps etc.

Instead, we got a bigger iPod Touch, as someone said above. With all its limitations still in tact.


Harry wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 3:35 AM PST:

I have followed the introduction of the iPad and all the hype and rumours in advance with a lot of interest. I feel that as an “overseas” viewer (Netherlands) I might be able to take a little bit more distance from these hypes than the average US person. And I am not the only one: it seems that reactions from Europe are slightly more positive than from the US.

Ofcourse I had the same questions: can Apple do it again, can they change the way consumers use (mobile) hardware? Can they exceed the expectations that already had risen? The answer to the latter question is a clearly “no”. But let’s be honest: could any company have exceeded these expectations? I don’t think so.

With respect to the 1st question, I do think they did it again, despite all the negative reactions on gizmodo, engadget etc etc. And I don’t feel the e-book reader is the core app for the user. Main questions: what you want to do sitting on your couch or laying in your bed? And what you want to do when you are on the move, sitting in the train to or from work, or travelling?

In my view the iPad will become a perfect companion. First of all, in these situations people will want to consume, not to produce. They will want to read emails (or write), read the NYT or browse the web. They will want to play games. In bed they will want to watch movies. On holidays or business travel they will want to browse the internet, or might want to read a book, without the extra kilos and space of physical ones. I am surprised nobody picks up the focus that Steve put in the experience (having the internet in your hand – it might well feel very different), and that nobody can see the tremendous potential of the iPad as a gaming platform (quickly becoming the biggest market!).

It’s not going to replace a phone, but it will give a better experience than the iPhone with all of the things other than phonecalls. And it’s not going to replace portable laptops or netbooks, which will be more used for productivity and workrelated activitities, but which won’t be able to compete on entertainment / leasure with the iPad.

I do see some limitations (especially the lack of a front-end camera) but a) that might be solved in a next version and b) hey: don’t forget that Apple has clear views about their business model. They are simply continuing on the road that already everybody knew (no surprises) and until now they seem to be one of the very few companies that have been able to build a business on a mixture of free/ not free content. Respect for that!


Mathias wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 3:42 AM PST:

No flash on iPad means:
– no need for adblock in the browser
– Better battery life (I’ll miss flash the day Adobe optimizes their code)
– push for use of html5 (canvas, video, svg) which is good for open standards

I disagree with you that it’s not Apple’s job to kill a format. Why wouldn’t it be ? Why leave this privilege to Microsoft pushing more proprietary technologies (Silverlight).


Jay Boy wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 5:32 AM PST:

AMEN SISTER! AMEN!!!


James Benet wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 9:17 AM PST:

Hilarious post, and I think you went a little soft on them, epic fail in the innovation dept.

I was so expecting to get one of these but now that I see the shortcomings I can only wait for an Android tablet that has a camera, expansion and no restrictions on app content, multitasking, flash or making 3G calls or tethering.


Horten wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 5:38 PM PST:

I do not think that the alternative keyboard you and Microsoft proposed is a good idea, because of the ipod-thumb – you wouldn’t want to be the cause of introducing the “ipad-thumb”-variant into medical science.

The human thumb is simply not equipped for some sorts of activities. I know: I have an ipod and only have no problems because I take care to use different fingers instead of only the thumb, which would be the obvious but RSI-inducing choice.


ojimenez wrote on January 28th, 2010 at 10:43 PM PST:

Clearly, the thing is a brick as it stands now. I think Amazon forced Apple to release their new gadget prematurely. Apple was under pressure to compete for the e-book market, which is what they feel the future of publishing will be. Apple has made deals with all but one of the major publishing houses, who are pissed at Amazon for forcing them to price all their e-books at $9.99

The Ibrick allows publishers to break free from Amazon and kindle hell. The brick will allow them to charge as much as they want for their books. In addition, the dying Newspaper and magazine industry will have a glossy, colorful new platform where they can market their wares. It is no accident that Apple chose the NY Times as a beta customer when developing the gizmo. Sure, the majority of consumers of e-books, magazines and newspapers are not on board yet, but once the switch is made, there will be no turning back.

It is also important to note that this ugly duckling will evolve, possibly into a beautiful swan. The Apple people are shrewd and surely they will absorb the feedback from the blogosphere, and make the needed changes to the brick, and continue to adopt the ideas of developers who can freely develop applications for the Ibrick. My guess is that eventually it will evolve into a very user friendly and very useful consumer toy.

I would not buy one now, but in a few years when they fine tune it and change its name to something sexier, I’m sure I’ll have to purchase one.
At this point, though, I’m still in love with my 12 inch powerbook, which I think is one of the most beautiful computers they ever made.


Tamas wrote on January 29th, 2010 at 9:16 AM PST:

Indeed, the biggest problem is that this is a content consumption device, not a content production one. My idea of a tablet is a digital paper replacement, with the ability to sketch and draw on it, and that starts with a Wacom digitizer as a mandatory feature.

People say that device exists, and it’s called a tablet PC, or Modbook. Well I already own a Fujitsu tablet notebook, which I love dearly. There are always situations when a keyboard just doesn’t do it, and in that case I whip out my tablet to write on. Engineering diagrams, formulas, brainstorming, note taking, that’s the basic idea. A digital pencil is a lot better than paper. It has layers, undo, you can draw a perfect line, cut, paste and search. The problem, though, is that it’s expensive, rather heavy, tick, gets uncomfortably hot, the battery life sucks, and I see the ceiling light’s reflection on the screen. I don’t exactly need a very capable computer for note taking, so it’d make sense to create an iPad-like device with one added feature: a Wacom stylus. I also must be able to do photo editing, by running Photoshop on a real Mac or PC, and using the tablet as a wireless peripheral only.

You could say that such a device exists — it’s the Wacom Cintiq digitizer tablet with a 12″ screen. However, it badly needs a technology refresh. It’s gotta have a higher resolution, LED-backlit, IPS panel, and all those ridiculous wires must go.

And this brings us to the Lenovo concept tablet (IdeaPad U1). It is essentially a netbook with a removable screen. You can grab the screen and use it as a tablet, and it wirelessly talks to the base. There’s still a physical keyboard, and it still runs a full operating system. What it misses is the Wacom stylus. This is the only tablet device that brings any form of innovation, but it’s not on the market yet.


james wrote on January 29th, 2010 at 9:43 AM PST:

Yeah, if you look at this device primarily as an E-reader and its marketed this way…then it seems to have more of a purpose and niche. I, too, don’t often read e-books or paper newspapers, occasional magazines. Cause i’m sold on MBP being my solution (w/Ipod and desktop being enough) I’m a bit different i guess, in that i like big screens. I wouldn’t have a prob with a 21″ laptop. Most want smaller, more compact and understand but my use is for graphics and things like that. So, its not for me but it is an amazing piece of engineering. I saw some rumor about a cam. Perhaps they will listen to some of the negative feedback and add some extra peripherals later on. Then it would gain more interest or like using it as a front screen on an HDSLR. They need to open up more possibilities and there will be more people that will jump on the product. Yeah, that IdeaPad looks interesting!


gene wrote on January 29th, 2010 at 3:13 PM PST:

The IPAD is nothing more than a big I phone for people who haven’t wasted enough money on similar types of nonsense. Eugenia is right…why would I give up my netbook for this!

Like most gimmicks put out by Jobs and Apple it’s in the pipeline for the cult following that seldom understands value and usefulness. I use to work with Apple and Macs years ago and wrote code for some apps…. forget it—proprietary junk. I’ve always found their stuff vastly over rated, overpriced, and had higher breakdown rates than pc’s. Unfortunately, the media in this country treats both Jobs and Gates like gods and will seldom take a look at the true overall cost, the damage that these short lived computers, phones, cameras and other electronic devices do to the environment (and don’t tell me the stuff is green…most people have no idea what green really means and never consider the amount energy input etc. that occurs to make a product etc.).

In the end it will take 5 generations of these stupid pads to do what your little netbook can do and a pocket digital camera but I doubt if most people who buy these things will figure it out. We have met the enemy and he is us (Walt Kelley).

gene


Vast Majority wrote on January 29th, 2010 at 8:28 PM PST:

As far as considering the iPad as a Kindle killer, one thing I have not seen addressed is how the iPad display looks whilst outdoors. The Kindle can be taken to the beach and read clearly under the bright sun. How does the iPad display compare under similar conditions?


xiaNaix wrote on January 30th, 2010 at 9:40 AM PST:

ojimenez wrote on January 30th, 2010 at 3:28 PM PST:

CNN is reporting the IPAD as the possible salvation of the publishing industry.
I was right to assume that Apple is now in bed with the publishing industry to prevent the growing number of e-readers (Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook..) from taking over this market. It’s an astute move because Apple has an edge with the iTunes store which can become their clearinghouse for music, books, movies, and all things media…. They don’t seem to care that they’re pissing off their professional base, but perhaps it’s a calculated risk, after all, they can easily come back with another gadget geared to their fan base, after the knock-out the e-book competition.


Kurdistan wrote on January 30th, 2010 at 11:35 PM PST:

ya i think it is a piece of crap too … an expensive crap !!!


ojimenez wrote on January 31st, 2010 at 5:37 PM PST:

“Amazon Concedes on Electronic Book Pricing
In a fight over the price of electronic books, Amazon.com has blinked.” (NY Times)

Wow! This may or may not be the direct result of Apple’s IPAD introduction as another venue for publishers, but if it is, I was right on the money!


Phil wrote on February 3rd, 2010 at 11:30 AM PST:

I always wondered why on earth Apple would produce a tablet. Tablets simply don’t have much use for the majority of the general public – as previous attempts to promote tablet computing have shown.

The only really new area a modern tablet could try to stake a claim for is as an e-book reader. But for this it would need a more eye friendly display technology, something closer to E Ink in quality. Maybe something from Pixel Qi ? But this has a boring old LCD.

This emperor has no clothes …


jay wrote on February 3rd, 2010 at 8:43 PM PST:

AFAIK the resolution is 1024×768 on 10 inches, that is CRAP … no real HD possible, and it looks like bigger crap scaled to a non 16:9 format (or with even bigger borders than it already has, besides haveing even less used pixels then!)

and NO SD etc but of course they want to make you pay even more to get the bigger memory model

for a $5oo thingy i’d expect a lot more


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