Dean Solecki's guide to the iPad killer: (flame on)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by DeanSolecki, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. DeanSolecki macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2011
    I've spent the last week or so playing with my iPad 2, which is my first iPad/tablet, and I thought I'd put this out there. Since this is a forum, I hope you all approach the subject with your own constructive contributions, but of course you'll probably do nothing of the sort. I mean really, what should I expect?

    What does an iPad killer need?

    1.) The tablet pc doesn't have a physical keyboard. Apple is looking at the problem of the keyboard. (that isn't to say they are only looking at things this way, but so far they've put forth re-worked keyboards) Someone should be thinking of the problem of input. That is what we're trying to figure out. The keyboard isn't the answer, it's the problem. What is our input threshold? Well, thought is, wouldn't you say? I can't input faster than I can think. You could argue this next point, but the speed of thought is roughly the same as the speed of speech. If my thought is language-based (or if the part of my thought that I want to input is language-based) then I'm not going to think much faster than i can form the words, in my head or with my mouth.

    So far no one has put all their eggs in the speech recognition basket. You'd have to be nuts! But if someone could do this well it'd be an iPad killer (well ok, if everything else about it sucked, maybe not). This is where input will go. I feel like you're going to get really angry about this and say that speech recognition software has been around on the pc since the bronze age and it's never gone anywhere. Won't happen. But input is a new problem for the ultra-portable device. It's why 7" screens don't work. (well that and mcdonalds has made American fingers too fat to do much more than mash indiscriminately at a surface that "small") There are a thousand problems you could point to as to why this will never happen, and all of those problems need to be worked out, but you could point to a thousand reasons why the tablet would never happen, etc. The winner is always the guy that figures out the impossible.

    2.) The ecosystem. You can't join it, you can't do without it, and you can't beat Apple's. Well *****. Where do you go with that? Android? Maybe. I think again though using iOS as a model or a benchmark isn't going to breed iPad killers. Being a part of the "everyone else" club is neither a mark for or against, I suppose. Integration needs to happen. Software needs to happen. Although I think it would be ballsy if someone built a model that rejected apps. A return to real software. Keep angry birds, we'll give you developed work that does more than toss birds at glass houses. The development costs of this would be prohibitive and that's probably why you won't see it (done well), but this is the other extreme that exists as the inverse possibility in regard to android, with apple straddling the two (closed OS/Restricted Apps). Maybe there are other options, too, or at least, logically/linguistically they are there to be expressed, although I'm not going to do that here. Maybe the answer to ecosystem is to earn your keep somewhere else. This is apple's pièce de résistance. Just stay out of this fight. (this is sort of the f@ck angry birds approach I'd mentioned earlier)

    3.) Multitasking. Apple's multitasking is cumbersome. I know, I know, I do love charging up overnight and being good for the whole day, but I've got two cores, damn it! I want to run two side-by-side apps in landscape, or two vertically stacked apps in portrait. I don't buy that running email next to safari is going to devastate my battery. The problem is more that programs run in the background indefinitely and eat up processing/battery power. That shouldn't keep me from watching a YouTube video while I write an email. Cry all you want, this could be done and it would not significantly impact battery life, as long as the apps don't run background. Someone is going to do this soon, so beating apple to the punch would be a good idea.(actually, I don't know for sure that someone hasn't? Well, if they have, good on ya, but turn off those background tasks! That just doesn't matter much to me or most other people.)

    Conclusion.) Imagine it friends! A device that you talk to instead of type into. It runs all the programs you can fit on the screen and still use. It has distinctive proprietary software that you just can't get for 99 cents in an app store. It's made mostly of myrrh and adamant, but the screen is made out of condensed puppy-love extract... I don't know, but as I said before... Flame on! :)
  2. Davichi macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2011
    We all welcome new ideas and thoughts. However, apple iPad is fine as it is. My only complain and biggest complain on iPad right now is the notification system.

    Expectations are high, but there aren't any tablets in the market that can even come close to iPad in terms of pricing, ease of use, apps and customer service.

    iPad OS is just one simple piece of pie in tablet market.

    Apple has apple store and Steve jobs and his teams are using it wisely to educate their customers.

    Does xoom do that? No.
    Does galaxy Tab do that? No.

    Until these issues are resolved, I will always look at iPad before others.
  3. iRabbit macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2007
    If we're talking about this seriously, there is just one thing I'd love to see integrated into the iPad.

    Take Dragon Dictation and WritePad and make their method of input useful in ALL apps they could apply to. In other words, give me the ability to input text anywhere necessary by three methods... Virtual keyboard (already there), handwriting anywhere on screen, or dictation.
  4. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2009
    Biggest problem with your argument? so-called "real software" exists for the iPad.
  5. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    The problem with speech as input is that I don't want to speak everything I want to have written. When in a public place, I don't want everyone to hear what I am writing, whether be an email, a google search, or a paper. Likewise, I don't want to hear everyone else speaking their commands.

    Besides, when you add in the fact that you will get multiple people telling different devices to do different things - plus other ambient noise - the device just won't be able to accurately keep up.

    I don't see speech as an input anytime in the near future for those reasons alone.
  6. Stealthipad macrumors 68040


    Apr 30, 2010
    IPad's hardware is about as good as it gets, but the software is too restrictive and prevents the iPad from being all it could be. I hate being tethered so closely to iTunes!
  7. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    Yep, agreed. It's always been a novelty and I think it always will if only because there are many situations where one just wouldn't want to speak out loud to control a computer.
  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    this sums up what I was going to say pretty well. Speech recognition would be good for your own quiet office or house, but I don't see it as the future for mobile devices. I don't even see it as particularly useful, even if the software were great. Think of all the places this would be useless - coffee shops, lecture halls, airplanes, etc.
  9. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    I don't want speech as an input. I hate talking
  10. DeanSolecki thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2011
    Good Arguments

    I think there are most definitely situations where speech wouldn't be a viable option, but that isn't as damning as you make it out to be. Think about cellphone use. There are absolutely situations where you wouldn't want people listening to your half of a private conversation, but most of the time it doesn't bother you too much. Certainly, it doesn't bother people enough to stop the phone from leaving the home, since cellphones have effectively replaced the "home phone".

    In regard to the device determining which speech to dictate, it's conceivable that the device could be "paired" to your voice to avoid conflict in the way that my bluetooth mouse is paired to my laptop. It would have problems, and those would get worked out and improved upon, assuming it was adopted in earnest. I guess occasionally you might encounter someone who's voice is just strikingly similar to yours, but proximity, intonation, etc. might be discriminating factors that could be employed. I guess you don't know until you try.

    Also, you say think of all the places this would be useless, but in those situations I see opportunities for application.

    Imagine sitting at a desk in a lecture hall and instead of taking notes you just let your ipad (killer) dictate every word your professor says. Coffee shop conversations could be dictated (and color-coded by speaker) for whatever use you may make of it, or better yet, minutes for office meetings could be taken verbatim, speech associated with a specific speaker, and of course your wife would be cought every time she tried to rewrite the history of previous discussions, which you'd have in an endless log of naggings.

    I think this will happen eventually. And it isn't that speech recognition needs to outright replace the keyboard, just as the tablet isn't replacing the computer, just serving a specific purpose that happens to be a lot of what you need for most tasks.

    In the case described by iRabbit, you'd click on a field and you'd either have a preset preference that went to your default input choice or three icons to choose between that represented speaking, typing, or writing.

    Regarding the "real software" I don't disagree. I like angry birds and there are "proper" applications on the ipad. But if I were marketing an alternative, I'd phrase it this way.

    Anyway, the point I'm making is that an ipad killer needs to have some feature that a marketing team can throw in your phase and say, "iPad doesn't do THIS, and guess what, THIS is really cool and useful. Really, really cool and useful." ...but maybe that won't happen. :)
  11. MikePA macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2008
    There's something wrong with people who refer to themselves in the third person.
  12. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    Speech input is much less intuitive than touch input. Think about all of the toolbar buttons that are just icons. A two year old can figure out that they are supposed to touch them, but what are you supposed to verbalize to activate them? There are tons of other cases like this, and unless every option has some text label specifying what you are supposed to say, it is a pain to figure out how to use a speech-based system. It's fine for certain tasks (e.g. speed dialing, dictation, etc.) but pretty lousy in general.
  13. DS3 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2011
    The only time I'd ever want to use voice control is if I'm watching a movie on it while its set on a stand or something. If its in my hands, no thankyou whatsoever. Voice would be good for the occasional command of convenience, not heavy use.

    Like my cable DVR, that I'd like good voice control on. Not the tablet that im holding.

    I also don't really care about running multiple apps on the screen. I very rarely do so on my computer. The only real use I'd have for that is being able to watch video/netflix while browsing the web, that would be nice. So yeah I'd like to able to run two, but its not some feature that would make me choose one device in spite of other shortcomings.
  14. DeanSolecki thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8F190 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Speech probably wouldn't be used for navigation. The touchscreen would still be touch navigated. Speech would only deal with text input, or else some system of commands would need to be devised that may or may not function intuitively.
  15. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    I'm disabled and at times could benefit from speech recognition, and I hate the very idea of it and never use it. I have hands for a reason and I intend to use them unless and until I can't use them anymore. Besides, as much as I talk (to others as well as myself), after about a week and a half my iPad would probably stop listening anyway...
  16. reputationZed macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2011
    34°55′42″N 80°44′41″W (34.
    Voice as a method of input -may happen on some level eventually but there are some serious shortcomings that I think you are overlooking. Computers are based on binary logic, did you press the 'B' key, did you clikck the right mouse button, did you press the home key. All of these inputs are easily expressed as a yes or a no a 0 or a 1.

    Language is not normally expressed in a binary maner. Binary input can be approximated by using a restricted set of commands, ie did the user say 'start', but doesn't work so well if the user says launch or begin instead. Context is also an issue for computers. If someone said 'I saw a red bird' we know red reffers to a color, if they say 'I read a book' we know they are talking about the action of reading. Computers do not understand context, at least not in the way that we do. Computers approximate context by comparing the other words used in the phrase to a dictionary.

    I've used voice recognition software such as Dragon Naturaly Speaking and Mac Speach Dictate, and while they are huge improvemnts over what was available 5 years ago they still have a long way to go before being what I would consider a practical method of input.

    I think voice recognition will become a viable input method at some point, but I'm less convinced that it will completely replace keyboard input anytime soon.

    Ecosystem - youlost me here. I've got no idea what point you were trying to make.

    Multitasking - This is where tablets most definetily have a lot of room for improvement but there have already been some big improvements of were we were at just a few years ago and there are some interesting ideas (many of which are in webOS) on the horizon. As well as Apple has played the tablet game so far I wonder if they should have been more agressive in their bid for Palm.
  17. hwu182 macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2010
    I think following the 10 rules by Dieter Ram still trumps this.
  18. DeanSolecki thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2011

    I don't know that I overlooked those difficulties, but I think with application the problems would shake out, as would the solutions. Look at predictive text/auto-spell check. Admittedly, a lot of people disable/don't like this feature, but it has followed an evolution as the corners which developers didn't think around become evident through practice. It's essentially a multi-faceted trial and error. I said that there would be a thousand reasons why it wouldn't work, but it is very easy to say, "this is the reason this can't be done" until someone actually does it.

    Also I want to be clear that I think speech is a great substitute for a physical keyboard. It doesn't replace a pointing device or touchscreen. It would be difficult to even think of an application where this would have practical use. If, perhaps, the device recognized verbal commands while in a certain mode this might be useful if you were anticipating having your hands full or being a short distance away, but the limited value of this would make it an afterthought, and without putting it in a "voice command mode" the device would probably be very unpredictable for the uninitiated. Text entry is what I had in mind.

    I think, parenthetically, that Google is giving some thought to verbal text entry, but it's sort of a backburner project or else they've encountered difficulties.

    In terms of the ecosystem, I think this has foggy implications. I want to say that making an App-less proprietary OS could be done on a tablet and sold as a virtue, or at least you'd be shrugging off an area where apple/android have an insurmountable lead. Let me give you an example: On an iPhone I use a Chase application to manage my bank account. Chase doesn't do an iPad app and at first I was a bit put out by this, but using the website I found that it wasn't necessary to have an app; one benefit of a larger screen is that a great deal of site specific apps are pointless. A bookmarks bar is a viable alternative. There would have to be some heavy investment to give the core software a "wow" factor, and you might still want to allow "proper software" from developers, or offer 1st party software. I guess I haven't given this area enough thought to say anything productive about it. :)

    @hwu125 If I were getting paid perhaps I could be bothered to think of 7 more points. ;)
  19. Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2009
    Personally, I think the input solution to the iPad should be modular, enabling the user to chose which method of input is appropriate at what time. When sat on the sofa surfing, a software, screen based keyboard is enough. When typing an essay, a real keyboard is obviously a better choice. I think voice control may well have a place somewhere but I can't think of when I would personally use it.

    For me, a gaping hole with regards to input devices for the iPad is a gamepad. couple the iPad with a bluetooth controller and you immediately start to compete with the home consoles and open the door to huge revenue potential. Sure, some games work fine with touch screen controls, but first person shooters (which the iPad 2 is capable of doing very well) need more precision and control. Obviously the Xbox 360 and PS3 have better hardware at the moment but it's aging tech and the iPad's graphics capability will only continue to get better. The iPad has portability on it's side which the home consoles just cannot compete with.

    The other thing the iPad desperately needs is a transparent, functioning file system and to be allowed to exist in it's own right as a mobile computing platform that doesn't have to be synced to a Mac or PC running iTunes. This may be unrealistic at the moment but sooner or later some company or other is going to give these things to consumers and then the iPad will look limited.

    It's a great device for consuming content, and acts sort of like a giant cash register for Apple at the moment. But for it to develop further or for another company to make a true iPad killer, it has to also become a serious creative tool that means professional web designers and programmers can leave their laptops at home.
  20. BadaBing!! macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2010
    Do we need an iPad killer ?
    ( same for an iPhone killer btw )
  21. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    there already is an iPad Killer ... iPad2 :cool:
  22. DeanSolecki thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2011
    @ gomff

    I totally agree with the gamepad. I've seen some aftermarket stuff, but it doesn't seem like this is much of a priority to anyone, on either the hardware or software side of the fence. I'm not a huge gamer, but I feel like first-person gameplay needs six-axis style, two analog stick looking/aiming to be worth a moments look. (precisely why I returned my psp two days after I bought it.) iPad can do some arcade-style gaming as a touch device, but it really is out of its element with anything beyond time-wasters. I think apple is leaving this segment for someone else (perhaps someone with a bit of gaming pedigree) to tackle and doing mobile gaming that "serious gamers" (I feel like that's an oxymoron somehow) could tolerate might offer a sizable niche market. I think this would pretty much be biting into psp/ds sales more than putting any pressure on the console makers. The specs on a ps3/360 are far, far better.

    I don't know that heavy input is what tablets do well. I'd pitch you on the voice input, but for writing code it would probably require interesting work-arounds that would be far from intuitive.
  23. yodaxl7 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Guess, we'll see something next month with the iOS 5.0. Although, even if it is amazing, we won't able to use it till late June.
  24. Gomff macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2009
    @ Dean

    I think it will take Apple or another big company putting their weight behind a controller before game developers support it and it becomes a standard. If a smaller company comes out with a gamepad, I think there's a danger that it will get lost in the sea of anonymous iPad accessories....It has to be done well like the Xbox 360 controller which has won awards for it's design.

    The problem is that Apple hate buttons, but for serious gaming, You need buttons. As a company, Apple seem to welcome pretty much any use for their products as long as they are (a) Legal (b) generate revenue or credibility (c) don't require Apple to compromise on their precious design values and (d) don't compete with other Apple products.

    The only one of these things a gamepad conflicts with is potentially (c) but the rewards are huge. The iPad is already a successful platform that stands on it's own two feet (unlike the Xbox for the first several years). This alone means that any extra revenue generated by console style games goes straight into Apple's bank account.

    With regards to coding.....Website development on the iPad requires little more than a file system. There are text editors and image manipulation programs out there already.....But the functionality of these apps is hampered by the inability to save, load & manage files locally. Website development is generally pretty undemanding until you get into server side stuff and the iPad could easily support it.

    I'd happily pay laptop prices for an iPad that ran in a more OS X style environment....especially if I could put it on a stand and use a mouse & keyboard when I wanted to. The current walled garden of iOS is OK for consumption but there's a limit to it's value with such throttled functionality.
  25. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    There is no such thing as an iPad killer.

    There is no single device that will kill of the iPad, not just because its a great device but because there will always be people buying an apple product. Conversely there will not be a Motorola tablet killer either as folks will buy that device as well.

    To compete with apple, makers need to provide more features then what apple does and/or compete with them on price.

    With android the infrastructure is inplace to provide a tablets to the consumer and apps will start rolling out in short order. What happened in the mobile market, will occur in the tablet sector.

    Multiple manufacturers will produce multiple devices all running on android. What this will do is provide the consumer with choices and we'll start seeing apple's iPad market share shrinking. Honeycomb is a huge step in that direction. Google produced a highly polished OS that has greater functionality then iOS and does not seem to have some of the rough edges that prior versions of android exhibited.

    iPad will still be quite popular but there will be other products out there that leap frog it in hardware and even software, just as it is now for the iPhone.

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