iPad is a new category - comparisons are useless

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Patrick J, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Patrick J macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    As we know, yesterday Apple revealed the much anticipated iPad. The media attention was incredible, as to be expected: but how to categorize it? I was thinking all night about this, and would like to ask your opinions.

    Apple currently ship two kinds of portable devices: laptops and pocket devices. Media entertainment and web browsing is always with you, in your pocket, with the iPhone or iPod touch. For more serious productivity, slip a Macbook into your bag, and unleash your creative stroke. With two clearly defined device categories, you can easily be portable, and at the same time, fully productive. But what about the iPad?

    It's not a netbook: as Steve Jobs said, "the netbook isn't better at anything"; they are just cheap laptops, with poor screen quality, small keyboards, and weak hardware. Apple have the laptop market covered, with devices ranging from the powerful workhorse 17" Macbook Pro, to the cheaper, but robust 13" Macbook, to the ultra portable, thin 13" Macbook Air. Apple cover every aspect of the laptop market, while rigidly maintaining their trademark meticulous attention to detail and quality.

    However, it's also not a tablet, in it's common meaning: a clunky, heavy, resistive-touchscreen based device, running "clunky PC software". Quality suffers in the manufacturer's efforts to entice potential Netbook customers: with economy in mind, touch screens lack sensitivity, screens lack definition, build quality often lacks specific after touches. If you think about it, the tablet PC only appeals to a very narrow range of SPECIFIC consumers: people who need portable, rapid data entry, like in a restaurant or store, or in a hospital, in a emergency room. Even so, already waiters and shop assistants are starting to use iPod touches as a modern, light, manageable data entry systems.

    Macbooks or iPod touches more than improve netbooks and tablets.

    I think the iPad populates a new category. It doesn't come to replace the netbook or the tablet, it is a device focused on Down loadable Content (DLC). Not only that, but iPad is made for HOME LEISURE. Put the two together, and we get a Home DLC based device. But what on earth is that?

    This is Apple's final stroke at dominating the entire range of computer needs. The iPad is thought out to be with you at home. According to Jobs, "if I want to buy some movie tickets and I am in the kitchen, I just grab my iPad (...)". An iPod touch or iPhone, while excelling in portability and being very usable, has a 3.5" screen. While great for quickly browsing while on the bus, or stopping for a quick coffee in Starbucks, for long browsing sessions at home, on the couch, the smaller screen does impact readability: constant scrolling, zooming, and focusing makes web browsing slightly less fluid than desirable. At the other extreme, a Macbook is too heavy, power hungry, and too big to use comfortably in a recreational situation.

    Hence the iPad: a home based leisure focused device with a beautiful 4:3 screen. The squarer screen, as opposed to the wide screen format Apple has recently shipped in their products, lends itself much more comfortably to web sites, books, and magazines. Scrolling is reduced, and as said in the Keynote, "the web is right there in your lap". A web page loads, and without scrolling or zooming, you can read it right from the start. The same readability applies for eBooks: the large screen suits perfectly. For sitting on your couch, the iPad is the perfect solution.

    In my opinion the iPad defines a home computer Edit: Home Computer maybe isn't the right name. It's not a home computer as in an iMac, which is truly a home workhorse. It's more a home pad, a personal media player, a handy device with which you can consume media in a comfortable fashion. The perfect solution is not Bill Gate's vision: a huge glass table with multitouch capabilities. Nor is it a small personal entertainment device like the iPod touch. It is the iPad.

    I think Apple have perfectly defined the needs of the average person. At home, the iPad is a much more intimate device: light and usable, you read with it in bed, on the couch, in the kitchen. For more serious productivity, there is the iMac. The iPhone/iPod provides pocket entertainment and connectivity. Finally, the Macbook extends the iMac's productivity to your workplace.

    To conclude, the iPad isn't marketed at Netbooks or conventional tablets (the Macbooks target them), but as a home entertainment device, which works literally like a bigger iPod touch.

    Your opinions?
  2. greygray macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2009
    Not when it's being deemed as a competitor to the Kindle or as a large iPod touch. It just happens not to be called a MacPad, rather as iPad. This shows Apple wants it to be part of a multimedia device like the iPod touch with the usual apps rather than a Mac workhorse.
  3. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    Well that's exactly what I said in my post.
  4. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
    my opinion is, because of the app store and the millions of accessories that will be available

    it will become more useful in a few months and people will start to see the potential

    but, at the moment, my opinion is

  5. REM314 macrumors 6502


    Jun 1, 2009
    You're exactly right. The majority of people on these forums are complaining and crying and calling it a "fail" because they were expecting some sort of god tablet and their hero Apple let them down. Now they're lost and confused and can only make stupid remarks on an Apple discussion forum.
  6. jaykk macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2002
    Compare it to Google Chrome OS

    I think its apple's answer to Google Chrome OS, geared towards cloud computing. I think this platform have more potential in future. I will rather go with a $499 iPad than Netbook with Chrome OS on it.
  7. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    I would rather go with this then a netbook with XP on it, my sister had one, and they are horrible. The speed is just pathetic. I would rather something slightly stripped down, and super fast instead of a fully functional netbook that takes 20 min to load the browser
  8. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Apple is sure good at marketing. Sure Steve said it's not a tablet or a netbook, it's something between the two. But he sure didn't say it's just a huge freaking iTouch. Cause that's exactly what it is. ;)

    I'm not complaining though. I think the big dissapointment was the lack of expected rumors that didn't happen. The iPad really didn't deserve no huge presentation. Thowing it on Apples home page would have been good enough.
  9. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    Apple don't see the need for netbooks (they make much higher quality (and still portable) laptops (macbook air, macbook pro 13", etc)), neither tablets (the iPod touch with an app is much slimmer and portable for the majority of uses). Remember tablets are used in their majority by specific customers (waiters, emergency rooms..) If the iPod touch screen isn't big enough I suppose the iPad with an app would be a solution; however I don't think that the iPad is marketed at the tablet market.
  10. Anteros macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2008
    I agree I think this device has so many uses in places and areas that did not previously have a computer in them.

    I was browsing the internet on my iPhone last night in bed and was thinking how much nicer that would be on a iPad. It's the ultimate bedside device, from playing music when you wake up to checking email, news/weather, then you can bring it into the kitchen, make breakfast and continue reading the news at the kitchen table or on the couch.

    Then there are the specialist uses like using it for a fully customizable remote control system/Home Automation, sales people demonstrating products, Electricians using it as a reference guide when doing a job.

    Yes in many of these situations you could use a laptop or iPod touch but the form factor of the iPad I think works better.

    To be honest I was disappointed at first but the more uses I think for this iPad and the less I think of it as a laptop replacement the more excited I am about it.
  11. amitdoc2b macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I was also disappointed with this release. Even though I felt many more features could have added, the difference between me buying and not buying it was a built-in webcam. If they had simply done that, I would have bought 2 of the best models plus accessories, and spent over $2000 for the pair. I had my credit card in my hand ready to pre-order in case it was available yesterday. Very disappointed, Apple.. and all my friends and family know me as the biggest Apple supporter. Until today, I had bought the iPhone on launch day for 3 straight years, 2 Unibody MBP’s on launch day, 2 iPod touch on launch day, and 1 27″ iMac on its launch day. Not this time though. All I was asking for was a built-in web camera and I could have absorbed the lack of other features. Oh well..
  12. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    the iPad has nothing to do with a Netbook or conventional tablet (which runs a full OS). The iPad was designed to be used at home, in a leisurely environment, to be used just to consume media. Sitting on the couch, or in bed, reading a newspaper or webpage, a 4:3 screen makes much more sense (displays more) than a widescreen. You fail to recognize that Apple doesn't care for any Netbooks or Tablets. You have Macbooks for that, which are much more powerful and capable.
    Repeating. The iPad isn't aimed to be a tablet (in it's current meaning) or a Netbook. It's a bigger iPod touch used at home (bigger for ease of usability)

    And you say the iPad name is half assed? It is a media pad, for use at home for entertainment (hence the i prefix).
  13. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    How is it a competitor to the kindle when it does a hundred times more things than a kindle? Like OP said, totally different class of device.
  14. rand() macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2004
    Quite a few of these are either speculative or wrong. Please bear in mind that no one on this forum has actually used this yet, including yourself. But there are a few things we know from Apple's website.

    It will multitask at a minimum in the same way the iPhone does. Push notifications, and the ability for some things to be backgrounded like Music. I wouldn't be surprised to see the double-tap home button bring up an "app switcher" much like cmd-tab does on the desktop (here's the three most recent apps you've used).

    GPS is A-GPS. It is only available on the 3G model. It still talks to satellites. It simply uses the cell towers to get a general location first, to speed the triangulation process. (Remember that first time you turned on your TomTom, and it took a good minute to find your location? That delay is becuase the GPS is un-assisted. A-GPS is a benefit, not a red-headed stepchild.)

    As far as we know, you're right on the video calling. However, there is Beejive, Skype, and iCall, and they'll all run - in theory - on the iPad out of the box.

    Source on the ram? I can't find that on apple's Tech Spec's page

    You haven't used it. In the first person shooter demo, they showed a gesture specifically written for that app - a three-finger twist for opening doors. It's pretty likely that devs can write their own multitouch gestures that are app-specific and dependent.

    I could see Flash support being desired; on the other hand many interactive Flash elements involve mouse "hovers" rather than "clicks"; how do you do that with a touch interface? I don't think this has quite been figured out yet. And, I don't miss Flash.

    Bear in mind my sarcasm when I say "What's Java?" I used to program Java. I don't miss it, and I won't miss it's support. If this is a deal-breaker, buy a netbook (ugh... java on a netbook... the worst of all possible worlds).

    This device is an accessory to your computer; although I'd love at least a 128GB model, it's going to pull a *lot* of info from the cloud rather than local storage. (iWork.com? The potential for iTunes streaming?) I'm with you that there should be more storage, but I'm going to use it before I really call this a downer.

    Yep, there's no USB port. But there are SD and Camera adapters that - according to Apple's iPad page - are designed for iPad. You can pull in photos and videos from SD or supported cameras.

    And yeah, I'm really surprised they didn't demo that. Huge feature, big win.

    You may have to actually hold one to see the bezel and it's proportion to your thumb. Your hand isn't wide enough to hold this the same way as you would your phone.

    Unless you're Shaq, you'll need that bezel space to leverage your thumb and hold this in one hand. Function still has to have some leverage on form. Sorry.

    OS X has handwriting recognition built into it. I wouldn't be surprised to see it appear somewhere in the tablet. Again, we haven't used it, and we only "know" it does what was demoed, and what's on the specs pages.

    Wireless Syncing and Transfers is where app's come into play. Used Mover before? It's pretty solid.

    On top of this, the SDK exposes a new shared file area. I wouldn't be surprised to see this in conjunction with "disk mode" on these iPad's. This area is shared across all apps. So, presumably, there's some way to manage it. It just wasn't demoed and we don't know exactly how it works yet.

    You're exactly right on the apps, but presumably, you can still write web apps (including sproutcore/pastrykit-based web apps for desktop-like functionality).

    You're going to have to hold something in your hand to make a judgement regarding the screen. I have a feeling that for usability, 16:9 screens would be a very odd form factor to hold and use in portrait mode.

    I think the resolution was simply to hit their price point (which is a big feature in my opinion). I'm with you that it could be higher and better.

    TV and radio tuning? That seems like living in dream world. Even the iPod touch doesn't have a radio tuner unless you buy an accessory. (Which, hey, you could do for the iPad too).

    It does indeed have video out. It's right on the specs page. It both supports VGA and Composite video outs - it'd be nice if the composite were HD, but hey, it is there, and it is something.

    OTA) Not yet.

    I'm going to have to see the book reader and screen before I make a "hurts my eyes" judgement.

    Huh. Yeah. Gamepad. Meh.

    You can indeed connect a bluetooth keyboard.

    RFID/IR? I'm kinda meh on both of those, but I could see their inclusion.

    I wouldn't expect Apple to release removable batteries on anything ever again. I understand your desire to have it. It just will never happen, unless they simply can't get good battery life in a device's form factor.

    So for quite a few of these, yes, you're compromising. It's not a bleak as you've made out, but clearly there are missing "dream tablet" features. But, many of those could be fulfilled in the App space.

    So, give it a few days (about 60), take a look at one in an Apple Store. You probably still won't be convinced. Wait for the custom iPad apps to come out. I think this device is going to win you over, but you just aren't imagining it's possibilities beyond the specific tech specs that you didn't immediately see.
  15. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    The problem is that people compare iPad to conventional tablets and notebooks which run fully fledged clunky OS, and expect the same, when in fact it is a very different device, made to be run at home, in casual situations, for simpler tasks.
  16. rand() macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2004
    Actually, I don't *know* that this is made simply for home use. I would love to have one here at work so I could review web sites with my design team. I'd love one to sit in its dock and have email up constantly on my desk.

    I can easily see using it to pull photo/video/s off a camera and preview them while I'm still on location. Given an updated version of Photoshop Mobile, there's some pretty remarkable things you could do with this device that are all work-oriented, at least for me.

    I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge that I'm a special case in my profession. But I'm betting that there's an awful lot of work situations where it would be far more comfortable to look at and pass around an interactive tablet, rather than sit over somebody's shoulder while you helplessly watch them explore the wrong menu *again*. This, quite possibly, a *social* work computer, as well as its obvious home uses. It takes a different kind of situation for a different kind of device.
  17. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    As you say, you are a special case. And I am sure there are many more special cases. But I still say that this is far from a Netbook or tablet; indeed it has nothing to do with either, and that it's main usage will be at home for casual media consumption.
  18. macnchiefs macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2009
    A home computer needs more than 16, 32 or 64GB of space in my opinion. If it's better at music, pictures and video like Mr. Jobs said than I actually need to be able to store my content on the device. The iPod classic has a 160GB hard drive... almost three times more than the top of the line iPad. At those levels - not happening.

    A home computer should have at bare minimum one USB port in my opinion. It's standard fare and I'm clueless as to why they left it out besides form over function. It's inexcusable to leave it out and then on top of it charge me $29 for a clunky adapter.

    A home computer should have the capability to multi-task in my opinion. No wonder the battery last for 10 hours... you can only do one thing at a time. I don't care if it drains the battery quicker, I'll take the trade off and I think most people would. Hopefully this will be rectified with OS 4.0.

    So I'm patiently waiting for some of my concerns to be hopefully be addressed before I make the plunge. I love the idea of the iPad but in it's current state I won't be spending any $$ on it.
  19. Patrick J thread starter macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Mar 12, 2009
    Oporto, Portugal
    Home Computer maybe isn't the right name. It's not a home computer as in an iMac, which is truly a home workhorse. It's more a home pad, a personal media player, a handy device with which you can consume media in a comfortable fashion.
  20. Peabody macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2007
    Portland, OR
    It has business potential too

    The one thing that I see most folks missing here is that it has a great potential to be an ultramobile workstation in a remote computing environment at the corporate level, i.e., Citrix Receiver app for iPhone.

    Obviously using the current iPhone version on the iPad would suck, but they have 60 days to sort out writing an iPad native version to take advantage of the larger screen. Then you have potentially limitless access to full blown remote desktop delivery or specific remote application delivery. The speed (or user experience of "speed") would knock the socks off any netbook running native Windows.

    There are many potential ways to work around the limitations of only having an iPhone OS based machine. Finally those who have already been working on solving those issues now have a screen big enough to make this type of remote computing even more usable and comfortable.
  21. Etnies419 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2008
    I don't think Apple really wants to go the way of announcing new products by just plopping it on the home page and waiting for people to find it. Sure, they've started doing this with updates to existing products, but for new products, they're going to want to hype it up a bit with a conference.
  22. Joe Hill macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2008
    The iPad is basically a smartbook without a keyboard. It may be a decent one too, but it's too expensive.
  23. macnchiefs macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2009
    For a device that is designed primarily as a media consumption device for the home(and I agree with you) I still find the storage insufficient. All my media at home would pass the 64GB limit quite easily let alone the 16GB, which is just pathetic. I don't want to have to pick and choose what content to sync and what content not to.

    I think Apple views this device as a personal media player as well considering there are no USB ports, has limited functionality with the OS and Mr. Jobs mentioned a few times that you sync it with your existing computer in the house like an iPod. So in my view Apple is positioning this as a glorified iPod that can do a few more things because of it's stronger processor and bigger screen. That definition is not really what I'm looking for personally - I'm looking for a second computer in addition to my MacBook that provides a different user experience. As time goes on I can easily see Apple moving this into more of a mainstream computing product as sales rise and technology improves but for now it really is a glorified iPod, which for some people is exactly what they're looking for and be perfectly happy with.
  24. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    But the biggest critizism is that it's not something new. It's just a minor updated same old iPhone OS on a larger scale piece of hardware. And on hardware that doesn't seem much more functional than a touch.

    With something as big as that, they should have at least included a built-in front facing cam with a default iChat app.
  25. Anuba macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    From a technical perspective it's not new, sure. OK, their home built CPU is new, but they already had multitouch and the iPhone OS. And I doubt that it was too much of a headscratcher for the engineers to size something up considerably, if anything it should've been a refreshing change for a team that normally has to make everything smaller, thinner and lighter.

    But you can also see it as a reboot of the netbook concept. First there was the PC. Then someone figured that you can use PCs to browse the web and check email. Then someone figured hey, if browsing and email is everything some people do, why not create a cheap, crippled PC to use for these things that the PC wasn't made for to begin with, and so the netbook was born. Basically a netbook is like a motorbike that was constructed by chopping a car in half rather than starting from scratch with an optimal design.

    Apple's approach was to go back to square one and start with the basic netbook tasks, and then build a device optimized for performing those tasks and not much else. To a large extent, that device already existed because they did all the work when they created the iPhone. The iPhone is great for those things. So the question is, should they use it as a starting point or should they invent yet another platform just to impress everyone who judges products by how original and groundbreaking they are rather than how functional they are?

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