Something to ask yourself about the iPad and it's feature set.......

Discussion in 'iPad' started by BruiserBear, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. BruiserBear macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2008
    I want to start by making it clear I'm not some sort of iPad "troll". I'm even likely buying one at launch. I just asked myself this question last night, and I found it an interesting thought to ponder.

    What is the absolute bare minimum Apple could have done with the iPad in regards to it's design and feature set? The answer that I came up with is exactly what we have in the current iPad.

    It's current incarnation is just enough to make me interested, but it did sort of bum me out to realize that they did just the absolute bare minimum with this product. It doesn't really offer a single solitary feature that an iPhone/iPod Touch does not, other than a larger screen.

    It's kind of stunning to me when I think about it, and it's particularly amusing when thought of in the presence of Apple's marketing speak about it being a "revolutionary" product. That statement is rather lol inducing in hindsight.

    I browse the web a lot on my iPhone, as I only have a desktop at home, and don't always feels like being anchored to that desk and room of the house. So for me the iPad fits that niche and I'm strongly considering buying one instead of a laptop. But I do think it's a mistake for Apple or anyone to think the iPad is going to take off and set the world on fire with sales in it's current form. I think they did the absolute bare minimum in creating it, and I just don't think a lot of people are going to run out to buy one in the coming year.
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Personally, I think you are wrong
    But only time will tell
  3. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Go to watch the keynote again and look at the feature list. It does alot more than the iPhone/touch and has some key advantages over both!

    (where is the troll button)
  4. NewtypeCJ macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2005
    Decatur, GA
    Bare minimum out of the box features maybe. But a lot of the abilities of the device are going to be extended by apps as we've already seen with the iPhone/iPod Touch. And, we're looking at OS 3.2 here, which means if it follows the iPhone software updates closely or comes at the same time we may see more enhancements there.
  5. BruiserBear thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2008
    I've watched the keynote, and I still have no idea what you are referring to.

    I figure people are going to ask me "so what more could they reasonably have done with it?". Well, I'll give you a couple quick thoughts on that.

    Instead of just ripping the exact OS from the iPhone/iPod Touch, they could have created a genuine hybrid that combines the best stuff of the iPhone OS, but allowed for true multitasking, and features that would allow for some sort of a layered experience. I mean, the iPad is clearly more powerful than an iPhone, so why not make that power useful? Make the machine truly more capable than an iPhone.

    Before you go off labeling me as just "another one of those people that wants multitasking and flash", just ask yourself why this machine couldn't do more than an iPhone? Why did Apple decide to cripple it to such a degree? Why make it so limited? It's almost like they're flat out arrogant, and they just expect anything they put to sell these days. It kind of bothers me underneath it all.

    They just needed to do a bit more do differentiate the product. Instead they basically rewrote their basic iPhone apps and said "good enough".
  6. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    That's a huge "other than" - - the scale will change the experience a great deal.
  7. -M7- macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006
    It's really hard to "just" rewrite the basic iPhone apps to be perfect for a bigger screen. Don't underestimate the amount of work it takes to get just the basic stuff polished for tablet use.
  8. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    Whether it does the "absolute bare minimum" or not is debatable, but assuming it's true, some people might consider that a virtue rather than a problem. Most computers today, including Macs, follow what is called the 80/20 rule. That is, 80% of users only use 20% of the features that are present, and the other stuff just makes doing what they want more confusing or complicated. One of Apple's design principles with the iPad is to make a device that doesn't complicate things by doing the 80% of stuff that only 20% of people use. It's usually hard for techies like us to appreciate this fact, but it makes the device much more accessible to a lot of people.

    Make the screen five inches by eight inches, and you'll rule the world. - Alan Kay, after first seeing the original iPhone. Alan Kay is the father of such minor things as the GUI, object-oriented programming, and the first laptop concept.

    The screen size opens up a whole new world of software.
  9. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    And does this not follow a familiar pattern? The first generation of an Apple product comes out missing a lot features that some people deem critical but makes it good enough to get a ton of people to jump on the bandwagon. Then over the next couple of years new iterations come out with some of the missing features added and the early adapters but the product again, along with some who held out on the first generation.
  10. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    Yet another person who wants to make the iPad about the hardware.
  11. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    What about the iBooks and iWorks programs that it has. Those are both two new features that the iphone/ipod touch do not have.

    It also most likely has the ability to print and file share, which you can't do on the iphone.

    And you can import photos directly to the ipad through the adapter you can buy, another new feature.

    Also, it has a much faster processor than the iphone or ipod touch.

    Therefore, it obviously offers alot more features than the iphone/ipod touch has.
  12. mullman macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2004

    IMHO it is totally going be be about the SW!
  13. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I print with my iPhone all the time - pictures, docs - there are apps for that. File sharing as well.
  14. PhoneI macrumors 68000

    Mar 7, 2008
    Whats "a lot of people"? Most people think it will sell millions of units.
  15. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    (1) Maybe the tradeoffs for 'making a genuine hybrid OS' would have been too great. If you want to know what they might be, they've been discussed to death in other threads.
    (2) How do you know the iPad isn't using its extra power to run the apps and features it currently has? Full scale maps for example can be pretty demanding.
    (3) How do you know the iPad is not already more 'capable' than an iPhone? Are you saying 'more features' = 'better than'? If you are, you're wrong. Products don't succeed based on number of features alone.

    You make it sound like Apple had actually produced a 'better' device and arbitrarily decided to scale things back. This is absurd, since they don't make their decisions in a vacuum. More features (or whatever you think they did wrong) might have meant poorer user interaction, worse performance, or a price that would not have made economic sense. Or maybe it would have made a product that you would have preferred, but they don't make their products to satisfy you specifically.

    All these things have economic, design, and technological constraints; it's not like Steve Jobs just says 'hey let's not bother to do that easy thing which would make our product unequivocally more successful'.
  16. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    Seriously, this comes up all the time, about how Apple got lazy and just decided to not bother doing anything differently. Do people that say this think Apple has a 'supersize machine' they tossed an iPod Touch into?

    Do you really think making an iPad is that easy that you can literally just say 'hey put flash on it and a camera on it and do all sorts of other things like a touch-sensitive OS similar to OS X' and they press the magic 'do the thing I said' button and poof it happens for zero dollars?
  17. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Printing and file sharing built in is ALOT different then using a multitude of inadequate apps to print or file share.
  18. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Having worked for a major manufacturer of cellular phones and technology I can tell you that companies DO hold back advanced features for several reasons. Two of the biggies are a) adoption rate and b) upgrade sales

    An adoption rate example is that the technology to have video messaging was possible well over a decade ago. But in the US - barely anyone was texting. T9 typing wasn't popular (it was HUGE in Asia). That's why other continents have better phones/features. It wasn't until texting became adopted widespread in the US that more features (picture messaging, then video) became available. It was a combination of use and the ability to introduce one at a time to scale/adjust pricing models

    Which leads to reason #2 - upgrade sales.

    Companies release products already having next iterations well into the pipeline. Many times future iterations have these different hardware/software components and are thoroughly tested and WOULD work in the current model - but they hold back so they can upsell early adopters into the next gen device. Whet people's appetites and give them a great experience and then release someone just a little (or a lot) better shortly after and now you can sell them again easily.

    There are many other reasons - but those are two big ones.
  19. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Well inadequate is in the eye of the beholder. Anything I would want or need to print from my iPhone has been handled GREAT with the apps I've downloaded.

    That's not to say native printing/file sharing isn't great.
  20. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    In other words, it didn't make business (economic) sense to do those easy things, and thus if they had done those things, the products would not have been as successful. How is that different from what I said? I can't tell if you are agreeing with me or disagreeing.
  21. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Product success based on those features has little to do with it. And I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you - but posting my experience.

    Phones that had video messaging a decade ago wouldn't' necc sell LESS - but the feature wasn't mainstream/compelling to the consumer. The benefits/pricing structure wasn't adopted, yadda yadda.

    Another example is that the cable industries, for years have choked their bandwidth (especially years ago) with the introduction of cable modems. They've had the ability to sell very high speeds for home use. They didn't back then because of the two reasons I mentioned above. One - content wasn't at a point where consuming that much data was much of an issue - and 2 - they wanted to introduce it at one price point and then be able to upsell over the years.

    If they had rolled out high speed access at current speeds without choking, they'd have no where to go pricing and "new" offering wise.
  22. gr8ful macrumors member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Can someone help me to understand which missing hardware features would have made this a device that you just could not pass up? Front-facing camera? All Apple laptops and iMacs have them and yet 10- 15% or less people iChat on any consistent basis. USB or SD? Would have been nice, but the iPad Camera Connection Kit offers a viable alternative. Dedicated video out, can be done through the dock connector.

    All these and more will likely be added in the future, but I still fail to see where any are show-stoppers. I don't fault Apple for leaving out some of these nice to have yet not essential features in order to get the price to a point that the "masses" will pay for. A new break-out device, like the iPad, will benefit more from a handful of choice features that integrate seamlessly than throwing in every feature you can think of including the kitchen sink resulting in a confusing and unenjoyable user experience.

    The revolutionary aspect of the iPad is and will be the software. For the first time we have a true tablet that is easy to navigate -- easier in fact than navigating on a desktop. It not only has a multi-touch based OS but go back and look at the iWork demo in the Keynote and see how well Apple's multi-touch implementation works with productivity applications. The wave of new applications using multi-touch will be the true revolution.

    You'll get your kitchen sink hardware features eventually, but what will make the iPad successful will be exactly what makes the iPhone successful ---- Innovative Software --- not 8MP cameras with flash, built-in video projectors, or any other wiz bang hardware feature thrown in with no real user demand.

  23. BruiserBear thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2008
    Again, they did the bare minimum. Who thought they wouldn't redesign their most basic apps to work better on the bigger screen?

    Believe it or not I'm definitely one of those 80% users. I don't truly want to do complicated things on my computers. So think about that for a second. When you see people like myself that just want the most general of functionality, and we don't see it being possible in the iPad, I think they've got a problem on their hands. That is why I mentioned them being arrogant. They seem to think that everyone is just going to settle for this bare minimum bar that they've set for their products like the iPad.

    I'm just asking for a step above the iPhone here, where I could actually have an IM client open, and run an App or Game as well. Like I said, just give us one big nugget that says "this is a step above the iPhone OS". They simply refused to do even that.

    Wrong. I'm talking about making the OS just a little bit more capable than the iPhone.

    Creating an iBook program and making an iWork app for the iPad fits right in with what I said. Doing the bare minimum. Those are not impressive feats of programming prowess. Printing and filesharing *might* be present in some capacity, but they even made this more complicated than it should be with the lack of a SINGLE SOLITARY USB port.

    All I said was that they did the bare minimum. You seem to be suggesting that the iPhone OS is essentially maxed out at this point, and simply cannot be improved upon or evolved another step, even with a larger screen. That is poppycock. They did the bare minimum, which was essentially taking the iPhone OS and making VERY minor tweaks to it.

    This is a massive company with huge resources of talent within. They can do more than this. I'm certain of it. I think they're just taking their confidence in the iPhone a little too far, and they think that the iPad is OK with the same OS and very little added to it. I disagree. I think for this device to truly be seen as fantastic it needed to be clearly more capable than an iPhone. Not just feature a bigger screen and be done with it.
  24. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I also think a lot of "improvements" in the iPad are under the hood. Take, for example, battery life. That big bright screen, and it's rated for 10 hours of battery life. I was expecting something like 5-7 hours. All first-hand reports say that the iPad is very fast and smooth. Again, a lot of hardware tweaking went in to make that possible. And getting all that into a form factor that thin and light wouldn't have been a walk in the park, either. The iPad OS also has pop-up menus, a feature not in iPhone OS. iWorks for iPad may share the same name as the desktop version, but I bet creating that took almost as much effort and resources as writing a completely new software. Calender, Contacts and iPod apps were also majorly revised for the iPad. So I don't think Apple has been lazy at all. I think Jobs et al put in a tremendous amount of work to make the iPad possible, and they are rightly proud of their accomplishment. It's just that most of their effort don't show up in a features checklist, so it's hard for the general public to fully appreciate it.

    Since jailbroken iPhones can do this type of multitasking, I don't think Apple left out multitasking because they are lazy. I don't know about "arrogant" -- my impression is that Apple is being very cautious with the rolling out of their touch-based platform. Yes, they are obviously withholding features that they could put in now, such as multitasking or front camera for video chat, and part of that may be for "upsell" like SamCraig mentioned, but I think they are weary of confusing people by flooding them with too many new features at once. They started with releasing the iPhone and the touch. Now they have a base of users who know how to use the iPhone OS. They purposefully didn't want to make the iPad OS too different from that. Like Jobs said, "everyone who's used the iPhone knows how to use the iPad," and that's the way they wanted it to be. We'll eventually get multitasking, but on Apple's time frame. If that is "arrogant," well, ok, they are arrogant, and they always will be. Or at least as long as Jobs is in charge.
  25. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    AHhhhhhh - but isn't that a "potential" problem then? Just playing devil's advocate.

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