Only an iCretin(tm)
would actually WANT a oversized iPodTouch, and would still need to contact Apple to ask them what use it actually has (is it a oversided iPodTouch, or an under-spec and overpriced netbook?)
Apple has again decided to launch hardware without an operator subsidy - but will the iPad be any more successful in avoiding the operator's shilling than the iPhone was? Earlier this week the UK's operators announced their tariffs for connecting up Apple's 3G iPad, and it seems the cost will be identical or damn close to …
The iPodTouch has made significant incursions into Nintendo and Sony's turf.
It was however more or less a Reconnaissance In Force, not a real engagement. This however is the real assault on their turf supported by heavy media and iTunes store artillery. So there will be a lot of iCretins wanting this after some point when a couple of the more popular games show up for it. Though they will probably be not iCretins, but D&DCretins or WOfWTards instead.
Frankly, I am surprised Apple did not coincide the launch with the availability of a WOfW port.
I want an iPad. I don't want an iPod touch as it's a not as functional as my iPhone. I have specific needs for the iPad, e.g. commuting and lightweight browsing at home/on the road. There's nothing wrong in these requirements.
The iPad is a completely different device that will tell how useful it is. See in a couple of months whether it's a toy in the back of the toy cupboard, or if it's a real tool for communications on the move.
If iCretin then uTwat(tm).
Is exactly what I want. I do most of my domestic browsing on my iPod touch and it's my main interface to my media player - instant on, easy to carry around, great browser interface.
A bigger device of that sort would be perfect for me.
Too expensive as it stands but far from useless.
As a UNIX and storage administrator I completely fail to see the point of owning an ipad (or an iphone, my mobile makes phone calls and has 3 weeks worth of standby time). This is a rather odd feeling, with all the hype Apple generates these days, I do get the impression there should be something - which I seem to be totally lacking.
Somehow like loosing touch to the world surrounding me.
I am yet unsure whether this is a good or a bad thing.
I would love to see the carriers reduced to prime-competitive pipes. I am sick of carriers trying to strike up a relationship- "mythree", Orange asking me which animal I want to be, and texting me at 6 am about magic numbers and how to get my "Dolphin benefits"*.
Frankly, screw them, charching a fortune for very little, and then tarting it up with spurious personalisation. A service that doesn't blow dead goats would be a flying start.
If iSteve is the instrument of the mobile operators being bitchslapped back into the stone age, taught some humility, and made to provide connectivity rather than monkey benefits, then so be it. I can't pretend that I need or intend to buy the iPad, but find the potential debate fascinating.
* Sounds filthy
People just don't get it. The carriers will win in every scenario because of their business model. They will gladly sell you services without attached hardware, and turn right around and sell services with attached hardware to someone else.
That's the chief issue I have with the logic of this article, if it even qualifies as such. Apple isn't sticking it to the carriers at all. The carrier have the customer base and offer connectivity services that people feel they can't live without. Apple's customer base is a fraction of the carriers' and they offer shiny, "magical" boxes that normal people just won't buy at their ridiculous price points. Anyone with a carrier background will laugh at this article, because it's written from an Apple PoV as though they can take down the carriers. What a complete joke!
The iPhone didn't reach any level of popularity until it was available via subsidy from the carriers. The iPad will be no different, although it can't reach the iPhone's pre-subsidy level of success because of the very niche market (portable meda player/book reader) it's trying to fill. Everyone (even children) have phones now. How many people have Kindles, Nooks, etc? There's just not the same market for the device, no matter how magical.
"Apple isn't letting the mobile operators sell the hardware this time around, having learnt that the best technology in the world has a hard time sitting next to "free" stuff. You want an iPad, you have to go to Apple, which avoids punters even seeing what the competition has on offer; and that could matter more once the competition improves."
So, when it's released in European countries, will there be a Apple store in...say, Oulu, Finland? Our network operators (Elisa, DNA, sonera etc) have their own shops where I can try the product.
Elisa store down the road has Nokia, iPhone, HTC, LG etc all over the shop. Even Acer, HP and Asus machines. Customer can compare.
But, if Apple's model is to buy off the web, what technically-not-necessarily-savvy folks are really gonna do that? Bit like buying a 'pig-in-a-poke, surely? ..."which avoids punters even seeing what Apple has to offer"
Then simultaneously, our non-geek is gonna have to figure out what accessories he needs for his camera, printer, how to operate his 3G card?
That's why people go to shops, to ask - face to face with someone knowledgeable (No "Curry's" here!) rather than use internet/email/premium rate phonelines.
I think the paragraph I indicated at the beginning will come back to roost.
Isn't this another case of "Mr. Bullet, meet Mr. Foot"?
(Now if I, a "mactard", can find that from here in Australia...)
That said, I think this article is largely bollocks - comparing it directly to a phone misses the point somewhat - but it has a bit of a point there when it talks about untying the connection between network operators and device. That's less of an issue in Europe and Australia, but a biggie in the US.
All those results are resellers and Apple have already said that the iPad will only be available at Apple stores and not through their reseller chain. So the actual number of places in Oulu where you can get your sticky paws on an iPad is "fuck all".
No love? Apple doesn't need to subsidise it, they are in fact struggling to meet demand at the current prices!
The 16G model with 3G is just a little bit more than an unsubsidised smart-phone, which seems about right to me given the screen size.
Also, the pounds performance on the FX markets is not Steve Jobs fault! Although perhaps if the UK had more world class companies like Apple we'd be seeing a better exchange rate! Get used to this, because the pound may fall even further and all these toys are going to cost us more relative to our income!
The ipad is a very elegant device and its integration with the best application store in the industry is a killer feature.
If you feel it's too much, sure, get cheap netbook and miss out on all the excellent cheap software on the appstore, deal with the cramped keyboard and try and pretend touch interfaces are a gimmick.
Take your choice, it's a free country!
If you play around with one, you can see why someone would want one. They're very useful for quick searches, just to have laying around. Now why anyone would fork over so much money for one is another thing. That's a lot of money for something I'd use to check email in bed, especially as my phone already does a decent job of that. Honestly, Apple does a good job of making these things "special" and status symbols. I'm sure they don't want these to be as disposable as mobile phones.
I don't know what Mobile carriers are like in the UK, but if they're anything like they are here, they deserve to be screwed in any way possible.
on unsubsidised data only packages. For example 3 will do you a data only SIM for £5/month, and that's for a 1 month contract. Most of these "get a free laptop when you get mobile broadband" deals turn out to e more expensive than buying a laptop and getting your broadband separately.
I'm a software engineer with many years of experience on multiple platforms. Most projects I work on have one thing in common: Large, highly interrelated APIs. Learning the languages for development is relatively easy, even if it does take a while to understand the deeper nuances of each; learning the APIs, on the other hand, is a very big job. API documentation tends to be in heavily linked HTML or well indexed PDF format. Being able to very swiftly move around the documentation, both within a document and by switching between them, is vital to keep productivity high and frustration down.
I usually want both of my two monitors for development (one for the code, the other for the results of the code). Switching between virtual desktops or shuffling windows around interrupts workflow, so I tend to read documentation on a third display - a laptop at present. As with most laptops it has a landscape orientation display which is poor for reading reference material. It doesn't easily sit next to my keyboard for "glance down reading" because it's got a keyboard, which is essentially wasted space; with the display folded back to a viewable angle it has a large combined footprint. So - it can be used for the task, but it's a long way from ideal.
What I really need is an e-reader. An e-ink display is no good because it's too unresponsive for rapid navigation. This puts me into the domain of tablets. For those, I have other use cases - infinite virtual paper for sketches during client meetings; custom applications for mock-up page layouts for web design; that kind of thing. An accurate, responsive touchscreen is thus a benefit. It'd be good to allow remote desktop connections, and sure, decent web browsing for general use when I'm sat square-eyed in front of the TV but want to be even *more* square-eyed at the web. There were numerous applications covering all of this even before the iPad was released.
So we get to the price issue. Before launch, prophesies of a $999 starting price abounded. The web was full of confident assertions that the iPad would cost a cool grand, usually coupled with statements along the lines of "...needs to cost half as much to consider it". So guess what? It costs half as much, but people still say it's too expensive.
IMHO it's not particularly *overpriced*, it's just *a lot of money* for the unit. There's a difference. It's annoying in the UK that the economy has managed to tank so hard (!) that the exchange rate to USD is so unfavourable - a 1.6/1.7 rate or better would probably have meant a sub-£400 entry price - but exchange rates plus mandatory VAT and duty hikes apply to any US company.
What of the competition? What other high accuracy touchscreen tablet computer can I get which will do what I require? Well - not many. The JooJoo tablet proved, by sadly sucking really hard, that everything Apple was saying about Atom chipsets and Flash power consumption are pretty much spot on. The HP tablet, which was going to be the "iPad Killer", was such a great success that HP have killed it and are rumoured to be working on a WebOS alternative. As for Microsoft, they haven't even released any real Windows Phone 7 Series devices yet and Courier was nothing but imagineware.
Many companies claim to be working on similar tablets, though. Considering the iPad is supposed to be - many commenters would have me believe - so very overpriced and very useless, it's surprising that so many other companies seem to want to copy it.
My biggest concern is the lockdown issue - but lo and behold, it's already been jailbroken. Problem solved. Meanwhile, if you don't want a locked or unlocked Apple tablet because you want one with a "full OS", then why haven't you bought one already? They've been around for the last decade or so.
Here we go, another too-long post... :-)
An extra monitor doesn't help with e.g. portable group working and may not easily lie next to the keyboard for glance-down reading. There may be window focus and control issues (think "workflow interruption") - a touchscreen monitor may help with that. The 7" Mimo 720S is around £145, so almost 1/3 the price of an iPad, but it's stand-based (can't lie flat on its back due to USB input port), small (7" 800x480), the touchscreen is quite unresponsive (no multitouch etc., don't know how good the OS X driver is for e.g. inertial scrolling) and it requires an attached computer to be any use. All that said, if *all* someone wanted was an extra display for reading, your suggestion is a good one and who knows, I may yet go that way if I decide I just don't want to spend >= £429 on a gadget!
The two monitors I have are high quality units. Even though they're getting old, replacing one or both of them with similar quality, larger, higher resolution unit(s) to achieve greater desktop area would cost considerably more than an iPad does, although perhaps balanced by resale value of the old monitor(s). That would pay for a display-only device tethered to my desktop machine and the mains. Lots of people might find a 2nd monitor or bigger main monitor a good choice if - again - all the other functions a(ny arbitrary) tablet can perform were unimportant.
A graphics tablet connected to a laptop would allow me to use a pen or maybe fingers for quick sketching. However, as with any remote control device, the screen and the control surface are not one and the same; this is why combined graphics tablet and monitor units are becoming very popular with graphic designers and enthusiastic amateurs - who have sufficiently deep pockets. At least it can be a portable solution, ish.
Using a laptop in a meeting creates the "craned neck problem", which I imagine most El Reg readers are familiar with - having the laptop at an angle which makes it visible to two or more people yet also accessible for typing and the trackpad (or a tablet, maintaining visual coordination between tablet and screen) is difficult. Being able to lay the screen flat on the table and still interact with it would help. Better still, if screen and control surface are one, everyone can get involved with the hands-on work. There are laptops with twistable screens which turn into tablets but these tend to be expensive and the full-on laptop compromises of weight and battery life bite. There are interesting cheap devices like Always Innovating's Touchbook too. That might be a contender were it not for its unresponsive touchscreen and a lack of software support. It's a great device, but it doesn't fit my use cases; if you're going to do fat-finger computing, you really do need a fat-finger GUI, not just a launcher on top of a standard WIMP environment.
You're all correct, there are other ways to do all the things I mentioned but there are devices which fit particular use cases better or make life easier. One can find cheap solutions or kludges to achieve a goal, but it's not necessarily the best way to go about something. Tablet computers are often expensive, but as I said before, this doesn't necessarily make them overpriced or worthless. IMHO the key to it all has been to recognise the need for a completely dedicated tablet UI. Apple got there first in the mainstream (albeit not first overall) with the iPhone, but the post-iPhone Smartphone GUI "boom" shows that lots of other people now have the kind of software stacks which could do just as good (or better) a job.
The computer industry obviously perceives numerous use cases for tablets because it's been making them for years and years now. The original question was if Apple's specific "locked down" spin on a tablet is a good solution and personally, I can see lots of uses for it already, and I'm pretty sure that I'll discover all sorts of things I hadn't thought of if I end up owning one. I'm rather hoping, however, that someone will release a really strong Android (or similar) contender in the mean time, because I'd quite like to have a choice of similar devices - right now Apple are the only company to have produced something that actually works properly. While lots of people are complaining about it not being a useful device, lots of other companies are busy copying it :-)
What other accurate tablet???
well, there are dozens of tablets out there that use wacom technology for the touch screen, WAY more accurate than fat fingertips, when sketching you can rest your hand/wrist on the display without interfering, core processors murder the A4 for all tasks...
My aging Taitung Slate tablet now runs Win7 rather well, with an ULV centrino and 60gb of storage... It has wifi and a pcmcia HSDPA card... when it comes to presenting i can wirelessly attatch to a projector, use the LAN to connect or plug a VGA lead into it... its now nearly 6 years old and has taken some heavy abuse and still comes back for more... need a real keyboard and mouse? usb or bluetooth... problem solved... need to import images from a camera or data from a hard drive? USB...
the down sides... well, ts not instant on, it takes a little while to recover from hibination and the battery lasts for about 2.5 hours... but apart from multi touch and all the ihone fart apps, im not really losing out on much... :)
El Reg does realise that Apple can't make enough iPads at the moment as demand is so high? So why do they need to allow/accept network subsidies to increase the sales?
I've no doubt that we will see a subsidized iPad in a few months when demand has scaled back and they have the capacity to make and sell more. But right now what is the point of supplying devices for the subsidized market when they can barely cope with the demand from people paying the full price?
The concept that mobile phones and laptops are 'subsidised' by the operators is a myth; Simple accounting that passes over most people's heads, along with 'free minutes' and 'free internet' bundles.
Getting a 'free' device by paying an extra £10 a month on your contract for a minimum 2-year contract is equivalent to buying the device for £240. Simple.
Calling such an arrangement a 'subsidy' is misleading, and pandering to the operator's ongoing strategies of misleading customers over pricing.
While the end-user does end up paying for it, who do you think supplies Apple with the upfront capital for those iPhones sitting on store shelves at your local mobile phone store? It's not the Government. And Apple doesn't just give them away on good faith.
Rather than pass along the direct cost, the carriers pay for the phones and recoup their money over the life of the contract. Not sure how much clearer that can be.
"Shut up about this thing, it doesn't have Flash,"
"it doesn't have a proper OS,"
Whatever that is. Do you know what OS your refrigerator runs? Or what OS your television runs? What a d**k waving statement, which only indicates that you have a itsy-bitsy....
"and it doesn't stand up on its own unless you cart about the dock."
And an egg won't stand up on end too. What is the point of this statement other than to demonstrate that you think that nothing is something. Well done.
"It's a heavy cumbersome media player, nothing more..."
You own one? Trialled one? Touched one?
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My very non-techie friend wants to be able to easily access interweb content and email at his new house.
The choices are:
Windows based PC: Tons of confusing stuff to set up initially RE AV, Anti-Spyware, firewalls, - all of which I'd have to do for him. At the laptop will be borked in about 3-9 months time and require re-installing - more work for me.
Would probably involve help/training from me with occasional top-up lessons.
Mac: Better - but he still would struggle a bit with all the options/apps available. Probably a bit expensive as well. Battery life not the best.
Would probably involve help/training from me with occasional top-up lessons.
Ubuntu based laptop/netbook.
Probably better - our five year old is quite comfortable with the netbook remix type interface on my Dell Mini 9. But still may be difficult due to PC style interface.
Would probably involve help/training from me with occasional top-up lessons.
Form factor is too big for using on the sofa - god knows I spend hours with my on a lap tray - but I'm sad and working.
OK weight/size wise. But how do you hold it and type. And let's face it (whisper it) netbooks are too small for much more than reading the reg when suffering from Ghandi's Revenge.
(Actually, netbooks are great to be able to stay connected when away travelling - especially as they fit into normal safes at hotels).
iPad - now - in our local cafe I constantly see builders happily playing around with their battered iPhones. Hmm.
So my friend's mail is web-based - he's getting on OK with Google docs. And my sister is using Google calendar linked to all her school's calendars with no probs.
iPad fits well into the sofa lounging pattern.
And the work for my would be - setting up the wifi connection to his virgin box. Nothing else.
So - when he asks what should he have - the iPad it is!
OK - so it's limited RE printing (until the iPrinter is released) - limited RE Flash - but it means I don't have to work outside work!
And providing the app store apps stay high quality then he can even add more stuff as and when.
Apple is selling the iPad through some of its own channels and Best Buy in the US, and will be selling them in a few more countries through its own channels and "select independent outlets" in a few more countries (most of the big countries of Europe + Australia + Canada + Japan) in a couple of weeks. Then similar in a few more smaller countries in Europe and Asia in July. After that, who knows who knows how long it will take for them to get to the rest of the world? I said *some* of its own channels because they are not at present selling it even through their own student and employee channels. (Apple employees who want one have to get in the queue like everyone else when off duty, although I believe they do get a 10% employee discount when they get to the front). Introduction and delivery dates keep slipping, too.
The small number of countries and channels at present is simply due to the fact that Apple is having difficulty ramping up production to meet demand. The iPad has new custom silicon, and is an all new product line, and when you cannot produce enough product to meet demand, you favour your own most profitable sales channels rather than others that you have less control of and that make you less money. Apple has said that iPads will be available through more sales channels later in the year, and I am sure they will.
I also think it is very likely that these sales channels will include mobile phone networks and their retail businesses. Apple has been quite willing to allow mobile networks to sell its unsubsidised products in the past, and has been quite happy to let them be bundled with mobile phone contracts. (There have been lots of "Take out this mobile contract and we will give you a free iPod" deals, and the like. Three presently has deals where they will give you am iPod touch if you take out a broadband contract and a MiFi, and there are plenty more deals like that). When there is plenty of availablity, I am sure we will find mobile networks bundling iPads with contracts, too.
Except that it will be entirely on Apple's terms. Mobile networks will be sold iPads at the same wholesale price that Apple sells them to anyone else. The iPads will be indistinguishable from those sold elsewhere and will be unlocked. The networks will have no input into the iPad whatsoever. In truth, I pretty much agree with most of the article.
Well thats what the head of one "Electronics & Computer Science" school/dept. in a UK university described it as... And as an Apple user I wouldn't want one, non-upgradeablity of Apple products sucs
Just don't drop the bloody thing, iPhone dropped 3 feet onto a carpeted floor, cracked screen, £130 to repair it by Apple, how much for an iPad screen???
I like a few others don't really know what the iPad is actually for and I can't find a killer reason why the mass market would want one. The iPhone started out as a overpriced phone lacking buttons and basic features even the cheapest piece of crap nokia phone had but it didn't take long for people to start drooling over the shininess did it! Now people cant cope without one and other phones had to up their game as a result.
If the iPad was more geared up as a content creation device it would be great for nerds - but as a consuming device they might as well just rename it as the "facebook/iPlayer/Hulu/Popcap Games/Fart App Pad" as it's probably what it is going to be used as in the main.
Paris, because she is the target market - simple but not poor (financially not taste)
even the die-hard apple fans in my office struggled to think of a purpose for the ipad. and then one arrived for s/w testing and suddenly the strange drug-like effect of apple bling hit them and they wanted one
personally I find it too big to be useful - but not too heavy. I'd rather carry round a premium lightweight netbook which would have keyboard, webcam, memory card reader, usb ports etc, as it'd be more functional, and I can plug in a 3G usb/thumb adaptor or use bluetooth to make a 3G connection via my nokia phone whose purpose is to make calls and be a 3G gateway.
however, just 'cos I find it pointless, doesn't mean to say there are some people for whom it'd be very useful; however, it's quite expensive for what it is.
The iPad is not an iPhone.
Yes there is a range of models that offers 3G connectivity but I don't see the iPads major role as being out on the open road without a wifi hotspot in sight.
I dont see why carriers would even want to sell iPads with contracts... you cant make calls from it so they would not make any money to pay for a subsidy anyway.
I am getting a 3G iPad in a few weeks time... Why? I don't really know... But I do know that if I ever DO need a slow 3G link this is the only (simple) way to get it... besides its also the only way to also get one GPS enabled.
I don't get all these "it's for Grandma" posts.
I know a couple of Grandmas and here's a few things they do with their PCs:-
1. Play minesweeper (OK, there's an app for that)
2. Play Scrabble (OK)
3. Email. It does this.
4. Browsing. It does this.
5. Book hotels abroad for holidays. This means they like to print out the booking details. *FAIL*. Only possible by a Heath Robinson app set up involving running something on your PC.
6. Let the grandkids come over and play Flash games. *FAIL*
7. Webcam with grandkids. *FAIL*
Worst of all, I just don't see grandmas with not particularly flexible muscles and strength either holding up a device or having to bend over to read it in their lap. Give them internet that they can run from a TV and you have a winner.
It's just a super expensive toy for hipsters.
So I am one of the (un)lucky ones depending on your point of view but would really like to get connected on 3G. A friend has created his own "Micro-Sim" using a meat cleaver and scissors BUT your article suggests 3 have them in stock.
However, a heated exchange this morning revealed that if they do the sales department has no idea where they are - I might as well have asked to buy a pound of mince!
p.s. for me the iPad rocks - from a man who used to lug around a laptop and an old school paper notebook / now it's all iPAd
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