back to article Zuckerberg: the iPad 'is not mobile'

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says the Apple iPad "is not mobile." Today, at Facebook HQ, as the company unveiled a handful of new mobile tools for developers and other partners, Zuckerberg was asked when the company would finally produce an iPad app. "So, the iPad has been out for a while. And this is a mobile event. Are …


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  1. Bill Cumming
    Thumb Up

    As Sheldon might say...


    1. StooMonster


      Is that how one hails Zuckerberg, the king of narcissists and low-self-esteemers?

  2. famousringo

    Just a little confusion over definitions

    The iPad is clearly not 'mobile' in the sense of being a cellular phone or a pocketable device. However it clearly is a computer which is 'mobile.'

    Ballmer seems to agree with him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He should have said "not a phone"

      It's a bit disingenuous to say the iPad is not mobile, because that would also rule out virtually all laptops etc from being mobile devices. Mobile simply means it is easy to pick it up, move to another place, and carry on working without being chained to places that have a powerpoint. A 'desktop' is not mobile in that sense - they are generally awkward/heavy to move, and require an external power source.

      What he could have said is that the iPad is not a phone. Clearly it is too large to use in that way. But the iPad is also clearly mobile - many businesses are rolling out iPads where they would previously have used laptops because iPads have an excellent battery life, are difficult to damage with spills/dust/etc, and are very lightweight.

      1. PatientOne


        @Ralph 5: Laptops are portable devices. Or lug-able as the older designs were known. You 'port' or carry, them from place to place. They are not really usable while you move, however, which is what Mobile infers.

        You can walk around with an iPad while using it. Unless it's the 3G version, however, you're tethered to an open/authenticated wifi node if you want to access a network or the internet.

        So to me, Zuckerberg is correct to an extent: His perspective is related to the internet. iPad's aren't mobile internet devices as 3G is not standard. He is wrong in that the iPad can be used while mobile. You just don't always have internet/network connection.

    2. The First Dave

      Cell / Mobile

      But what you all have to remember is that the naming is more significant than at first glance: Americans refer to mobile phones as Cell Phones, so by using the word 'Mobile' in the name of the show, it was a very clear marker that it was _meant_ to be about more than just phones.

      He said "it isn't mobile" not "it isn't a Cell-phone", so there is no way this was just a minor bit of semantics.

    3. Ted Treen


      "Ballmer seems to agree with him."

      and this is a recommendation?


    4. streaky


      Ballmer, as any Microsofty knows, is an idiot, and needs to stop sucking up to Steve Jobs before Microsoft goes bankrupt.

      If Ballmer says something is something, it isn't something.

  3. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Not really mobile

    To be honest it's touted (and used) as a way to check facebook and twitter on your couch during the commercials in your fave TV show. (and similar).

    Compare the ads: mobile users are most often shown in motion, in the street, on the bus, in airports, etc, and the emphasis is on geolocation apps and other mobility-related stuff. The iPad ads show users wallowing in couches and using the device to read the newspapers, books, or similar "sedentary"activities. So it would seem that Apple doesn't think of the iPad as very mobile either.

    As much as I dislike the brat, he is right on this one.

    1. dssf

      I see iPads on BART almost every day...

      And, i see them on MUNI, almost every day. I don't own one, and i don't feel any compulsion to redirect my limited income to having one. Even if given one for free, i'd rather swap it or trade if for the HTC EVO 4G and a spare hard drive and any leftover cash for another LCD or $100 toward some software.

      But, for Zuckerberg to try to explain it as not mobile, tell that to people who carry them around. Personally, however, i don' t know what it can or cannot do, since i've never touched nor operated one that i can recall.

      But, these might be some interesting links about various users in WiFi vs 3G scenarios:

      1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

        MUNI? BART?

        That makes you a Bay Area resident, and has already been noted, (by many now-poorer tech investors) the behaviour and habits of SFians is highly unrepresentative of the vast majority of ordinary folks out there.

        Us Yooropeans won't be toting our £700 treasures on the bus, I suspect.

        1. The Other Steve

          What's a bus ?

          I use mine on the train all the time, but then again, I tend to sit in the bit of the train where they serve wine in glasses. I've seen iPad density at >1 per table on some journeys

        2. Anonymous Coward

          IPad Density elsewhere.

          Well, On the bit of the train I passed through on my trip this morning to Reading (UK) I counted no less than six iPads. This was an early train from Paddington arriving in Reading before 07:00. I don't have one I might add.

          On my journey from NE Lonodon, I use a Bus, two Tube Trains and a Conventional TRain

          I see them on the London Underground every day.

          I see them on Busses every day.

          Lots of the users are reading online editions of the daily newspapers or sites like the BBC. Others are catching up on the previous nights' TV.

          Mines the one without an iPad in the pocket.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge


      It's more mobile than a laptop given its long battery life and if a tablet is good enough then it's a lot less faff.

      Given Facebook are trying to come up with their own phone and services it is no wonder he's talking down the competition.

      I point you all to this:

      Facebook eyes mobile domination.

  4. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    Also, consider that the first iteration was WiFi only... something you can move around at home, or at a pinch take to the starbucks on Sunday morning to tweet while sipping your Venti half-caf soy no foam latte, not too hot, with a shot of vanilla and a dusting of nutmeg, freshly ground only.

    That pretty much sets the scene, methink. And it looks deliberate, too (to avoid overlap with the iPhone/Pod range perhaps?).

  5. GeorgeTuk

    Suprisingly I agree with him... is a small laptop, more mobile than a laptop but laptop none the less.

  6. Mage Silver badge

    iPad App

    If a 10" screen is so good, and it has a browser why should it need an App?

    maybe a 7" screen might...

    1. ThomH

      The theory is...

      ... that a native app better fits the native user interface paradigms (eg, most iOS apps are navigated as a sort of branching decision tree, whereas web pages tend to have a much more vague hierarchy), and can make better use of local resources. Of course, the point is largely moot if the initial thing was a web page that already fits quite well on the screen.

      Quite often they're just a bad idea though. For the worst of both worlds see the Ars Technica app that just launched ( — and don't worry, Apple don't springboard you straight into loading iTunes with links like that any more). It's basically an HTML viewer that justifies itself on its offline reading capabilities. However, it attempts to ape normal iPad controls in HTML (for portability to other future tablets) and gets most of them quite wrong while also performing very poorly. So the app is a lot worse than the web experience, giving it a 1.5 star average at present on the US store.

      Deciding they need an app, doing it in HTML and making it a much poorer user experience than just using the device's web browser has to be the epitome of poor app strategy.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      If I could upvote you 100+, I would. I too, don't understand the apparent need for any online portal to require an "app" version of their website. I'm pretty sure that web apps were conceived for their universal access, and websites were intended to be cross platform.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Native is faster

      Apps can do this:

      1. Show a notification that you have a new message or updates.

      2. Use native features like taking a photo and easily uploading of photos.

      3. Use native gestures, swipe to delete comments/messages.

      Plus since all the code is on the phone it isn't repeatedly downloading code (javascript), it is just sending commends to a web service and receiving data.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        and less portable

        javascript can pop up alerts. It's not particularly tricky to upload files with a browser either. So while a web site might be missing gesture support there's not a lot of practical stuff in your post that can't be done with web sites. If you have caching enabled and don't expire stuff quickly you won't be constantly downloading javascript either, just when the source changes for fixes and stuff.

        The main thing that's tricky to do on the web is charge for access. But then free apps are a lot more popular than paid ones...

        The point I'm trying to make is that most apps do stuff that can also be accomplished on the web, though to be as slick as an app on all the different browsers and devices is tricky. Nevertheless you'd think that the cross platform nature of web development would make it worth the effort. And it would mean I wouldn't have to listen to objective c programmers swearing and cussing all day.... (it would be web developers cussing at browser rendering differences instead!)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You know on Facebook when you hover the mouse over a comment or status update, and that little "Delete" button appears? You can't do that on an iPad. There is no hover, you're either touching the screen or not.

      That's one of the reasons people would like an app.

  7. Malcolm 1

    I think I respect him more for that comment

    And I thought the whole point of the iPad was that you could use normal websites?

    1. Ben 4
      Jobs Horns

      Exactly so

      Did not Jobs, at the launch, say that the iPad was the best web browsing experience available?

      Therefore it shouldn't need an app.

  8. Robert Heffernan

    Easy definitions...

    Definitions to solve the issue...

    Mobile Device: Battery operated, fits in a standard size pocket. Easily operated while walking.

    Portable Device: Battery operated, too large to fit a standard size pocket. Not so easily operated while walking.


    Jesus Phone = Mobile Device

    Fondle Slab = Portable Device

    1. M Gale

      Portable computer? I have two!

      Four "colour" CGA-compatible greyscale, 286 processor, 640K of RAM and two 720KB DD floppy drives. And space for 10 "C"-size batteries.

      Think it'll run Crysis?

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Don't think so,

        and I would be interested to know whether they run at all!

        I seem to remember that they weren't the most reliable of devices when they were current! And that strange offset flip up screen and fixed keyboard.

        I think that the term used for these and similar devices was 'luggable computers'.

        1. M Gale

          Re: I would be interested to know whether they run at all!

          Perfectly, for as far as a 286 can be said to run. I think "amble leisurely" would be more like it. They keyboard isn't fixed though. The whole thing folds up and you can carry the thing (or, er, heft it) with the handle at one edge.

          If you're lucky, it might run Zelazny-Amber Angband. Not tried that yet though.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Portable computer?

        My dad used to have one of these...

        I wonder what happened to it?

        1. M Gale


          That's frigging awesome. I want one.

          And possibly a warehouse to store all this old crap in.

      3. Hayden Clark Silver badge


        Really - it's real-mode only. I've had mine to bits (to fit an 8087) and the 8086 is in the socket next door.

        1. M Gale

          Mmm, 8086.

          If it's good enough for the space shuttle, it's good enough for me!

  9. FozzyBear

    Just wondering

    Could there be a sadder life form than the person happily sitting in public with their Ipad browsing their facebook page.

    I think I'd prefer being caught browsing nuns in chains fetish porn at work than that

    1. Neonin
      Jobs Horns

      Title? Who needs a title?

      Best. Quote. EVER!

      Well, maybe a slight exaggeration, but you sir win my Laugh of the Day award!

    2. Glenn Amspaugh
      Big Brother

      Very relaxing


    3. Code Monkey
      Thumb Up

      Por fin!

      At last, a comment that's made this semantic circle jerk worth reading (the comments that is, keep the "Zuckerberg makes a cock of himself" stories coming, Reg).

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Shouldn't that be "CockBerg makes a Zucker of Himself"?

  10. Lou 2

    Can I access data on the move?

    Using 3G the answer is clearly yes. Its moves, it can be used while moving, ITS MOBILE

    Apple (read Jobs) must be laughing - who's the higher on the rich list now!

    1. Beritknight

      3G = Mobile?

      By that definition, my 13" Dell with a mini-PCI 3G card is a "Mobile device" as well. Is it at all sensible to suggest that there should be a specific facebook app for my laptop? I don't think so, and clearly anyone who disagrees with me is wrong and deserves to be mocked =)

  11. multipharious

    Conversation (after the mic)

    "Don't you ever take that mic from me again...BITCH!"

    That said...I agree with the posts already. If you cannot walk and operate it at the same is not a mobile device. The iPad may very well be a highly portable device, but the form factor is too big to operate with one hand and the screen too large to require an App.

    @FozzieBear, nuns in chains? Laughing. Pervert! :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      wrong. my dell latitude is mobile.

      With a full battery and a 3g card i can use it walking, driving (but only as a GPS), so your definition is a little vague.

      And to answer your next question: Yes, my left bicep is bigger than my right and I can touch-type with just one hand.

  12. lord_farquaad

    the "incident"

    around 55:18

  13. gimbal

    Dog and pony dances for the press corps - sounds more than a little agonizing

    Thanks for the existential play-by-play, El Reg. I'm sure that a Kafka-esque version of the event will be forthcoming, by the sound of it - from some bright no-fanboi below the horizon?

    Mine's the one that doesn't look like a beetle's bum

  14. Donald Atkinson

    Facebook on your phone isn't mobile either

    Having watched some texting fool emasculate himself on a sidewalk bike rack this afternoon I can safely state that facebook on a phone is no more mobile than facebook on an iPad. I have a 3g iPad and an HTC Incredible with Verizon. The facebook versions for BOTH really need improvement. Zuckerberg needs to stop with the juvenile semantic games and get on with figuring out mobile interfaces for a range of form factors and operating systems. Simple fact is facebook using Safari on an iPad is far better than facebook on a top of the line Android phone.

    1. M Gale

      There, I fixed it for you.

      "Simple fact is I think facebook using Safari on a tablet PC is far better than facebook on a top of the line phone."

  15. Anonymous Coward

    But seriously...

    Who really cares?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...I have to. The definition of whether iPad and other tablets are mobile or not is a hot topic amongst rights holders in various categories. Most sports and music rights holders disagree with Mark Zuckerberg and regard it as a mobile device. Mainly for the obvious reason that there's potentially more money it for them if they take that approach.

      The whole "mobile v. fixed" rights environment is a long way from being settled and its only going to get worse.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Insulting Job

    Is that an iPad in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? As one billionaire may say to another billionaire.

  17. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    iPad? Mobile? Nah, take a look at facebook first.

    Why do we need it?

    ... and why does it have to be 'mobile'?

    ... bitch?

  18. FreeTard

    He's right

    Much as I hate friendface, and the difficulty in deleting your account...... still trying...

    He is correct in that the ipad is not "a" mobile.

    It IS mobile, but its not "a mobile phone". Its exactly the same as my itouch, just with a bigger screen and a more updated OS.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      What, exactly.. an "itouch". An unlicensed knockoff of an Apple product, or a warning to people sharing a lift with you?

  19. cmantito


    After finally having caved and procuring a netbook, I've come to the conclusion that the iPad is just a netbook with less features - like a keyboard or USB host. The iPad would be as much a "mobile device" as my Eee, which I consider as much a "mobile device" as my laptop, which is far less "mobile" than my mobile phone. Not going to bother drawing a further conclusion on this.

  20. Tim Jenkins

    Zuckerberg who?

    He's worth $6.7 billion dollars. He's guested on 'The Simpsons'. His company has 1/10 of the world as users. They just made a movie about him. He's younger than the Apple Mac.

    Nice to see he can still blush...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, he obviously hasn't seen the advert for iPad.

    If you can carry it in your hand on a motorcycle, with nothing to protect it, then surely it must be mobile?!

    Saying that I doubt that the iPad-owning motorcycle rider had a helmet on either...

  22. S 11
    Paris Hilton

    <<<<<< Facebook is People! >>>>>>

    This flunk_toast is getting paid millions to publish people's private information! He's criminally insane!

    Paris, because he wants her level of social acceptance (vapid).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: <<<<<< Facebook is People! >>>>>>

      No he doesn't.... if people want to publish their own information via Facebook, thats for them to decide and do so. However the vast majority of FB users share far less personal informaiton of any value to anyone than you would with any other website you require a login for.

      The whole FB security thing annoys me greatly, non more so than its often pushed by those who do not use and have never used it.

      Facebook is probably far better than Google for what it does with your data - and you share a lot more data with Google - but do people rant onnabout the concerns of downloading apps on the Android mobile phone?

  23. Spock
    Gates Horns

    And Facebook, obviously is all about privacy !!!

    All is in the title

  24. Anonymous Coward


    Does this mean the Facebook app, currently available in the Apple store doesn't work on iPads?

  25. Tom 13

    So, despite being a twit, Zuckerberg got it right, and the fanbois didn't understand.

    It's not a mobile, which everyone pretty much agrees is a device which fits in your pocket. It is mobile in the sense of it is easily carried with you, but that also describes the tablet form factor. Except the fanbois don't want to admit that Apple is selling a pricey tablet. Perhaps a well-designed tablet worth the price (YMMV), but still a tablet.

  26. Doug Glass


    And the universally accepted definition of "mobile" is ???? "is too", "is not", "is too", "is not" ........... n-1.

  27. Mikel

    Partially agree with him

    The iPad is a computer.

    1. M Gale

      ..In the same way that a Nintendo Wii is a computer.

      See title.

  28. rbryanh

    How Much Does It Take?

    We know that in America that being rich never means having to admit you're an elohssa, but can we quantify that? Just how much money do I have to have before I can tihs in public and have the idiocracy applaud?

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