February 1, 2010

Obligatory iPad brainfart

Every time Apple has an event in which they announce a new product, I need about a week to get out of Jobs reality distortion field1 and be able to process information on my own again.

Mind you, the post-event week is not easy on us geeks. It’s an emotional and intellectual roller coaster. You go through euphoria, disappointment, hope, financial analysis and inner-discovery in a short period of time. Then you open Google Reader, and it starts all over again.

So, the iPad. It’s here. If you have followed some of the news you may have heard the following:

  1. The iPad is just a large iPhone/iPod touch
  2. You should wait for version 2
  3. It’s probably better to buy a netbook

To which I say: No, yes, not really.

iPad and iPhone

There is no question that the iPad shares most of the same DNA as the iPhone. But so does a dolphin with an orca. Point is, the fact that something so different looks like it works in such a similar way, speaks volumes of the detail that went into making this device.

The similarities of the iPad with the iPhone are not because of laziness on Apple’s part. Most likely, it’s the results of a strict design restriction. If you own an iPhonesOS device (like other 75 million people) you needed to be able to know how to use the iPad. Which you do.

iPad and you:

Should you run out and get it? Probably not. Am I getting one? Of course. -“But,”- you say -“it doesn’t have a camera!”- I know. -“And it doesn’t even support multitasking!”- Very true. -“What about your new Kindle?”- Would you shut up and hear me out?

Ok, I got nothing. However, this is about you, not me.

There are couple reasons why should wait a little. For starters, if the iPhone and iPod touch are any indication, it’s likely Apple will update the storage sizes and maybe the prices around November. Also, unlike with the iPhone, it looks like Google & partners” will be able to quickly deliver their own answer for this segment in the same timeframe.

iPad and laptops:

Obviously, all of this assumes that the hoopla around the tablet form-factor has legs. Which I believe it does.

If you typically turn on your TV and immediately open you laptop, you’ll eventually feel the need for the iPad. If do the same with your iPhone or mobile phone, it would happen even sooner.

Try not to dismiss the iPad (or the whole tablet category for that matter) because you feel perfectly fine with your laptop or netbook. Most people where perfectly fine with CD player six years ago, and with a basic Nokia phone even more recently.

iPad and me:

With the iPad, Apple has clearly signaled where they think personal computing is going. Or at least, where they are going to stubbornly pull it towards. Make no mistake about it, the iPhoneOS is the future of the Mac.

In desktop OSes, all complexity is staring back at you every time you use an application. My Mom can always find a way to change something once, and never be able to get back to the same place ever again. I call this UI dead-ends.

On good touch UIs, this isn’t as common. The iPhoneOS has a great UI.

That’s why there will be an iPad in your wish-list someday. Maybe not this year, but sooner or later you’ll see how effortlessly something is done on it. A task that usually takes more than a couple clicks on your computer will be done with a few gestures.

Then you’ll know. Just like I do now. That you need one.

  1. If you don’t understand the reality distortion field, the closest analogy I can give is that it’s like withdrawal symptoms. You know that you are in a place that is not good for you, but you don’t want to leave. You feel safe, real-world problems don’t apply to you, and you’re convinced you can stop believing whenever you want. ↩︎

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