Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad; Umm, no.

I've been wrong about Apple products before. It's a lot like my experiences with watching Project Runway with my wife (and no, idontwanna). I'll see it and think, 'man, that bites' and the judges will rave about it. So my taste compared to modern aesthetes is not to trusted.

That said, look at the thing, and be honest with yourself. Tell me this doesn't look like a bad Photoshop? All that cool that Apple is famous for, and the best design they could come up with was to take the iPhone and swell it up? "NO, WAIT" says mac-zealot, "it's got a bezel round the screen, see? It's different from the iPhone!"

It's different in other ways, too. They left off the camera. An absolutely perfect platform for video teleconference a la 2001, and they left the bloody camera off. Genius. But it is similar in that, like the iPhone, they trick the eye into thinking it's slimmer than it is by making it rounded on the back. That's going to make this thing a joy to use while resting on a table. Tap screen for key press, iPad rocks. Rinse and repeat. Yeehaw.

Apple's alleged megamarket here is ebooks. I'm skeptical. Two reasons.

I've been reading electronic books for twelve years. I started out on CRTs, then when the first PDAs became accessible to mere mortals, I used Apple Newtons, Handspring Visors, Compaqs, Sharp Zaurus (Zaurii?), and more recently, a Sony eBook and an Amazon Kindle.

eInk isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Backlit screens are monumentally horribly hard on the human eye. Sure, they're great for television, they're good for movement such as flash enabled pages, they're decent for short blurbish functions like twitter and such. But most human beings without cybernetic implants cannot handle long haul documents on a back light without lots of breaks, attention deficit, eye strain, and so on.

Ever since I moved to eInk, it's been a blessing. The difference is incredible, and I will never go back to trying to read for long periods of time that way again. I'm fairly certain that reading novel length docs on backlit LCD is the reason why I'm sporting specs these days; I urge folks looking to buy this thing as a book reader to reconsider. If you happen to know me, I'd be happy to lend you one of my old hand helds as a test run, then let you try my eBook reader for an hour or so. You'll see what I mean.

The other reason I'm skeptical about Apple making a dent in this market is Amazon. Taking on a giant like that is quite an ambitious undertaking, and frankly, I just don't think Apple has the balls to do the job.

Granted, they can handle music. But music and books are very different fields. Books are more like software, and we've seen repeatedly that Apple has no qualms about restricting access to software for political motivations. You might be able to get away with that in the App Store, but you pull that off on what folks can read, and they'll bury your supposed 'cool' company hype faster than you can say book burner.

I hope it doesn't pan out that way, though. Apple stock jumped like salmon during mating season on pure hype alone when rumors leaked that Apple was selling a great big ol iPhone. Let's hope it works for the stockholders' sakes, eh?


  1. They are saving the camera for the second gen so they can sell millions more!

  2. Yep. But hey, it's also 67.923% cooler that the first generation unit, and is .78 percent slimmer!