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5 Reasons Tablets Suck, and You Won't Buy One 553

Posted by timothy
from the for-some-values-of-you dept.
Crazzaper writes "When the iPad was announced, a lot of people who didn't care about tablets came out to bash Apple's new device. These same people said 'I would have bought it if it had a full OS,' but in reality full OS tablets existed before the iPad rumors even started. This article gives an interesting perspective on why this happened, and argues that there's five big reasons why more powerful tablets exists but no one cares."
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5 Reasons Tablets Suck, and You Won't Buy One

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  • Battery life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @03:57PM (#31552020) Journal

    The thing is, it's not about the widget. It's about the opportunities it enables, the possibilities it creates. A tablet that plays 10 hours of hi-def video and audio on one battery charge definitely has its niche. One that does so on a screen that you can actually use with Citrix or RDP over wireless or cellular wireless? Another niche. Ebooks too? You can use it to carry your reference materials? And you can keep up with your social media at the same time? What about navi? Will it find me the closest theatre that's playing the movie I want to see, even if I'm in a strange town, give me showtimes and navigate me to it?

    Yeah, a full OS on a tablet platform isn't going to fly - until the tablet is powerful enough and the OS light enough to do enough niche things that it has broad utility. That would be right about... now.

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:00PM (#31552052) Homepage

    That's a heck of a lot of Microsoft pushing for one little article.

    That said, I agree fully. Tablets have always sucked, and the iPad is just another iteration of the same game. Maybe it'll bring some fresh ideas to usability, and maybe not. For the few folks who actually have a use for a tablet, it's an exciting time.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:11PM (#31552146) Homepage

    There's a class of devices which are mostly-output. Game machines, e-readers, and smartphones without keyboards fall into this category. Their primary function is to display content created elsewhere. Input requirements are minimal.

    Think of Apple's "iPad" as a big e-reader, with color and video, and it makes more sense.

  • Re:niches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:15PM (#31552180) Homepage

    Jesse Schell, in his famous DICE talk, explained why the iPhone succeeded and the iPad will flop. Paraphrased:

    Convergence doesn't happen. Technologies diverge, for the most part. The PVR diverged from the desktop computer which diverged from the game console. The only reason why the iPhone, a case of convergence, was so successful was what he called the "pocket exception" - things that go in your pocket converge with each other.

    The Swiss Army knife is an example of convergence: it has scissors, tweezers, knives, files, screwdrivers, etc. It does nothing perfectly and everything adequately. The iPhone is like that. But if someone got you a "Swiss Army" kitchen utensil, with a spatula and a ladle and tongs and a couple knives in a single sheath, you would think it was the stupidest thing in the world. "And that's why everyone hates the iPad."

  • by oneTheory (1194569) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:21PM (#31552220)
    I have no intention of getting an iPad, but all the reasons the article points out why tablets suck actually point to the possibility that the iPad might actually succeed.

    Unlike the other tablets, the iPad is designed with an interface done correctly for a tablet. It's not trying to be a full OS because the interface wouldn't work correctly. It's going with the iPhone OS which is a touch-centric OS.
  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:22PM (#31552224)

    The biggest reason tablets have never succeeded more is because they've always been expensive. I've seen some tablets I'd love to own, but they're in the $2,000 - $2,500 range, which is way more than I'll spend on a tablet. Now that we're reaching the point where costs are low enough that they can make decently powered tablets in the $500-$700 range, which is where the typical laptop is (I said laptop, not netbook), I think that they'll sell a lot more.

    Go throughout history and you see plenty of innovations that never catch on until a decade or so later when the prices drop significantly to where people don't view buying one as a major investment.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:24PM (#31552238)

    I actually remember nearly ten years ago sitting about fifty feet away from Bill Gates while he was holding up his wonderful new tablet PC and telling us that it was going to be the future of computing; I wondered what kind of crack he was smoking at the time (well, we were in LA after all), and I still wonder today.

    I can certainly see cases where a tablet would be far more useful than a laptop or netbook, but for general computing it's a non-starter.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:28PM (#31552270)

    Okay, we get it. Windows tablets never took off the way Microsoft thought they would. The iPad is a failure, even though it hasn't been released yet and we have no idea how well or poorly it will sell. Anyone who is excited about the iPad is a Mac Fanboi. Everyone who trashes the iPad is a Windows Zealot. Your opinion is silly and unsupportable because it differs from mine.

    There, I saved you some reading.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte.gmail@com> on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:30PM (#31552280)

    Totally agreed. That article had m$ written all over the place. I loved how he jumped to the conclusion "microsft has to do this" after each reason of why the tablets suck.

    The article, in fewer words "The iPad sucks, just like every other tablet, and only microsoft can save us from tablet-sucking. Oh! They are about to release a tablet, how convenient."

    More advertisement.

  • Long Tail... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bennomatic (691188) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:39PM (#31552352) Homepage
    There's niches and there's niches. It would be possible to create a device that's useful for only one task, and if only a few million people in the world are interested in that task, then you've got a really limited market.

    Tablet devices have long been billed as fully functional computes with a new form-factor, but in some ways, they've been the worst of both worlds. As others have pointed out, the form-factor is typically tacked onto the OS, rather than both being designed to work flawlessly together. And they've historically been underpowered systems which would never replace a desktop.

    What's interesting about the iPad is that it answers a different question than other tablets have. Rather than asking, "what sort of device would computer users want to buy?", it seems to me that Apple has asked, "What sort of device would appeal to people who hate computers?"

    That question leads to others, like, "What tasks do people want to do without having to boot up a computer?" Reading, watching movies, web browsing, playing games. Sure, there are more things you can do with an iPad--they wouldn't have migrated iWork to the platform if they didn't think some people would want to use it for work--but I think the main thing they've done is build something that is indeed a computer, but that a lot of people who don't like computers don't have to see as one.

    Like Apple or not, they've done a great job with interface design on the iPhone, and the lessons learned there transfer well to the iPad. Will it succeed or fail? I don't know; it depends on your definition, I guess. I doubt iPad sales will ever quite catch up with the iPhone's, but of course, that's a pretty high bar to shoot for. They've set their target at 10 million this year. Again, like Apple or not, it's been a while since they fell short of sales estimates, even on completely new products.

    In fact, they've made some big wins on products which everyone thought would fail. The original iPod was going to be just another MP3 player. They killed the iPod Mini, their most successful model, at its sales peak and replaced it with the Nano, a complete redesign, and got a huge sales bump. They made the screen-less shuffle, providing fewer features than the competitors that Jobs referred to as crap, and outselling those competitors by a mile. They released the iPhone for $599, no SDK, no MMS, no cut and paste, and all sorts of other things wrong with it according to the chatter on the Internet, and yet, here we are.

    I'm sure there are going to be a lot of new tablets released in short order, some of which might be even better than Apple's in some ways or others. But I'm not sure it's time to bet against Apple in terms of long term success for the product.
  • by Zigurd (3528) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:41PM (#31552362) Homepage

    Earlier tablet products were user interface disasters. Fiddly pen-based inputs. Bad handwriting recognition. Tiny, mouse-oriented buttons.

    iPhone changed the set of expectations for a touch UI. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and other new-generation touch UIs will leave the old tablet UIs behind. iPad will pioneer a new generation of office productivity software specifically designed for touch interaction.

    So, while there is no guarantee this is all enough to make tablets a success, it sure is not a rehash of previous failed products. Tablet prices are also low enough to encourage experimentation rather than to require a business case for a more expensive device.

  • Re:niches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LtGordon (1421725) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:42PM (#31552374)
    Also, the iPhone had a huge advantage simply in that most people already owned phones, and so the iPhone was really just a cool upgrade from what they had, and can cost as little as $99 upfront. For the iPad to succeed, Apple will have to convince people that now they need to go out and buy a tablet computer for ~$500. At best, I see them dominating the eBook-reader and netbook markets, which are in themselves relatively small. Sales will never be on the same order of magnitude as the iPhone.
  • Re:niches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:45PM (#31552396)
    Convergence happens all the time. My home phone has an intercom and answering machine built in. By refrigerator has a built-in water dispenser. A typical TV is the convergence of a monitor, sound system, and receiver. Some even have built-in DVD players. How many all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier devices are on the market? I have a stereo with a CD turntable and tape deck built in (yes, I'm old but not old enough to have a record player on top of it). My desk has a filing cabinet built into it. How many microwave ovens have vents to help vent fumes from the range they are positioned above? In short, convergence happens when it makes sense.
  • Re:niches (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tronbradia (961235) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:45PM (#31552402)

    The only reason why the iPhone, a case of convergence, was so successful was what he called the "pocket exception" - things that go in your pocket converge with each other..."And that's why everyone hates the iPad."

    Um, no.

    The personal computer is a stereo, a TV, a typewriter, a calculator, and serves infinite other random functions. But I mean, who would want one of those? Oh sorry I guess you keep yours in your pocket.

  • by oneTheory (1194569) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:52PM (#31552456)
    ...unfortunately apple is one of the only companies that is willing to invest in creating new interfaces for new devices instead of slapping windows on there and expecting that it will be useful.

    Hence the iPhone for 2 years was one of the only devices with an interface allowing the best use of the hardware. Tons of other phones had great hardware features but crappy interfaces that made the overall device cumbersome.
  • Re:Battery life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:55PM (#31552486) Homepage Journal

    It's about the opportunities it enables

    It's also about the price.

    Apple has the right idea, having a tablet start at $500. Other companies should be able to make something similar for $350.

    But really, when a company puts out a netbook in the form of a tablet, prices it like a netbook, then you'll see a lot of us come off the sidelines and buy. It's not that we have anything against tablets, it's just that it's not really worth an additional $500 for the privilege of not having a physical keyboard. Few people would use a tablet as their main system. But a lot of people would like to have one in addition to their main system. For that, the price point needs to be well under $500, and it needs to have a real OS, and no tie-ins to a single source for applications.

  • by tclgeek (587784) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @04:56PM (#31552488) Homepage
    It would add cost. Probably suck a little power (it is, after all, more wires and whatnot). And you can only use it in one orientation. And it would be a very awkward size. Not quite full size, but too big to use thumbs. And it wouldn't fit with Apple's aesthetic.
  • by dfghjk (711126) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:09PM (#31552598)

    The article is an example of starting out with an opinion and deriving all your arguments from it. The author has clearly bought into Apple's argument for tablet UI usability. All his arguments flow from that propaganda.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:09PM (#31552600)
    That's not what I got from it at all. What I read was "the iPad is the first potentially viable tablet computing device, and other computer makers need to get with the program so that Apple doesn't have a monopoly on the market".
  • Re:niches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:09PM (#31552602)

    Yet most people do not use PC to watch TV. And most people nowdays will just buy a console rather than build a gaming PC.

    That's what grandparent was talking about.

  • Re:niches (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:37PM (#31552836)

    This comment almost gets to the heart of the matter. You're absolutely right, iPad sales will probably be dwarfed iPhone sales, as Mac sales are dwarfed by iPhone sales and iPhone sales are dwarfed by iPod sales. The bottom line though is that Macs, despite selling *far* fewer than iPhones and iPods still make up a third of apple's profits.

    Apple isn't going for a device that sells millions and millions and millions, they're going for a device that sells perhaps a million or ten, and has really high margins, and hence makes up a bunch of profit for the company.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:39PM (#31552846) Homepage

    Of course the straight answer, that close to the only reason a product becomes successfull through popularity, is not admitted by many people.

    It hits too close to home. Humans are pack animals. People first and foremost imitate one another. John Q. Public buys a product because he's seen John P. Public already has one. So a critical mass of a product in the view of people is what makes people successfull. The amount of buzz a product generates, the visibility it has (positive or negative, e.g. even things like terrorism are partly caused by the attention these mass murdering muslims get), is the first and foremost cause of it's success, not the reverse way around.

    Apple products are not popular due to any amount of technical merit, despite what fanboys claim. Apple products are popular due to the visibility they have, first on tv, then in what you might call "executive" circles, then everyone.

    There is a bit of a qualification to this : of course it helps that a product is useable enough that users don't throw it away out of utter disgust after using it for 2 minutes.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:42PM (#31552866) Homepage Journal
    He is not trying to use tablets as tablets, but trying to using them as desktop PCs or notebooks. They are different kind of devices, better or more comfortable than PCs for some tasks, worse for others. Better than say why they suck as desktop computers, would be better to list for which tasks something like a tablet is good, for which ones regular, and for which will suck. And then see if what is or was offered fit into that (regarding price, features, form factor, etc)
  • Re:niches (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:44PM (#31552884)

    Those have pretty much converged at this point... but contrary to Mr. Schell's assertion you can't fit either in your pocket.

    *parry* No, but they are in and of themselves oversized pockets, or in other words, a space where weight and size are more important than pure functionality.

    I notice you neglect my other examples, but that's okay they serve only to show that convergence happens for all sorts of things that don't fit in a pocket. Rather, items that people carry with them or use when they have limited space. Can we agree upon that?

    If I'm carrying a netbook around already...

    Who says you are? More importantly, who says the average consumer is?

    ...then the iPad needs to be either lighter, smaller, or much more useful than the netbook in order to be worth the space.

    Or cheaper or easier to use for the average person or easier to hold in one hand while walking or less cumbersome as a book reader. Or it could provide functionality in the form of accessible content, just as the iPod did when it took over the digital music player market.

    If my phone has most or all of the same functionality as the iPad, just scaled down, and my netbook covers much of the rest, scaled up, then the iPad is not a device to fit in the "pocket convergence" area.

    Again you assume most people carry both a smartphone and a netbook, but that is likely not the case. The idea of "pocket convergence" is flawed in and of itself, as I pointed out. Whether or not the iPad will succeed and whether or not it actually is a convergence of e-book readers and umm PDAs (was that your theory) has nothing to do with whether or not it will fit in a pocket.

  • Re:Pfft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ahankinson (1249646) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:47PM (#31552916)

    Lemme see if I follow your argument:

    The reason people don't want a tablet, especially the iPad, is because it doesn't do anything special.

    Hm. Ok, I'll buy it. Tablets are usually more expensive laptops, that run full operating systems and are operated by a clumsy UI. You don't gain anything. Well, except the iPad. It's running a special tablet-oriented version of OS X. But you're right... you don't really get more functionality from the iPad than a laptop or even a netbook.

    It's pretty much the same "throw existing apps on something without a keyboard and call it a tablet" that everyone else has tried.

    Again, I agree... MS Office would be especially painful if all you could use with it is a stylus. But the iPad will specifically *not* be using existing apps. In fact, they made a completely new version of iWork to run on the iPad...

    That's not how the iPod and iPhone were successful. It's not how smartphones became successful in general, or even how netbooks became successful. If you want to make a real tablet, you've got to have a focused, tablet-oriented system, and a pervasive tablet UI.

    I'm sorry. Do you even know what an iPad is? It pretty much is a "real tablet" with a "focused, tablet-oriented system" and a "pervasive tablet UI". At least, it's the closest thing we've come to in the mainstream market.

    You seem to be arguing that the people who don't want a tablet don't want it because it has clunky, non-tablet software. But even tablets that *do* have tablet-oriented software and a tablet-specific UI are doomed to failure because they don't have clunky, non-tablet software. Umm....

  • Re:niches (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xtal (49134) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:51PM (#31552942)

    Jesse Schell is wrong.

    The iPad will succeed very well for it's targeted market. Here's a hint: it's not you.

  • by xtal (49134) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:54PM (#31552962)

    Nobody cares it's not an open platform. It is marketed towards people who just want to accomplish certain things, and it is designed to do those things _very well_.

    When an open platform does those things, perhaps we have something to talk about.

    For end user, polished applications, the open platform solutions have been total epic fail.

  • Re:niches (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wovel (964431) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:56PM (#31552984) Homepage

    His own logic could easily be used to explain why the ipad will succeed as something diverging from a PC with a more specific subset of features. If the ipad was actually a giant phone, he might have a point, but it is actually a specialized computer.

    He got lost in the imagery and failed to use his own logic.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @05:57PM (#31552988)

    Why would I pay twice as much for this output device than I would pay for an iPhone?

    I don't know, lucky then that the iPad is $500, and the iPhone is $800.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:02PM (#31553062)

    Yeah, a full OS on a tablet platform isn't going to fly - until the tablet is powerful enough and the OS light enough to do enough niche things that it has broad utility. That would be right about... now.

    No, it's never going to fly, if you mean running a desktop OS mostly unaltered, on a tablet. Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. None of these are well suited for even stylus based interaction, let alone multitouch. Things like window titlebars, close and minimize buttons, menus. None of these are very usable in multitouch.

    Apple's take on Mac OS X as the iPhone OS is the right direction. Similar is Google's take on Linux as Android. But the idea of running Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux on a tablet is doomed, no matter what the technology is that goes into the battery, processor and display.

    It's the interface, stupid.

  • Re:niches (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4iedBandit (133211) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:10PM (#31553148) Homepage

    You seem to forget history. The iPhone was not initially sold in a subsidized version and it still sold and sold a ton before Apple came out with a subsidized pricing plan. What did it offer over other phones that made millions of people go out and buy it for full price? It's widely accepted that feature wise the iPhone has lagged over the competition, and still it's been wildly popular.

    If you have great form but lousy function your product will fail. If you have lousy form but fantastic function you may be successful, but only because people have to have your function. If you pair fantastic form with fantastic function, you will own the market.

    You can argue against that all you want but Apple's fast rise to prominence in the smart phone market tells the story.

    Apple's been playing a long-term game here. The ipod and iphone have been gateway gadgets to bring people to the realization that not all tech has to suck and merely be tolerated because it does something useful. I wish other manufacturers would learn that lesson.

    The iPad is a harder sell because it's not a phone and bigger than a simple ipod, but I think it will sell. And I think it will sell a ton when people see what kind of apps are available. Apple is shifting the computing paradigm away from the desktop metaphor, and they're doing it fast.

  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:19PM (#31553246)
    The article is a thinly disguised shill piece for the iPad. Pretty much every point is actually saying why the ipad is better that the tablets that have come before them.

    It's never been about the interface, the power or the battery life. It's been about the fact they they offer no benefits over either a laptop or a PDA/smartphone. Here are the problems not addressed by that article (largely because the ipad doesn't address any of them).

    -Typing on a hard solid surface for any length of time is painful. The iphone is great for texts and brief posts. Would I want to type something as verbose as this post? Hell no.

    -There is no comfy way to hold them. "ok I'll rest it on my legs... I can't see the screen clearly", "I'll hold it with one hand... This makes typing slow and my arm and wrist are starting to ache from holding something with a high center of gravity", "I'll use a stand and use it on a desk... Why don't I just use a PC or laptop?".
    Look at the Apple promo, whenever the ipad is being shown held (and not on an edited out swivelling stand), it's people lying down, sitting on the floor, not in positions people normally sit.

    -They're not anymore portable than a laptop. 10" screen with no protection? If you take it out and about, you're going to want a protective case. One you have a protective case, the difference in portability between an ipad and a laptop is marginal. A laptop however has scores of advantages over the ipad.
  • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:38PM (#31553362)

    Then why doesn't it have an eInk or other non-backlit display suitable for staring at for long periods of time?

  • by zzatz (965857) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:39PM (#31553364)

    HDHomeRunner - a small box with one Ethernet jack and two coax input jacks for antenna or cable. Every computer (and specialized playback devices) on your network can display TV.

    Consumer electronics is clearly moving in the direction of including networking in all devices. I rarely watch TV live or get out a CD. All of my music is on a server on my network. All of the TV shows that I watch are on a server. Even my books are moving to the server; of the last dozen books I've read, all are on the server. Even my phone is on the network.

    Accessories do not need to be IN the computer, they need to be on the network.

  • Re:niches (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tftp (111690) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:43PM (#31553412) Homepage

    At best, I see them dominating the eBook-reader and netbook markets

    There is a comment, just above, doubting iPad's impact in eBook market. I also see it this way, given that Kindle or Sony or B&N readers cost half that much, and 3G is included for free. There is also that eternal debate about eInk vs. backlit screens... and certainly battery life of an eInk device is infinitely better than anything that iPad has to offer.

    But netbook market, IMO, is not going to curl up and die either. A netbook is a fully functioning portable computer. You can consume information with it, and you can equally well create information with it. This is important for people with urge to post every 5 minutes what they are doing (mostly "updating my Facebook page", apparently :-) iPad, on the other hand, is a consumption device - you can browse the Web, somewhat (without Flash) and you can watch movies, but you can't do much else. Posting a comment like this on /. would be painful, and writing a larger text would be foolish. Netbooks, with their keyboards, however small, are still better suited to the bidirectional exchange of information, and all that comes in a single package - you open it and you are good to go. No need to carry separate adapters, separate dock, separate keyboard.

    I personally see iPad productively used only as a supplementary, generic Web browser. It won't have any plugins (like MS Media Player) that many Web sites use to stream music. It won't have any of the software that you know how to operate. Everything will be new, and everything will have to be bought. This will result in few apps sold, certainly less than those for iPhone. Who, outside of a few fanbois, is going to "accessorize" a computer that you rarely use and hardly ever carry with you? Especially when you already have that functionality working just fine, usually for free, on your laptop - the device that is the real competitor of iPad.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikael_j (106439) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @06:54PM (#31553512)

    It's also about the price.

    Indeed, or to be more specific it's what you get for your money, the big problem I've had in the past when I've shopped around for a good tablet has been that I've wanted a few things:

    1. Wacom "Penabled"
    2. Good monitor.
    3. Decent price

    Last time I looked around most manufacturers seemed to almost make it a point not to mention anything other than "it has a stylus" (are you sure? wow! I thought I would have to operate it by throwing rocks at it!) and the monitor's quality is at best an afterthought. The exception to this was the "executive" tablet market, the ones marketed and CxOs and PHBs who think it makes perfect sense to blow $4k on a top of the line laptop that can also be used as a tablet when showing powerpoint slides, but since all I wanted was a combined "sofa surf tablet" and an electronic sketchbook (to cut out the scanner as the middleman as well as allowing me to have a much more comfortable workflow compared to sketching with a pencil (just undo and an eraser that doesn't slowly destroy the "paper" are enough for me to want this)) these are way too much.

    I had high hopes for the iPad but without a proper stylus it's useless to me (no, "fingerpainting" with one of those "iPhone stylus" sticks isn't anywhere near good enough unless they've somehow managed to build one that equips the touchscreen with 500+ level pressure sensitivity and sub-pixel precision (no, they don't have this)).

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @07:26PM (#31553716)

    Don't buy an iPad!

    If we, the geeks, don't fight stupid moves in computing they may become the norm. Yes, 80% (or some other made up percentage) of people might be okay with a limited OS, but if lots of other computer companies run with this Computer Feudalism, bad things will result.

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @08:19PM (#31554076) Journal

    "Full enough"/"good enough" are subjective.

    I will personally never find any OS without multitasking "good enough" that is not on a single-function device.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @10:25PM (#31554834)

    Yes, the N95 is so amazing that it's selling like hotcakes... /sarcasm

    The things you state that make the iPad a non-starter are clearly things that most people don't value as much as you do. Plus, you've got a few facts wrong.

    1. The iPad has an SD card adapter. The dock connector is the I/O connector, and the SD card adapter users that, as it should
    2. The iPad (and iPhone) has GPS. A-GPS is GPS. Saying it's not is silly. But it allowed you to get this next one wrong:
    3. The iPad can be used as a map. There's even a damned app built into it to do just that.
    4. You can type on it. Did you not see the onscreen keyboard?
    5. The only part of the Internet that is fundamentally tied to the mouse is Flash, and we all know how that story is going.
    6. As for games, this is nonsensical. You can't play games there weren't designed for specific form factors on those form factors. It's like saying the problem with shoes vs hats is that shoes can only go on your feet.

    But, and I mean this sincerely, stick with your N95, if it does the things you want from it. And if the iPad doesn't do what you want, don't buy it. But as an interface (and this was entirely my point), Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are all *piss poor* for use on a tablet type device. The hardware isn't the problem, it doesn't matter if you have an SD card slot, full stand-alone GPS, a 10 MP full motion camera, 500 hour battery life and a GeForce 9800, if the OS isn't designed to be used as a tablet, it's not going to be generally appealing.

    It's easy to blame popularity of the iPhone on people ignorantly flocking to Apple logos, but that's just an excuse for other companies being unable or unwilling to develop an OS as great as the iPhone OS.

    Which brings me back to my original point:

    It's the interface, stupid.

  • by feepness (543479) on Saturday March 20, 2010 @11:04PM (#31555004) Homepage

    You see, one of the forms of background processing that people like you forget about is the fact that a server can be operating on your behalf, and then alert you when it's done via push. Since you can have custom sounds set something like a background alarm is easy.

    You gotta be kidding me. Running on a remote server is not multi-tasking.

  • by twerppoet (1111941) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @12:30AM (#31555326)

    I recently destroyed my kindle, so I've been paying close attention the iPad's potential as an ebook reader.

    I agree with most people that it won't be as good an ebook reading gadget as some of the specialized products out there, for various reasons.

    It does have one thing going for it that I haven't seen anywhere else. It will work with both Amazon, and Barns and Noble via announced apps. Plus there will be the iBook store which will also allow you to add DRM free ePub books to the mix.

    Does anyone know of another ebook reader that will have as large a selection of books and prices to choose from? For competition's sake I hope the big online sellers will come out with something for Android based tablets too.

    Because, seriously, who cares how perfect the gadget is if you can't get the books you want?

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:20AM (#31555700) Journal

    The reason why it mentions Microsoft so much is because Microsoft is, indeed, one of the oldest players in this market, trying to make it viable(and always failing). Heck, the very term "tablet" with relation to a computer was originally popularized by MS.

    So, like it or not, but any discussion about tablets would have to invoke the name of Microsoft more than once - if only to adequately explain its failure.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gig (78408) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @02:41AM (#31555778)

    > Apple products are not popular due to any amount of technical merit, despite what fanboys claim. Apple products
    > are popular due to the visibility they have, first on tv, then in what you might call "executive" circles, then everyone.

    No, that is bullshit. What you're saying is that Apple products are the same as their competitors, but they're popular just because they're fashionable. It's bullshit. Their products are not fashionable, they are DESIRABLE. And their products are not the same as their competitors at all. Not in the slightest. In the first place, they actually work. Not kind of work, not might work soon, not work if you have a CS degree, not work if you plug them into 3 other products, but actually practically work, right out of the box. There aren't any other choices in tech that have these features. You don't need to go looking for some airy reason like they're fashionable. In fact, people who don't have any Apple products often don't want one because they think they are a fad, they think their stuff is the same but just fashionable. Then they try an iPhone or Mac and they want one anyway. They buy one in spite of it being popular. Because it works. Because there is free support at the stores. Because you can try before you buy. Because they have so much software on them right out of the box. Because they back themselves up automatically so you don't lose stuff. For thousands and thousands of unique reasons.

    So to dismiss Apple products as merely fashionable ignores the hundreds and hundreds of things Apple has done to make their products desirable. Things that nobody else is doing. Unique things that their customers fucking love.

    Just go to an Apple Store and eavesdrop at the Genius Bar and you'll get the picture. When I was there last time, the person to the right of me was having trouble with her Mac because she had dismissed every single software update it offered her for 2 years and now some 3rd party software she downloaded wouldn't run. She was afraid to approve the updates because "that was what killed the Windows machine I had before this." They basically held her hand as she updated her software and then everything was fine. The guy on the left of me had a piece of plastic fall out of his MacBook, and they helped him figure out it had fallen off his knapsack, and then into and back out of the MacBook optical drive, the machine itself was fine. Nobody else is offering that. It's a much, much more plausible reason for the popularity of Apple products than "they're fashionable."

    > There is a bit of a qualification to this : of course it helps that a product is useable

    That is EVERYTHING. Usability is EVERYTHING. The products work. The tech specs don't matter. The shiny doesn't matter. Usability is EVERYTHING. And Apple's products are exponentially more usable than other products. Apple is pretty much the only tech company with product designers instead of product managers. They start with the usability and that is why it is there in the end.

    I mean, "of course it helps that their cars start."

    If you are a "gadget hound" it may be enough that a device has blinkenlights. Most people are not gadget hounds, especially not the people who are buying Apple products. The products have to work. The Mac absolutely has to make you more productive than Windows. The iPhone absolutely has to expose all of its features to every user, not just the ones with CS degrees. There can be NO MALWARE. Users do not know what that is.

    It is actually sad to hear you trot out this old fashionable canard. You have to look deeper than that. Apple's products may be the shiniest and the most visually appealing, but that is not all there is too them. You're essentially saying because they're good looking they must be stupid. But that is not the case here.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djfake (977121) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @05:56AM (#31556442) Homepage
    for the vast majority of people buying Apple products today, it is certainly not bullshit. If Apple products weren't so fashionable, they'd still be skirting the fringes with fifty year old academics, windows bashers and other types. Does the teenager buy a Macbook because it's Unix? doubtful. Does the teenager buy a Macbook because it's one sexy computer. Of course, to go online to facebook, play music and video AND impress everyone by doing it on a Mac.

    Don't take it personally if you like Apple products. There's a lot of reason to buy them. But in terms of their increased POPULARITY, I agree with the parent, it's all because of fashion.

    BTW, most every computer works... I'm actually typing this on a non-Mac right now and I don't have a CS degree.

  • Re:Battery life (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Betonschaar (178617) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @07:58AM (#31556940)

    You keep telling yourself that and not buy anything Apple builds, but please stop polluting the internet with *YOUR VIEW* on why Apple is or isn't popular. Myself, I've been using Windows and Linux for years, I built my own PC's, my own Linux distro's using LFS, my own media-player running Linux, my workstation at work runs Linux etc. At home, I switched to Apple for many reasons. First, because I wanted to have a Unix-environment and a good graphical UI *at the same time*. Second, because Apple hardware has many desirable attributes. You and the GP or whoever here trashes Apple that thinks he/she knows it all might call it 'fashionable', but I find a dead-silent all-in-one with everyting intergrated and only a single cable for the power to be *desirable*. Just like I find a full aluminium unibody design that doesn't creak, tear, or fall apart, and has a multitouch trackpad that makes me forget I ever needed a mouse *desirable*, not fashionable. I couldn't give a flying fsck about how 'fashionable' my computers are, I don't go running around the street showing everyont how fashionable I am, with my fancy computer. Only genuine nerds can think something retarted like wanting to be fashionable with a freaking computer, and genuine nerds are not the prime target audience for Apple anyway. Last but not least, I see 'value' and 'price' as 2 different things, and I seperate 'specifications' from 'performance'. I've sold every Apple system I've replaced with another one for 30% to 50% of what I paid for them in the first place, after years of (fully satisfactory) use. Compare that to the $2000 PC I once built and sold for $200 only 3 years later. Price != value, something that doesn't seem to get through with so many people.

    The whole 'Apple sells well only because they market them so well' is also bogus. Here in Europe, Apple literally has ZERO advertising. No posters, no TV ads, no official Apple store (only franchises), nothing. Still, more and more people I know of are switching to Apple and being extremely satisfied with it. Many do so because they got an iPhone and they love it so much they are tempted to buy more stuff from Apple. You can keep telling yourself it's all marketing, hype, fashion statement or whatever dumb excuse you can think of for not having to acknowledge that people actually like Apple products for what they are and how they work, but it doesn't make it true.

    It's frankly a bit sad if you think about it, if so many people buy, use and love some product, that some people still feel they know it all and should decide for others whether their purchase was worth the money. Just stfu and buy something else already.

  • Re:Not at all true (Score:2, Insightful)

    by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Sunday March 21, 2010 @01:25PM (#31558886)

    What I'm saying is that there is no device on the market like the iPad

    Including the fraking iPAD. ITS NOT SOLD YET! You haven't used one!

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Sunday March 21, 2010 @07:52PM (#31562028) Journal

    If *I* can't make use of the ability, then it might as well not have it. I want a computer, not a compsci lesson.

    Maybe android-based devices will be less of a disappointment.

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