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Microsoft's Touted iPad Rival Courier Becomes Less Than Vapor 401

Posted by timothy
from the courier-dropped-it dept.
Kostya writes "The much discussed Courier two-panel tablet device from Microsoft is now even less than vaporware — now it's just plain dead. 'Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported.' While the Courier had never been officially announced as a supported product by Microsoft, it had generated a lot of discussion as what the iPad should have been."
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Microsoft's Touted iPad Rival Courier Becomes Less Than Vapor

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  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:50PM (#32038790)
    I bet you can BING some awesome reviews and success stories about this tablet anyhow.

    *snicker*
  • Crap. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:50PM (#32038794)
    The only tablet type device I've found mildly intriguing, and it's cut. That sucks.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:56PM (#32038856) Journal

    .....products it then never produces... its all part of market testing.

  • Re:Crap. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peragrin (659227) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:56PM (#32038858)

    and your surprised?

    anytime MSFT does anything remotely awesome it gets canceled or morphed into a piece of shit.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:07PM (#32038942)
    Plus, the time wasn't right. The entire Microsoft line of failed products happened not always because Microsoft's version was worse, but because it came across as Microsoft copying the industry leader. Lets see here:

    The Zune looked like a copy of the iPod. The Zune HD looked like a copy of the iPod Touch. Bing/Live Search all seemed to be copies of Google. Etc.

    Microsoft's products that have been successful have been those ahead of their competitors. Look at the 360 which got a few months head start on Nintendo/Sony and has been very successful (of course a lot of this could be due to the lack of decent games for the Wii and the astronomical price of PS3 hardware for the longest time...).

    Releasing Courier would seem like a copy of the iPad, something that Microsoft can't pump money into because it will be dead on release.
  • by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:07PM (#32038950) Homepage

    Er, the ipad is selling hugely. This is the start of the era of tablets, so no they are not dead.

    The advantage they offer over laptops and netbooks is a tactile natural way to consume media at your leisure i.e. while you're on the sofa.

    They won't replace laptops or desktops or anything else, but they're here to stay.

  • Re:Touted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Amarantine (1100187) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:08PM (#32038952)

    They've had tablet support since Windows 3.11.

    Yeah, and look how many Windows tablets you've seen in the wild since then.

    I have only seen one with my own eyes. In use by a Microsoft partner account manager, so it kinda figures.

  • by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:11PM (#32038976) Homepage
    It's too wonderful and too practical a concept to be gone for long.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:11PM (#32038978)

    The idea seemed at first glance to be interesting, and was full of a lot of new concepts for how to use a tablet.

    But I didn't see a lot of really practical ideas in there, starting with the dual folding screens. The thoughts of glass on glass, with slight torque in everyday carrying and average amounts of dust and grit...

    Some of the other things in the videos seemed cool, but in everyday use again I just thought some of the actions would grow to be annoying. The central dragging area was kind of interesting...

    Someone could easily carry on the concept with a special case that held two iPads, and some software to have them act in tandem over Bluetooth.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:15PM (#32039006)

    its all part of market testing.

    And if the "testing" happens to kill a competitors product launch while people wait for the Microsoft product, well that was just an accident!

    Happily there are very few product announcements from Microsoft people are willing to wait for these days it was apparent to pretty much anyone Courier wasn't going anywhere at slow pace of even delivering concept videos...

  • by sammyF70 (1154563) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:16PM (#32039010) Homepage Journal
    I agree on the hinge, but a stylus is actually a very good input device for drawings and writing (as in script, not as in typing), actually it's probably the best one for those two activities.(Multi-)Touch, on the other hand, is very limited in terms of use in anything creative.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:18PM (#32039028)

    Er, the ipad is selling hugely

    At the moment. But will Apple really be able to carry the momentum once people start realizing theres nothing really -great- about the iPad?

    The reason why the iPod got marketshare so quickly was because it was the smallest media player for the space at the time and had a decent UI. The reason why the iPhone got marketshare because at the time it was the only way you could browse the web decently from a phone.

    But, I don't know if I'm simply blind to some hidden factor but I don't see the appeal of the iPad. I don't mind Apple products (I'm listening to an iPod touch on my desk at the moment) but I just feel like you are paying more to get less. For $500 I can get an iPad which will only run a very limited set of applications, eventually will have simi-multitasking, won't ever get you the full web, costs an arm and a leg to use common peripherals, etc. Or I could get a $500 laptop with a dual-core x86 CPU, run just about every OS under the sun, full multitasking, cheap 'apps', full peripheral support, replaceable battery, etc.

    I use my netbook or laptop while sitting on the sofa all the time, if I want to really "consume media" I fire up my HTPC and put on a movie. If I want to play a game I fire up my 360 or modified Wii.

    Some specialty devices I can understand, like e-ink e-readers because they have features (e-paper that is easy on the eyes) that other systems lack. With the iPad, what benefit are you getting for the cost?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:22PM (#32039046)

    You have exactly one VP saying that the product was real, but was shitcanned. Besides that, there's some leaked computer generated videos and pictures of an alleged product.

    You're mourning the fact that a puff of vapor got carried off by the breeze. That's not awesome, that's standard operating procedure for Redmond; unless by awesome you mean "marketing bullshit that never has to withstand real world use and criticism," in which case, spot on.

  • by Skadet (528657) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:22PM (#32039054) Homepage

    [tablets don't have] any real advantages when it comes to getting work done than a regular Netbook or Laptop.

    Getting Work Done isn't the primary use of computers for a very large slice of the market. This is where you and many others fundamentally misunderstand the tablet space. Traditionally the market problem is that full computers are too much machine for the everyday user -- they want to check their Facebook, emails, read the news, and catch up on that show they missed last night on ABC. The iPad does all these things adroitly. Mom knows to touch the little "ABC" icon and then touch her favorite show. Actually, screw mom, I know that too, and I don't have to futz with Silverlight or Flash or Growl notifications popping up or emails dinging in the middle of a show.

    Open your mind. Not everyone uses a computer the way you do.

  • Cool! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gerald (9696) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:26PM (#32039080) Homepage

    Can they kill Comic Sans [bancomicsans.com] too?

  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:28PM (#32039100)

    It's too wonderful and too practical a concept to be gone for long.

    Yeah, Microsoft finally canned it because it was so wonderful and practical...

    The video that went out right around the time the iPad was announced was a concept video. It was a rendering and not an actual product or even a prototype. Pure, unadulterated vaporware whose only purpose was to get some people disinterested in the iPad. And it appears to have worked. There are numerous Slashdot posts about how, "I don't want an iPad, I'm waiting for MS's Courier." This is one of Microsoft's oldest tactics, vaporware.

    The thing about vaporware is that it's vaporware for the very reason that's it's both wonderful and *not* practical. It's biting off more than you can chew, so of course it has to be wonderful (easy to do when it doesn't even exist), and it's not practical since if it were, it would either exist, or if it doesn't exist yet, it would be something you'd not want to show off until it's just about finished since someone else could presumably beat you to the punch (if it's so practical, after all).

  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:29PM (#32039104)
    Once upon a time, pet rocks sold hugely. More sales does not equate to a more useful product.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:30PM (#32039118)

    I'd like to take this opportunity to laugh in the faces of the Microsoft fanbots who actually thought this was a real product. Anyone with more than 2 brain cells to bang together saw it for what it was. Essentially, it was nothing more than a pathetic attempt by MS to try to distort the market for the iPad and blunt Apple's sales of their product. MS, you failed miserably. And now the "courier" no longer has a purpose so of course they are canning it.

    The fact that so many people were fawning over literally nothing than some canned videos and mock-ups is just pathetic. You may or may not like Apple but while Steve Ballmer is going on about how good something might eventually be should they decide to release it, Steve Jobs pulls his products out of his back pocket and says, "Check this out, pick it up at 11 AM tomorrow morning."

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:33PM (#32039142) Journal
    Wow are you reading the wind wrong. Tablets are going to come in like a tsunami. The mobile space is moving at lightning speed to provide enough software that the need for a desktop is GREATLY diminished. WE are at the very beginning of the mobile internet appliance era. Its happening now. Apple was extremely wise in NOT delivering an x86 tablet and it has very little to do with control and everythign to do with being good enough for the vast majority of people. I could hand my mother-in-law an ipad and an Acer Aspire Revo ($200 nettop) to feed it, and she would almost never have to use the desktop computer paradigm again.
  • by noewun (591275) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:36PM (#32039170) Journal

    At the moment. But will Apple really be able to carry the momentum once people start realizing theres nothing really -great- about the iPad?

    The very same thing was said about the iPod and the iPhone, and look where they are now.

    The era of the geek driving computer development is dead: people want easy to use features, and Apple is giving it to them. The era of clock speed, bus speed and VRAM capacity being important for selling computers is over as well. These things will still matter for select user bases--programmers, gamers, scientific use, graphic design, audio/video and other--but, for the vast number of average computer users for whom web, email, music, word processing and simple video are all that's really important, the iPad and its children are the future.

    It will be interesting to see what people are saying about the iPad this time next year, when Apple's sold 25 million of them.

  • by Skadet (528657) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:37PM (#32039176) Homepage

    won't ever get you the full web

    The problem I have with all these technophiles decrying the iPad's lack of flash is this: are you not the same group that beats down any flash site? FFS, slashdot is the place that puts [PDF WARNING] next to links. If anyone was going to complain about the lack of flash, this is the absolute last group of people I would have expected.

    I could get a $500 laptop with a dual-core x86 CPU, run just about every OS under the sun, full multitasking, cheap 'apps', full peripheral support, replaceable battery, etc.

    As I said in reply to the OP, the problem is that full PCs are simply too much machine for what many people want to do (watch a show, check facebook, etc). A $99 iPad would be a true game-changer, and I think something along those lines is the next step. At this price point, people (like you) get confused because of the price and say (as you did), 'but... look at the sweet box I could buy for $500, I don't get it!' The point is that my mom and my wife and many like them don't care in the least if they have a sweet box. They care if they can "like" timmy's facebook status.

    I use my netbook or laptop while sitting on the sofa all the time, if I want to really "consume media" I fire up my HTPC and put on a movie. If I want to play a game I fire up my 360 or modified Wii.

    Your geek factor (Look at me! HTPC! Check me out! Modded Wii!) is what's keeping you from seeing this market. Not everyone uses computers the way you do, and not everyone derives the same satisfaction from setting up their own rad HTPC setup. My wife is perfectly content to watch DVDs, out of a box, on her laptop. I thought that was madness when I first saw it. Fact is, people compute in different ways.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:39PM (#32039206)

    Possibly. It's also possible that MS is privy to more accurate sales figures (and profit margins) from the iPad than the rest of us, and they decided it wasn't worth their time. And that could be because hardware margins are razor thin and the potential profit was not worth the investment, or it could be because they figured that everyone who wanted an iPad-like device would already have an iPad by the time MS could actually ship product. There's also opportunity cost to consider: MS may have been confident of producing a successful product, but decided that the same time and money spent elsewhere would generate greater returns. And finally, given the Crunchpad debacle, it may just be that they had a working design, but realized they couldn't source the parts cheaply enough for it to be competitive -- the iPad is expensive enough with its single screen, so it's likely that a dual-screen tablet would have been even more pricey.

    Also worth considering is that Apple and Microsoft have very different business models. Where its "lifestyle" devices are concerned, Apple has an extensive infrastructure for providing add-on services and products -- iTunes and the App Store -- that Microsoft doesn't have. What could be a successful product for Apple might be a loser for Microsoft even if it was just as good and sold as well.

  • ov Vaporware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:41PM (#32039218) Homepage Journal

    Vaporware is the ultimate refining of the process of "Overpromise, Underdeliver".

    In other words, when you promise everything, and deliver nothing.

    Though the basic premise of overpromise/underdeliver has always a basic theme in I.T in general. You're making promises you know you can't deliver, to an audience that is in no position of expertise to question what you say, and in their dependent state, has to believe you, and has no choice but to accept whatever you happen to actually deliver. (a process also known more commonly as "I.T. Consultant")

  • Explanations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:45PM (#32039252)

    At the moment. But will Apple really be able to carry the momentum once people start realizing theres nothing really -great- about the iPad?

    They would not be selling hugely if there were not things people found great about them NOW. Marketing can only get you so far, and marketing only helps Apple much because people have grown to trust Apple more than other companies.

    But signs point to iPad sales climbing. They just got a big boost from Oprah (formerly champion of the Kindle), they also have had to move back international release dates. And at this point, people thinking about buying one can try them out in Apple Stores and figure out if they are great or not.

    With the iPad, what benefit are you getting for the cost?

    An excellent screen (which really matters if you care about eye strain) over any normal screen for a device in that price range.

    Tens of thousands and soon hundreds of thousands of applications dedicated to operation by touch, and used in that form factor. Yes you can buy a netbook but few applications work well in the screen sizes most netbooks support. This is such a massive benefit I can't believe it is constantly overlooked.

    Compact size for the battery life - sure some netbooks also have good battery life, but they are a lot larger.

    A world of peripherals that all work via the dock connector.

    A fantastic data plan ($15/250MB/month or $30/month unlimited, no contract).

    And let me repeat the thing about many, many developers working hard to write software that works really, really well on the device vs. running software that was built for a desktop and "works OK" on a netbook.

    On a side note, you and so many other people are so mistaken about the iPad being only for consumption, or even consumption focused... That is not the end game.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:52PM (#32039304)

    I really fail to understand why people can't seem to get it. The big problem with tablets to date is that they run a version of a desktop OS that turns your finger or a stylus into a mouse and you still have to deal with various windows on the desktop, etc. Microsoft doesn't seem to get the point that the standard desktop OS does not translate well to a touchscreen device - there needs to be a complete re-factoring of the OS for the device, something that Apple seems to get. IMO windows tablets are annoying to use after awhile - I had a tablet PC for awhile and after the novelty wore off, I went back to my Thinkpad for anything other than casual web browsing.

    The whole "getting more work done" argument really doesn't make sense in the context of the iPad. Of course you're not getting "work" done on an iPad, or any touchscreen only device for that matter. You're not writing code, doing graphic design or doing serious number crunching on a touchscreen. (and really, you're not getting serious work done on a netbook with a 9" screen and a cramped keyboard either - you CAN get stuff done, but I wouldn't use one and I don't think a lot of people would either). That's not the point of the iPad. It is however the point of Windows powered tablets, but short of using them to drive a power point or a specialized application, like in a doctor's office, you're not getting serious work done with the majority of applications without a keyboard.

    Can an iPad replace a computer? Yes, if all you do is browse the internet, answer short e-mails, give a keynote presentation (that you developed on your desktop), play the occasional game, watch movies, and read books with it. I do not get the impression that Apple is selling the iPad as a computer replacement. Having said that I would much rather have an iPad than a netbook computer. I have a laptop and a desktop - I will use the iPad for the stuff I mentioned above, and I much prefer the form factor of a tablet for watching a movie, reading, etc. To me the $200-$300 premium over a netbook with a similar sized screen is definitely worth it.

    The iPad isn't for you - we get that. Once Apple release iPhone OS 4.0, the iPad is EXACTLY the device and OS I want for the intended purpose, and I'm perfectly willing to pay $600 for it, and if according to you that makes me stupid, so be it. I wear a nice watch too, but my $40 Timex ironman actually keeps better time. I guess that makes me stupider.

  • by jamie(really) (678877) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:55PM (#32039318)

    I was ill for two days this week. I grabbed my iPad and watched some new shows that I've not had time to check out. ABC's iPad app let me watch Castle and V in 720p. Then I watched some movies on Netflix. I also bought the latest book from Steven Erikson using iBooks.

    It wasn't too heavy.
    It has a bigger screen than my netbook, and its stunning.
    It didn't get too hot like my netbook does when watching movies. I *hate* frying my balls.
    The wife's netbook can't watch 720p movies at all.
    I didn't have to have it plugged in, so I could move it about easily while I tried to get comfortable. Charged it overnight.
    When I was done puking, I wiped it clean with disinfectant.

    I'm not sick all the time, of course. The wife uses it and her iPhone. Her netbook hasn't been touched for months. The iPad is "just" a more usable iPhone for her. Its set up with her email, not mine (and she did it herself - amazing what she can do when I'm not around). I will be buying two more for our children.

  • by Skadet (528657) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:56PM (#32039338) Homepage

    The "average consumer" also wants to play flash based games. Especially their younger children which seem to be drawn to those sort of things. And they don't care if it's flash or not, just if it works or not.

    I hear you, although I think your first statement contradicts your last statement a little bit. I'd rephrase it, "the average consumer wants to play simple games." The app store has boatloads of popcap-like games, many of them free.

    True that they may not be able to play $THIS_SPECIFIC_GAME, no doubt. Although I've been thinking about how flash games would even translate to a touch-based interface. Would you have to just display a soft keyboard? It wouldn't be using the device's human interface well if it did. What about hover states? This is all very confusing.

  • by Joe U (443617) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:57PM (#32039348) Homepage Journal

    Pure, unadulterated vaporware whose only purpose was to get some people disinterested in the iPad. And it appears to have worked.

    So, my choices went from iPad vs Courier to iPad vs nothing else on the market, and this helped Microsoft in some way.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:58PM (#32039362)

    is that companies always thought they were for things like Child's First Computer type of toy. Little did we understand that children come along with computers just fine, it was the adults that needed the hand-holding.

    As iPad's sales are still going strong, many people still won't get it. They're usually the ones that understand how to get the computer to do almost anything.

  • by theJML (911853) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:00PM (#32039374) Homepage

    IMHO, Tablets like the iPad and Slate are what Netbooks tried (and are still trying) to be. Except that I'd be much more likely to carry a super thin battery efficient quick enough physical keyboard-less tablet than I ever would have been carrying around an underpowered netbook. If I needed what a netbook gives me over a tablet (a clamshell shape with a physical keyboard and laptop like experience) I'd just get a laptop. The netbooks are an example of a product looking for a market as is evident by the fact that they started as 7" screened almost palm-top's and now come in 12" sizes, larger than my ultraportable x40 full laptop.

    I, for one, am hoping that netbooks go away and tablets take their price point. Though I have to say that I'm glad they were there as they taught some of the laptop and chip makers how to make better battery life lower power devices still be useful (With combos like the Atom + Ion using low power, but offloaded 1080p playback). Perhaps they were a necessary evolutionary step on the road to a tablet, in that case, I'm glad they were here, and am glad I didn't waste any money on them.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:05PM (#32039426) Journal

    First it is "the iPad won't sell".

    Then when it is selling, the claim is "it ain't running out" when figures show Apple just ordered more then at previous introductions.

    then when it sells half a million, it won't last...

    Oh and lack of flash will kill it despite more and more sites ditching it.

    Face it, Jobs has done it again. Move on and start predicting his fall for the next gadget.

  • by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:15PM (#32039486)

    It's perfect for note taking and portability ... it's a bit substandard for video viewing.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:24PM (#32039550)

    How is it good? It doubles the cost while giving you a screen with a nice visible split in it. Books are closed because of the format, tablets do not need to act like books.

  • by plover (150551) * on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:48PM (#32039718) Homepage Journal

    Because it doesn't have to play the movie across the split. Imagine opening the Courier up to an angle similar to a netbook, resting one half on the tabletop, with the other at a comfortable viewing angle.

    You watch the movie in 16:9 on the top screen only while the other screen is dark, conserving batteries and simply awaiting your touch in order to present a full playback menu.

    I suspect there would have been a "netbook mode" that would have had the lower screen acting as a touch-keyboard for more traditional computer-like use. This would simply have been another application in that mode.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:01PM (#32039820) Homepage

    Neither the iPad nor Courier have (or would have in the case of MS's canceled project) any real advantages when it comes to getting work done

    The fact that you only evaluate a computer in terms of "getting working done" demonstrates that your thinking is a little out of date. Granted, Microsoft seemed to think of the Courier primarily as a productivity tool, which may be related to the fact that they've killed it (outmoded thinking), but despite some token productivity apps for the iPad, that's not what it's for. It's for reading/playing/watching/surfing/chatting... in other words, everything but "getting work done".

  • by timholman (71886) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:19PM (#32039960)

    The era of the geek driving computer development is dead: people want easy to use features, and Apple is giving it to them.

    And beyond that, Apple is building a computing platform that is completely appropriate for 95% of users out there.

    I've been observing with great amusement the geek outrage over Apple's closed, locked-down ecosystem, starting with the iPod and iPhone, and culminating with the iPad, and I say: more power to Apple .

    To paraphrase Spider-man: "With great computing power comes great computing responsibility." Manufacturers have placed general-purpose computers into the hands of the masses, and what have we gotten in return? Mountains of spam, malware galore, and tens of millions of zombie boxes. A general-purpose programmable device has proven, overall, a disaster for the Internet. In the hands of typical non-technical users, they are just begging to be exploited, and that's exactly what happens to them.

    Steve Jobs has it exactly right. The overwhelming majority of people don't need a computer with a general purpose operating system. They need an iPad or something like it - an appliance that meets the needs of 95% of users, and is locked down so tightly that it is very hard to exploit via user stupidity.

    Personally, I don't want an iPad. I don't need an iPad, because I'm capable of managing a general-purpose computer. But the appeal of the iPad to the average consumer is blatantly obvious. Apple is going to sell a lot of iPads.

  • by Dan East (318230) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:48PM (#32040104) Homepage Journal

    A $99 iPad would be a true game-changer, and I think something along those lines is the next step.

    I'm not an Apple historian, and this is an actual question, but has Apple ever sold a product at anything but a premium price? Any Apple product I can think over the last decade has cost far more than the median price of equivalent hardware by Apple's competitors.

    iPod Touches aren't $99, and they've been on the market for a number of years. Plus, if the iPad was $99, what would an iPod Touch sell for? $69? Never, ever, ever going to happen. I could see the iPad maybe selling for $399 eventually, but I would be very surprised if it ever sold for less.

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:00PM (#32040174)

    It was probably canned because Microsoft didn't want to be publicly owned again by Apple, Google and the other competitors out there.

    They've horribly failed at just about everything except their latest OS upgrade.

  • by fatwilbur (1098563) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:08PM (#32040210)
    Typical Apple fanboy.

    This is where you and many others fundamentally misunderstand the tablet space

    I'm sure you held this opinion before the iPad marketing machine went into effect, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:33PM (#32040374)
    you're describing the ipad, retard.
  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:37PM (#32040410)
    The iPad is pretty gung-ho on html 5 so i'd say it's sort of ahead of the curve there. Additionally it's not like OS 3.2 is permanently burned into it's roms. if the whole interweb is html6 in 5 months you probably won't have to throw your ipad in the trash. Apple can and does upgrade the OS.

    I'm not really sure what's changed on the web in the past 5 years anyway. I can fire up an old xp laptop and still get to facebook. My iphone is going on 2 years old. The web hasn't left it in the dust. everything still works pretty much like the day i got it.

    I don't know many people who even keep the same computer for more than 3 years. Mom can buy a new ipad in 3 years. they will be half the price and 8x as fast. where's the problem?

    About the best argument against appliances i can think of is you will get swept up in political battles concerning flash. That and mom doesn't understand that all her apps won't port to an android tablet if that's the coolest looking thing in 3 years.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:54PM (#32040492)

    Imagine opening the Courier up to an angle similar to a netbook, resting one half on the tabletop, with the other at a comfortable viewing angle.

    You mean like the iPad can with a $30 case that ads no weight or bulk to the device?

    Oh yeah, that works pretty well.

    Only it costs half as much and has half the weight thanks to not having to need enough battery to power two screens for a reasonable period of time (since you can't expect users to just watch videos or mostly do other tasks with one screen off).

    Also I can't imagine what about the Courier design led you to think the center portion would be able to hold either screen aloft at any arbitrary angle.

  • by Skadet (528657) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:57PM (#32040512) Homepage
    I was happily following along, then I read this:

    In a nutshell: the question is not geeks X grandmothers

    Followed by this:

    the question is the right of doing what I want, when I want and the way I want with something I've paid for X giving more and more money for someone that IS transforming the market indeed - in a place where you don't own anything, you pay for the (supreme) honor of using someone's elses device.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the vast majority of the market couldn't care less, and they've said so with their wallets. It's a perfectly legitimate point of view for you to take -- I don't take issue with the validity of it. But "ok, so don't buy it" is also a perfectly legitimate response. iPad doesn't fit your needs; that much is certain. That's ok.

    As far as business is concerned however, you're in the minority. Aggregate iPod + iPhone + iPad sales prove that much.

  • by SashaMan (263632) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:23AM (#32040654)

    Kudos to timholman and the mods. This post is a great (though perhaps rare) example of what I love about slashdot - a post that actually got me to change my opinion.

    While I've been bemoaning the locked down nature of where Apple is going, I think for the majority of internet users this is exactly what they need.

  • by Hymer (856453) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:24AM (#32040658)
    I have stopped to believe in any news from Microsoft until I see the product and even then it usually is only partially what they say it is.
  • by mgblst (80109) on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:00AM (#32040822) Homepage

    The problem I have with all these technophiles decrying the iPad's lack of flash is this: are you not the same group that beats down any flash site?

    Damn, when are you morons going to realise, THERE IS MORE THAN ONE PERSON ON THIS SITE. And we all have different opinions. Look at yourself, you clearly have a different opinion to the person you are responding to.

    Why do you feel the need to group all these technophiles with one brush stroke. Most of use here to hate flash. So shut the fuck up, and wake up.

    Personally, I think the iPad is a great idea, and can't wait to get one, but also understand why some people don't like the direction that we are heading.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Friday April 30, 2010 @01:16AM (#32040874)

    Pure, unadulterated vaporware whose only purpose was to get some people disinterested in the iPad. And it appears to have worked.

    So, my choices went from iPad vs Courier to iPad vs nothing else on the market, and this helped Microsoft in some way.

    You don't seem to understand how vaporware works. If you actually had a competing product, you wouldn't need vaporware, you'd just promote the real thing you have to offer. But MS has nothing to offer.

    For at least for a short amount of time, potential iPad buyers were holding off for a Courier. For this tactic to work, MS never has to actually release Courier. All they have to do is slow iPad sales.

    There used to be a time when people would put off purchases, in favor of some vaporware MS product, for years, by which time the superior technology (that actually existed) would fail to gain traction and die, all without MS ever shipping anything. The market doesn't really work that way anymore, so at best it will buy them a few months. The fact that they didn't make the best use of those few months doesn't negate the potential upsides of this tactic.

    And besides, Courier helped make the iPad appear less interesting and less advanced than it is, this helped play a small role in the "iPad is lame" nerdfest, which is still active and is still benefitting Microsoft. It's hard for a real product to compete with a product that is completely made up, and once you're able to convince at least some people into accepting that this wonderful imaginary product is real, it sours one's impressions of real products that can, and do, actually exist.

  • by timholman (71886) on Friday April 30, 2010 @03:28AM (#32041640)

    The only difference is that when the same thing happens to the iPad -- and it has happened to iPhones -- you'll have a proprietary monoculture that's wirelessly connected, even over a cell network (so always, always on), and it will be the sort of thing that is that much more difficult for us geeks to deal with. A desktop computer, if something goes wrong, you may not be able to fix it, but we can. Something goes wrong with your iPad, you can either jailbreak it or take it to Apple.

    Now, you can get most of the supposed advantages you're talking about with Android. A centralized app store, a pretty UI, but the sanctioned ability to get apps through other means if you really want it. Keep in mind that the average user isn't likely to do that, any more than they're likely to jailbreak their iWhatever, but I'd much rather have the option than not.

    So why does the closed Apple ecosystem bother you when you freely admit that the Android ecosystem is a viable alternative to those who wish to hack their handheld devices? Apple is not forcing Android out of the market - on the contrary, Android is doing very nicely. But that Apple monoculture has clearly been a boon to developers and consumers alike, far more so than Android to date.

    If Apple was the only choice for smartphones, I'd be unhappy too. But Apple is only one player of many in that market. How does Joe Average's choice of the Apple monoculture diminish Android in any way?

    The irony is that we've had just such a geek paradise for most of a decade -- any popular Linux distro is going to have a large repository of free apps, all of which have gone through some sort of quality control, and are delivered securely. Users can install third-party apps, but it's a channel that geeks avoid and ordinary users won't necessarily understand.

    And yet the iPad will probably sell more units in the first year than all the installed Linux desktop distros in the U.S. It's not just the concept, it's the implementation. Apple takes ideas that have been tried by others, and makes them mainstream and popular. I have nothing against Linux (I use it myself for part of my work), but even at its best you can't begin to compare it with Apple's ease of use.

    But to the extent that they "need" a computer, they need certain things which tend to work well on a general-purpose computer, with a real, actual keyboard.

    Like what? Games? Books? Music? Movies? Occasional word processing? Web surfing? You've got all of that in spades with the iPad, plus a real, actual external keyboard if you want one.

    What "certain things" do 95% of consumers need that an appliance like the iPad won't satisfy? And please don't list programming as one of them! Like I said: 95% of consumers.

    Here's where I'm confused: The appliance thing was tried, extensively, in the late 90's. Remember WebTV?

    Why do you think this will be any better?

    Because like so many markets that Apple has chosen to enter, they have figured out how to do it right. Apple did not create the MP3 player, the smartphone, or the appliance computer. But their genius is in figuring out how to make them reliable and easy to use. We saw it with the iPod and iPhone, and now we're seeing it with the iPad.

    What I find puzzling is that you seem to be happy about this.

    And what I find puzzling is why you (and so many others) are unhappy about it. How does the existence of the iPhone and iPad diminish the utility of Android or Linux in any way, shape, or form? We've still got our general-purpose computers, and Apple's success hasn't hurt them in the slightest. Nothing has been taken away from you. I am no more unhappy with Apple for creating a closed information appliance than I am with my TV manufacturer for creating a TV that is equally "closed". I can buy a consumer TV, or I can hack together my own MythTV box. How does one choice diminish the other?

  • by fwarren (579763) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:36AM (#32042348) Homepage

    Let me tell you about my first computer purchase.

    I was 17 years old and had a job at K-Mart. At the time, the Commodore-64 was around $500.00 and the Vic-20 was $150.00. So I decided to purchase a Vic-20.

    As it turns out, the K-Mart lay away program did not allow you to purchase electronics that way. I did not want to wait to come up with $150.00 money in my pocket would be spent before it was saved. There was a Federated store across that that I could purchase a Vic-20 for the same $150.00.

    So I got paid every Friday, and I would go on Saturday across town and make a $50 payment on my VIC. I had paid off $100 and had $50 to go. I got my paycheck on Friday night, and found out at the same time that the price on the VIC-20 had just dropped form $150.00 down to $100.00. The restock fee was $50.00 over at Federated. So my choices at that point were to a) go, ask for my money back, pay the restock fee and buy the computer outright with the money I had in hand. Total cost: $150.00. Or b) make my last payment, total cost $150.00.

    Essentially I had purchased a computer that went down in price by 33% the moment I bought it. It was a good lesson. That is ALWAYS the decision you make when you buy a computer. There is always something newer coming along at a lower price. Sometimes it is worth waiting 3 months before purchasing, sometimes you just as well buy it now and be using it for the next 3 months instead of waiting for the next 3 months.

    And generally speaking, waiting 3 months to purchase a Microsoft product that they are not already selling to stores 3 months before they ship. That my friend is always a bad idea.

     

  • by tehcyder (746570) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:13AM (#32042500) Journal

    I simply don't get this whole "reading on the can" thing. Do you people have some kind of bowel problem that causes you to take an inordinate amount of time to shit?

    I find it's a great way of getting some time away from the wife and kids.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:17AM (#32042518) Homepage

    How does one choice diminish the other?

    If PCs become less dominant and are taken over by appliances, there will be less choice and they'll cost more.

  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:58AM (#32043074)
    The type of weenie who would seriously not buy an iPad (or anything else) because "there might be something better out in a few months" deserves to rot...

    I disagree. If you want to call me a weenie anyway, go ahead, I've been called worse things.

    There is nothing wrong with holding back from a purchase if the product doesn't quite meet your requirements for functionality, coolness or whatever. For instance, I would have bought an e-book reader years ago while I was in the early stages of my undergrad degree, if any of the offerings available had met my requirements for displaying contents of my biochemistry and molecular biology texts at a useful resolution and in colour.

    However, since none of the manufacturers came up with a suitable gadget in time, I found myself stuck with lugging heavy books around. Sure, that is an opportunity lost, but I'm not rotting in any kind of hell as a result; I just put up with a certain amount of inconvenience. Big deal.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:22AM (#32043938) Homepage

    Courier helped make the iPad appear less interesting and less advanced than it is, this helped play a small role in the "iPad is lame" nerdfest, which is still active and is still benefitting Microsoft.

    I think this is a key point. People get psychologically and emotionally locked into positions and they don't like to admit that they might be wrong. They don't even like to consider in their own heads that they might be wrong.

    So Microsoft can release a video of the Courier and get some people saying, "I'm not getting an iPad. The iPad sucks. I'm going to wait for the Courier." They'll tell their friends and family and random people online, and when Microsoft drops the Courier, those people won't go back and tell everyone, "Oh, I was wrong, maybe the iPad isn't so bad." They'll say, "I'm not getting an iPad. The iPad sucks. I'm going to wait for... something else."

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday April 30, 2010 @10:40AM (#32044118) Homepage

    I'll let you in on a secret about Apple's pricing: They don't like to change it.

    Apple basically chooses prices based on marketing concerns and then builds the hardware to meet the price. The cheapest Apple laptop today is $1000, which has been roughly the price point for their cheapest laptop for *years*. It may have been $1200 or something, but they haven't dropped the price much. For the last several years, the most expensive iPods have been right around $400. Now a $400 iPod today has a lot more storage and features than a $400 iPod from 5 years ago, and they've introduce new lines to the series, but someone in Apple's marketing department decided that MP3 players should cost a maximum of $400, and so Apple keeps packing more features and storage into them and selling them at the same price.

    This is a good example of what "marketing" really is. People talk about marketing like it's "the art of bullshitting someone to think your product is better than it is," but marketing has a lot to do with product development. There is a market for $400 iPods, but there is not much of a market for $7,000 iPods. Someone has to decide the price points and feature set, and those are dependent on each other.

    When Apple announced the iPad, Jobs made a big point of the $500 price point, which leads me to think that's the price their marketing people (or Jobs himself) settled on as the target price. I'd bet that in a few years, $500 may be the high-end price of the iPad, but the cost will remain around that point ($300-$500). I'm not looking forward to the $99 iPad shuffle.

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