Category Archives: Gadgets
This new magazine “format” for the iPad (and other tablets) might look cool, but man does it seem useless for actually trying to read articles.
Imagine a magazine’s pages stretched out across a DVD menu, with small angled copy appearing in only a few paragraphs at a time. What a nightmare.
You know why banner ads are still so maligned? Because when I’m trying to read there’s a bunch of crap moving on the page distracting me. They can have their flashy “interactive magazine” format, I just want to actually read.
Bonnier’s concept seems way more useful, too bad it isn’t real yet.
>From a great article on metagaming at sleepoversf.com:
The more features an application has, the more uneasy a user can feel. This principal is one reason why Apple’s products tend to be so satisfying to use. The more limited a product’s functionality, the easier one can master it. And feeling like a master of your tools is a wonderful thing.
I would even say it’s simpler than that: more simplicity = less stress. It’s not so much the feeling that I’ve accomplished everything I can with my iPhone and its apps, it’s that it’s so easy for me to figure out how to do things I’ve never even tried before.
The rest of the article is about creating challenges outside of games to accomplish in-game. It’s form also follows the topic of metagaming, allowing you to hide areas you’ve already read.
And like perfectly fit clothes, that feeling is
empowering. A paradox, then: the less you enable people to
do, the more they will do.
So the iPad has been revealed. I wrote earlier that I am underwhelmed by the iPad because it lacks multi-tasking, Flash, has an almost identical interface to the iPod touch, can cost $30/mo., has a supposedly mediocre on-screen keyboard, and makes me think of menstrual cycles. But it is very interesting in the ebook department.
That last part is the key for me personally. I already read books and comics on my iPhone and would probably be happy to pay $500 for a giant iPod Touch – which is all this really is. And that’s the disappointment: they didn’t create a new and specialized user interface like I was really expecting. I mean the home screen icons are still tiny and now just spread apart awkwardly, much like the honeycomb arrangement on phones using Windows Mobile 6.5. I think that’s ugly and not really adjusted correctly for a larger screen tablet.
BUT if they want to kill Netbooks, at least for nerds, they NEED Flash. How stupid is it to visit sites like Hulu and see big empty spaces where video should be? This is the worst part probably, and stings so much because they want this device to be a media powerhouse, especially in the video department. But my dreams of not having to boot up my Macbook to look at websites in my free time are killed. The iPad internet browser is crippled like the iPhone and iTouch, which makes since for those devices (I hate to imagine how awful browsing on the iPhond would be if Adobe had their way), but makes zero sense on an iPad. It’s an internet tablet for Crom’s sake.
And don’t get me started on the $30/month fee for wireless data. I actually wouldn’t mind paying that if my iPhone data went down in price by $20/month – but it doesn’t. So with an iPad I could be paying $60/month JUST for wireless internet. I already pay that much for internet in my home. If Chelsea wanted one of these too, with 3G (in addition to her iPhone), we’d be paying as almost as much as a car loan for all of our internet access – about $170 EVERY MONTH. I’m a nerd but that’s absurd!
I’m not alone in my mixed feelings, either. Most of the Engadget crew have conflicted opinions, and one person at Gizmodo concludes that the different negatives all add up to a deal-breaker. Another makes the point that despite its failings, we’ll all want these anyways. Even Walt Mossberg thinks that it’s going to be up to the application developers to make or break this device, not Apple. Lastly, David Pogue, my favorite mainstream tech columnist, thinks we’re all being too negative and that we’ll love the device once it’s released.
[Note: For the record, yes there is no such thing as an iTouch, but if they’re willing to use the name iPad, iTouch would’ve been a better option, and one that doesn’t remind you of lady things.]
So today Apple has officially acknowledged that they’re introducing a new product later this month (had only been rumored previously).
I find myself concerned and hesitant to get too excited. While I have been wanting an Apple tablet device for years now, I am afraid for it’s success.
I’ve always loved tablet PCs (owned 2 of them). But I’m not representative of the larger market: tablet computers have remained very niche. Just look at how little press has been given to the HP slate Microsoft unveiled at CES – there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard about it. Even within the tech world it’s been yawned over, not fawned over.
So how will Apple surmount the consumer confusion and indifference that’s prevented tablets from taking off? And even if people like the device, if its price is as high as rumored ($600-$800, some say as high as $1000), it had better do some really fancy new stuff.
I’m also concerned about its rumored tie to a cellphone carrier like Verizon that would require a monthly contract. That would probably be a deal-breaker for me. The last thing I need is another 2 year contract with a monthly bill.
It just seems like there are a lot of things it will need to overcome to be successful so it doesn’t end up like the Apple TV. How many people do you know who own an Apple TV?
My skepticism betrays a deeply held hope that it will be a fantastic product and succeed fabulously, as the iPhone has in the smartphone market – a market which arguably presented more competition than tablet PCs currently do.
Ultimately my dream is to hold a 7″ – 10″ device that allows me to download and read books and comics in color for long stretches of time and to be able to browse the web with Flash (I don’t want Flash anywhere near my phone). On the 27th we’ll see whether they’ve cooked up another hit or their first big miss in a while.
Yeah, I’ll be skipping that then. I’m not keeping another mouse at my desk for when I’m in Boot Camp – which is 8 hours a day. Sad, I was excited and considering the purchase. What a dumb move, just write the drivers you dolts.