Well. Here we are. A month has passed since apple shows us the iPad’s magic. Now it’s time to say what I thought about it, but before, I would like to clarify some things:
- I’m gonna buy one 16 Gb wi-fi model. It has been written in the skies with golden letters for months.
- It seems to me that apple has been a little lazy this time. The iPad has been a little disappointment but I’m going to buy one. Why? I’ve at last two reasons.
- The first one: it’s not what it currently is (not only the iPad but all the tablets out there) but the promise of what it will be in the future. It’s going to change it all, I’m sure. Perhaps it will going to take them a few years, but this will change the computing as we know it today (that’s what this blog is about)
- Second: I’m some kind of mix between an apple fanboy and a collectionist. That is, I like to have the first versions of apple’s hardware if I can afford them. This way I have an Mac plus, a blue and white G3, the first Ipod, the first Video iPod, the first mac book pro (intel) and the first iPhone.
Now the good, the ugly and the bad things:
I’m really believe that this is going to be a good machine from the hardware’s perspective. I’m quite sure is fast enough.
Also believe that this is a great start point to create the next computing platform.
The iPhone OS and all its apps.
The big bezel, the home button, the screen density and the lack of cameras annoying me.
The only reason I’ve found for the bezel to be so big is: they have increased the surface area arround the screen to make the action of grab the tablet more comfortable. The current UI (the iphone’s one) forces you to grab it with one hand and touch with the other.
Curiously the iPhone OS is also the reason of the home button. Since there is not yet a multitask implementation in the OS, the only way to exit the apps is with that button.
Now the density thing. Lets say that you have created a 3.5″ screen device (iPhone) and gave it 160 dpi so the text reads pretty well and the images look fantastic. Now, you have to develop a 9.7″ screen device. Among other things, one of your killer apps will be a book reader, so, why in the hell have you low the density of its screen to 134 dpi?. I suspect that this one is related to the density of the capacitive digitizer.
Almost everybody expected a front facing camera. I expected two; a front iSight and the current iPhone camera on the back. The obvious use of the front iSight will be video chat, and perhaps some tricks like face recognition. People could think that a backfacing camera in the form factor of a tablet is a nonsense (certainly, take photos with it can be really difficult), but I think that amazing things related to augmented reality can be done with it, especially in the education market. I don’t know what is the reason behind the lack of cameras, but I hope that is not the cost of them (between 8 – 12$).
First and foremost the iPhone OS applied to a tablet format. Second: the book store approach and its impact in the publishing industry.
Third: the lack of some kind of public file system. Without it, you can’t do any serious job in the tablet, and I think it can be done, really. Do you remember what was the configuration of the top G4 seven years ago?
I’m gonna talk about the iPhone OS limitations and File systems in the next posts so I can close this point here.
I’m also plan to talk a lot about the reader later, but I’ll point this now: If you are in the publishing industry, you use to make magazines and you are not a big corporation, well … You have no luck. Probably you will have not the money to pay a group of programmers to make you an app ala wired magazine, for all the different stores.
In order to the small business can compete in this new era, I’m firmly believe that a new standard must be created. Its main points should be:
- - Must keep the focus in readability. We are talking about magazines, not web pages. But also we live in the Internet era, so it should be able to show web links, images, audio and video.
- - Must keep the layout , both portrait and landscape, of the publication. You know enjoying the reading experience.
- - The reader must be able to smartly reflows the publication, keeping its layout, fitting it to different screen sizes.
- - Must be easy to create directly from the layout applications (like PDF).
- - Must be easy to deploy, like MP3 or AAC audio files. Not attached to only one store.
- - We are talking about business, I mean, they have the right to apply some kind of DRM if they wish.
This way, the small publishers can have a piece of the cake too, without the need to spend their resources building a highly specialized app for each and every store out there.