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Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open 1713

Posted by timothy
from the will-care-when-it-runs-linux dept.
Reader oxide7 is one of the many to note that the heaviest speculation is mostly over (still waiting on the price, though) about Apple's anticipated new device (though there are surely plenty of questions about the device's hardware capabilities and the scope of its software and content marketplace): "At an event in San Francisco Apple released its anticipated iPad.'[It's] Way better than a laptop, way better then a phone. You can turn it any way you want. To see the whole page is phenomenal,' said Jobs." The (0.5") skinny: 1.5 lbs, multitouch, up to 64GB of flash, 9.7" screen, and a 1Ghz "Apple A4" chip (more about the A4 in Engadget's developing story). The iPad is closer in concept to an expanded iPhone (OS and all) than a miniaturized laptop, though it doesn't have quite as much connectivity as you might expect, with no 3G connection built in. (You'll have to make do with 802.11n, Bluetooth, and tethering.) Live coverage is ongoing at gdgt live, Engadget, and Gizmodo, as well as various others. Update by timothy, 19:58 GMT: Got the 3G part wrong; 3G is indeed an option. Prices run from $499 (16GB flash, WiFi but no 3G) to $829 (WiFi and 3G, 64GB flash). Should start shipping in 60 days (WiFi only), in 90 days for 3G. Surprsingly, no built-in camera.
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Apple's "iPad" Out In the Open

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  • No flash support (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vivek7006 (585218) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:52PM (#30921228) Homepage

    Which means no hulu.com, espn360.com or fancast.com. Somehow Mr. Jobs is touting this as a feature.

  • What is the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:53PM (#30921254)

    Isn't this just a big expensive iPod touch now?

    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:57PM (#30921390) Homepage
      It's more than just an iPod touch that won't fit in your pocket...it's also an underpowered netbook with no keyboard. It's the worst of both worlds!
      • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:09PM (#30921742)

        It actually has a robust power source; it is powered almost entirely by the user's sense of self-importance.

      • by zstlaw (910185) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:11PM (#30921778)

        It's more than just an iPod touch that won't fit in your pocket...it's also an underpowered netbook with no keyboard. It's the worst of both worlds!

        No no no! It has a faster processor than the iTouch, better resolution that iPhone, and some nifty new features to make up for the lack of keyboard... Iit is more like a Nexus One that won't fit in your pocket!

      • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:21PM (#30922114) Journal

        It's more than just an iPod touch that won't fit in your pocket...it's also an underpowered netbook with no keyboard. It's the worst of both worlds!

        Steve Jobs will be releasing the new iPants in the next couple of months. The iPants have iPockets that will fit an iPad. If you don't own a pair you won't be iCool anymore, so better save up those iPennies.

        Apple has always released crippled products and insisted that they were superior. You had to wait till iPhone 3.0 to have MMS and buy a 3rd party app (not available at release) to record video. These are things that have been standard in phones for 5 years. Apple's genius is not the product, it's the marketing which seems to catch out every wannabe geek and fashion victim.

      • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:56PM (#30922992) Homepage Journal

        Hmmm. The thing about the iPod is that the killer features is the integration of iPod/iTunes/iTunes store. The devices are nice of course, but each part of this triangle has significant limitations.

        The key is that they all work together to support use cases that consumers find convenient and valuable. That's why "iPod Killers" never kill. You have to get all three pieces, and that is hard especially the store end of things.

        Now Amazon nailed it with the Kindle. The Kindle is not the best eBook reader, but Amazon + WhisperNet + Kindle work together better than anything anybody had ever seen before. You can make a better eBook reader, but what you really have to do is to make sure that whole source to use chain has no serious mistakes in it (like not having enough books to sell, having lousy battery life, or having DRM so restrictive it interferes with the primary use of the devices).

        So you can't look at this device and say "meh", because it has never been the best device that wins. It's the affordable looking system that offers a convenient solution for something consumers value that wins.

        You're going to have to see the whole thing in action to know whether this is "meh" or not. I suspect it may be, but I'm not shorting Apple stock yet.

        • by Eil (82413) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @06:11PM (#30925906) Homepage Journal

          Hmmm. The thing about the iPod is that the killer features is the integration of iPod/iTunes/iTunes store. The devices are nice of course, but each part of this triangle has significant limitations.

          The key is that they all work together to support use cases that consumers find convenient and valuable. That's why "iPod Killers" never kill. You have to get all three pieces, and that is hard especially the store end of things.

          I got an iPod Touch right after Christmas (to replace my Nokia N800) and the iTunes integration is the thing that drives me the most crazy about it. I bought the device under the assumption that I would be able to use it to easily download, manage, and listen to podcasts. This was my first real Apple product and after having heard how cool the iPhone was and how easy Apple makes everything, I figured I couldn't go wrong.

          To listen to podcasts on the N800, all I had to do was run gPodder. It automatically checked for new episodes, downloaded them, and kept track of which ones were new, which ones were downloaded, which ones I've already listened to, and which ones have been deleted. Very slick. Too bad the N800 kinda sucked for just about anything else.

          After I got my iPod Touch, and after I had fiddled with the pinch zooming, inertial interface widgets, and slick web browser, I eventually discover that there's no podcast manager at all. And further investigation revealed that Apple won't allow a third-party one because they claimed it would compete with iTunes. The problem is, iTunes on the iPhone OS really, really sucks for listening to podcasts. You can only download podcasts that happen to be in the iTunes store. There's no way to just enter an RSS feed. There are no automatic updates and no automatic downloads, you're forced to memorize which episodes you've listened to and you have to download each episode one at a time. The only way to listen to podcasts that aren't in the iTunes store is to sync the device with a desktop computer running the full-blown version of iTunes. The iPod Touch is a portable wifi-enabled computer in its own right, I shouldn't have to sync it with fucking anything just to get content onto it. I have no computers that iTunes will run on, and of course, Apple encrypts communications to and from the device so no open-source software can connect to it either.

          Convenient and valuable? Feh, I say.

          • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @06:19PM (#30926056) Homepage Journal

            I understand. I happen to hate the iTunes store. I much prefer Amazon's MP3 download service. It meets my needs. I don't much care for the way iTunes wants to steer me to the latest episode of popular TV shows. I have no interest in that, and I always feel like I'm fighting the software to get it to do what I want.

            But one thing I've learned after decades in this business is that you can't design products around your own preferences. I've seen that approach fail time and time again. I've even seen the same guys make the same mistake more than once.

            It doesn't matter that I hate the iTunes store. Steve Jobs would be an idiot to design products that cater to people like me, because we're lousy, cranky, critical customers and cheapskates besides.

    • by doconnor (134648) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:23PM (#30922176) Homepage

      There are lots of things that a iPod Touch with a larger screen would be useful for, like web browsing, book reading and movie watching.

    • by H0p313ss (811249) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:37PM (#30922526)

      Isn't this just a big expensive iPod touch now?

      Depends on how you spin it. I look at it as an eBook reader with an awesome web browser, GPS, WiFi, 3G, local storage, a MP3 player and access to the thousands of apps in the app store. Which, personally, is exactly what I've been waiting for to hit the market to handle my eBook and casual browsing needs. I'm sure I'm not alone here.

  • by Bryan Gividen (739949) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:54PM (#30921288)
    This entire presentation seems a little disappointing. Really, it looks, acts, and feels like a giant iPod Touch. Whereas the iPhone and iPod really created a need , I don't see that this substantially innovate to make it a must-have. It doesn't seem to improve on anything so substantially that it is an obvious choice. Maybe I need to see a few more videos, but I don't see this pulling serious market share away from Kindle's targeted market segment.
    • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:59PM (#30921454) Journal

      This entire presentation seems a little disappointing. Really, it looks, acts, and feels like a giant iPod Touch. Whereas the iPhone and iPod really created a need , I don't see that this substantially innovate to make it a must-have. It doesn't seem to improve on anything so substantially that it is an obvious choice. Maybe I need to see a few more videos, but I don't see this pulling serious market share away from Kindle's targeted market segment.

      Yes, quite.

      Last time I saw a /. commenter speculating about the future of Apple's latest new thing, it read something like this:

      Raise your hand if you have iTunes ...

      Raise your hand if you have a FireWire port ...

      Raise your hand if you have both ...

      Raise your hand if you have $400 to spend on a cute Apple device ...

      There is Apple's market. Pretty slim, eh? I don't see many sales in the future of iPod.

      ~LoudMusic

      I prefer to take the 'wait and see' approach.

      • by flabordec (984984) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:06PM (#30921650) Homepage
        The last time you saw a comment in /. speculating about the future of Apple's latest new thing was with the release of the iPod? You don't visit very often.
      • by noidentity (188756) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:24PM (#30922196)

        There is Apple's market. Pretty slim, eh? I don't see many sales in the future of iPod.

        ~LoudMusic

        And that, my friends, is why the Post Anonymously checkbox exists.

      • True (Score:5, Insightful)

        by commodoresloat (172735) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:43PM (#30922686)

        This is exactly what happened when the iPod was announced: slashdot dismissed it as derivative while Apple quietly reinvented the freakin' walkman. One thing Apple generally gets right is marketing. There may be nothing technologically revolutionary to most slashdotters in the iPad but the fact is it's already shaken up the consumer world even before it was officially acknowledged as an existing product. At the Consumer electronics show in Las Vegas this year the upcoming Apple tablet was a bigger topic of excitement than any device that actually existed at the time -- Apple didn't even go to the convention and yet they managed to have a significant presence there. They have been very successful in the hype department without even spending a dime on advertising. Technological merits aside they will sell a boatload of these.

    • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:05PM (#30921638)

      Given that the Kindle's target market is book readers, I don't think tablets like this will have much effect. It's more of a laptop replacement than a book reader; eInk is way more readable, and requires charging far less often. Yes, multiple single-purpose devices can get bulky, but then, I was already carrying around my books anyway. If I wanted a laptop, I'd look at the iPad as an alternative (just like I'd look at a netbook), but if I want to read books and newspapers, I'll stick with paper or eInk.

      I'm not saying it will fail, I'm saying it will take market share from laptops far more than eBook readers.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:54PM (#30921300)

    "Way better than a laptop, way better then a phone."

    So Apple is basically saying that we should stop buying MacBooks and iPhones?

  • by FSWKU (551325) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:55PM (#30921318)
    What an unfortunate name. One could conceiveably think that Apple is delving into the untapped market of network-enabled feminine hygiene products... What was wrong with the oft-rumored "iSlate" moniker? Also, what's the PRICE on this thing?
  • by jbezorg (1263978) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:56PM (#30921334)

    I may still get a Kindle because of this reason.

  • Oblig (Score:5, Funny)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:56PM (#30921340) Journal

    No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.

  • Perfect! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:56PM (#30921362)

    I was looking at the iPhone the other day and I was just thinking that it would be so much better if it didn't fit into any of my pockets.

  • Multi-tasking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by konadelux (968206) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:58PM (#30921412)
    So help me god this thing better have multitasking
    • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:5, Informative)

      by prockcore (543967) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @04:05PM (#30923244)

      It doesn't.

  • Phenomenal (Score:5, Funny)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @02:58PM (#30921440)

    To see the whole page is phenomenal

    I'm not sure "phenomenal" is the right term to describe "seeing a whole page". You would think that we've never been able to see a whole page before and that Steve Jobs is personally responsible for some entirely new experience.

    I guess that's what they mean by the reality distortion field.

    You can turn it any way you want.

    Good god, you mean I can pick the thing up and actually turn it? I'm so excited I'm about to soil myself! Will Apple innovations never cease?

  • by Hamster Lover (558288) * on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:00PM (#30921488) Journal

    Watching the announcement live I was struck with just how absorbent the crowd was regarding iPad presentation. It's like this product has wings. I wonder how well the iPad will handle those heavy work flow days.

  • Fantastic! (Score:5, Funny)

    by diskofish (1037768) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:03PM (#30921566)
    Now that we've gotten that out of the way, can we move on now?
  • by SwabTheDeck (1030520) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:09PM (#30921736)
    I have both an iPhone and a MacBook and I use and love both everyday. However, I've never thought to myself, "how great would it be to have a 10-inch iPhone?" After watching the live coverage for the last hour, that's basically all this is. The OS and UI are basically the same, just upscaled and optimized in some places for the larger screen. As far as I can tell, there are none of the clever innovations that are typically present in a new Apple product. The only people that I can see this thing appealing to would be people that have a strong fascination for touch screens and people that don't feel that they can properly lounge about with a laptop (as exemplified by Steve Jobs lounging in a love seat during the presentation). I think the only obvious application would be as an ebook reader (side note: I nearly had a fit when they decided to reuse the term iBook to brand their ebooks). The presentation still isn't done so there isn't a word on price, but if it can't come within range of the Kindle and similar devices, I'd say this thing is purely novelty.
  • Error in the article (Score:5, Informative)

    by garg0yle (208225) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:15PM (#30921908) Journal

    "There will be models with 3G support" according to Steve Jobs, so saying that it doesn't support 3G is just a bit, um, wrong.

  • *yawn* (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:18PM (#30921996) Homepage Journal

    No WiMAX. Same storage as an iPod. Lame.

  • by Singularity42 (1658297) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:35PM (#30922466)

    Not seeing it on the front page, but it's all up here.

  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:36PM (#30922484)
    Unlocked, MicroSIM compatible. SOLD
  • by foo fighter (151863) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:45PM (#30922720) Homepage

    This thing kills the MacBook Air.

    On the other hand, I guess we now know Apple's premium for running an unlocked operating system. (iPad: $500, MacBook Air: $1500; you do the math)

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:45PM (#30922730)

    I see nothing about stylus support, guess I won't be buying one then.

    It would have been a perfect device with stylus support, now it's just not for me (although I do see a lot of possibilities for others).

    /Mikael

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @03:50PM (#30922872) Homepage

    Most people here don't see past their own noses... Myself, I like the iPad except for the fact that Apple decides what I can install... but that's the whole point.

    The iPad is a platform, not a device.

    Most people just want stuff to work, and don't want to care how. Most of the time, so do I. I don't want my stove in the kitchen to require a friggin manual to do basic cooking even if I could patch it to boil eggs 15% faster I never would be bothered. It's the same for regular people with all tech, computers included. People don't want to know the details, they just want to tap on a movie/book/app/whatever, confirm their transaction, and have it all just work.

    The iPad can run iPhone apps, and the SDK is available now. App developers will be falling over each other to be first with new apps taking advantage of the larger screen.

    I'm very tempted, but still skeptical I'll buy this myself. The closed platform is an issue for me. But most people couldn't care less about what they can't do on a device like this, if they just can do all they want. Freedom is great, but how many of us have truly bothered to go under the hood in our games consoles for instance? I can do all I truly need with our Wii even if I can't run SCUMMVM. Hell, I don't even have time to play all the games I've bought.

    The iPad will be a great example of good enough technology. "The internet", in your lap, on this amazing looking little device. With movies, books, music and apps to boot. Joe and Jane Average are gonna think it's great.

  • by logicassasin (318009) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @04:11PM (#30923358)

    ...was a bigger iPod Touch.

    I stick by my earlier statement that the name makes it sound like digital Kotex. However, it mus be noted that Steve Jobs may have his first Edsel on his hands.

    Seriously, the ASUS Eee PC T91MT gives you more of a computer for a bit less than the cost of this iPad (I chuckle every time I read or type that). REAL applications, REAL OS (not a "gadget" os), REAL everything! It's a tablet and a netbook at once. Approx $450 gets you 32GB SSD, 1GB RAM, and Win 7 all in a small package with a proven processor underneath it all.

    $50 more get's you less drive space, an unknown amount of RAM, and a gadget OS running on what appears to be a 2010 version of the Cyrix MediaGX processor.

    Steve needs to take some time off and rethink this one.

  • by kindbud (90044) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @04:26PM (#30923748) Homepage

    Check it out. [apple.com]

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @05:10PM (#30924672)

    After reading the comments here and on Engadget, it just confirms that your average techie doesn't know a great new product when he sees it. So many people seem to be complaining that it doesn't have some certain deal-breaking hardware feature, yet they haven't even noticed the most important innovation: The software. The greatest part of this device simply flies over the head of so many people here because they have no understanding about what makes a computer great to use.

    • by patSPLAT (14441) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @06:46PM (#30926574) Homepage

      Actually you don't get it, the software is what makes this device nothing more than a giant iPhone. Which is absurd.

  • Apple A4 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by No. 24601 (657888) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:09PM (#30927690)

    Wow, I'm a bit disappointed :) Yes, with the iPad a bit, but more so with the idea that this is Slashdot and barely anyone has thrown a spotlight on the Apple A4. This is an ARM, high performance, low power CPU with integrated graphics, and more importantly the first piece of processing silicon coming out of Cupertino. Regardless of how much i like the Intel Atom, i think this will be a viable competitor on the ARM front. Too bad it is under lock and key with the iPhone OS :p

  • by samwhite_y (557562) * <icrewps.yahoo@com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:09PM (#30928292)

    There is a theme to some of the comments which I wish to rebut. Essentially the theme is that Apple products really are not that good and they sell well only because Apple does such good marketing. The implied assumption here is that if you buy Apple's products, such as the iPod, you are just a sucker fooled by Apple's marketing campaign. Since I have bought Apple products because I thought they were the best products available for my needs, I see these statements as declaring that I am also a sucker and lacking in any real tech smarts. Essentially I feel like I am being called an idiot.

    I remember when this debate was between Linux and PCs, and the Linux crowd was trying to argue that nobody should need to run Microsoft software to do their jobs or get things done. This was at time when you could not get Linux to legally read a DVD or use algorithms to do reasonable font rendering. Of course, these limitations were because of licensing issues, some of the most useful software productivity features were protected by commercial licenses or patents. The Linux advocates would argue that I should not be running such software in the first place because it was not "open" software. But that is a different argument. I have far more sympathy for the argument that running Linux is a superior moral choice. But arguing that Linux was a better OS for getting my job done was nonsense.

    I am going to come at my argument in a backwards way. Instead of touting features of the iPad, I am going to describe artfully chosen limitations. The biggest limitation is that a developer cannot develop an application that can run as a persistent multi-threaded process. Any application that is not being used at any current moment is torn down and a new one instantiated. This is even more limited than the old Windows 3.x OS with its event driven model for task switching (for those you who don't remember -- Windows 3.x had only one running thread and all applications shared memory). Another limitation is that applications cannot use a shared file system or use shared libraries. You cannot build an application out of other applications or write applications whose purpose is to interact with other applications in useful ways. A user cannot even freely write code for their own application, build it, and run it.

    For anybody who likes to tinker with their computers (I consider myself somewhat in that breed, I do programming for a living), this seems almost mind boggling stupid. But there is a method to this madness.

    So what do you get back for these choices.

    1. A very stable device that does not need to worry about applications doing semi-permanent bad things to your computer requiring a reboot. It is not stable just because applications have a hard time doing bad things, but the basic logic of behavior is so simple that you can "audit" and control it in a way that you cannot control a standard modern OS. This eliminates tangled logic scenarios that come up when you have interactions between device drivers, OS interrupts, glitches in hardware, and complicated applications. Also, it is far easier to write protections against hostile software, especially if you control the distribution of all software for your device.

    I think many in the Slashdot crowd underestimate the importance of stability in a portable device. I reboot computers all the time because of glitches of various sorts. It is true that the OS is rarely to blame, it might be the device driver for my mouse, or a disk glitch, a misbehaving network router, or a bad application but generally such issues are fatal. And because of the complexity of the OS, the OS really has no chance at diagnosing the true cause of the problem.

    That is not something I will tolerate in a lightweight portable device used for limited but useful activities. I have heard rumors that Android phones, once you start trying to run some of the same application that make the iPhone popular, have far more problems with various issues, such as unwanted battery run down for processes that

  • by hackshack (218460) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:44AM (#30930552)

    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that, y'all, collectively, are not the target audience for this thing. That said, we should be celebrating, rather than bitching. Here's why.

    Raise your hands, please: those who've installed LogMeIn on their mothers' computers.

    LogMeIn is a crutch, and you know it. You know damn well why you installed it, too. It's so you can support her when shit breaks every couple months, or when she can't figure something out.

    The nice thing about the iPhone OS is that it's tight. My mom had never used a cell phone in her life, and figured out how to make a call with my iPhone in seconds. The OS is like an appliance, reliability-wise. The target audience is users, not the nerd herd, and the interface reflects that. It's basically a $500 ticket to never having to support Mother again (or really any user that "just needs the basics").

    If you really think it's just a big iPhone, look at the iPad interface video [apple.com] (from about 1:00 - 3:00). It was the first time I actually was like, holy shit, it looks like one of those futuristic computers out of a Hollywood movie; except it actually makes logical sense, yet retains teh bling. Unlike every other OS, multitouch is "baked in" to the iPhone OS, and you can really see the level of refinement in that video. All that shit that Microsoft wishes it could do with multitouch, this thing actually does.

    No, it doesn't have multitasking or an OLED display or a webcam or a fucking JTAG header; those people can vote with their ducats and get an HP Slate. Have fun troubleshooting your wireless network in Windows 7 or GNOME using your fingertips. Ugh.

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